Wednesday, July 23, 2014

BACK TO SCHOOL 101 - Prepare a healthy student checklist

Guest blog by Patient First


Your children are enjoying every second of summer vacation but you need to get ready to send them back to school next month. Don’t think your list stops with pencils, backpacks and clothes. You also need to prepare a back to school health checklist. Children need to be healthy and alert in order to do well in school. That means you need to prepare for everything from physicals to home schooling on germ warfare. Where should you start?

1. Call your child’s school and ask about required immunizations. Different schools have different requirements. Many school websites have a page of health-related requirements.

2. Your child’s doctor should perform a school physical. This physical can help identify health problems, including hearing and vision issues.

3. Talk with your children about germs and how they spread. Teach the kids when and how to wash their hands properly. Also, make sure your children know what to do when they need to cough or sneeze. They should carry tissues or, if necessary, sneeze into the inside of their elbow instead of in their hands.

4. Children fall out of their school day routine during vacation. Don’t wait until the night before school begins to get back into that routine. Ease your children back into their sleep schedule by gradually imposing an earlier bedtime a few weeks before school begins.

5. Have a plan for sick days. Pediatricians stress that you should not send your child to school with a fever. A fever means the immune system is trying to fight off something, and your child may be contagious to other children and adults. Have a plan in place for last minute sick child care. You will probably need it before the school year ends.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Grow UR Biz - Soft Shell CRAB

Guest blog from Carol Ritter of CarolTalks.com

I’m scared, I have a wonderful idea and I’m afraid to move forward because someone might criticize me. Maybe someone will tell me I’m nuts, or someone will work at making sure the idea doesn’t work.  Is this you?  I’ve worked many places over the years and there is always someone in every company who will take every opportunity to sabotage someone who has a great idea.  Do you know why?  Because they don’t want anyone to look better than they do, they don’t want anyone to be more successful than they are and, more than anything, they are SCARED to do anything that might be controversial.  I think they might be Scardey CATS.  Remember that phrase.  He’s a scardey cat, she’s a scardey cat, afraid of everything.  I might add that fear and low self worth is a part of their personality repertoire. 

I remember working with a guy years ago who had no time for new ideas, just business as usual.  He was a soft shell crab most days unless he was having bad day then he was a full blown hard shell CRAB!  We all tipped-toed around him and would never ever bring up a new idea.  Back then, when I was younger, I didn’t want to rock the boat.  But today I might have handled him differently.
If you have a soft shell crab in your company, here are some tips at getting your point or your new idea across.

  1. Ask him alone first, soften the intro to the new idea
  2. You may want to go as far as to make him think it’s his idea
  3.   Make sure you select a soft shell crab day to bring it up
  4. Start out by saying “what do you think about this?”
  5. If none of this works, proceed to the next level - go around him

I wish everyone was kind and gracious, but in the workplace, sometimes it’s survival of the fittest.  Look in the mirror -- mirror, mirror on the wall - who’s the fairest of them all?  Are you someone who plays fair, are you someone with the guts to try a new idea and are you someone who can shrug the criticism?  Think about it before you approach the soft shell CRAB.

Carol S. Ritter, Motivational Speaker Results Only Business Coach & Featured Writer www.caroltalks.com 610-442-4545 www.youtube.com/caroltalks
  
Carol serves as a featured writer for the Home News and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Blog.Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in innovative leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s creative  leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND BETTER LEADERS. www.caroltalks.com 610-442-4545 tellkids@aol.com  Like Carol on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Monday, July 14, 2014

Grow Ur Biz 2014 - Lessons from the Eiffel Tower

Guest blog from Carol Ritter of CarolTalks.com

IF YOU READ GROW UR BIZ WEEKLY YOU KNOW I’M A BIG FAN OF SETH GODIN.  His daily blog is short, sweet and to the point and I almost always feel inspired and ready to go after reading him.  Today, he shared lessons from the Eiffel Tower, interesting, inspiring and certainly a point that is worth thinking about.  Here we go. 

Lessons from the Eiffel Tower
1. It was designed at home, on the kitchen table...
2. by someone who didn't get their name on it
  1. Never been done before, not guaranteed to get built or to work
  2. It was criticized by hundreds of leading intellectuals and cultural experts
5.  It wasn't supposed to last very long
6.  It's designed to be an icon, it's not an accident
7.  People flock to it because it's famous

What a wonderful bunch of lessons!  Here’s my take on it...
  1. Some of the greatest ideas are designed at the kitchen table
  2. Many people design or share ideas and NEVER get credit for it
  3. There is so much out there that has never been done before; it just   takes someone with the hutzpah to take a risk
  4. There’s always someone lurking around the corner ready to criticize you, sometimes are smarter, more experienced or maybe even famous, that should not stop you and your DREAMS
  5. It wasn’t supposed to last, who decided that?
  6. Most of our ideas are not accidents but intentional 
  7. People are flocking to Talbott Teas (Mr. Wonderful’s best deal on Shark Tank), Lollacup (Mark Cuban’s best deal on Shark Tank) Scrub Daddy (Lori Greiner’s best deal on Shark Tank) (I own one and love it) and the Painted Pretzel (Mark’s deal).  
Did you know -- You can download  5 Sales Lessons for ABC’s Shark Tank, a free e-book, if you feel like you might want to take that drawing on the back of a napkin and make it YOUR success.  


Carol S. Ritter, Motivational Speaker Results Only Business Coach & Featured Writerwww.caroltalks.com 610-442-4545 www.youtube.com/caroltalks
  
Carol serves as a featured writer for the Home News and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Blog.Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in innovative leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s creative  leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND BETTER LEADERS. www.caroltalks.com 610-442-4545 tellkids@aol.com  Like Carol on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Monday, July 7, 2014

GROW UR BIZ - CRASH

Guest blog from Carol Ritter of CarolTalks.com
What would be the worse thing professionally or personally to happen to your beloved computer?  CRASH....it happened this week.  I walked in the house, sat down to work and it was dead, dead as a doornail.  For an unknown reason. I’m trying not to panic, I have a speech next week, it’s on the computer, I have over 100 emails to answer, they are on the computer, I have reports due, they are on the computer.  Ok, I’m panicking.  It’s time to jump in the car and drive to the Apple store.  The staff there can see the angst on my face.  She explains I need an appointment with the genius bar and the first one available is the next day at3:45pm.  I’m sinking into a minor depression.  Will they be able to fix it, when will I get it back, and the biggest issue of all, will I loose my data?  I went home after an hour of Apple employees holding my hand and telling me the options.  EXTREME CUSTOMER SERVICE!  As a matter of fact, I watched as another customer came in, clearly upset.  He drove a long way to find out he needed the genius bar appointment.  The staff member was so reassuring, so kind and so honest with him.  

I went back the next day and met with Terry.  He explained the psychology behind our attachment to our computers. I listened, totaling buying into what he was saying.  He gently explains what might be wrong, reassures me that the problem will be solved no matter what.  He attempted to solve it himself with no luck but identified what he thought was wrong.  He said the magic words, ‘we will get back to you in 48 hours no matter what and let you know how your computer is doing.’  I felt so reassured and was more than willing to leave my baby in the Apple hospital.

The call came 12 hours later, the baby made it through the surgery; it was a success and, the best news ever, I didn’t loose anything and it was under warranty.  

We could all take an EXTREME lesson from the Apple Store. When a customer CRASH occurs, jump inside the shoes of the customer, be kind, understanding, tell the truth and do what you said you would do and it will change the entire face of the situation.  It just makes sense!!  The lesson for today, BACK UP TODAY!


Carol S. Ritter, Motivational Speaker Results Only Business Coach & Featured Writer www.caroltalks.com610-442-4545 www.youtube.com/caroltalks
  
Carol serves as a featured writer for the Home News and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Blog.Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in innovative leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s creative  leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND BETTER LEADERS. www.caroltalks.com 610-442-4545 tellkids@aol.com  Like Carol on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Thursday, July 3, 2014

How A 40-Year-Old Building Cut Its Electric Bill in Half

Guest Blog Post by Constellation

The Pennzoil Place building, a 36-story glass and aluminum building that has reduced its energy consumption by millions of dollars each year.

When Pennzoil Place opened in 1975, the two trapezoidal 36-story glass and aluminum towers made a dramatic impact, but such splendor came with a high monthly price tag.

The building was like an enormous aquarium, inviting in the scorching Texas sunlight during the day but failing to properly insulate it from the cold at night. It was becoming increasingly expensive to keep the nearly 40-year-old building cool and well-lit.

The building owners and property-management company, Metropolis Investment Holdings and Transwestern, implemented a series of improvements that ultimately cut the building’s electric bill in half. These improvements included efficiency upgrades, reductions in demand and working with Constellation to voluntarily conserve electricity when prices were high.

Roger Vasquez, director of engineering and property management at Transwestern, the remarkable story in an interview with Business Insider.

“We needed to make the building fall in line with the others in its class, as far as operating costs,” Vasquez said.  “And we wanted to get LEED certified, because that shows that you care about these things, and that you’re energy efficient.”

Here’s a look at how they did that.

Efficiency Upgrades:

To achieve LEED certification through the U.S. Green Building Council, Pennzoil replaced much of its outdated equipment —including air conditioning units and more than 25,000 old light bulbs and ballasts — with newer technology designed to last longer and use less energy. Becoming LEED Gold certified allowed Pennzoil to attract additional companies, which helped deter the costs of efficiency upgrades.

These upgrades have also allowed the company to realize significant savings. Before the upgrades in 2009, Pennzoil spent approximately $4.3 million on electricity. By 2013, the bill had been reduced to $2.1 million.

Reducing Electricity When Demand is High:

Pennzoil found ways to cut back on usage with Constellation’s Peak Response program, which predicts peak hours and notifies the business so it can plan to adjust its usage accordingly. Constellation’s load response team monitors grid consumption and weather to predict peak-setting hours for the year and advise businesses.

It has a proven track record of correctly forecasting these hours, which significantly reduces the 4 Coincident Peak Demand Tag charges that account for approximately 20 percent of a company’s total electric bill.

Reducing Electricity When Prices Spike:

Pennzoil also adjusts its usage on a real-time basis with Constellation’s Price Response program, which allows it to voluntarily conserve electricity when prices spike due to temperatures, power plant outages or other unforeseen factors.

Although Pennzoil’s price remains the same, it can take advantage of opportunities to be paid for voluntarily using less power.

For a building as large as Pennzoil Place, strategic efforts to reduce consumption add up to millions of dollars each year. For smaller businesses trying to stretch every dollar, the impact on the bottom line can be even greater. To learn more about how our programs can help your business reach its financial goals while becoming more sustainable, request a quote today.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Time Marches On

Letter from the President
Chuck Weinmann, National Penn Bank
Allentown Chamber President

By the time you read this article, summer will be upon us and the winter that wouldn’t die will be a distant memory.

Allentown can be viewed in much the same way. Old structures are being replaced with new, high-end office buildings and creating a vibrant landscape. Feelings of despair are exchanged for positive thoughts of what will be with renewed hope and vigor for our great city. The only constant in life is change and the Allentown Chamber of Commerce embraces change.

Our friends and colleagues, Bob Buck, departs our board as Past President and Mike McCreary steps down as President of the Allentown Chamber. I would like to thank both of these fine gentlemen for their hard work and commitment to the Allentown Chamber and to the businesses of the City of Allentown. Their spirit and enthusiasm is contagious, and these virtues have inspired me, and the Board. And, with our steadfast support of important business issues here in Allentown, I am honored to have served with them.

We all owe you a big thank you to the Allentown Board of Directors - the business leaders of Allentown who work diligently in support of our goals and objectives. And, of course, we all would have a very difficult time navigating these waters without our great Chamber staff, Miriam Huertas, Liz Regan and Mitch Hanna, who help to make all we do at the Allentown Chamber possible.As we move into a new fiscal year and I take the helm as President, the Allentown Chamber will continue to serve our members with value, integrity and vision. We know the revitalization of Allentown will bring our business partners the prosperity for which they endeavor, and we look forward to the glory days of Allentown being in our bright future.