Week of 4/14/14
McPhillips: A push for entrepreneurs in Hampton Roads
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, April 13, 2014)
By Charles V. McPhillips
The past several weeks have offered bad news and good news about our regional economy.
The bad news is that economic recovery in Hampton Roads has stalled, as evidenced by the recent release of a national employment report estimating that our region lost 4,000 jobs between December 2013 and January 2014, resulting in the largest decline since April 2009.
Additionally, this employment report included the annual "benchmark revision," which revealed that regional employment in December 2013 was actually 10,400 less than previously estimated, meaning that we have 14,400 fewer jobs than we thought just a couple of months ago. ...
With the arrival of spring, there are green shoots of future growth in the region. One of the most exciting is at Old Dominion University, which promises to inspire a new generation of innovators and, in so doing, propel job creation and economic growth in Hampton Roads.
The ODU initiative, made possible by an $11 million gift from ODU alumnus Mark Strome and the Strome Family Foundation, includes the establishment of the ODU Entrepreneurial Center and the creation of an innovative co-curricular program designed to spawn more and better entrepreneurs.
Beginning this fall, a new course, Introduction to Entrepreneurship, will be offered to all students from all academic disciplines. It is designed, President John R. Broderick said, to "nourish the innovative spirit of future teachers, nurses, engineers, scientists and artists by helping them convert their passions into new enterprises." ...
Charles V. McPhillips is president of Greater Norfolk Corp. (More)
SEA LEVEL RISE Now is the time to protect and adapt, ODU professor says
(Inside Business, April 11, 2014)
For the past 100 years in Hampton Roads, Old Dominion University professor Hans-Peter Plag said in a presentation last week, the sea level has risen about 1.5 feet.
But because of several factors, that rate could grow as high as 6 feet per 100 years, and the local community has to decide its response to the forecast.
"We would not be living on top of the tidal range but in the tidal range," Plag said at ECOnference 2014, sponsored by the ODU Business Gateway and Inside Business.
"And every day, at high tide, the roads would be flooded if we don't do anything very rapidly to adapt to this."
Plag is co-director of ODU's Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative, which was established in 2010. He led off the full-day conference, held at the Holiday Inn Norfolk-Virginia Beach on Greenwich Road, and announced the launch this month of the Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute, or MARI, which aims to explore solutions to problems associated with climate change and rising sea levels.
More than a dozen other speakers at the event addressed topics in two tracks, green buildings and alternative energy/energy efficiency.
By the year 2050, according to scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Coastal Virginia is expected to see sea levels rise by 1.5 to 2 feet.
Last month, officials with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission voted to create a special committee aimed at developing policy responses to the issues, among other things. (More)
In an emergency, evacuation tool could save lives
(The Virginian-Pilot, April 13, 2014)
It took nine hours to get most of the people to the interstate across the river when the zombies closed in on Charleston, W. Va.
If a major road had been rendered impassable (as has been known to happen in such attacks), the authorities could have jumped on a computer (in a locked room), run a new evacuation scenario (in minutes, thankfully) and seen where best to redirect vehicles (thanks to researchers from Hampton Roads).
The zombie takeover in West Virginia is among the more whimsical of the hundreds of what-ifs that have been run by people across the country on a web-based evacuation model that was developed in part by Old Dominion University.
Plagues of undead aside, the online tool, called the Real Time Evacuation Planning Model, allows emergency managers and government planners to run countless hypotheticals on locations in the United States to see how long it would take to get people out. It can be tailored to show large-scale evacuations caused by a natural disaster or terrorist attack, or scaled-down to look at potential bottlenecks for crowds leaving the county fair or an air show.
The model allows users to save scenarios and make them open to the public via the Internet. Virginia's Department of Emergency Management is preparing for the next hurricane season (it starts June 1) by modeling various situations now, said Stewart Baker, the state's hurricane program manager.
The evacuation model itself arrived by its own circuitous route. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory created a prototype of the tool for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said Mike Robinson, director of ODU's Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions.
Virginia had some federal catastrophic preparedness money to continue the work, and in 2012 ODU's researchers picked up where Johns Hopkins had left off. Robinson's team refined the model, added a user's guide and other functions - such as a widget that allows the user to add a plume - and saw it through third-party testing to validate its accuracy. (More)
Facebook profiles can predict job success
(The Economic Times, April 13, 2014)
Bosses, note! If you want to know how job candidates will perform after they are hired, checking out their Facebook page may be a good idea.
A candidate's Facebook profile can predict whether they will be good at their job, according to a new study.
Researchers from Old Dominion University in Virginia found that looking at Facebook profiles for job performance indicators can be just as - if not more - accurate as self-reported personality tests.
The study compared personality traits gleaned from Facebook profiles to job candidates' self-reported personality tests, to see which method was a better predictor of job performance.
"Not only can you find very current information on someone's social media profile, but you can also access a record of that person's past behaviour," said Katelyn Cavanaugh, one of the study's authors and a doctoral student at Old Dominion. (More)
Forum on coal dust effects set in Norfolk
(The Washington Post/Associated Press, April 14, 2014)
Environmental groups are holding a forum in Norfolk on the effects of coal dust on health and the environment.
The forum, called "Norfolk's Coal Dust Blues," is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the Webb Center at Old Dominion University.
Speakers include Sierra Club Virginia chapter director Glen Besa and Leslie Morrison, healthy communities campaign director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
The forum will focus on coal dust from Norfolk Southern's Lambert's Point terminal and from coal cars traveling to the terminal.
The forum's sponsors are the Sierra Club Chesapeake Bay Group, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and ODU EcoReps. (More)
Charity Bowl game at Foreman Field next year
(The Virginian-Pilot, April 13, 2014)
The Charity Bowl football game, in which former area high school players play for the benefit of the Joy Fund, is moving to Old Dominion's campus.
Officials announced during ODU's spring game on Saturday that the 47th annual Charity Bowl will be played next April at Foreman Field on the morning of next year's spring game.
Dennis Ellmer, president and CEO of Priority Automotive, and ODU athletic director Wood Selig both announced the change.
Ellmer, a Norfolk native, took over as primary sponsor of the Charity Bowl in 2012, rescuing it from potential financial ruin. The bowl game has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Joy Fund, a Virginian-Pilot charity that provides Christmas gifts to needy children.
ODU's first Friday night game ever - against Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 26 - will be televised by Fox Sports 1, a national cable network that is beamed into nearly 100 million households.
Officials had not yet announced which network will televise the game, but it was inadvertently displayed on the scoreboard at Foreman Field during the spring game. (More)
How HRSA official used hygiene background
(RDH Magazine, April 9, 2014)
This month, I have the pleasure of spotlighting a dental hygienist who has worked in various entities in public health. Marcia Brand has accomplished so much during her career. If you remember the ADHA Focus on Advancing the Profession report published several years ago, she is an excellent example of a dental hygienist working within governmental infrastructure. The report mentioned that dental hygienists should serve at all levels of government to administer programs that provide access to care for the public, impact and interpret the laws that regulate the profession, and improve the oral health of the nation. Here is the interview. ...
How did you get into public health? Did you need additional education?
While my interest in government and public policy first attracted me to public health, I also pursued this path after thinking carefully about my work style. During my dental hygiene education at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Va., I realized that I was not very good at sitting still. Since that would be required of me as a dental hygienist, I started to think about ways to use my training and interests in my career. I observed the faculty moving between students and their patients in the clinic, sometimes teaching in the classroom, or engaging in research.
The faculty members seemed to have the best of both worlds -- variety and an interesting profession. So, I decided to get my master's degree in dental hygiene and become a faculty member. I really enjoyed teaching at ODU and then at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. However, I knew that to become a tenured professor, and to achieve my ultimate goal of becoming the dean of a school of allied health, I needed a terminal degree. So, while in Philadelphia, I pursued a doctoral degree in higher education with a focus on administration. (More)
Volunteer shows the value of giving
(Fairfax Times, April 10, 2014)
According to the Virginia Employment Commission, the average value of a volunteer hour in Virginia is $24.49.
At that rate, Herndon resident Doug Downer's contribution of between 1,000 to 1,500 volunteer hours last year is worth somewhere between $25,000 to $37,000.
But as president of insurance company HRI Associates - a local affiliate of the Keystone Insurers Group, which was just recognized by Insurance Journal magazine as the fifth-largest privately owned insurance agency in the nation - his time is ostensibly worth considerably more. ...
Downer is the creator of Herndon's free Friday Night Live concert series, which began nearly 20 years ago and has been recently described by the Washington Post as "the finest free summer concert series in the entire D.C. Metro area."
Downer says the idea for the popular music event stemmed from a memory he had as a student at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. (More)
ODU touts full day of events for spring game
(The Virginian-Pilot, April 11, 2014)
When East Carolina hosts its spring football game, it's more than just a game. It's a three-day festival.
Events kick off Thursday with a golf tournament. On Friday, the half-dozen events include a pig cooking, a birthday party for mascot "Pee Dee the Pirate," and an outdoor movie.
On Saturday, there's a 5-kilometer run, another barbecue and, finally, the spring game. In the past, ECU has had concerts, a carnival and fireworks in conjunction with the game.
It has grown to the point where it has drawn as many as 10,000 people to Greenville, N.C.
"The way East Carolina does its spring game is a model for a lot of schools," Old Dominion athletic director Wood Selig said.
That includes ODU, which has added several events to Saturday's spring game to try to turn it into a daylong event.
At 10:45 a.m., the school will host the inaugural Big Blue 5K, which has attracted nearly 2,000 entrants who have paid $40 apiece. The race is capped at 2,100 runners, and will sell out before Saturday, said Amy Frostick of J&A Racing, a Virginia Beach firm sponsoring the event.
Frostick said she knows of only a handful of races that have surpassed the 2,000 mark in the first year.
"We only put this together three months ago," she said. "And we didn't do any advertising. To have this many sign-ups really surprised us. It says a lot about the support for the Big Blue Barbecue and ODU football." (More)
Challenges and Upside For Hispanic Entrepreneurs
(Hispanic Business, April 2, 2014)
Not only have Hispanics started twice as many businesses as the general population during this millennium, but the annual revenue of Hispanic-owned businesses has also increased roughly 30 percent since before the Great Recession to more than $468 billion in 2013, according to the National Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The fact that Hispanic enterprise owners are three times more likely to earn more than $150,000 a year than the overall Hispanic population underscores the significant opportunities that exist for Hispanic entrepreneurs in the current economic and social environment, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Business Research say.
So, as is the case with entrepreneurship in general, achieving success as a Hispanic business owner is an uphill, yet feasible and lucrative battle. Here are a few tips that should help you along the way:
Recognize What Really Makes an Entrepreneur Tick
You can read into the numbers all you want, but at the end of the day entrepreneurship is a celebration of the individual. Entrepreneurs aren't statistics, they defy statistics. While ethnicity can certainly fuel your passion to succeed, entrepreneurs come in all shapes and colors and from all walks of life. The good ones share a few common qualities that are much deeper than skin: creativity, unmatched work ethic, indefatigable persistence and a gambler's spirit.
"One of the most influential factors in an entrepreneur's success is their ability to cope with all of the uncertainties that go along with creating business," says Stephen E. Lanivich, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at Old Dominion University. "Identify which resources will aid in diminishing the ill effects of uncertainty, and acquire them. Protect those resources as competitive advantages (survival is an advantage!)." (More)
Facebook Profiles Predict Job Performance
(Business News Daily, April 9, 2014)
If you want to get a good idea of how job candidates will perform after they're hired, check out their Facebook page.
Looking at Facebook profiles for job performance indicators can be just as - if not more - accurate as self-reported personality tests, according to a new study from researchers at Old Dominion University in Virginia.
In the study, researchers compared personality traits gleaned from Facebook profiles to job candidates' self-reported personality tests, to see which method was a better predictor of job performance.
"Not only can you find very current information on someone's social media profile, but you can also access a record of that person's past behavior," said Katelyn Cavanaugh, one of the study's authors and a doctoral student at Old Dominion. "There is value in that; we cannot capture someone's history in a single personality test."
Richard Landers, an Old Dominion assistant professor and the study's co-author, said social media gives employers a realistic photograph of the person, so the information is more authentic than what a personality test can reveal.
"On self-report measures, applicants can generally figure out what the company wants them to be and answer to reflect that," he said. "On social media, that's much harder." (More)
WLU Cops to Train To Take on Gangs
(Wheeling News-Register (West Virginia), April 10, 2014)
West Liberty University Campus Police Department will be hosting in-service training for law enforcement at the West Liberty Highlands Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.
The topic of the class will be advance gang investigation.
"We were happy to arrange and coordinate this in-service session," said Lt. Thomas Hostutler, WLU campus police officer and a member of the Virginia Gang Investigators Association.
Officers from four different states are expected to attend, according to Hostutler. ...
Certified Gang Specialist Kimberly Koeppen earned her degree from Old Dominion University in 1990 and began her career as a juvenile correction officer with Virginia's Department of Juvenile Justice. She was later promoted to Corrections Institution Rehabilitation Counselor and she was certified as a substance abuse counselor in 1994. She has worked with the Virginia Gang Investigators Association since 2003, first serving as regional director for the Blue Ridge Region and then as an executive board member.
Koeppen is a certified gang specialist and the only juvenile probation/parole officer certified in court to testify as a gang expert by the Commonwealth of Virginia. (More)
Study: Urinating in swimming pools yields toxic byproduct
(WVEC-TV, April 8, 2014)
A new study published in the Journal of Environmental Science found that urinating in the pool creates two chemicals that can aggravate your lungs.
Dr. James Blando, environmental policy professor at ODU, says the mix of urine and chlorine creates vapors. He says children who have asthma will be especially sensitive to this mix. He says the main question to ask is whether your indoor pool has ventilation.
Outdoor pools, he says, don't present this problem because it dissipates in natural air.
Some parents do use salt water pools though it's costly.
Blando says Kiddie sprinklers are also threat for spreading disease Since That water is recirculated. It's easier for kids who may have diarrhea or the norovirus to spread it. (More)
NASA Langley in Hampton leads on lasers to study CO2
(The Daily Press, April 8, 2014)
Precise measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are key to figuring out how to counter the planet-warming greenhouse gas.
Now engineers at NASA Langley Research Center say they have cracked the world's first double-pulsed laser system that takes measurements of CO2 to a new level - a system that can extract data day or night, rain or shine, all over the planet from an airborne platform with the highest degree of accuracy.
"We have achieved all the things which we ever even dreamed about, so we are giddy," said Upendra Singh, associate director of the center's engineering directorate. "And we have so much quality data that I've never seen this kind of data, and I've been in LIDAR for 30 years."
LIDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, uses pulses of light to make atmospheric measurements of a column of air and is the core of the new instrument.
Most researchers today use a passive remote sensing technique that measures CO2 absorption through sunlight, said Singh. This method precludes collecting data at night or at high latitudes such as the poles - regions that are crucial for CO2 research as glaciers and ice sheets melt and release trapped carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
But the team's new Integrated Path Differential Absorption (IPDA) LIDAR instrument eliminates those restrictions.
Engineer Tamer Refaat likens their system to taking a picture - carbon dioxide is the "scene" to be shot, LIDAR is the camera and the laser is the flash. Refaat is a senior research scientist at Old Dominion University Research Foundation in Norfolk, but has conducted modeling simulations and data analysis at NASA Langley for about 17 years.
UMW names new associate provost for enrollment management
(The Free-Lance Star, Fredericksburg, April 7, 2014)
The University of Mary Washington has named longtime higher education administrator Kimberley Buster-Williams as associate provost for enrollment management, according to a university release.
Buster-Williams has spent nearly 20 years in college admissions, most recently as acting associate vice president for enrollment management at Northern Illinois University.
Buster-Williams will begin work at UMW on May 25.
As associate provost, she will oversee the office of admissions, the office of the university registrar and the office of financial aid, and become chair of UMW's enrollment management and retention committee.
Buster-Williams will replace Carol Descak, who has served as associate provost for admissions and financial aid since June 2012.
"Kimberley has had broad experience, both addressing significant enrollment challenges associated with the changing landscape of higher education and utilizing new systems and technologies similar to and, in some cases, the same as those we have begun to utilize at Mary Washington," said Provost Jonathan Levin in the release.
Prior to her position at Northern Illinois University, Buster-Williams served as director of admissions at the University of Michigan at Flint. According to the release, she oversaw enrollment growth of nearly 33 percent and an increase in high-achieving students there. She also has served in the admissions departments at Old Dominion University and Johnson and Wales University. (More)