Week of 7/22/13
Handling the challenges of a growing business
(Inside Business, July 19, 2013)
As the president and CEO of TowneBank, Bob Aston has a bird's-eye view of the challenges that growing businesses face.
He is a co-founder of the bank, which opened in 1999 with $49 million in startup money and three branches. And the bank deals with small businesses every day.
Fourteen years later, TowneBank is number one in market share in community banks in Hampton Roads and has $4.3 billion in assets.
Entrepreneur Magazine said that in 2012, the number of small businesses topped 27 million and accounted for up to 80 percent of all jobs created in the U.S.
Starting a small business is one thing.
Putting it on a path for growth is another. ...
Stephen E. Lanivich, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at Old Dominion University's College of Business and Public Administration, warns that stockpiling resources can create a buffer, but has its downside.
"Coping with uncertainty is tricky," he said. "Maintaining a resource stockpile has costs. For small businesses without vast amounts of capital to devote to a tangible uncertainty buffer, the intangible information resource route is advisable.
"Many small business owners are busy with their nose to the grindstone," Lanivich said. "So, when they finally look up and say, 'I want to grow!' they might not have adequate information or other resources regarding potential opportunities for growth. Such resources are not always readily apparent, and can require search.
"For other small businesses, expansion beyond the initial business concept can make economic sense, but falls outside of the founder's scope or passion. Again, uncertainty is the issue." (More)
Inside the Ticket Office with Jason Cantone
(TCPalm (Florida), July 19, 2013)
From January to December year after year, Roger Dean Stadium plays host to tens of thousands of people. Whether it's Marlins or Cardinals Spring Training games, specialty events or Minor League games, many fan's stadium experience starts at the ticket office window.
"We're the first group that customers see when they come to the stadium, it's imperative that we provide the best first impression as possible." said Jason Cantone, Roger Dean Stadium's Ticket Office Manager.
Cantone, a Virginia native and Old Dominion University alumnus, has spent the past six years working for the Stadium where he has held multiple positions ranging from a Media Relations intern to an Assistant Manager.
As the Ticket Office Manager, Cantone utilizes all of his past work experience on a day-to-day basis. "Over the years I've became accustomed to lots of phone work, I probably take in 20-30 calls per day. It's mainly answering general information questions such as ticket prices, group rates and details about different events we have going on at the stadium at any given time."
In modern society, it is common for customers to purchase and print their tickets online via Ticketmaster or other third party sites such as StubHub. Jason and his staff are able to track the online ticket sales, however, it is significantly more difficult to predict the size of the "walk-up" crowd on a day-to-day basis. (More)
Educator teaches teachers about Bay
(The Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg), July 20, 2013)
Bill Portlock has spent most of his life on the water and marshes of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
So he was right at home on a recent sweltering weekday afternoon aboard the Bea Hayman Clark, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's research boat, with a cargo of eager teachers aboard.
Portlock, 64, clad in shorts, a CBF shirt, cap and boots and sporting an ever-present beard, is the organization's senior educator and founder of the Teachers on the Bay program, in its 25th year.
The 50-foot vessel, piloted by Jimmy Sollner, left the pier at Wheatland Plantation in Essex County on the Rappahannock a few hours earlier on the second day of a weeklong, in-the-field seminar for educators. ...
Born in Norfolk, Portlock attended Tidewater schools, then Old Dominion University. After graduation, he took a job as naturalist at Westmoreland State Park, then joined CBF in 1981 as field director, with a focus on bay education. Married with two grown children, he's lived in the Caroline County community of Sparta for 30 years.
He began the Teachers on the Bay program in 1988. His multi-day courses have received state and national awards, including, in 2005, the Thomas Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Natural Science Education by the Virginia Museum of Natural history, in association with the Smithsonian Institution.
"He's forever learning," said Sollner, who's known Portlock for 13 years. (More)
How Student Christopher Wells Managed to Go to College Without Going In the Red
(Christian Broadcasting Network, July 19, 2013)
Many students heading off to college are experiencing sticker shock. Tuition is up an average 15 percent at many institutions, with some schools climbing as high as 40 percent.
The rising figures have financial experts urging students to become better consumers in pursuing their degree.
Student Christopher Wells is heeding the warning. The Old Dominion University junior is on a mission to earn his philosophy degree debt free.
The 20-year-old spoke with CBN News about the tough decisions he has made to save money.
"My first year my mother had to take money out of her 401k plan to pay," Wells said.
"We had a deal and she said that she would pay the first year at school, but every year after that I would have to pay for it myself, or figure out a way to pay for it," he explained.
Wells works summers instead of chilling out. This year, he spent 40 hours a week as an intern and waits tables on weekends for at least another 20 hours.
He wanted to run track but opted to attend a school that doesn't have a track team because it made more sense financially and academically. He also lives at home and commutes to class.
"I had the opportunity to live on campus. I could have taken out a loan. But I chose not to," Wells told CBN News. "And that was one of the biggest decisions for me."
It hasn't been easy for the aspiring actor, model, and college professor. But Wells is an honor student on track to graduate next year with no student loan debt. (More)
TowneBank promotes four employees
(Suffolk News-Herald, July 17, 2013)
TowneBank and TowneBank Mortgage have announced four promotions within the companies' Suffolk offices.
TowneBank Mortgage, an affiliate of TowneBank, has announced the promotion of Kristen Dellinger to the position of vice president.
She is a mortgage loan officer at the Harbour View Financial Center.
Dellinger has been in the mortgage industry for more than seven years. She is a member of the Tidewater Mortgage Bankers Association and the Tidewater Builders Association.
Dellinger is a member of the Portsmouth YMCA Advisory Board. She also enjoys volunteering for Toys for Tots, Girls on the Run and Portsmouth Volunteers for the Homeless.
Dellinger attended Christopher Newport University and Old Dominion University and is a graduate of the Van Lefcoe Leadership Development program. (More)
Norfolk couple's lawsuit challenges same-sex ban
(The Virginian-Pilot, July 19, 2013)
After nearly 25 years together, two Norfolk men walked into Circuit Court earlier this month and applied for a marriage license.
They were denied.
Undeterred, Tony London, 54, and Timothy Bostic, 48, filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
"They thought about getting married in another state, but decided against it," said Robert Ruloff, an attorney for London, a Norfolk real estate agent, and Bostic, an Old Dominion University assistant professor of English. "They are Virginians and they want to be married in Virginia."
The lawsuit is the first such legal challenge filed in Virginia. It came one week after the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia announced plans to file its own lawsuit, and about three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court undercut two laws that stood as barriers to gay marriage.
Chris Freund, a spokesman for the Family Foundation, a conservative nonprofit based in Richmond, said he was not surprised by the lawsuit. He said the plaintiffs are trying to circumvent "the will of the people." (More)
W&L's Selig Moving Monarchs Forward
(Washington & Lee, July 16, 2013)
To say that Washington and Lee alumnus Wood Selig has been making his mark on the athletic program at Old Dominion University would be an understatement - at least based on the profile of Wood in the Virginian-Pilot earlier this month.
Wood, a member of the Class of 1983, was named the athletic director at ODU in 2010, as we reported in a blog at the time. He was succeeding a man, Jim Jarret, who had been in the job for 40 years. In the three years that he has been back in his hometown (Wood grew up a half-mile from the ODU campus), he's definitely shaken things up.
As the profile in the Virginia Pilot notes, Wood "has overseen a period of change that rival any in the school's athletic history." He's hired nine head coaches and has taken a year-old varsity football program to the point of transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision this season when they play East Carolina, Maryland, Pittsburgh and North Carolina. The Monarchs also left the Colonial Athletic Conference to join Conference USA.
A psychology major at W&L, Wood got his master's in sports management at Ohio University and held positions in the athletic departments at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia before becoming the athletic director at Western Kentucky University. He spent 11 years there before being lured back home.
Here's one of the best descriptions of his work as ODU's athletic director from the Pilot article: "His professional metabolism runs faster. Forget working a room. At games, Selig is more likely to work a whole stadium or arena, chatting up fans here, schmoozing potential donors there. Affable and approachable, he seems to have time for everyone." (More)
Judge dismisses ex-ODU prof's discrimination suit, similar case pending before another judge
(The Washington Post, July 17, 2013)
A lawsuit alleging Old Dominion University discriminated against a former professor has been dismissed.
Patricia Hentosh's lawsuit alleged that she was denied tenure because she is white. The lawsuit said that the university retaliated against Hentosh for complaining about an Asian American colleague.
U.S. District Senior Judge Robert Doumar said in his ruling that Hentosh was denied tenure because she failed to meet ODU's standards. Doumar also said that Hentosh failed to produce sufficient evidence of retaliation.
Doumar granted the university's motion for summary judgment on Friday.
A similar lawsuit is pending before another federal judge.
Hentosh's attorney, Raymond Hogge, tells The Roanoke Times (http://bit.ly/17jMrhb ) that the other lawsuit involves broader issues concerning how ODU treats white employees relative to other employees. (More)
Black students, alumni meet over Trayvon Martin case
(The Virginian-Pilot, July 18, 2013)
Black students challenged one another Wednesday night to channel their anger over the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer into self-help, solidarity and candid talk about race.
About 150 students and alumni turned out for a town hall meeting at Old Dominion University's Webb Center.
It was organized by the ODU National Pan-Hellenic Council in response to last weekend's not-guilty verdict in the shooting death of the unarmed Florida teenager.
A series of speakers urged the crowd to turn their dismay over the verdict into a proactive focus on education, community service and racial pride.
"I am proud of those who are angry. I am proud of those who are hurt. I am proud even of those who are hopeless," said Chelsea Vicente of Minds About Progress, a campus group focused on uplifting and empowering students of African descent. "They are awoken.
"Their eyes have been opened."
Now it is up to college-educated black people to turn that awareness in a positive direction, she said.
"We need to start talking about race more candidly," Vicente said. "Get it out of your system. Use it as therapy. ... It's OK to be angry. Let's talk about it." (More)
ODU students look past Zimmerman case
(WAVY-TV, July 17, 2013)
Old Dominion University students are asking people to look past the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict and look towards the future.
In a campus meeting Wednesday evening, students focused on this question: "Where do we go from here?"
ODU's Chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organized the event. The purpose was to bring the community together in a peaceful manner to discuss what steps can be met in the community to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.
"What more can I do in the community?" asked senior Christina Kanu. "What haven't I been doing that maybe I can change?"
In a complicated world, ODU students have an easy solution.
"It's a really easy answer," said one student. "We have to change ourselves first."
The Trayvon Martin case hit home for these students, many just a couple years older then he was at the time of his death.
"It's really about supporting one another," said one speaker. "It's really about going inside, changing hate and just out putting love." (More)
Colleges try to verify online attendance
(USA Today, July 17, 2013)
Colleges are ramping up strategies to ensure that the student who gets the grade for taking an online course is the same person who does the homework and completes the exams.
The impetus is a federal law, passed in 2008, requiring colleges that are eligible for federal student aid for online programs to take steps to discourage financial aid and academic fraud. Federal regulations require students to have secure log-ins and passwords for online course offerings, but industry experts expect more stringent standards to come.
"We don't know when and how, but they're probably going to tighten up," says David Richardson, CEO of Louisville-based Learning House, founded in 2001 to help schools develop online degree programs and courses. ...
Not all options are high-tech. Learners taking courses offered by EdX, a non-profit provider of online classes, have two options: They can take a proctored exam at a test center and they can agree to abide by an honor code.
Shana Pribesh, an education professor at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., allows students to resubmit work until they reach mastery. "If students know that they can try and try again, then the incentive to cheat is diminished," she says. "The approach I advocate is to make a course that is ... fun." (More)
HU, ODU students building solar-powered home for international competition
(The Daily Press, July 17, 2013)
Imagine a home entirely powered by the sun. It's efficient with a centralized, tablet-based control system that allows the owners to visualize and plan their home's energy use. Its design is simple with modern features for comfort and utility. And its layout can adapt to the lifestyle of the young and the old.
Hampton University and Old Dominion University students dreamed up such a home. They call it the "Canopy House" and are building it for an international competition in the fall.
Team Tidewater, a group of about 18 architecture, engineering and communications students, is one of 20 teams selected to compete in the worldwide Solar Decathlon at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif. It's the second time the team has participated in the competition. They placed 14th in 2011.
The students are building the house on Hampton University's campus. It will be shipped to California in pieces.
The teams will be judged in 10 different contests. The winning team will be the one that best blends cost-effectiveness, consumer appeal and design with optimal energy production and efficiency.
The HU and ODU students said they wanted to take their design one step further by addressing a problem they've observed with existing homes - "aging in place," or people's ability to stay in their home when they age.
"We're pretty much building this house so you can be born in this house and die in this house," said Taylor McLemore, the team's project engineering manager and a sophomore civil engineering student at ODU. (More)
Scholarship boost for Hutt drama star
(The Dominion (New Zealand) Post, July 16, 2013)
Eleanor Bishop is busy polishing a play about an illicit high- school afterball but she won't be around when the curtains come down on the final performance. ...
As well as Eleanor Bishop, two of her contemporaries from Chilton St James have also won 2013 Fulbright Scholarships, worth $33,000 a year.
Gaya Gnanalingam will complete a PhD in Ecological Science, specialising in the ecology and management of exploited decapod species, at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Horiana Irwin-Easthope has won the Fulbright-Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga Graduate Award and will complete a Master of Laws degree in Environmental Regulation, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Eleanor says she and Horiana were in the same class and Chilton St James and remain good friends. Gaya was a year ahead of them.
Fulbright awards support a year of academic study in the United States for promising New Zealand graduate students. Selections are based on academic excellence, leadership potential and the ability of candidates to act as a cultural ambassador for New Zealand. (More)
PCPS introduces new hires
(The Progress-Index (Petersburg), July 16, 2013)
Petersburg City Public Schools (PCPS) is pleased to announce administrative changes for the 2013-2014 school year. The changes took effect July 1: ...
- Sinclair Harris comes to PCPS from Essex County Public schools, where he served as an assistant principal. He has a bachelor's degree in education from Norfolk State University. He received a master's degree of educational leadership from Old Dominion University. During his tenure in Norfolk, Harris was named Norfolk Public Schools Middle School Teacher of the Year. Harris will replace Vernita Miles as the new assistant principal of Peabody Middle School.
- Tracy Stith-Johnson comes to PCPS from Richmond City Public Schools, where she served as a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher. Stith-Johnson has more than a decade of working professional experience in education. She has a bachelor's and master's degree from Old Dominion University, and a post graduate degree in administration and supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University. Stith-Johnson will replace Belinda Urquhart as the new assistant principal at Walnut Hill Elementary School. (More)
ODU hopes $12,000 machine will train Monarch brains
(The Virginian-Pilot, July 16, 2013)
The Dynavision D2 machine is located in a back room of Old Dominion's football training complex, between boxes of Muscle Milk, piles of protein bars and gallons of Gatorade.
It doesn't look like a revolutionary high-tech training tool that will improve the reaction time, hand-eye coordination and peripheral vision of ODU's 100 football players.
But that's exactly what Monarchs officials hoped for in May when they plunked down approximately $12,000 to purchase the machine.
"Football is all about how quick you are," ODU coach Bobby Wilder said. "It's about how quickly a player can react to his changing surroundings. "If this helps us react a half second faster, I believe it's going to help our performance."
The concept of Dynavision 2 is relatively simple. A player stands in front of a large screen for 60 seconds. As one of the 64 red lights turn on, the player pops it with his hand to turn it off, causing another light to pop up somewhere else. The quicker a player reacts, the higher his score.
In some ways, it resembles the arcade game "Whac-A-Mole," in which players pound plastic moles with a mallet as they as they rise out of holes.
"It's pretty much the same thing," said Ryan Martin, ODU's associate head strength and conditioning coach. (More)