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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Epi-Works, A Home Grown Start Up

EpiWorks is the exclusive producer of several advanced layers and processes that are tailored for optimal performance in particular applications. EpiWorks products are geared toward enabling higher performance integrated circuits (ICs) for the communications industry, leading to cell phones with longer battery life and high-speed Internet access for the home and office.

But EpiWorks is more than a manufacturer of high-quality epitaxial wafers; it's a next-generation epitaxial design and manufacturing company that brings expertise with epitaxy, device design, and manufacturing under one roof. Working closely with its customers, EpiWorks develops the semiconductor solutions that keep you a generation ahead.

The wireless and wireline communications industry has an insatiable hunger for bandwidth.

Epitaxial devices are the key to feeding that hunger. EpiWorks pushes current materials and device technology to the highest performance limits and is at the forefront in developing the breakthrough solutions that will drive the compound semiconductor industry to new heights.

Quesnell J. Hartmann, Ph.D.– Co-Founder, CEO, Director. Co-founded EpiWorks in 1997. Has led the company through the historical telecom downturn into a high growth, prof­itable enterprise.

David A. Ahmari, Ph.D.–Co­Founder, EVP & Director. Co­founded EpiWorks in 1997.

To watch the entire interview with the Epi-Works founders CLICK HERE

Monday, October 18, 2010

SPERRY VAN NESS TO OFFER RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY SERVICES

· SVN Forges Strategic Alliance with GreenPoint Partners to Deliver Sustainability Solutions For Commercial Real Estate Owners and Users

IRVINE, CA – OCTOBER 14, 2010. Sperry Van Ness International has joined the GreenPoint Network, an alliance of real estate firms dedicated to helping clients achieve profitable sustainability. SVN Advisors in over 150 offices nationwide will receive training and resources to help clients identify energy initiatives that reduce operating expenses, increase building values, and capture financial incentives. GreenPoint’s engineers will perform energy audits and implement energy efficiency projects and solar installations.

“In the U.S., commercial buildings account for nearly 40 percent of total energy consumption and over two-thirds of electricity consumption,” said Sperry Van Ness CEO Kevin Maggiacomo. “And over the next decade, energy costs will likely be the fastest-growing component of building operating expenses. If a building consumes more energy than its peers, it will attract fewer tenants and trade at lower valuations. Through our partnership with GreenPoint, SVN Advisors can make an impact that not only increases a client’s bottom line, but is also good for the planet.”

Said GreenPoint CEO Dustin Gellman, “Energy efficiency and renewable energy are a real estate play. Green building retrofits impact cash flows, and real estate professionals can help property owners better understand the financial impact of energy initiatives on asset performance. We are delighted to work with Sperry Van Ness, an organization with a legacy of progressive thinking and innovation in the real estate industry.”

Sperry Van Ness Advisors will begin offering sustainability services beginning October 2010. The suite of services includes energy audits, competitive procurement, project management, incentives acquisition, and LEED certification. For more information, visit: www.SVNgreen.com

About Sperry Van Ness International

Founded in 1987, Sperry Van Ness is has approximately 900 advisors in more than 150 locations throughout the U.S. Sperry Van Ness delivers results for clients through a proven business model that provides advanced marketing and technology tools. Based in Irvine, Calif., the firm provides brokerage, consultation, asset management, property management, leasing, accelerated marketing, and auction services. Sperry Van Ness transactions total more than $11 billion annually in office, multifamily, retail, industrial, self-storage, hospitality and land transactions. For more information, please visit www.svn.com

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Midland States Bank is on the Grow!

Leon J. Holschbach serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the bank and its holding company Midland States Bancorp, Inc. and is Vice Chairman of both the bank and holding company boards. He serves on the bank’s Asset / Liability Committee, Trust, and Loan Committees. Mr. Holschbach shares his vision and values in this unique and interesting interview. Since taking the helm at Midland he has overseen the growth of the bank from assest of just under 400 million to aproximately 1.7 Billion. Not a bad record considering that it all happened in less than three years! Prior to joining Midland States Bank in August 2007, Mr. Holschbach held the positions of: Regional Market President, Community Bank Group at AMCORE Bank from 2000-2007; President/CEO/Director AMCORE Bank North Central N.A. from 1997-2000; and President/Director Citizen’s State Bank from 1979-1997. He received his B.A. in Economics from University of Wisconsin in 1975. To watch the entire TV interview with Leon J. Holschbach CLICK HERE

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

L.A. Gourmet

Lauren and Annie Murray, the "L" and "A" of L. A. Gourmet Catering are sisters born and raised in the heartland of Central Illinois. Often referred to simply as the Murray girls.

The sisters have always been challenged by their entrepreneurial spirits. The daughters of a hard working business couple, they realized the importance of integrity and outstanding customer service at a young age.

Entering College, Lauren dreamt of a fast-track career in corporate finance and Annie aspired to be the Chef of her own gourmet restaurant. In the spring of 2003, there was a change in plans when the sisters realized that Annie's love for cooking and flair for presentation and Lauren's attention to detail and panache for event planning could be united to create the premier catering company in Central Illinois.

Lauren graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she earned a degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition with a concentration in Hospitality Management and a minor in Business Administration. Lauren represented the University of Illinois at the 2006 National Restaurant Association's Salute to Excellence Gala as a future leader in the hospitality industry.

Annie also received her Bachelor's degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with a concentration in Hospitality Management. Annie was an active member of many student organizations while at the U of I, including three years as the President of Illinois' Culinary Club and three years in the University of Illinois' Student Alumni Association.

Since l.a. Gourmet’s kitchen opened in September of 2006, the sisters have been honored to play part in the special events of Champaign and Urbana. After only two years of service, Lauren and Annie were honored by the University of Illinois' College of ACES as 2008 recipients of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Each year, the staff at L.A. Gourmet has executed countless unique events from cocktail receptions to bar mitzvah’s and hundreds of custom designed weddings with a modern twist on the traditional dish. Serving meals from fifteen guests to five thousand, the kitchen and wait staff is well prepared for an evening as simple or elaborate as your needs require.

Lauren and Annie's passion for food and entertaining is evident in their motto- "Eat well.Entertain often. Impress always." To watch the entire TV interview with Lauren and Annie CLICK HERE

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jim Schultz Founder of Open Prairie ventures

I really enjoyed the chance to interview Jim Schultz. Jim’s passion for entrepreneurship and building businesses was born of lessons learned within a family of global entrepreneurs dating back to the creation of the family seed company in 1903. He has carried those lessons throughout his twenty year career as an advisor and investor.

Jim has played an active role in a multitude of agriculture businesses, including operating experience with the Brazilian-unit of the family soybean business and a farmland syndication business which he co-founded. Today, he is Founder and Managing Partner of Open Prairie Ventures and invests in ag-tech businesses with disruptive technologies.

Open Prairie Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on investing in early and growth-stage Midwest-based companies in the ag-tech and life science sectors.

Today Open Prairie ventures is a dynamic force in supporting start up activity in the Mid-West and is engaged in transactions that are on par with any VC in the country. To watch the entire interview with Jim Schultz CLICK HERE

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dr. James Leonard Helps Carle Make History

Dr. James Leonard currently serves as president and chief executive officer of The Carle Foundation. A graduate of the University of Illinois—both in Urbana and Chicago, Dr. Leonard relocated to our community in 1984 as a primary care physician with Carle Clinic Association.

He previously served as the associate medical director of Carle Clinic, as well as the medical director of the Employee Assistance and Sports Medicine programs. He was vice president of medical affairs with The Carle Foundation from 1997 to 1999. He also served on The Carle Foundation Board of Trustees from 1994 to 1999, when he became interim president and CEO of The Carle Foundation.

Since Dr. Leonard became CEO of The Carle Foundation in May 2000, he has overseen the growth of the Urbana Carle Medical campus with:

  • The 5-story expansion of the North Tower,
  • The development of the Carle Auxiliary Guest House,
  • The opening of Mills Breast Cancer Institute and Carle Cancer Center, including the Biomedical Research Center.
  • The ECHO building, which opened in August 2009 to children using our Pediatric Hearing Center and the Carle Auditory Oral School.
  • The new Digestive Health Center which opened to patient care in November 2009

To view my interview with Dr. Leonard CLICK HERE

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Perspectives From Jack Schultz

Manufacturing Rebounding - Jobs Back to USA Largely unnoticed by the national media is the dramatic rebound taking place in the manufacturing sector, a favorite of Agracel. We've liked it since starting the company because of the way that gains in productivity get translated into higher wages that result in improving economic results for the Agurbs. In the last six months we've detected a trend in manufacturers moving production back from overseas plants. While the move back is as yet just a trickle, we expect it to pick up in intensity over the next several years. Since January, manufacturing jobs have represented 126,000 of the 982,000 (with 411,000 of those being temporary Census workers) total jobs added in the economy. While this rebound is still small in comparison to the 2.2 million jobs lost in the manufacturing sector since the recession started in 2008, again, it is a trend that is only beginning and will hopefully continue to pick up momentum. And, those gains in productivity? For the first quarter of 2010, non-farm productivity increased at a 2.8% annual rate, up 6.1% versus a year ago. This year-to-year increase represents the fastest increase in almost 50 years. Another reason we focus on manufacturing is due to the number of secondary jobs it supports, or the employment multiplier effect. Employment multipliers measure how job creation or destruction in a particular industry translates into wider employment changes throughout the economy. The employment multiplier in the manufacturing industry is much higher than in the rest of the economy. According to one study from the Economic Policy Institute, each 100 jobs in manufacturing supports 291 jobs elsewhere in the economy. In the business services sector, that multiplier is 100 to 154, and in retail trade, it is 100 to 88. We will continue to center our efforts on the manufacturing arena. All indications are that it is on an upward trend. Stay tuned! Sources: bls.gov, Economic Policy Institute, First Trust Advisors L.P.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rick Stephens-Founder of Horizon Hobbies

After an early career in educational publishing, Rick entered the hobby industry in 1980 working for a company that sold high end hobby products to U.S. retailers. He worked there for five years, learning the hobby industry while helping that company grow to become one of the largest distributors in North America. In 1985 the company was sold and soon after, Rick left to start Horizon Hobby, Inc. He and 3 other industry veterans started Horizon from the basement of Rick’s home. Today Horizon is a world leader in the design, manufacture, marketing, and distribution of hobby products. Major categories of product include radio control airplanes, helicopters, cars, trucks, and boats; model railroad equipment; plastic model kits; and general hobby items. Horizon has developed many of its own brands over the years including JR, Spektrum, Team Losi, Hangar 9, EFlite, Evolution, Saito, Hobbyzone, ParkZone and many others. Horizon sells to 2500 retailers in North America and 700 in Europe as well as consumers via the internet, and has distributors throughout the rest of the world. The company employs 650 people and has facilities in Champaign, IL; Ontario, CA; Harlow, England; Elmshorn, Germany; and Paris, France. Stephens’ passion for excellence in both corporate and non-profit environments and desire to teach leaders to become better leaders have been driving forces in his life for many years. Rick and Jeanene have been married for 38 years and have 3 married daughters and 5 grandchildren. He enjoys leading small group Bible studies, traveling, golfing, hiking, snowboarding and motorcycling. To Watch my interview with Rick CLICK HERE

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Man for All Seasons- Dr. Thomas Ramage, President of Parkland College

Tom Ramage joined Parkland College in July of 1998 as Chair of the newly created Distance & Virtual Learning Department, responsible for developing and administering Parkland’s online course delivery systems and policies.

In 2001, he was named Associate Vice President for Academic Services and later, Information Services.

In July of 2003, Tom was named Vice President and Chief Academic Officer.

He received his Masters Degree in Education and Human Development with a specialization in Educational Technology Leadership from The George Washington University in 1998, and a Doctorate in Education with a specialization in Instructional Technology and Distance Education from Nova Southeastern University. His research focused on cost-efficiency and return on investment of online programs.

Since June of 2007, Tom served as the Interim President of Parkland College. The Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Ramage as Parkland’s 5th President in January, 2008.

He serves on the following boards: United Way Board, University of Illinois Employee Credit Union Board, and Champaign County Chamber of Commerce. To watch my interview with Dr Tom Ramage CLICK HERE

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The New Face of Business-An Interview with Jennifer Shelby

Jennifer Shelby is the president/dealer principal of Shelby Motors, Inc. the local Dodge and Jeep dealer. She has been with the company since 1993 and took over as president in 2008 after the death of her husband Mike – who was the third generation of the Shelby family to own the company. Jennifer is an active member in a National Auto Dealers Association 20 Group, and was just awarded Five Star Distinction by Chrysler Group.

Jennifer currently serves as the treasurer for the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation, a non-profit corporation designed to enhance the quality of education through community support of the public schools. She was also recently elected to the Board of Trustees of Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois. Blackburn is one of only seven work colleges in the country and the only program that is student managed. She is a member of the Champaign Urbana Sunrise Rotary club, a past president of that organization, serves on the fundraising committee, and is a Paul Harris Fellow. She also works with the Cunningham Children’s Home in planning their annual golf tournament that the dealership has underwritten since its inception in 1990. Jennifer was named One of Twenty Outstanding Women You Should Know in Central Illinois in 2009. To watch my TV interview with Jennifer click here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Living a Dream The Flesors Sisters

Ann Flesor Beck is President and Co-Owner of Flesor Family Confectionary. She has worked for over 25 years as a non-profit administrator, development director, and management consultant for national and international corporations. Ann is also an active volunteer in Coles and Douglas counties for various organizations. Devon Flesor Nau is Co-Owner and chief confectioner of Flesor's Candy Kitchen in Tuscola, Illinois. Before returning to her family’s confectionary business in 2004, Devon taught English for almost 20 years, most of those at Eastern Illinois University. Devon is involved with local business and civic groups in Tuscola where she lives with her husband and three children. To watch their interview on One on One click here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Girls Can Do Math!

Esther Resendiz was born in San Antonio, Texas, where she grew up with a sister and two parents who instilled in her the values of hard work, perseverance, and optimism. From an early age she gravitated towards math, science, and engineering. She majored in Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where she spent countless late nights solving complex engineering problems and writing computer code.

She finished her Bachelor’s degree, and in search of a new adventure, she came to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) for graduate school in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). She completed her M.S., and is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Computer Vision, which is the study how a computer can be programmed to understand the content of images and video, in the same manner that a human can. She has worked on a variety of projects, from railroad inspection to activity recognition.

Her interest in fashion developed over time, but seemed like a distraction from her more serious pursuits. One day, she was brainstorming ways to improve the online apparel shopping experience, and her passion for computer vision and fashion intersected when she conceived of applying Computer Visioning concepts to the fashion world. She went on with co founders Bernard Ghanem, and Sanketh Shetty to create the company known as Fashion Latte. To watch Esther's interview and learn more about this dynamic company Click Here

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lessons on Leadership an Interview with Dick Jaehne

As Director of the Illinois Fire Service Institute, Richard Jaehne leads development of new curricula for fire service training and development of training facilities in Illinois. He also oversees research specific to the fire service and provides Illinois representation in state and national fire service forums. Richard served from 1968 to 1997 in the United States Marine Corps until he retired as a Colonel. He served in Vietnam, the Far East, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe and Washington, DC. Richard earned many U.S., foreign and personal awards, medals and commendations, including the Purple Heart and the German Honor Cross in Silver, the German government’s highest peacetime military award. He was also awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism while serving as a 2nd Lt. and Platoon Leader in Quang Nam Province, during the Vietnam War. Richard holds a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science and Financial Management from the University of Utah. He has also had extensive formal officer studies in national and international security. To view the interview with Dick Jaehne Click Here

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Primer on Innovation

Dr.s Ray Price and Chuck House are two amazing people. Professor Price was appointed to the William H. Severns Chair of Human Behavior in the College of Engineering in the fall semester 1998. As the Severns Chair, his primary charter is to provide opportunities for engineering students to understand and develop skills in human behavior: interpersonal skills, leadership, teamwork, and management skills that will be useful to them in their careers.

Charles "Chuck" House is the executive director of Media X, Stanford University's membership research program on media and technology. He is also a senior research scholar at Stanford, continuing his work in technology-enabled communications, collaboration, and community. Previously, he was the director of Societal Impact of Technology, for Intel Corporation. He has been deeply involved with questions of technology's effect on society, and is currently focused on issues surrounding the attributes and impact of software technologies, particularly distance learning and collaboration using multimediated Web networking. He was instrumental in establishing the new Center for Information Technologies and Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and serves as Advisory Chair.

They have combined their experience together from their years in management at HP and have written a new book on the history of Hewlet Packard entitled the HP Phenomenon (Innovation and Transformation) To watch their interview Click Here

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Story of Ragle Dental Labs in Jerry's Own Words

I went to work in a dental laboratory June of 1973. I had worked at a grocery store all through high school and decided I needed a change. My father talked me into taking the position at the lab. Only being 18 at the time he felt if I didn’t like it I still had plenty of time to make a career change. Well it fit and after 6 years with a local firm and a pregnant wife I decided to venture out on my own. On June 1 1979 I opened Ragle Dental Laboratory on Hill Street in Champaign renting a back room from Fillman Advertising. By year end Ginny and I had our first employee and first child. I was there almost two years then bought a denture lab from a group of dentists, it was located on Stoughton Street in Champaign. I combined the two businesses moving my operation from Hill Street into the Stoughton location purchasing the building. That business had a couple employees as well. We steadily grew over the next couple of years then running out of space I leased, with an option to purchase, a newer building located at 104 East Stoughton (one of the pictures I sent you previously). We stayed there until I purchased the property at 301 S First Street in 1989 which is our current location. We renovated the old 1941 building and moved in September of 1990. I went from 1600 sq. ft to 6000 sq. ft. only to find in 1991 the economy was not good and neither were interest rates. It was a tough year. We survived and steadily grew our customer base by word of mouth. In 2000 I purchased a lab in Mattoon, it had 10 employees bringing our staff total to 30. I closed the Mattoon lab after a couple years and retained all but one employee who didn’t care to make the drive to Champaign. Over the next few years a few others did the same but two did stay until their retirement in 2007. One still remains our Director of Training and is actually back training three new employees. We opened up the milling center this past April adding 4 employees and a new side to the business (scanner photos attached) but as the economy worsened our overall staff declined. Fortunately not through layoffs but people moving or going back to school and not replaced. We currently have a staff of 24 which they are shown in the Christmas card photo sent previously (4 are not in the photo). The next generation are in full swing, Natalie and Nick. Both complement each other in the business with Natalie handling the administrative side and Nick the technical aspect. Natalie is expecting her second child and our second grandchild any day now. To watch Jerry's interview on Channel three's One on One Click Here

Friday, March 19, 2010

Watch interview with Laura Huth from DO GOOD CONSULTING

Laura is an award-winning consultant and trainer specializing in the art of story-based communications and fundraising. She began her career at age 24 by founding the Illinois Student Environmental Network, serving as director for over ten years.

In 2004 Laura assumed the role of Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity. She also served on Urbana City Council from 1997-2004. As President of DO GOOD TRAINING AND CONSULTING, Laura specializes in creative and affordable fundraising for her clients.

In 2008 Laura was named Woman of the Year by Central Ill Magazine. In 2009 DO GOOG CONSULTING was named small business of the year by the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce. Just recently Laura was awarded the LISA MAUNEY Outstanding Fundraising Executive distinction from the Association of Fundraising Professionals of East Central Illinois.

To view Laura's interview CLICK HERE

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New episode of One on One with Alex Ruggieri featuring Shawn Mallady

New episode of One on One with Alex Ruggieri featuring Shawn Mallady of Chittick Family Eye Care. Dr. mallady is a class act. This guy is not only a Dr. and eyecare specialist but is also one of the most dynamic entrprenures that I know. He started right out of school with ownership in mind by purchasing a practice from a retiring physician. But it didn't stop there. He continued growing his company by adding other physician partners and by acquiring additional practices. It wasn't always easy. He came to work one day to discover that his building was on fire! I think you will enjoy the story and his personal philosophy of NO BAD DAYS even in the face of watching your entire livelihood going up in flames. Go ahead and click the link to see his story. You won't regret it! Click here to watch!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

NEW SBA INITIATIVES POISED TO HELP CRE INDUSTRY

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama unveiled several proposals this week aimed at helping small business owners. The proposals will expand two critical Small Business Administration (SBA) lending programs, one of which could help some in the commercial real estate industry.

One of the new SBA initiatives will temporarily allow for the refinancing of owner-occupied properties under the SBA 504 program, which provides guarantees on loans for the development of real estate and other fixed assets but could not be used to refinance maturing debt up until this point. Under the new initiative, businesses with a loan maturing in the next year, and who are current on their loan payments, will be able to refinance up to 70 percent of the current property value, with the SBA helping with the remainder. For less established lenders, the SBA will take on up to 40 percent of the property's value for the refinancing.

The program will be funded through additional fees for refinancing projects instead of through a Congressional appropriation. The refinancing proposal will help refinance up to $18.7 billion a year in commercial real estate that would otherwise be foreclosed on or liquidated.

In a statement, SBA Administrator Karen Mills said, "Thousands of good, creditworthy businesses find themselves caught by declining real estate values as a result of the recession. With many of them now facing mortgages coming due in the next few years, the ability to refinance into SBA's 504 loan will give them the chance to lock in long-term, stable financing, as well as protect jobs by protecting small businesses from foreclosure."

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Episode of One on One with Alex Ruggieri featuring David Hodge

When I first met David I had invited him to come on my radio show Central Illinois Business to talk about his recent acquisition of Porter Athletic. It was then that I got the opportunity to learn about him and his personal story. I was particularly impressed with his sincerity, his humility and his disarming charm. He started working for Gill Sports in accounting at a very tumultuous time. The company was struggling and even though Gill had a long and storied history in the industry, during that period, it looked like the entire enterprise might not even make it. One day the owner (Vince Atkins) called him into his office. David was sure he would be fired but that's not what happened. Instead Vince made David the president of the company! And he also made him a promise. He told him that if he would do all in his power to make the company work, to turn things around successfully, then at the end of ten years he would sell the company to him. Well it wasn't as easy as it sounds. Those ten years were sometimes harrowing and difficult but this quiet unassuming man exercised all his faculties and his faith and did turn the company around. Today David Hodge with his holding group Litiana Sports, Inc. is a major force in the industry and a significant employer in our community. Take the time to watch his interview I promise if nothing else it will leave you inspired! Watch Now!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

One of our lenders put together a great overview on the capital markets

Economic and Interest Rate Outlook

The market has shown strength the first two weeks of the year. A combination of factors including softer than expected Payrolls last Friday, better than expected treasury auctions, and dovish talk from the Fed have driven a sharp move lower in 2010 after a 60 basis point run up into the year-end of 2009.

We continue to see the 10 Year Treasury trade within the range of the 2nd half of 2009—unable to break 3.85% on the high side and 3.20% on the low end. The economic data has improved but not to the point where it is evident that the Fed is prepared to start hiking its target rate. New Treasury supply continues to come, but there is obvious demand for it as evidenced by the solid auctions this week. Every time the 10-Year Treasury rate starts to head toward the high end of the range, buyers emerge and the market rallies. Lack of an imminent move higher in inflation, combined with employment weakness are the key catalysts for fixed income buying at these levels. There are no auctions scheduled for next week, so corporate earning and equity prices will be the primary drivers of the bond market.

The Consumer Price Index excluding the volatile Food and Energy Components showed prices rising 0.1% in December (as expected) and the Fed’s Beige Book characterized the economic conditions as improving modestly. Capacity Utilization inched up higher than expected in December to 72%, the highest level of the past year. Tempering the bullish news this week was a higher than expected initial jobless claims number.

As you might expect, the Fed Funds Futures market lowered its expectations for Fed rate hikes over the course of the week as rates fell. The market still sees about a 30% chance that the Fed will raise it Target rate to 0.50% in August but will certainly move the probability after we see 4th quarter earnings from the Fortune 500

A big thank you to Eric Better of Better Capital for providing this report!

Friday, January 15, 2010

New episode of One on One featuring Doris Wenzel

Alex's guest is Doris Wenzel of Mayhaven Publishing. The youngest of ten sisters and two brothers, she was adopted at two and raised as an only child. A high school dropout, she married at the age of 17, raised seven children. She received a BA in English, Theater and Speech, and an MS in communication. She founded Mayhaven Publishing in 1990. In 1997 Mayhaven published a book she wrote with her sisters entitled: Ten Sisters-A True Story. The story was crafted into a full-length documentary, Ten Sisters, produced by WILL in 2007, can still be seen on PBS stations across the country. For the past twenty years, Doris has been publishing other people’s books and now has added audio books to her publishing achievements. Click here to watch

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Can a Public Adjuster Save You Money?

A public adjuster is an insurance expert who is employed exclusively by a business or personal policy holder who has sustained an insured loss. Public adjusters handle every aspect of the claim and work closely with the insured to provide the most equitable and prompt settlement possible. A public adjuster inspects the loss site immediately, analyzes the damages, assembles data supporting the claim, reviews the insured's coverages, determines current replacement costs and negotiates with the insurance company. One of the best in the business is Richard Michaelson. He is a liscenced public adjuster in multiple states and is a sought after speaker on the topic. As a service to my clients I was able to garner some time from Rich and have him stop in Champaign on his way to the SEC conference in Las Vegas where he is to be a keynote speaker for the convention. In just the short time we had together Rich was able to share some very informative and extremely valuable information about how to deal with the myriad of insurance issues that we all face. Public Adjusters work for the commercial or residental property owner, not the insurance company. The highly stressful period following a loss is a difficult time for individuals and businesses. A professional public adjuster can reduce those major headaches, allowing you to get back to what is really important. Public Adjusters negotiate insurance settlements for the benefit and protection of the policy holder. Your insurance company has an adjuster representing them and their interests and so should you! A Public Adjuster can re-examine, re-open and negotiate settled claims for additional money. We had a great turn out in the second presentation in our CLIENT SERIES with Rich Michaelson. Stay tuned for new and continuing presentations for our clients. video

Friday, January 8, 2010

New episode of One on One featuring Rod Sickler

Rod Sickler is one of the most unique and talented individuals that I know. One would never suspect that a young man growing up in Loda Illinois would become a leader in hair design, an international stage artist, a producer and director for Sexy hair Concepts of California and own his own salons but that is exactly what Rod has done. If that is not enough he is also the producer and director of the charitable fund raising show RED HOT WINTER! I feel that this episode was one of the better shows that we have done on entrepreneurship. I hope you enjoy it! To watch this week's show, please visit the following link:http://www.ruggieriteam.com/videos?show=26