Issue No. 10
Award for Innovation in 18 Customs Software
Best in Advanced 20 Computer Troubleshooting
Best in Call Centre Cost Reduction Software - USA
AWS Solution 22 Architect of the Year Best Unified 14 Communications Company 2015 & Recognised Leader in Cisco Solutions Best Forensic & Litigation Consultancy
Welcome to the Latest Issue of Corporate America Magazine. In this issue we showcase the excellence of ethosiq, the business analytics software platform dedicated to improving the function of contact centers nationwide. In addition we examine the work of FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm that provides multidisciplinary solutions to complex challenges and opportunities. As the leading source of information on the top decision makers in the corporate market, we explore a number of top deals and the latest developments in the U.S, from the latest news on Coca-Colaâ€™s bottler refranchising plans to the latest trends in the consumer market. We also take a look into brand loyalty, with the latest surveys showing that 75% of customers stating that brands do not make enough effort to retain their custom. Are brands doing enough? What more can be done to secure lasting customer loyalty? Our state focus this month is on Texas, and we look at some of the top litigators, mediators and decision makers that are shaping the corporate landscape in the Lone Star State. We hope you enjoy this issue, and if you have any queries please feel free to get in touch.
AHF Applauds Restoration of Syringe Exchange Programs
CEO Profile: Peter Reid
LumenOptix and CeeLite Technologies Announce Merger and Fund Raise
Coca-Cola to Accelerate Bottler Refranchising
Taking on America
PR Agency Matter Communications Expands Boston Footprint
Feeling Uneasy? Join the Club
Espero Pharmaceuticals Announces Board and Executive Appointments
MET Plastics Joins Dedienne Multiplasturgy速 Group
Best Forensic & Litigation Consultancy - Illinois
Highlander Partners Announces acquisition of Fuerst Day Lawson Holdings Ltd.
Best in Call Centre Cost Reduction Software - USA
Best Unified Communications Company 2015 & Recognised Leader in Cisco Solutions - USA
State of the Business Market: Doing Business in Texas
Best of the best - Litigation
Best of the best - Chief Financial Officer
Best Cyber Asset Protection Company - Georgia Citreas
Best of the best - Risk Advisors
Award for Innovation in Customs Software - USA
Best of the best - Expert Witness
Best of the best - Imigration, Best of the best - Tax
Best of the best - Mediation
CDM Software Solutions
Best in Advanced Computer Troubleshooting California Downtown Mobiletech
AWS Solution Architect of the Year - USA
75% of US Consumers Say Brands Not Doing Enough to Keep Them
Peer to peer: The mortgage revolutions
Elastic Cloud Gate
corp news Feature
AHF APPLAUDS RESTORATION OF SYRINGE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS Partial lifting of decades-long ban still does not allow federal funds to directly purchase needles; AHF calls on state and local governments to provide clean syringes for programs
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has applauded Congress for partially lifting its longstanding ban on federal dollars being used to support needle exchange programs that have been proven to reduce the transmission of HIV and disease by allowing intravenous drug users to trade in used syringes for new, clean ones. Inserted as a provision in the omnibus spending bill signed by President Obama last month, the legislation, while still prohibiting federal dollars from directly purchasing syringes for needle exchanges, allows for federal funding to be used to support other costs related to these programs, including staff and educational outreach. “We are pleased that concern for public health has trumped politics in this longoverdue move to allow federal funds to support needle exchange programs that have been studied and proven over the years to effectively prevent HIV, hepatitis and other infections among intravenous drug users,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “We must now work to get state and local governments to step up and pay for the clean syringes necessary to support these programs.” The partial repeal of the ban—which was first enacted in 1988, lifted in 2009 and then reinstated in 2011—comes on the heels of a recent HIV and hepatitis C outbreak in southeastern Indiana that was linked to intravenous drug use. Efforts to end the ban were reportedly led by Appropriations Chairman Congressman Hal Rogers and backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans
from Kentucky, and Appropriations Committee member Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). When news of a large HIV outbreak driven by intravenous drug use in Austin, Indiana surfaced last spring, AHF offered its support to City of Austin Mayor Douglas Campbell, Scott County, and the State of Indiana by sending one of its mobile testing vans to Austin to offer free HIV testing and counseling. In December, AHF held a dedication ceremony for its new AHF Healthcare Center/Austin and AHF Pharmacy that will offer state-of-the-art medical care and specialty pharmacy services to people living with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C in Austin and Southern Indiana. Located at 25 West Main Street in conjunction with Foundations Family Medicine and led by Dr. William Cooke, the City of Austin’s only physician who now also serves as Medical Director of AHF’s Healthcare Center, both the AHF Healthcare Center and AHF Pharmacy operate Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8% (3,900) of the estimated 47,500 new HIV infections in the United States in 2010 were attributed to injection drug use. AIDSWatch reported in 2014 that a 2005 CDC study found that the cost to prevent one HIV infection by syringe exchange programs (SEPs) has been calculated at $4,000–$12,000, considerably less than the estimated $379,668 lifetime costs of treating a person infected with HIV.
corp news Feature
LUMENOPTIX AND CEELITE TECHNOLOGIES ANNOUNCE MERGER AND FUND RAISE Merger of established LED retrofit manufacturers creates a business poised to quickly capture share of the commercial lighting market
LumenOptix LLC, a pioneer in specification grade LED retrofit products for downlights, and CeeLite Technologies LLC, a leading developer of large area light panels and linear LED retrofit products, have announced a strategic merger to form LumenOptix Inc, an innovator and manufacturer of LED lighting products in the commercial and industrial markets.
Bob Burdalski will lead LumenOptix as Chief Executive Officer. Bob is one of the earliest pioneers in LED lighting and is a noted authority on lighting intellectual property, design and technology. Bob has designed numerous lighting products for some of the industry’s most respected brands through his contract design and consulting firm, Bella Technologies Inc.
LumenOptix also received a new round of funding by The Provco Group. The funding will allow for a significant increase in the Company’s capabilities in product development and operations and allow for the addition of a regional sales management group to support the Company’s independent agent salesforce throughout North America. LumenOptix instantly has a broader array of product lines and is expected to be highly competitive in the multibillion-dollar commercial and industrial LED retrofit markets.
“I am tremendously excited for the opportunity to lead LumenOptix as we release our innovative products to the marketplace,” Burdalski said. “The new LumenOptix realizes a nearly seamless mesh of products, talent, engineering, operations and sales structure to create a formidable lighting retrofit company. The injection of funds will help LumenOptix realize our vision of providing best-in-class value point and architectural retrofit products at competitive prices and with the highest quality. Our mission is to continue to offer products which attain excellent visual comfort that will seamlessly integrate with any smart building system. We believe that the lighting market currently presents an extraordinary opportunity for visionary, motivated companies like ours.”
LumenOptix has gained industry wide recognition for specification-grade, LED retrofit installations in leading retailers, hospitality groups, insurance companies, gas stations and more by providing an architecturally pleasing look while routinely saving their customers up to 90% in energy costs; virtually eliminating maintenance costs and improving light quality. LumenOptix LED retrofit products currently offer numerous product advantages including tool-less, below the ceiling installation, glare-free visual comfort and the best energy efficiency and lifetime in the industry. Return on investment studies consistently rate LumenOptix products as market leaders.
The Provco Group is a Villanova, PAbased private equity firm specializing in technology companies in the biotech, healthcare and alternative energy sectors. The Provco Group was created by Dr. Richard Caruso who founded Integra LifeSciences Corporation and earned the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the entire United States in 2006. Dr. Caruso commented, “We are pleased
with the results of the merger and the opportunity to make an additional investment in LumenOptix. We believe the Company is well-positioned to become an industry leader in the ever changing LED lighting marketplace.” LumenOptix is headquartered in Montgomeryville, PA, just north of Philadelphia.
corp news Feature
PR AGENCY MATTER COMMUNICATIONS EXPANDS BOSTON FOOTPRINT Opens Larger Boston PR Office Amid Rapid Growth and Rising Demand For Integrated PR Services
Headquartered north of Boston in Newburyport, Massachusetts, with offices in Providence, Rhode Island, Portland, Oregon, Boulder, Colorado and Boston, Matter Communications executes creative, results-driven public relations and social media programs on behalf of clients across the U.S. and Europe. Matter maintains a broad portfolio of clients in high-technology, consumer-technology and consumer markets – including, among many others, Akamai, FootJoy, Harris Corporation, Lexar Media and Verizon Wireless. Founded in 2003, Matter’s PR services include company and product launches, product reviews, analyst and media relations, social media, crisis communications and thought leadership programs.
deeply with technology and consumer companies in Greater Boston and also bolsters the company’s ongoing recruiting efforts for top PR talent. Assisting in that effort are Matter’s back-to-back “Top Place to Work” awards from the Boston Globe in 2014 and 2015.
Matter Communications, an awardwinning PR and social media firm with in-house creative services and search marketing groups, today officially opened a larger office in Boston’s historic North End that will enable both client and employee expansion in the region.
With headquarters in Newburyport, MA, and additional offices in Providence, RI, Boulder, CO and Portland, OR, Matter Communications is one of the fastestgrowing public relations and social media firms in the country. Matter has won five ‘Agency of the Year’ accolades in the past two years.
“Our story is one of scalable, intelligent growth, and it made sense for us to go ‘all in’ with a larger office in Boston to accommodate our steady trajectory of success in the region,” said Matter Founder and CEO Scott Signore. “Our Boston-area employees are enthusiastic about the expanded footprint, and our regional clients have expressed appreciation for our commitment to the burgeoning city of Boston.”
The new office, located at 197 Portland Street, enables Matter to connect more
corp news Feature
ESPERO PHARMACEUTICALS ANNOUNCES BOARD AND EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS Espero Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced the appointment of industry veteran Wayne Yetter as a member of the board of directors. Mr. Yetter has more than 30 years of industry experience, with leadership positions at global pharmaceutical companies including President and CEO of Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation and founding CEO of Astra Merck, now AstraZeneca. He was previously an executive committee member of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, and held chairman and executive positions at companies that include IMS Health, Odyssey Pharmaceuticals, NuPathe and Noven Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Yetter currently serves as a director of InfuSystem Holdings and Strategic Diagnostics. “Wayne’s insight and experience will be an invaluable addition to our board and management team as we commercialize our first products,” said Quang Pham, CEO. “His depth of industry knowledge will help advance our business as we bring proven compounds in novel delivery formulations to the U.S. marketplace.” In addition, Mr. Jeff Cole, Co-Founder of Espero, has been named President and Chief Financial Officer and appointed to the board of directors.
He is a senior executive with more than 24 years of experience in finance, business development and commercial operations at companies including Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Solco Healthcare US, and Legacy Pharmaceuticals. His positions at Valeant included CFO North America, and General Manager of the US Specialty Division. As President of Solco Healthcare US, Mr. Cole launched and managed this generic pharmaceutical subsidiary of Legacy Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Sean Purdy has also been appointed Vice President of Commercial Operations. Mr. Purdy’s 25 years of experience in commercial operations within the pharmaceutical industry includes selling in the cardiovascular, pediatric, and women’s health categories. Prior to joining Espero, he spent six years at Arbor Pharmaceuticals, most recently as the Cardiovascular National Sales Director, leading and helping build a team of approximately 250 sales representatives and managers. In his roles at Arbor and Shionogi, Mr. Purdy managed selling and marketing efforts within the chronic stable angina
market, promoting Nitrolingual® Pumpspray, Espero’s first commercially marketed product. “We are delighted to welcome Sean and add to Jeff’s responsibilities, during this exciting period of growth for the Company,” Mr. Pham said. “Sean will lead our market development initiatives, building on a track record of success with his expertise and broad commercial experience. Jeff’s proven leadership within the industry will enable Espero to realize our goals.” Espero Pharmaceuticals recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted for review the New Drug Application for its nitroglycerin sublingual powder for acute relief of an attack or prophylaxis of angina pectoris due to coronary artery disease. The FDA has set an action date of June 10, 2016 to complete its review, as per the Prescription Drug User Fee Act.
BEST FORENSIC & LITIGATION CONSULTANCY - ILLINOIS
Company: FTI Consulting Name: Jeff Litvak Web Address: www.fticonsulting.com Telephone: +1.410.224.8770
FTI Consulting is a global business advisory firm that provides multidisciplinary solutions to complex challenges and opportunities. We invited Senior Managing Director Jeff Litvak to provide us with a unique insight into the firm and the services it provides. Founded in 1982, FTI Consulting is an international consulting firm that specialises in enhancing its clients’ businesses, offering a wide range of solutions which are focused in a number of key service areas. These include Corporate Finance & Restructuring, Economic Consulting, Forensic & Litigation Consulting, Strategic Communications and Technology. My specific expertise is in dispute advisory services, and through this I have worked on large commercial litigation matters. As a damage expert I have worked on cases where I was an independent accounting arbitrator in merger and acquisition cases, as well as an expert testifying on large cases in courts around the United States and in international arbitration cases. I have experience as an expert witness in litigation cases for approximately 40 years and much of my work over this time has been in large M&A transactions, where I have been the expert witness for the buyer or the seller. Throughout my career I have also assisted the American Bar Association in the drafting of the economic aspect of the stock purchase agreement, taught courses in the issues of material adverse change and calculated damages related to whether the buyer obtained the benefit of its target. Through teaching these courses and writing agreements I am able to ensure that my experience and knowledge are available for new members of the industry. Within my work in M&A disputes, I have been involved extensively over the years in large working capital disputes where there is a rise of working capital after the merger. I have slowly over this time built a strong reputation, ensuring favourable outcomes for my clients. However, M&A is not the only aspect of legal disputes that I take on, as I
am also a damage expert with a wide array of experience and expertise. In addition, I have also worked extensively to resolve large shareholder disputes. Working within these wide ranging areas of expertise and across global markets, both the firm and myself experience a number of challenges. The majority of the larger transactions we assist with are abroad or in New York, whereas the deals we advise on within the remainder of the U.S. are usually smaller, where the company’s value is less than £100m. As a consultant this means that for larger transactions there is a greater need to travel abroad, which can be time consuming. Many of the transactions that FTI Consulting is currently advising are in Asia, including China and Japan, which means that as a business we need to have staff with specific industry expertise in these locations in order to meet the clients’ needs. This has meant restructuring the firm to ensure that we have the relevant industry expertise internationally. This is of vital importance, as we always need to ensure that our advice is fully relevant to our clients’ needs. As such, whenever we undertake a new engagement we seek out the most qualified industry professionals to assist the merger and acquisition, or use damage experts such as myself. I believe that industry experience is a vital factor when supporting clients, therefore I never enter a case without ensuring that I have the specific relevant industry expertise. Without relevant industry experience I do not believe a consultant is able to bring value to the client through their advice because they do not have the required knowledge of the industry, the landscape or the region. One example is my recent work in Japan, where I encountered many differences
within the business environment, as well as a language barrier. In order to work around these issues we use interpreters who can translate Japanese into English for meetings and presentation of documents and also work with our professionals in our offices in Japan to understand the culture, which gives us a better understanding of the matter we are working on. This process has enabled us to work effectively and provide the client with the best possible solution. It is this collaborative approach, alongside our industry expertise and worldwide approach which separates FTI Consulting from our competitors. We have outstanding industry groups that we work with who provide us with expertise and information across a wide range of industries including healthcare, media and utilities. In addition to this industry expertise we have a large group of offices around the world which ensures we have a wide global reach and have access to a wide array of support and information. As a result our firm offers a unique combination of boutique culture and service quality with the resources of a larger company.
BEST IN CALL CENTRE COST REDUCTION SOFTWARE - USA
Company: ethosIQ Name: Scott Walker Address: 17121 West Rd #201, Houston, TX 77095, United States Telephone: +1 281-616-5711 Website: www.ethosiq.com
ethosIQ is a business analytics software platform focused on the customer support efforts of large multimedia contact centres, which are operated by virtually every Fortune 1000 company. The company’s solution portfolio includes unique “cradle to grave” customer journey data capturing and reporting capabilities: all attributable to the company’s unique source-agnostic Customer Engagement Platform (CEP). Since 2000, businesses spanning multiple industries and from around the world have trusted ethosIQ to help them reduce call centre costs and increase revenue streams while improving their overall customer experience. Founded by CEO Scott Walker, the firm has gone from a garage side project to a global organization in less than five years. This vast success can partially be attributed to Scott’s skill at problem solving, as his ability to see opportunities, overcome barriers and develop solutions to both clientspecific and industry-wide challenges has propelled him to where he is today,
the CEO of one of the most respected brands in the contact centre industry. ethosIQ combines strong customer engagement products and services with market-leading software products to provide end-to-end solutions. The firm carefully choose their partners to ensure seamless integration, robust functionality and exceptional cost of ownership. In addition the firm excels at addressing customers’ needs by listening, evaluating and then providing recommendations. By doing so, their team enables companies to turn their call centereoperations into heroic centres of excellence by optimizing
their systems and providing strategic roadmaps for attaining a next generation contact centre solution. ethosIQ software is deployed in numerous countries around the world, leveraging experience with a variety of cultures and technical environments and helping the firm to grow and expand. The firm’s approach is collaborative, and they work with a variety of industry partners including Nice, Ayaya and Verint. The firm’s customer focused approach is highlighted by its vision: “to help businesses of any size deliver the best possible customer experience.” Prominent features of the firm’s
software offerings include a data collection application that is capable of connecting to a virtually unlimited number of sources. The architecture is designed to allow multiple connections to multiple systems, regardless of manufacturer. A perfect solution for enabling compliance management, fraud detection and preference management. Single agent ID is also incorporated into the firm’s software offering, with its data collection designed to connect multiple manufactures with products and the associated Agent IDs, transforming the application into a single customized identifier. This feature is typically used by third-party products, such as NICE, a Workforce Management (WFM) provider, reducing the cost of multiple inputs like ACD IDs. The firm also offers data correlation, as the firm’s Customer Engagement Platform (CEP) collects data and creates a unique capability across multiple channels to include voice calls, coupled with kiosk, retail point of sales, handheld devices, web sites, email, chat, and SMS. Alongside this CEP also collects multichannel interaction and application data - from vendors like Cisco, Avaya, NICE and Aspect - across multiple systems, providing a single, complete data source for ethosAnalytics to access and display information in useful ways. Real time output is another vital feature, as third-party vendors are not required to make any programing or source code changes. Therefore ethosIQ performs all of the heavy lifting while adhering to the manufacturer’s preferred format. This allows the customer to save time on deployment, and also provides huge cost savings and reductions in the deployment and day-two support. Big Data analysis is also catered for, and ethosiq offer ethosAnalytics, which helps clients to leverage Big Data for better analysis and insights into your customer retention and customer churn. ethosAnalytics can help preempt the potential loss of a customer by enabling clients to automate searches for buried details and trends.
The product also allows clients to assess insights impacting customer experience through personalized, interactive, management-level dashboards which enhance the visibility of organizational strategy and align actions around key performance indicators (KPIs) for quick, accurate and more effective decision making. Through location intelligent mapping the product also gives access to integrated location data and shows trends related to business locations or customer clusters. Spatial and regular data are merged in a wide variety of mapping formats with geographical information systems (GIS) and Web Map Services (WMS). Another key product is ethoSphere, a simplified, flexible and easy to manage infrastructure through a diverse ecosystem of the MPLS network. This network integrates more than 1,000 of the best-performing local, regional and global providers, giving greater flexibility, greater resiliency, and greater geographic reach, than any other traditional network provider. The ethoSphere network can withstand everything from the smallest performance issue to a major infrastructure outage, including complete carrier network failures. It also offers predictive analysis, as more than 95% of potential enterprise network and security issues can be diagnosed before they impact network health. Therefore the ethoSphere service quickly responds to and re-mediates issues, or avoids them altogether, helping organizations achieve a 5x reduction in network downtime. ethoSphere also provides a single point of contact for expert IT infrastructure design implementation and continuous, proactive monitoring and management worldwide. The online customer portal offers a real-time view and control of the organization’s service for order entry, delivery, service management, tracking, reporting and billing. The firm’s service offerings also extend to fraud prevention, including supporting global compliance and offering a license resource manager
which monitors actual usage for concurrent, named and enabled licensing models in 15-minute intervals for all Genesys licenses. This information is compared to a customer’s existing license file and commercial terms to alert the Genesys system administrator of potential high water marks and compliance issues. Alongside this the License Resource Manager monitors and archives usage data for all Genesys licensed products. This historical data can reported on in 15-minute increments. Reports also provide awareness of potential high water marks on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. This historical information can be used to help with license compliance as well as to provide insights into historical trends. The firm’s omnichannel customer experience operates across SMS, email and chat, allowing clients to track, manage and respond to customer inquiries with the same service. Ultimately the firm is dedicated to providing the best quality solutions that meet every client’s individual needs, and moving forward the company will continue to innovate and expand their service offerings in order to keep up with the demands of the ever changing contact centre industry.
BEST UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY 2015 & RECOGNISED LEADER IN CISCO SOLUTIONS - USA
Company: Fidelus Technologies LLC Address: 240 West 35th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10001 USA Web Address: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 1-866-343-3587
Fidelus Technologies LLC specialises in Cisco unified communication and collaboration solutions.
Fidelus Technologies, headquartered in New York City, is the industry’s leading integrator and managed services provider of Unified Communication and Collaboration (UCC) Solutions including core telephony, unified video, instant messaging, presence and web collaboration. Fidelus, a firm recognized for their commitment to customer service and their hard working, tight knit culture, builds close partnerships with their clients to determine the best collaboration solutions to drive business outcomes. These solutions increase productivity and/or reduce costs by embedding collaboration technologies into business processes to streamline workflow. These are interesting times for collaboration technology providers. While there is a view that these technologies are becoming commoditized as a result of IP telephony becoming more mainstream, Ron Rosansky, a co-founder and CEO of Fidelus believes that is far from the truth. “The reality is that most companies that implement unified communications solutions leverage those solutions for mobility and business continuity, but otherwise it’s just an advanced telephone system.” The team at Fidelus believes that after implementing an IP telephony system that is working as designed, there is still more to do. “This is where we’ve put a lot of energy and candidly, have taken calculated risks. After implementing a telephony environment we have more to deliver from a collaboration embedded business process perspective,” said Rosansky, “This is where the greatest value is.” Improving how companies leverage today’s communications tools can be accomplished through the right combination of software and services. In an effort to deliver that value from a software perspective,began a software development organization with the
goal of developing customized and turn key collaborations solutions that tie core collaboration technologies into business workflow. Moreover, in 2013 after selling their software through roughly 120 of Fidelus’ competitors, Fidelus decided to break out the software organization into an independently run business, now Akkadian Labs, to avoid potential channel partner conflicts. Today, Akkadian Labs continues to gain market share with their core products, Akkadian Console Operator, Akkadian Provisioning Manager Express, and Akkadian Global Directory. All were built to enhance overall user friendliness and bring simplicity to Cisco’s Unified Communications environment. Today, Akkadian Labs has over 200 channel partners. From a pure integration and managed services perspective, Fidelus believes that businesses are just scratching the surface in the collaboration space and are working with clients to incorporate more advanced features into their workflow. As a result, Fidelus launched a formal Collaboration Lifecycle Practice that enables clients and prospects to see where their company is on a collaboration adoption lifecycle and work with those clients to further incorporate these technologies into there business processes. “This has been an opportunity for us to be more intentional around a comprehensive consultative practice. We are already seeing the benefits of this more extensive framework.” Fidelus provides services globally to professional service (legal, accounting, engineering), healthcare and financial firms, and recently announced a joint venture to expand their networking, wireless and security practice.
BEST CYBER ASSET PROTECTION COMPANY - GEORGIA
Company: Citreas Address: 2002 Summit Blvd, Suite 300 Atlanta, GA 30319 Web Address: www.citreas.com Telephone: 855.537.0060 Fax: 888.465.6059 Email: email@example.com
Citreas provides turn-key solutions to meet data compliance requirements through CAPS and identity theft needs through its flagship product, CIM+.
Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Citreas was built based on providing real-time, easy to use solutions for business and individuals. The firm’s goal is to provide a personal professional service at all times, therefore staff strive to provide customers with industry leading, innovative solutions and excellent service in the fight against identity theft and cyber risk at an affordable price. In order to achieve this the company developed a platform that delivers an easy to understand, simple data compliance and risk management solution for small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) and a truly comprehensive identity management / recovery solution that is faster and more accurate than any other solution. The products can be used to secure both personal and corporate data, ensuring that everyone’s data can be protected by the high quality solutions the firm offers. Within their personal data security offering the firm provides CIM+, Complete Identity Manager Plus with Identity Monitoring, delivers a state of the art proactive solution designed to minimize an individual or family’s risk of identity theft through daily monitoring. Unlike any other solution that exists today, the Citreas CIM+ can respond to any identity theft incident in real-time providing you with the fastest, most accurate identity theft recovery solution available. CIM+ responds immediately to an identity theft and allows the victim to complete a recovery in as little as one day. The firm also offer CIM+ for business, as well as a number of solutions for businesses seeking to ensure their cyber security, including the Citreas DBR, a tailored full service approach
to handling a data breach. Designed to respond quickly and accurately to a data breach the DBR services works in conjunction with our other CAPSTM components or as a stand alone. In the event that a breach occurs, DBR immediately ensures the proper steps are taken throughout the breach process. The firm’s goal is to manage the breach and help clients minimize and control the damage to their organization as a result of a breach. DBR is available as a proactive solution or as an immediate breach response service. DBR ensures clients’ organization meets all federal, state and/or industry regulations regarding a data breach. Data Breach Response is included in the Cyber Asset Protection Suite. Alongside this the firm also offers a Cyber Asset Protection Suite, which is designed to provide clients with an affordable suite of solutions for their cyber, data and security needs. Comprehensive Dynamic ISP is a written information security policy that includes real-time updates. CyberSight is a safe, non-intrusive network vulnerability assessment that identifies your system weaknesses and security gaps. Business Identity Theft Protection is a real-time fully managed identity restoration solution. Data Breach Response is a tailored full service approach to handling a data breach. Designed to respond quickly and accurately to a data breach the Data Breach Response services works in conjunction with our other CAPS components or as a stand alone. Ultimately the firm’s unique data protection solutions can be used for every aspect of both personal and professional online security.
AWARD FOR INNOVATION IN CUSTOMS SOFTWARE - USA
CDM SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS
Company: CDM Software Solutions, Inc. Name: Darrell Ortiz Address: 2800 Post Oak Blvd, Suite 4100, Houston, Texas 77056 233 S. Wacker Drive, 84th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60606 Web Address: www.cdmsoft.com Telephone: Houston: 713-224-8889 Chicago: 312-867-8778 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CDM Software Solutions, Inc. was founded in 1988 to provide fast, efficient, user friendly software products, services and support for the international trade community, specifically freight forwarding, NVOCC, warehouses, importers and exporters. We invited Darrell Ortiz to provide us with a unique and fascinating insight to the firm and the solutions it provides. CDM Software Solutions has been developing shipment software solutions since 1988, and the firm has been a certified U.S. Customs software application provider since 1990, providing fully integrated supply chain compliance, documentation and operations software for a range of uses. These include Air Freight (Import, Export and Domestic), Air Freight Consolidation, Ocean Freight (Import and Export), Ocean Freight Consolidation, Truck/Inland Freight, Rail Freight, Warehousing, Logistics and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Being so long established has provided us with a unique insight into the freight forwarding industry. Global compliance is the number one requirement for freight forwarders, importers and shippers. As more and more countries require advanced shipment details, companies that ship globally must have a dynamic software solution that can meet their existing requirements and grow to meet new requirements for business in other countries that require shipment compliance. The biggest challenge we find operating within this sector is managing existing applications and incorporating shipment compliance to new countries. Although most of the countries requirement similar shipment details, some countries require additional details. Keeping our applications simple and straightforward is key to providing efficient shipment software for our customers. Therefore we constantly value the input of freight forwarders, importers and shippers and analytics, and we endeavour to incorporate their suggestions into our existing applications to determine growth patterns in specific trade lanes and improve the overall user experience. This approach is one of the keys to our success, and we always listen to customer complaints, complements and
requirements because we understand that a software solution must continually evolve, and this requires a listening ear as customer vocalize.
it is this that separates us from our competition and makes us the best global software solution option to our clients.
With this in mind, CDM Software Solutions has recently added two new product lines to the existing CDM Software Suite, in order to keep up with changing consumer needs. The first product is the CDM ACE ABI which will complete the CDM Software Suite with a web based customs house brokerage solution. The second product is CDM Intermodal Cloud which will provide companies with an intermodal operations, tracking and accounting solution.
Looking to the future we have a number of exciting growth opportunities ahead of us. Based on significant growth and expansion over the past four years, CDM Software Solutions will continue to aggressively approach new markets throughout the world, and we are looking to expand to Miami, Toronto and Paris in 2016.
Ultimately CDM Software Solutions is a dynamic, fast moving company that strives to be proactive in meeting customer demands, and it is the quick turnaround we offer when providing solutions to our customers is key, and
We are honoured to receive this award and attribute our success to the commitment of meeting customer expectations and requirements through innovative technology. Moving forward we are keen to continue with this strategy as we grow in order to offer the same high standard of service and solutions to a wider range of clients.
BEST IN ADVANCED COMPUTER TROUBLESHOOTING - CALIFORNIA
Company: Downtown Mobiletech Name: Matt Rocker Address: 2881 huntington blvd. fresno, ca 93721 Telephone: 5594645190
Downtown Mobiletech specialises in the repair and sale of computers, including laptops, tablets and desktops. We spoke to Matt Rocker about the additional services his firm provides to his community.
Alongside my shop selling and repairing computer equipment, I also conduct education in computer literacy for people in disadvantaged local communities. One recent project I have undertaken, in collaboration with a local nonprofit organisation, is to connect and provide free wifi for 1000 disadvantaged households. Recipients of the scheme are also entitled to a subsidised computer from my store. Projects such as this are vital for the local community as they help support the education of both adults and young people, as well as supporting those in the most disadvantaged communities to make their lives better through technology, for example learning skills which could help them to get a better job.
Additionally many schools require pupils to have a computer, and those without can find their education suffers dramatically, so by supporting households that cannot afford a computer without help we are supporting the education of children. Working in this area can be challenging, as keeping up with clients evolving needs can be tough, and this challenge is further exacerbated by the fact that the technology industry is also constantly changing. However, I am a firm believer in finding a niche and developing it, and as such I have built a successful business in the repairs, sales and installations sector and constantly conduct research in this specific area in order to retain my success. Offering a high quality service is a vital aspect of my work, and as such I
always look for staff who are not just highly qualified but who are also good with people. Our approach is always to tell the truth, because ultimately it is counterproductive to promise to fix a product if this is not possible. As such we always endeavour to help our customers understand what is wrong with their machine when repairing it, so that they have faith that we are doing the right thing. We aim to get everything right first time so the client does not have to keep returning to the store. Moving forward we are due to open a new store in July, and as such we are currently preparing for this. The new premises will provide us with exciting opportunities to grow the business and better serve our clients and community.
AWS SOLUTION ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR - USA
ELASTIC CLOUD GATE
Company: Elastic Cloud Gate Name: Remek Hetman Address: 93 E Central St #5, Natick, MA 01760 Email: email@example.com Web Adress: www.ecloudgate.com Telephone: +1 617 500 8284
Elastic Cloud Gate is a leading SaaS provider for advanced management and automation of Amazon AWS resources. Remek Hetman talks us through the firm and the techniques it has used to win this prestigious accolade. Elastic Cloud Gate provide comprehensive solutions for users who want to automate their AWS management tasks, including: • • • • • • • • • • •
Automated EC2 and EBS backup, including cross-region backups; Schedule retention for old backup, including Storage Gateway; Schedule start/stop instances; Multi-user environment managing; Open security groups tracking; Public open S3 buckets tracking; AWS network diagram generation; Multiple AWS account management; Quick reviews of AWS resources; On-demand jobs tracking; Trusted advisor review.
We also assist clients in managing AWS tasks that cannot be managed directly from the AWS console, such as creating and managing Simple Database or disaster recovery. An example of a client we have recently been working with is a foreign government agency that contacted us to assist them with server backups: they were struggling to maintain copies of all their EC2 servers and EBS volumes. They also required simple, efficient, reliable tools to reduce their AWS costs by shutting down EC2 server based on a schedule. Through our portal, they are now able to schedule backups of EC2 instances and EBS volumes on both a regular and periodic basis. They are also now able to automate copying of EC2 images to different AWS regions, which allows them to restore servers even in the event of an outage in the primary region. Additionally, their monthly AWS costs are now a fraction of what they were, thanks to automating their servers’ run period and overnight shutdown. Another recent client contacted us to setup and manage disaster recovery for 50+ customer AWS accounts.
The primary goal was to replicate the current AWS setup for each account in a different region, to allow rapid server restoration in the event of an outage in their primary region. Our portal allowed them to meet their operational goals. Through the Elastic Cloud Gate Disaster Recovery tool, they can easily and efficiently setup a destination region for regular server backup. These examples highlight how, through our solutions, clients are able to save time and resources and provide a better service to their clients. They also emphasise the fact that Elastic Cloud Gate is client centric and primarily driven by our clients’ needs. In practice, this means 80% of the features we added in the last two years are based directly on client requests. That is the crucial differentiation from our competition: we are not adding new features just because we think they might be useful for clients, but because we know clients need them. Additionally, 95% of the time we are able to accommodate clients’ needs and release updated versions with requested features within one month of receiving the request. We also work closely with clients to manage user limits pertaining to granting access permissions to various functions of AWS: these limits can be based on actions or access to resources. Our clients are also able to track their billing and resource utilisation directly from the Elastic Cloud Gate portal. When starting a new project we always listen to our clients and use what they communicate to us to define their best outcome, and then create a solution precisely tailored to get to that best outcome. Sometimes the listening process leads in unexpected directions and we discover that the challenge the client thought they had is only a
symptom of a more pressing challenge with a more critical need for resolution. Moving forward our most immediate focus is developing a mobile app that will push AWS alerts directly to client phones. This is a major goal that will mark a significant milestone for our service, and will allow our clients to leverage the convenience and speed of mobile to manage their services. A mobile solution is also a nextlevel achievement for us, since cloud computing is on an increasingly mobile trajectory and, as our name implies, Elastic Cloud Gate intends to make AWS services more robust, reliable, and flexible. Our overall objectives are simple, quick, and efficient delivery of services to our clients, and we aim to continue innovating our services to provide this in the years to come.
75% OF US CONSUMERS SAY BRANDS NOT DOING ENOUGH TO KEEP THEM
Three quarters of the US population believe businesses need to better encourage brand loyalty according to a new survey of 2,000 consumers. Businesses have been encouraged to concentrate on maintaining customer relationships with rewards, social responsibility and personalized interaction. The study also revealed that loyalty to brands increases with age, as data highlighted that over 55’s are the most loyal and 18-24 year olds the least likely to stay with brands. The survey investigating consumer habits was conducted by international telecommunications provider Toll Free Forwarding, and also asked respondents to share examples of the brands who have encouraged brand loyalty with them, by fostering good relationships. So what does the average consumer want in return for their loyalty, and what can businesses learn from it? Rewarding loyalty Response #1: “Brands should provide discounts and specials for customer loyalty. Or even just specials for all customers, say for certain periods of time as a customer appreciation type thing…”
Complacency is a problem when it comes to customer retention. Many business fall in to the trap of believing that the most important part of the customer journey from their perspective, is the initial sale. New sales can help drive growth, but to maintain a consistent and strong customer base, you have to develop positive relationships with your existing customers to ensure they don’t leave you for your competitor. One of the major factors cited by respondents in the survey was the offer of discounts and coupons as a reward to encourage loyalty. It might seem a bit old school but it’s evidently something that consumers still see as an important part of the relationship between themselves and brands. Customer interaction Response #2: “I think they should respond to customers in a timely fashion. Especially on social media. I have had to reach out to brands that blocked me for a well put, courteous complaint. That’s the worst. I think all brands should have a media presence to encourage loyalty.” The power of interaction shouldn’t be minimized. While face-to-face
interaction becomes less and less a part of the purchase journey, customers still want to know that there’s a real person there. There is now an increased expectation for interaction between consumers and brands throughout the process and especially after purchase. It’s now easier than ever to stay connected with your customers. The saturation of social media use has meant that all brands have recognised the need to use social channels, with 91% of US retail brands using two or more social media platforms. Now that brands are on social, they need to make sure they don’t neglect their online responsibilities. The only thing worse than not being on social media is not using it. Businesses should post regularly and respond to any customer queries as quick as possible. Social responsibility Response #3: “I am loyal to some brands because of the values that they hold. I tend to choose companies that do not test on animals as well as being better for the environment.” As well as sometimes failing to adequately support their customers throughout their journey, brands are often guilty of failing to recognize the
bigger picture. Social responsibility is not just about charitable donations, but many consumers recognize the importance of having views aligned with the brands they buy from. This can be difficult when youâ€™re a large business, but itâ€™s increasingly important to consumers that they believe in the values of businesses they buy from. Brands should always consider the way they conduct their business. Customers will often appreciate brands who sell ethically produced products, e.g. free from animal testing. Being environmentally friendly is important too as worries about global warming continue to grow. If brands want to keep their customers and maintain a profitable business, then they have to make every effort to keep customers engaged. The cost of getting a new customer varies but can cost up to 30 times as much as that of keeping an existing one, so retention should be the biggest priority for US business owners. Quick wins and new sales may drive quick growth, but a sustainable customer base will ensure businesses have a strong 2016.
PEER TO PEER: THE MORTGAGE REVOLUTIONS Mike Lobanov, partner at Target Global discusses the power of peer to peer lending for disrupting the mortgage industry Fintech has become the dominant industry for any start-up looking to make a significant disruption. In recent years there have been huge inroads made in changing the way people make payments, send remittances and use most retail banking services. At the same time the world of crowdfunding and peer to peer (P2P) lending has helped redefine how companies raise money and how consumers take out loans. Thanks to this groundwork the next industry which is being targeted by P2P services is that of consumer mortgages, part of a growing interest in ‘PropTech’, or property tech. Although in its infancy in the United Kingdom the process of changing how people take mortgages is already firmly underway in the United States, where the current process of taking out a mortgage is deeply flawed. Not only is it long and inefficient but it still requires an unwieldy amount of paperwork. However, what is very interesting is the impact of the DoddFrank Act, introduced in America as a reaction to the crisis in 2008 which led to America’s two largest mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac almost going bankrupt. The Dodd-Frank Act now places a lot of boundaries on banks when they provide mortgages, boundaries which have been decided on by reflecting on the exact developments of the past. In drafting the legislation policy makers started from the position of ‘why did the crisis happen?’ From this point of view, the legislators decided that limiting the lending activity of banks to those who seemed like bad creditors was the most appropriate course of action.
One issue I identify with this reflective method of policy-making is that it can sometimes cause quite absurd rulings. For example, now in the United States it’s very hard for a consumer to get a mortgage if they have changed their jobs in the last two years even if their income has substantially increased. An unintended consequence of the legislation is that Dodd-Frank has created a one-size-fits-all template, and failure to meet this template will result in an inability to secure a mortgage. Naturally this puts in place the perfect conditions for a fintech player to disrupt the service by selecting the best borrowers and providing them loans. As a P2P lender, if you can appropriately profile a borrower who has had a significant income increase, then they would gain dividends from what should be as a good loan. Another issue as a result of Dodd-Frank is that realtors themselves underperform because a large number of clients are unable to secure financing. This encourages realtors to direct potential customers towards any new service which, even if it charges a higher rate, is able to fund their real estate purchase. Consumers can then purchase their property and wait until they are eligible to refinance their loan from their bank at a lower rate. This can actually create a really interesting future for the marketplace. Compared to direct loans, where peer to peer platforms help consumers refinance credit card debt at lower interest rates, the reverse could take place in the mortgage market. There is significant scope for large growth in banks offering refinancing terms from alternative lenders and attracting borrowers from
P2P platforms when they are eligible for the lower rate of finance from a bank. Naturally, all new systems and processes are never 100% positive and the industry would have to counteract best practices and regulations. Mortgage loans are usually related to primary homes and defaults are a very painful experience. Banks already have established eviction practices and regulation is in place to guard the process. Governments need to be very concerned about the eviction practices of lenders. Eviction practices do differ from state to state and in the United Kingdom government would have to address regional discrepancies as well. When implementing an appropriate regulatory framework for anyone wanting to start a lending business, regulators should really begin by creating a high barrier for entry while the industry establishes itself. As a result, if a lender is able to overcome this hurdle then they should have no boundaries towards their growth. The demand for financing home purchases will always be massive and the main thing to concern themselves about is the execution of attracting lenders to provide capital and the borrowers will naturally follow on to the platform. Certainly if capital is able to be deployed at an attractive interest rate and secured against the property asset, there will be sufficient supply and demand. Prosper and LendingClub demonstrated that in P2P consumer loans. Mortgage and real estate loans should follow that path as well. Without a doubt 10 years from now P2P lenders could replace banks and offline providers for most straightforward
and standardised financial products. Mortgages are a great example of this because they are a relatively straightforward product. Once lenders have a method to assess the credit risk of an individual they can draw on firms such as Lendinvest, Assetz Capital and Landbay to underpin this with knowledge of the quality of the underlying asset. Where money is the commodity, whoever offers a borrower a cheaper and smoother process via their platform will come to dominate the market. Compared to a bank issued mortgage, which requires large amounts of paperwork and bureaucracy, P2P lenders may be much more fast and efficient, which should make borrowers flock towards them. The only remaining issue to resolve is regulation. Once in place, there will be no boundaries on P2P lenders to conquer the mortgage market.
CEO PROFILE: PETER REID
MSQ Partners is an international marketing communications group, headquartered in the UK. We spoke to Peter Reid, CEO of MSQ Partners about the firm, and he provides us with a unique insight into the UK media market, as well as talking us through his firm’s imminent expansion into the US. MSQ Partners Please tell us about the firm and the services you provide. The Group consists of six specialist but complementary creative agencies that span advertising and media, PR, branding and design, B2B marketing, digital marketing and customer engagement. We provide a wide range of communication solutions across these specialisms to many of the world’s leading and emerging brands. Our roster of clients includes PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Unilever Peugeot-Citroen, Boots and Aviva. Clients can choose to work with one of our individual agencies but are increasingly looking for a bespoke, multi-disciplinary team designed around their individual communications needs. In each case, we specialise in getting clients a better return on their marketing investment by focusing on delivering a distinctive and consistent customer experience. Please give us an insight into your role as CEO of your company. MSQ Partners is a medium-sized company with a small central team so my role has a huge amount of variety and breadth. As well as being responsible for setting strategy and monitoring performance across the Group’s six agency brands (and 25 offices), I also take the lead in major Group new business efforts/ pitches and in making sure we recruit the best
possible talent all across the world. At the same time, I need to be in close contact with my CFO on key Group matters and maintain a close liaison with the Group’s Board and our investors. How has your background in consultancy helped you in your current role and how do you draw on past experiences now? My consulting experience, especially advising private equity groups, is particularly helpful in helping me manage what could easily be an excessive workload. With more than ten operating entities and more than twenty direct reports, it is critical that I allocate my time carefully, focussing on the key issues that really need my attention and involvement and in resolving issues and taking decisions as efficiently as possible. I also think that the fundamentals of professional services businesses are similar, whether in consultancies, law firms or ad agencies. You need to make sure you have a clear and attractive proposition, you recruit the best possible people and you do the best possible work for clients. I think sometimes when agencies, or other professional services firms, get into trouble is when they forget these principles and try to make things too complicated! As a business leader, how do you ensure that you visions are executed across all sectors of your company? The main way that I achieve this is by working closely and collaboratively with each of the agency MDs. We
are different from many groups in that each agency has its own distinct vision and a lot of my focus is making sure that this vision, as well as the agency’s proposition and new business strategy, is well defined and appropriate. I make sure that I have regular discussions (structured meetings/ calls at least twice monthly and multiple ad hoc discussions) with all of our MDs, wherever they are based around the world. Tell us about your firm’s mission. What techniques do you use to achieve this? Again, we are slightly unusual in that we have six individual missions across each of the Group’s agency brands. At a Group level, I see our role as providing an overall framework and culture that enables our agencies to do great work and to collaborate with each other where appropriate. Our employee ownership structure, in which our top 70 members of staff all have a stake in the overall Group, is key in achieving both of these goals, but we also benefit from our policy of ensuring our agencies are co-located where possible. For example, all of our six agency brands are housed in the same office in London and we focus on creating opportunities for senior staff to spend time together, getting to know each other and discussing potential collaboration opportunities. What would say are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing your industry at present? Over the long term, I see the key challenges for the industry being a
combination of over supply of agencies and an ongoing downward pressure on fees as procurement becomes ever present across the industry. The shift of spend to digital and more accountable channels represents a more short-term challenge for a lot of agency groups, but continues to be very much an opportunity for MSQ, since we specialise in developing and delivering innovative, modern multi-channel communications that are digitally and content-led and that deliver a higher return for clients than traditional solely paid for media marketing strategies. Tell us about your recent move into the American Market. We have recently been investing materially in the US market, using our existing offices as the primary platform for expansion. In the past couple of years, both twentysix (web design and build; performance marketing) and Holmes & Marchant (branding and packaging design) have opened offices in NY, co-located with our existing agencies and have had some encouraging early success with the likes of Heineken, Unilever and Acurian. Additionally in October 2015 we completed the formal acquisition of our long-term US joint venture partner in Stein IAS – our international b2b network, a deal that had been on the cards for some time, but which we are very excited about. Hot on the heels of this deal, we are looking to open an expanded Stein IAS office in San Francisco over the next quarter to both better service our existing west coast clients, such as Juniper Networks, but also grow our base of West coast clients. When working in an industry such as marketing that is constantly changing, what does your firm do to ensure that they are at the forefront of any emerging developments? In many ways, we achieve this by ensuring that all staff know that they have a responsibility to keep
abreast of new technologies and new communications techniques. You have to stay one step ahead of your clients and often it is some of your younger members of staff who are closer to the vanguard of new social media or mobile applications for example. At the same time we also seek to maintain a more structured approach to innovation. For example, our B2B agency, Stein IAS, has spent considerable time and investment working in partnership with Oracle to develop the ‘B2B Marketing Cloud’, which is now setting the global standard in advanced B2B marketing automation and demand generation programmes. Tell us about your work in the UK and how this differs from the other regions you operate in. Although the firm operates primarily in the UK, we also operate in the US and Asia. Clearly each has their own macro outlook and challenges and opportunities, but in the UK (which is our largest region), we see a major opportunity in targeting mediumsized clients (£1-10m total marketing spend) and offering them a bespoke team of specialists drawn from the Group’s agencies to co-ordinate all of their marketing activities. In our experience, all too often these firms have been poorly served by multiple agency relationships in the past, which have stretched their own internal resources and resulted in marketing communications that have been insufficiently joined up, weakening the overall brand and customer experience. How do you develop and maintain the standards you set for yourselves? I believe that the primary driver is that in a portfolio of multiple agencies, there will always be issues to be resolved or opportunities to enhance the quality of an agencies team or output at any point in time. As such, I remain acutely aware that as soon as one becomes complacent or over-confident, this industry will ‘come back and bite you’.
What makes your company unique? What distinguishes your firm from its competitors? I believe our employee ownership model is truly unique across the industry. Equity in the Group is spread relatively evenly across the Group’s top 70 senior managers, providing them with a powerful incentive to grow their own agency and also to work collaboratively with their colleagues from around the Group. Similarly, we are of a size, where senior staff are able to genuinely get to know and trust each other, and in my experience, this is critical in convincing clients of the merits of our multidisciplinary offer. Given that these teams come together seamlessly there is not the friction between individuals or agencies that clients have typically experienced elsewhere in the past. What does the future hold for your firm? Do you have any future plans or projects you would be willing to share with us? Overall, our focus is on organic growth and specifically in continuing to grow revenue across the Group - in all of our agencies and regions – which in itself is a challenge given the relatively flat (at best) overall market picture. However, two ways in which we are looking to achieve this in particular are: firstly, in aggressively promoting our multi-disciplinary offer in the UK - targeting, primarily, medium-sized brands spending between £1-10m; and secondly developing a new Content Marketing proposition that brings together the world leading capabilities that we have in this area across the Group into a single holistic offer. Finally, we are also excited about the prospect of opening our first west coast office in San Francisco in the course of the next few months.
COCA-COLA TO ACCELERATE BOTTLER REFRANCHISING The Coca-Cola Company has announced that it is accelerating the pace and scale of its bottler refranchising efforts with plans to refranchise 100% of Company-owned North America bottling territories by the end of 2017, including all cold-fill production facilities. The Company has also entered into a non-binding letter of intent to refranchise Company-owned bottling operations in China to existing partners China Foods Limited, part of COFCO Limited, and Swire Beverage Holdings Limited, building on other recent global refranchising initiatives in Europe and Africa. The Company’s progress and success in transitioning bottling territories to date has provided the confidence to increase the pace of transition. “We have made significant progress on our North American refranchising initiatives,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. “We continue to negotiate additional agreements and we are in constant discussion with potential partners who are excited about investing in the future of the Coca-Cola system in our flagship market as well as in other markets around the world.” Added Kent: “The acceleration of our global refranchising marks a step change in our efforts to refocus The Coca-Cola Company on its core business of building strong, valuable brands and leading a system of strong bottling partners.” The franchise system is a cornerstone of the Company’s 21st Century Beverage Partnership Model in North America, a broad initiative aimed at building on system capabilities to sustain success. The first letters of intent in the refranchising process were announced in 2013.
“This has been an important, strategic process that positions the Coca-Cola system in its flagship market for a great future,” said J. Alexander “Sandy” Douglas Jr., President, Coca-Cola North America. “The North American market presents an opportunity to blend the strengths of a locally focused franchise bottling system with national production efficiencies and large customer account management.” So far, the Company has reached definitive agreements or signed letters of intent to refranchise territories that account for more than 40% of bottlerdelivered distribution volume in the United States. The Company’s CocaCola Refreshments unit continues to operate Company-owned territories in North America and will work to ensure a smooth transition to aligned, new and existing bottling partners going forward. As part of this accelerated refranchising effort, the Company now plans to sell the remainder of its Company-owned cold-fill production facilities by the end of 2017. These facilities produce sparkling beverages, such as CocaCola trademark brands and Sprite, along with still brands such as Dasani. The Company expects to maintain ownership of its hot-fill facilities, which produce brands such as Powerade and Minute Maid juices. Company-owned hot-fill operations will supply the entire North America Coca-Cola system. The Company announced several deals that represent additional progress in the overall North America refranchising process.
New letters of intent provide that: •
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, based in Charlotte, N.C., will assume additional territory in portions of Ohio and West Virginia, along with a production facility in Twinsburg, Ohio. Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Roseburg, based in Roseburg, Ore., will assume territory in the Pacific Northwest, primarily in southern Oregon and a small portion of northern California. ABARTA, Inc., based in Pittsburgh, will assume territory in Pennsylvania.
The letters of intent are subject to the parties reaching definitive agreements. Financial terms are not being disclosed. The Company has also closed its previously announced Definitive Agreement with Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated and successfully transitioned additional territory in Maryland and Virginia, along with a production facility in Sandston, Va. International Refranchising In addition the the Company is also announcing that it has entered into a non-binding letter of intent to refranchise Company-owned bottling operations in China to existing partners China Foods Limited, part of COFCO Limited, and Swire Beverage Holdings Limited. Coca-Cola’s third-largest market by volume, China represents a significant
long-term growth opportunity for The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling system. The system recently opened its 45th local plant and is currently investing $4 billion in China for future growth, building on $9 billion of investments made in the market since 1979. Elsewhere, the Company is also focused on refranchising in markets such as Europe and Africa. This includes the planned creation of Coca-Cola European Partners in Western Europe and Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Southern and Eastern Africa. History of North America Refranchising North America is Coca-Colaâ€™s oldest and largest market in the world. Historically, the Coca-Cola system in the United States and Canada was comprised of a significant number of small, local bottlers. Through decades of consolidation, the system evolved to be comprised of a much smaller number of bottlers. By the early 2000s, the majority of North American bottling territories were owned by Coca-Cola Enterprises.
North America will be comprised of economically aligned bottling partners that have the capability to serve major customers, coupled with the ability to maintain strong, local ties across diverse markets in the United States and Canada. The system also includes a new structure for production of finished beverages, with cold-fill production being owned by select, regional producing bottlers and hot-fill and syrup production remaining under ownership of Coca-Cola North America. The National Product Supply Group, or NPSG, which has a board comprised of representatives from Coca-Cola North America, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED and Swire Coca-Cola USA, will administer key activities for NPSGmember bottlers. The board currently represents approximately 95% of U.S.produced volume.
A decade ago, The Coca-Cola Company began working with its bottling partners on plans to develop a model that would evolve the way the system serves a changing customer and consumer landscape, with a focus on creating stronger system alignment. A critical step was the Companyâ€™s acquisition of the North American territories of CocaCola Enterprises in 2010. In the five years since the deal was closed, The Coca-Cola Company has accelerated the implementation of the new model by strategically addressing the franchise system, customer service, product supply and a common information technology platform. Ultimately, the Coca-Cola system in
TAKING ON AMERICA
MVF, the global customer acquisition expert and its signature brand, Expert Market, are expanding into the American market. We speak to CEO Titus Sharpe, about this transition and the firmâ€™s future plans following the move.
Expert Market, MVF’s main brand, is a leading online B2B marketplace offering quotes from suppliers of a variety of business goods and services. The firm is a subsidiary of MVF, which is the parent company to a number of other brands offering a range of niche business services. Titus, as CEO and one of the original founders of the firm, has a wide variety of duties within the company. “My role as the main strategist within the company sees me provide the direction for the firm, outlining which markets we operate in, the direction we are moving in and the approach we use. Additionally, a big part of my job involves managing and organising the firm’s senior management, including hiring these staff. The reputation of the company is my overall responsibility, so it is crucial that I hire and manage our senior team correctly.” The firm has been exclusively based in London for a number of years, however in June of last year the company moved into America, taking on an office in Austin, Texas. The firm put a lot of effort into choosing a suitable location, undertaking various tests as well as rigorously researching the area and the client base. Austin was originally thought to be out of the running because of the time zone, however as Titus explains, the firm has learned to work around this in. “It can be a challenge operating an office in Texas because when working remotely and operating across an eight hour time difference, communication can be exceptionally difficult. This makes the leadership in that office particularly vital, as we need to ensure that we have the very best of our staff working in our Austin office. “When we initially founded MVF there were five founders, which gave us a really strong management base, and since
this approach was highly successful we have decided to take a similar approach to our move to America. We sent two of our staff out for the initial office launch but we are keen to strengthen that team by sending more of our senior management out as the office grows.” This strong leadership is vital, as there are a number of differences between working in an American market and a British one, with cultural and legislative changes produces unique challenges for the company. One major difference between the American style of business and the way in which his firm operates is MVF’s focus on having a strong marketing operation. “We recently conducted a private equity deal, and during this the other firm carried out a number of due diligence checks, during which they found that although many companies of our type had larger sales operations than marketing ones, whereas MVF is the opposite, boasting a huge marketing operation and a small sales one. This shows the depth of our marketing skills base and technology. “Compared to our competitors, both in the US and Europe, MVF has a stronger marketing platform, with greater technology and people driving our marketing strategy forward. “It is my belief that we now have a great opportunity in the US to prove to our clients that we have got the marketing expertise and knowledge to provide them with a huge increase in customer acquisition. I think this unique strategy will ensure we have a big impact on the US market.” Another key difference Titus has noticed following the move into the US is in the management styles. Whilst he finds that longer hours are the norm in many companies, he firmly believes that staff will work harder if they work for a more
concentrated period of time. Additionally, Titus enjoys getting to know his staff outside of the working environment, and is keen to support them in their activities outside of work. “I am great believer in great focus and working hard throughout the working day, and I believe that as long as staff have a focus and objective they will work hard throughout their working day, and I would rather they work in a focused manner for eight hours than unfocused for twelve. “I also like the concept of outside culture filtering through into a business environment, which is why I like people who have hobbies and are passionate about them. Once I have identified staff who have a shared interest I encourage them to get together, and provided there are enough people interested I am more than happy to support them in engaging in that activity and will fund their pursuit of this. “This helps to break down barriers within the organisation. As a business grows you can get gaps between the management and those working under them, and it is important to ensure that these are bridged to ensure an enjoyable working atmosphere. “As an organisation we are also very keen to get to know our staff. We have an annual target, and if this is reached then we like to take our staff away for a holiday, which is a great opportunity to get to know people you have not been able to before.” Moving forward this innovative tradition is set to continue, but in many other aspects the company is changing rapidly. Titus believes that American growth is the way forward, and this will be the firm’s strategic focus. “Our ultimate goal is to build a long term, global business, starting with our move to America, where we believe we have the potential for huge growth.”
FEELING UNEASY? JOIN THE CLUB
Spotting trends means tracking people, social momentum, brands, words, radical breakthroughs, economies, companies, cultural moments—and it’s big business for people in many industries who need to be thinking ahead, for themselves and clients. By identifying the driving forces behind today and the future, brands can plan for long-term success and discover unexpected, and possibly transformative, opportunities. Longtime trendspotters can tell you that some of the most important trends can be grouped into übertrends. (That little Germanic prefix über has become a trend in its own right. We’d like to think the trend started when we wrote about “The Rise of the Übersexual” back in 2005. Ride-brokering service Uber has helped put it on the map, too.) For 2016, Havas PR, the agency I run, is calling its übertrend Uneasy Street. Blame it on 9/11, the financial crisis, ISIS, the media or the frantic pace of life, or maybe blame the blame culture—the mindset that when anything goes wrong, it’s because somebody screwed up and should take the blame. No matter the reason, though, a sense of unease pervades most of our days right now. Whether we’re taking our kids to school or trying to fall asleep, we’re attempting to make peace with the abiding feeling that things aren’t as they should be, that threats are looming and that people need to do something about it. We’re engaged in a constant struggle between staying in or bailing out. Emotional alarm bells ring endlessly, and we try in various ways to dampen the din. Not so long ago, people reached for a cigarette to calm themselves down. Now they “check” their mobile device. That’s a good move for physical health, but it might be a bad move in other ways. Stories that make readers uneasy have
always thrived in the media because bad news sells. If it bleeds, it leads. Millions of people getting through their day safely is a total non-event of no interest whatsoever, whereas if anyone is subjected to a violent home invasion, that’s likely to make headline news. People quickly get into a state of alert for possible threats, even when they happen in another city, another state or another country, because people are constantly connected to bad news and threats through their mobile devices. Even deliberately avoiding bad news doesn’t necessarily remove sources of unease. Seeing people on social media spreading happy thoughts, having a great time and doing great things can trigger bad feelings. With the phenomenon of social comparison comes the question “Why is everyone else having such a great life and I’m not?” The deluge of data piped in by our mobile media often seems to deliver conflicting information. Does factor X cause cancer or protect against it? Is it safer to wear seat belts or not? So many “new studies show” factors enter into the mix all the time. For anyone with children, keeping them out of harm’s way seems to have become a full-time occupation, although doing everything to protect them risks making them less resilient and more vulnerable as they grow up. Are they—and we, too—spending too much time with technology? What is it doing to their brains and bodies (and ours)? Maybe we won’t know for sure for another few years, and by then it might be too late. Even if it turns out that technology is bad for us, it’s likely to prove a very difficult habit to kick; research has shown that each new cycle of technology is more addictive than the one before. (It’s right up there on our list of supremely pleasurable but ultimately self-sabotaging behaviors,
like eating the prepared and processed foods that we consume in increasing proportions.) Then there’s climate change. Many are worried about it, or at least seriously uneasy, while others have decided that everything is cyclical and there’s nothing to be concerned about. Either way, global citizens are coping with weird weather—spring weather around the north’s New Year, followed just weeks later by an epic snow dump. Maybe we humans are to blame, but what can individuals do about any of it? So we try to tamp down our anxiety. Fear drives us, yet we want to be hopeful. (This ties into a trend Havas PR spotted for 2013, of people pressuring businesses to do good.) More worries: Who can we believe on these topics? Whose opinions can be trusted? The tone of debate leading up to the 2016 presidential elections is only making answering these questions trickier. Does cutting taxes really make for a better economy, or does it just make rich people richer? Does wearing protective headgear reduce the risk of brain damage in sports like high school football, or does it make athletes softer or more careless? (We spotted the trend of increasing angst over all things brain-related for 2010, and today discussing brain health is mainstream.) The underlying question raised by this anxiety übertrend is: How can we make our present and future more secure? Or rather: What’s the easiest, most enjoyable way to make our present and future more secure? Businesses are rushing to answer that question, but for now, real answers remain elusive.
DEAL OF THE MONTH
MET PLASTICS JOINS DEDIENNE MULTIPLASTURGY® GROUP “Dedienne is a forward-thinking plastic and composites processor,” said Mike Walter, President of Met2Plastic. “Joining forces with a like-minded business will help us both to flourish as we grow our operations in North America and in Europe.” With a wide range of technologies and materials, Dedienne Multiplasturgy® Group has a bold footprint in the European manufacturing sector of highly technical components made of high performance polymers and composites. Established in 1947 in France, Dedienne today employs over 400 people, with plants in France (Normandy, Nantes, and Paris region) and in Romania, and sales offices in the UK and Germany. From Dedienne’s perspective, Met2Plastic gives them access to the North American market with a reputable, profitable company with a customer base in the aerospace and medical fields. The capacity to produce in the USD zone and have a presence in the Chicago region are also beneficial to Dedienne.
As the newest member of the Dedienne Multiplasturgy® Group, MET Plastics has now officially become Met2Plastic, LLC. With the acquisition, both companies become transatlantic (USA and Europe), which provides a greater possibility to generate sales abroad.
For Met2Plastic, Dedienne provides access to an enhanced technology portfolio that positions the company for growth in metal to plastic conversion applications for its existing customer base and for new potential customers. The acquisition also provides Met2Plastic with increased size and capacity while ensuring all staff and leadership remain in place. As a member of Dedienne Multiplasturgy® Group, Met2Plastic will have access to European OEM’s with operations in North America. This presence in Europe, along with the ability to offer new material and plastic and composite process technologies, makes Met2Plastic a more dynamic organization.
“The new joint venture will be commercially and technically profitable for both companies,” said Pierre-Jean Leduc, President and CEO of Dedienne. “It’s also profitable for both management teams as this is a new human venture for both of us and is therefore very motivating.” Operating since 1970, Met Plastics (now called Met2Plastic, LLC) is a premier custom injection molder and mold builder that is dedicated to being a single source solution provider for OEMs who require mission-critical components. We exceed customer expectations by producing complex injection molded plastic parts, providing total solutions, and unparalleled technical expertise. Met2Plastic is based in Elk Grove Village, IL, and is part of the Dedienne Multiplasturgy® Group. Operating since 1947, Dedienne is a world-class, innovative technological partner. Dedienne combines its MULTIPLASTURGY® concept around the design and manufacturing of technical and cosmetic parts as well as subassemblies using high performance plastics and composites for metal replacement, from prototype to small and large volume.
DEAL OF THE MONTH TEXAS Highlander Partners, L.P., a leading middle market private investment firm based in Dallas, Texas, today announced the acquisition of Fuerst Day Lawson Holdings Limited (“FDL”) in partnership with Chief Executive Officer Mac Mardi. Highlander Partners, L.P. is a Dallas-based private investment firm with over $1 billion of assets under management. The firm focuses on making investments in businesses in targeted industries in which the principals of the firm have significant operating and investing experience, including basic manufacturing, food and beverage, specialty chemicals, building materials, consumer products, and others. Highlander Partners uses a “buy and build” investment approach, creating value by helping companies grow organically and through acquisitions. Founded in 1884 as a trader of niche commodities, FDL is based in London in the United Kingdom, and operates as a leading global provider of customized specialty ingredients to the food, beverage, fragrance and chemical industries. FDL has capabilities to
HIGHLANDER PARTNERS ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF FUERST DAY LAWSON HOLDINGS LTD. serve a global customer base, with operations in England, the United States, India and China. The Company offers amino acids, aroma chemicals, beverage syrups, energy and fortification solutions, flavorings and colors, honey, juices and juice blends, preservatives and acidulants, seeds and grains, sweeteners, and sweetener systems. FDL also continues to play a leading role in trading specialized commodities, such as castor oil, menthol and mint oils. The firm manufactures and supplies specialist ingredients to the food, beverage, fragrance, and chemical industries. It offers amino acids, aroma chemicals, beverage syrups, energy and fortification solutions, flavorings and colors, honey, juices and juice blends, preservatives and acidulants, seeds and grains, sweeteners and sugars, and sweetener systems. The company was founded in 1884 and is based in London, United Kingdom. FDL will continue to operate under its existing operating structure with its current management team, led by
CEO, Mac Mardi, former Head of Global Operations for Danisco and an industry veteran with 25 years of experience in the specialty food and flavor industry. Since assuming his current position in 2006, Mr. Mardi and the Company’s management team have transformed the business into a highly differentiated specialty food and beverage ingredient and flavor company and have executed upon numerous growth initiatives to position the business as an industry leader. HSBC and RBS arranged the senior credit facilities in support of the transaction. Mr. Mardi, who will also serve as CoChairman of FDL’s board, commented, “We are excited to be working with Highlander Partners, which has a strong track record of building long-term value for its portfolio companies, with deep, relevant experience in the food ingredient space. With Highlander’s financial, strategic and operational support, we are excited to expand upon our leading market position with a partner who shares in our strategic vision.”
In connection with Highlander’s investment in FDL, Highlander President Mike Nicolais will join FDL’s board and serve as Co-Chairman. Mr. Nicolais stated, “FDL’s focus on innovation, service and customized solutions have formed a loyal and growing customer base. We are excited to partner with such an experienced and proven management team to continue growing and developing innovative solutions for the Company’s customers. In addition, similar to our other portfolio companies, we intend to supplement organic growth with strategic acquisitions that build on and expand FDL’s existing business and product offerings.” Mr. Mardi added, “While our ownership has changed, our commitment to our customers remains stronger than ever. We look forward to working with our new partners to accelerate our positive momentum in the marketplace— driving growth by better understanding our customers’ needs and providing differentiation through product innovation and customer service.”
CEO OF THE MONTH Working at the helm of one of the leading professional services, civil engineering, and consulting firm with a specialism in public infrastructure development is a with a varied and exciting role for President and CEO Jim Gonzales. His role as business leader sees him work at various levels throughout the company, including overseeing the firm’s strategic operations, marketing, finances and human resources.
Mr. Gonzales has more than 28 years of professional consulting and management experience, including serving as Vice President for two of the largest engineering firms in the United States. Jim has been involved with infrastructure planning and project development activities with numerous cities, counties, school districts, colleges, toll and transit authorities, state and federal agencies, and other government entities. He maintains an active role with review and approval of client projects at every stage. Jim has also been involved with infrastructure plan-ning and project development activities for major bond issues and has led the successful de-velopment and implementation of more than $8 billion in major capital projects and over $300 million in fees. His involvement with diverse communities and groups has proven to be inval-uable in bringing about successful capital improvement plans for both large and small commu-nities. He has led IDC to be consistently ranked among HISPANIC BUSINESS “100 Fastest Growing” and “500 Largest” Companies in the U.S. Company: IDC Inc. Name: Jim Gonzales Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Address: www.idcus.com Address: 11111 Wilcrest Green, Suite 250, Houston, Texas 77042 Telephone: (281) 703-3527 or (210) 842-4008
In addition he also leads IDC’s corporate development associated with project planning, engineering and program management services the firm provides. As part of this, one of his major responsibilities is to represent the firm in the community, and in undertaking this duty he works with numerous elected and appointed officials to reinforce IDC’s company reputation for competence and reliability in the field of planning, engineering, and program management services. The firm operates a staff of professionals who have the technical capabilities and proven experience to provide planning, preliminary engineering, final design, and program and construction management services for public works, transportation, and building facilities for both public and private clients. Specifically the company’s human resources include civil engineers, planners, architects, civil designers, CADD specialists and
JIM GONZALES IDC Inc. is a leading Texas-based professional services consulting firm. We profile the firm’s CEO Jim Gonzales and explore how he has led the company to its current success.
program/construction management professionals. IDC staff has been involved with over 400 projects of note in and around the state of Texas. Alongside his work as head of the company, Jim has also served as a leader in numerous professional engineering and community organizations and associations for almost 30 years in order to ensure that he gives back to the community and the industry that he operates in. As such he generously gives his time to a wide range of community initiatives designed to advance IDC’s client-partner’s initiatives and improve the general business climate, and economic development in Texas where IDC operates, highlighting his dedication to the community as well as his business. Jim’s involvement with these diverse communities and groups has proven to be invaluable in bringing about successful capital improvement plans for both large and small communities. Through this work Jim has led IDC to be consistently ranked as a top U.S business by a myriad of awards providers and business commentators, and he and his company have been featured in other national publications. Most recently Jim Gonzales was selected as “CEO of the Year” by Acquisition International magazine. As president of IDC Inc., Jim Gonzales oversees the company’s direction
and services with an emphasis on quality and integrity. He leads policy-level discussions concerning IDC operations, procedures and staffing, as well as the development of IDC’s annual plan and strategic plan. In addition he alsodevelops the underlying strategy for any sales initiative IDC undertakes, and participates as the Principal in Charge with oversight of all the firm’s projects. Before joining IDC in 2003 Jim had worked as Vice President for two of the largest engineering firms in the United States, and overall has more than 28 years of professional consulting and management experience. Throughout his career Jim has been involved with infrastructure planning and project development activities with numerous cities, counties, school districts, colleges, toll and transit authorities, state and federal agencies, and other government entities. He maintains an active role with review and approval of client projects at every stage, highlighting his dedication to quality and client satisfaction. Moving forward IDC remains focused on continuing to grow their core business lines by offering unparalleled leadership in civil transportation engineering program and construction management services throughout Texas. The firm also has plans to
grow their traffic engineering and environmental services sectors and expand marketing efforts geographically as opportunities present themselves. Previous or ongoing clients of the firm include the City of Houston, Brazoria County, METRO, Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority, City of Rosenberg, Harris County, City of Missouri City, TxDOT, Fort Bend County, City of San Antonio, Harris County Toll Road Authority, City of Pearland, LCISD, Brazosport College, UT System, and in the future the company is keen to expand on this client base and offer its high quality service to a greater range of customers.
STATE OF THE BUSINESS MARKET: DOING BUSINESS IN TEXAS The Lone Star State has traditionally been associated with practical industries including farming, mining and manufacturing, but as these industries struggle due to dropping oil prices and the rising dollar, the stateâ€™s corporate landscape is changing. Hedge funds are an industry that is currently booming in Texas, which is now the fifth-largest US state for hedge-fund assets (after New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and California), according to the Blue Heron Group. In addition around 10% of Americans worth over $30m are in Texas, according to WealthX, highlighting the stateâ€™s entrepreneurial spirit, which is seeing many of these high net worth individuals invest in exciting new startups. Technology firms in the region are growing steadily, as companies use local experience in engineering and technology, gained from long investment in the oil industries, to a new use. The costs of living and of operating a business are cheap, and with low state taxes Texas is quickly becoming a haven for big businesses looking to expand into the Mid-west.
BEST OF THE BEST LITIGATION
Based in Houston, Fisher, Boyd, Johnson & Huguenard, LLP provides exceptional representation to clients across the United States in a wide variety of civil litigation matters, including personal injury and wrongful death claims, products liability cases, aviation and maritime litigation, trust and estate litigation, commercial and business litigation, and class actions. We profile Founder Wayne Fisher and explore his work within the litigation sector. Company: Fisher, Boyd, Johnson & Huguenard, LLP Web Address: www.fisherboyd.com Address: 2777 Allen Parkway, 14th Floor, Houston, Texas 77019 Phone: 713.400.4000 Fax: 713.400.4050
Since the firm’s founding in 1966 by Wayne Fisher, the firm’s attorneys have obtained optimal results for our clients through the use of innovative trial strategies and effective advocacy in the courtroom. All of the staff at the firm are staunch believers in intensive, full-scale preparation for every trial, always striving to present the best possible case by utilizing persuasive and novel liti-gation tactics. A key example of this is the fact that the firm was one of the first in the country to employ an engineering staff to facilitate the comprehensive development of cases involving com-plex technical matters. Along with the efficient use of experts, we have a long history in the utili-zation of technology in the courtroom, which allows for compelling and responsive presentations before the judge and jury. Numerous recoveries of more than $1 million on behalf of clients are proof of the success of the firm’s methods. Attorneys at the firm include some the top trial lawyers in the United States, three of whom have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America and as fellows in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. By combining the talent and experience of its lawyers with an unwavering insistence on excellence, the firm are proud to have built a solid rep-utation as a leading Texas trial firm. For Spanish-speaking clients, the firm even offer an inhouse translator, highlighting its dedication to client service. Wayne Fisher is the founder of Fisher Boyd Johnson & Huguenard, L.L.P., located in Houston, Texas. With over five decades of civil litigation experience, he represents clients throughout the state in business and probate litigation as well as those who have been harmed by the negligence of others in cases involving product liability, construction accidents, medical malpractice and de-fective medical devices. After receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration cum laude
from Baylor University, Mr. Fisher went on to attend Baylor Law School and was awarded his Juris Doctor cum laude in 1961. He was an associate at a well-known international law firm before founding his firm in 1966. Admitted to practice in Texas, Mr. Fisher is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Dis-trict Courts for the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts of Texas, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 5th and 11th Circuits. He has held many prominent positions with professional organizations, including serving as president of the State Bar of Texas and as a member of the board of governors of what is now the American Association for Justice. Highly regarded by his peers, Mr. Fisher has received numerous awards and honors throughout his distinguished career. He has been given an AV Preeminent* rating from Martindale-Hubbell and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America**. Mr. Fisher is also a recipient of the Lifetime Ex-cellence in Advocacy Award from the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists, and has written and lectured extensively on topics relating to various aspects of civil litigation techniques. As part of his commitment to community affairs, Mr. Fisher has served as the chairman of the Texas Cultural Trust, a charitable organization devoted to raising awareness of the arts in Texas. He has also been a trustee of the Houston Symphony Society and the Texas 4-H Youth Devel-opment Foundation.
BEST OF THE BEST CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Putting patients first has been Solis Mammography’s mission for more than 30 years, when the firm was founded in Plano, Texas by Dr. Timothy Freer, who opened the very first Women’s Diagnostic Center. His passion for patients helped his business grow to five locations throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex. With the goal of bringing this same level of patient-focused breast care to more locations, in 2005 Women’s Diagnostics became the Solis brand. Since 2005, the firm has grown to encompass 31 dedicated breast imaging centers across four states. In addition to wholly owned centers the firm also operates several successful joint ventures with hospital partners, all of which are staffed by teams committed to providing an exceptional, Peace of Mind Mammogram™ experience to all of their clients.
Mr. Mano has a unique ability to understand and influence both the business and financial needs of a growing healthcare company in the current healthcare climate. He has shown particular skill in working through the challenges of acquisitions while staying focused on a superior quality of service. Prior to assuming the position of CFO at Solis, Mano was the Executive Director, North Texas Region, for U.S. Oncology Network, a $3.6B division of Fortune 15 McKesson Corporation. In his 13 years at U.S. Oncology, Mano also held the positions of Regional Finance Director and Director, Corporate Financial Planning. He has also held positions of financial responsibility at Physician Reliance Network, Texas Orthopedic Associates and Associated Orthopedics and Sports Medicine; all in Texas.
Company: Solis Mammography Name: Mano Mahadeva Email: MMahadeva@Solismammo.com Web Address: Solismammo.com Address: 15601 Dallas Parkway, Suite 500, Addison, TX 75001
As Chief Financial Officer, Mano Mahadeva provides strategic operational planning support, as well as daily financial accountability, management and reporting. He is responsible for efficiently and effectively
MANO MAHADEVA Solis Mammography is a network of breast screening and diagnostic centers with a unified purpose – delivering exceptional patient care and peace of mind in breast health. We profile Chief Financial Officer Mano Mahadeva and explore how he has helped the firm to rise to the top of its industry. meeting our financial goals by measuring our performance with detail we have not previously possessed. Mano has a unique ability to understand and influence both the business and financial needs of a growing healthcare company in the current healthcare climate. He has shown particular skill in working through the challenges of acquisitions while staying focused on a superior quality of service. Prior to assuming the position of CFO at Solis in 2013, Mano was the Executive Director, North Texas Region, for U.S. Oncology Network, a $3.6B division of Fortune 15 McKesson Corporation. In his 13 years at U.S. Oncology, Mano also held the positions of Regional Finance Director and Director, Corporate Financial Planning. He has also held positions of financial responsibility at Physician Reliance Network, Texas Orthopedic Associates and Associated Orthopedics and Sports Medicine; all in Texas. Mano holds a Bachelor in Accounting from University of Texas, Dallas, and an MBA in Management from Texas
A&M University - Commerce. He is a CPA, and holds ABV, CIA, CrFA, CGMA, CFF, CTP, CITP, LREB, CMA, and CFM credentials. Mano is also a CFA Level 3 Candidate.
organizations; delivering strong and sustained revenue and profit growth; and providing the financial data, analysis, and insights to support and influence critical decision-making.
His role as CFO has seen him undertake a wide range of projects including helping to negotiate critical joint venture agreements to partner and manage nine breast-screening facilities of two of the largest hospital systems in the U.S.; on target to add a third system by mid-2015.
As such he has carved out a distinguished career path rich with experience spanning private equitybacked companies, hospitals, and publicly and privately held physicianmanaged, multi-specialty practices. He has a keen understanding of the healthcare industry and the many complex challenges at issue, including healthcare reform, risk management, and managed care contracts, as well as increased accountability, changes to long-standing reimbursement models, skyrocketing costs, and stiffer regulation.
In addition Mano has increased the company’s flexibility and available cash by refinancing its debt, tripling the credit facility, and locking in significantly lower rates. He has also stabilized the firm’s capital structure and secured investment capital necessary to fuel growth and expansion by recapitalizing the company in 2015. Overall as Corporate Officer and Senior Executive Mano has proved himself to have exceptional strategic agility and vision, producing a solid track record of building and leading fiscally sound healthcare
BEST OF THE BEST RISK ADVISORS The 2006 formation of Actuarial Risk Management (ARM), and its newest division, ARM Risk Solutions, fills a void for advice dedicated to the large middle market. Regardless of sector, many larger consultancies simply navigate towards the larger entities and look to have junior staff do the work. However, we leverage our collaborative business model to bring senior expertise available to middle market companies or through professional vendors. With our platform, we accommodate a range of middle market sized projects using an advisory price point lower than the larger firms. Our advisory roster span is wide and deep with our average actuary and risk advisor having 25+ years of relevant experience and current thinking. Our collective experience results from times in both industry and larger consultancies, also benefiting from the academia and regulatory worlds. There are recent studies indicating that over 60% of entities have never inventoried their risk exposures (including pensions) and a large number even then only focused on the risks transferable to the commercial insurance market. The middle market reality of these statistics is worse and with worse outcomes as a result. Our customers span many industries yet not limited to a geographical footprint, each desiring a fresh view of their risk profile and the opportunities it holds.
Company: Actuarial Risk Management, LTD Name: Corwin (Cory) Zass Email: email@example.com Web Address: www.actrisk.com Address: 5914 W Courtyard Drive STE 190, Austin, TX, USA, 78730 Telephone: +1 512-345-5200
Actuarial Risk Management works with many Top 30 accounting firms, including BDO USA, LLP and members of the global BDO network. We spoke to Cory Zass, Founder, Principal and Senior Consulting Actuary, of Actuarial Risk Management about how his innovative business model is designed to deliver the enterprise-wide solutions that organizations are continuing to seek. Our approach is simple - listen, observe, design, refine, monitor. At the option of our customers, we can stay to assist in the implementation or training of staff. Our philosophy does not subscribe to typical ‘risk silo’ mindsets held by most consultancies – we look for synergies and solutions beyond the property, liability, people (like pensions), and financial stability boundaries. Our industry centric advisory teams have a wealth of practical experience. From an operational and economic standpoint, our bespoke designs correct a misalignment of our customer’s priorities, risk culture, and risk appetite. From our perspective, risk taking is an opportunity too, which requires a risk plan that is understandable, cost effective, sustainable, and positively impacts their operations. We are not sceptics or pessimists, but we feel compelled to inform our customers of the risks of making uneducated “bets” or simply betting on the average or “doing nothing”. We commit to an honest perspective of their situation then identify cost effective “good tasting medicine” even though this more than likely departs from the tact of some current advisors. We ask tough questions beyond “what keeps you awake at night” then properly gauge the size and likelihood of risk exposures and recommend
alternative solutions, if warranted. These solutions range from simple to creative to complex. Corporate benefit plan sponsors are at a crossroads of balancing equity volatility, low interest rate norms, and rapidly growing aging workforce. From the sponsor’s position, defined benefit pension promises can no longer be viewed from the rear-view mirror. Taking full control of pension risks – encompassing the likes of longevity and investment risks - requires a unique perspective missing from current strategies. Our experience indicates that many plan sponsor incumbents present some limited form of a generic elixir as the sole answer to managing their pension risks when current market conditions offer more options. Our insight will balance the company’s economics – short and long term - with positions taken by all plan stakeholders. Early open communications with C-Suite is critical to determine if they want to be “in the benefits business” (i.e. after inspection of the pros and cons, they may consider divesting the pension plan like an unwanted division or plant). We understand that no one wants to be misled or made promises that were too optimistic. Factually speaking, many retirement promises of eras past inherently were poised to only
work a fraction of the time. Recently our expertise is of interest to defined contribution asset managers looking to minimize the longevity risk transferred to the retirees. In other words, we are using actuarial techniques to give a higher degree of confidence that the retirees do not outlive their investments. With market upheaval and worsening debt positions of major governments, pension plan decision makers must gain this hard-to-swallow advice so they can hope to reverse course on the near inevitable collision stemming from the smaller ratio of workers to retirees evolving daily. The good news is that these changes may structurally provide for equivalent, or perhaps even better, benefits for employees without putting additional pressure on the corporate balance sheet. The instability is growing the risk aversive world we live. With our US base, our first priority is the US middle market followed by surgical expansion to other areas of globe. In fact, from our US base we already provide services to some customers across the globe. Regardless of risk the best management comes when you eliminate the emotions and look both holistically and proactively. We are committed to our Trusted Risk Advisor role to supply our customers with a value-add perspective on current and emerging risks.
BEST OF THE BEST EXPERT WITNESS
The Boyce Consultancy Group is an international provider of a full spectrum of consultancy services specializing in all types of turbomachinery. Dr. Meherwan P. Boyce explains the firm’s role as expert witness. Company: The Boyce Consultancy Group, LLC Name: Dr. Meherwan P. Boyce Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Address: www. boyceconsultancy.com Address: 2121 Kirby Drive, 28 North, Houston, Texas 77019-6035 Phone: 713-807-0888 Fax: 713-807-0088
The Boyce Consultancy Group provides consultancy services across the full spectrum of turbomachinery, including compressors, pumps, gas and steam turbines, used in electrical energy plants, offshore platforms, refineries, chemical plants, combined cycle power plants as well as the related power and petroleum industries. Drawing on over 50 years industry experience, we are able to provide the highest level of expertise and have done so domestically and internationally for clients that range from Fortune 500 Companies through to all levels of supporting resource providers to the power supply industry. Our consultancy services can consist of educating, mentoring, analysis, planning, risk management and prevention, plant reorganization and set-up, turbine package purchasing and start-up, performance analysis, catastrophic failure analysis, negotiations and arbitration assistance, expert witness in trial and litigation. In order to ensure clients receive the best possible support and advice, especially when they are relying on our expert testimony, we work closely with the client to support them through face-to-face meetings, phone consultations, email correspondence and any other means of communication. Through this we endeavour to assist with fulfilling the client’s expectations and establishing a level of confidence that the services provided will satisfy the necessary determinants in the case to display accuracy in the data analysis of cause and effect. We also have a diverse staff of experts and support that allow us to capture all our client’s needs. In addition, we have an attitude of lifelong learning due to the type of industry we are in that demands that type of foresight. Continuing education and hands-on experience keep us leading the industry in the most recent and relevant discoveries and information that we can then pass on to our valued clients.
Internally we operate collaboratively so we can provide our clients multiple areas of ideas, experience, and intellect cultivated by a dedicated staff of professionals. We feel that all our staff bring something positive to the table that accumulatively can be synchronized to form a successful outcome and experience with us to our clients. We also educate our clients with our close relationship while working together. We feel the more the clients understand, the more we can work together as a team in alignment with mutual goals and objectives. We take advantage of industry tools and resources such as on-line classes, webinars, symposiums, conferences, hard copy and virtual books, periodicals and magazines from industry supporting expert’s resources. These tools are particularly important as it is vital that we remain on top of any legislative changes in our sector, so that we can offer the most up to date advice and support to our clients. Being an active author of engineering text books on the subject matter gives us an extra advantage in the ability to demonstrate the extensive understanding and expertise in the field and industry, and also helps to ensure that we stay current in our knowledge. Moving forward we are excited about our future. We are confident that can continue to grow and expand our business with the solid foundation of our staff of experts and wide-ranging expertise into the future and continue being a respected organization of consultancy services to clients all over the globe. We are sensitive to and focused on preparedness of integrating renewable energies and utilization in combined cycle power plants. We understand the future needs to minimize drops in load and efficiencies for combined fossil and renewable energy plants so we have researched extensively how to assist our clients in these plants of the future. Additionally we are developing online classes that are sure to transfer the needed education and experience to engineers all over the world in a convenient efficient learning format. This is how we can contribute to our industry in a constructive manner in which all can take advantage and be exposed to the past and future of our industry’s direction.
BEST OF THE BEST IMIGRATION
Alimohammad & Zafar, PLLC are a full-service law firm dedicated to serving their clients with the utmost respect and professionalism. They offer a wide range of practice areas because they believe that one legal issue frequently touches multiple areas of practice. Name: Rehan Alimohammad Company: Alimohammad & Zafar, PLLC Email: email@example.com Web Address: www.aandzlegal.com Address: 77 Sugar Creek Center Blvd. #401, Sugar Land, Texas 77478 Phone: 281-340-2074
BEST OF THE BEST - TAX Kenneth O Dike, CPA is a Houston-based CPA firm whose goal is to free up precious time for business owners and allow them to spend it on running their businesses instead of worrying about accounting and tax issues. We spoke to them about how they do this through the diverse range of services they provide. Name: Kenneth O Dike Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 2626 South Loop West Suite 309, Houston, TX 77054-2691 Phone: 713-661-9982 Fax: 731-661-1688
What does Alimohammad & Zafar, PLLC do? We are a law firm that helps companies and individuals with business, real estate, estate planning, and immigration issues. Our immigration law practice can help you with any family-based immigration issue (green card, for example), employment immigration, visas, and I-9 audits. We also have a business law practice that can assist you with everything from forming a business to handling a business dispute to dissolving a business. Our tax law practice can help you with an audit and any other legal issue you or your business may encounter with the IRS. Family law issues can come up by themselves or during immigration matters. Our family law practice includes divorce, property division, child custody disputes, child support issues, and more.We have an estate planning practice, which includes the preparation of wills, trusts, probate litigation, guardianships, living wills, powers of attorney, and gift planning.
Who are your clients? Companies and Individuals looking for assistance with business, real estate, estate planning, and immigration assistance. What makes you unique? Our law firm differs from others as we respond to all calls within 1 business day, with the end goal of helping our clients not just our bottom line. What’s your biggest challenge facing you at present? There are only 24 hours in a day. What’s the aim for your business? The main aim for us is to help our clients as best we can. What’s your company’s biggest challenge? The perception that a bigger firm means better. What business/business person do you most admire and why? Steve Jobs because of his ability to think outside the box.
Our full range of accounting, tax, and financial services are based on the practical needs of business owners who want quality support and don’t want to add even more items to their busy schedule. As Houston Certified Public Accountants, we take pride in our long track record of demonstrating that accounting, when done well, can pay for nearly all its own costs through management time and money saved.
The industries we serve include the following:
With our services we allow companies to:
Our Founder, Kenneth O Dike’s qualifications include an MBA in Finance & Management Information Systems as well as a BBA in Accounting & BSC in Computer Science. Furthermore, he is certified as a CPA, CFE & Forensic CPA, Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and Certified Internal Controls Auditor (CICA). He is also a member of esteemed organisations such as AICPA, Texas Society of CPA, Houston Chapter TSCPA, Division of CPA Firms & Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
• • • • •
Save on taxes Prevent costly mistakes Reduce time and headaches Get fast answers, professional advice, and personal support Develop a clear picture of your business and its progress with ongoing financial reports
Furthermore, through our work with a number of small businesses in Houston, we have developed valuable expertise in accounting and tax practices that can immediately benefit any new or existing business.
• • •
Healthcare - doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and related medical providers Professional Services - architects, legal, information technology, and consulting services Consumer Services - retailers, insurance, catering, recreation, electricians, plumbers, painters, home builders, and more
BEST OF THE BEST MEDIATION
A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School and an award winner mediator, Will approaches each case with patience and persistence. Through his career Will has undertaken over 3,000 mediation and arbitration cases. Prior to his current work Will was a former State District Judge, as well as a former First Assistant Attorney General, State of Texas. Will has a varied background in the legal sector. He has over 50 hours of mediation training from the Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, Austin, Texas, and the Straus Institute at Pepperdine Law School in Malibu, California. During Will’s senior year, at the height of the “Watergate era”, he served as the Speaker’s Page, the personal page to the Speaker of the House of Representatives (the Honorable Carl Albert, Dem.Oklahoma). As an undergraduate at Yale University, Will was both the Chairman of the student government organization, the Yale College Council, and Captain of the varsity baseball team.
Will Pryor is an expert in dispute resolution, providing expert mediator services, as well as offering arbitration and providing support to the legal industry through his work as a teacher and lecturer. Name: Will Pryor Email: email@example.com Web Address: http://willpryor.com/ wordpress/ Address: Two Lincoln Centre 5420 LBJ Freeway (Tollway & LBJ) Suite 626, Dallas, TX 75240 Phone: 469-374-0222 Fax: 469-374-9272
Will was a co-founder, along with the late, great, Honorable Merrill Hartman, of the South Dallas Legal Clinic, the precursor of the neighborhood legal clinics in Dallas and the most successful pro bono project in the United States. Will was twice a recipient of the “Pro Bono Award of the Year” from the Dallas Bar Association and North Texas Legal Services. One of Will’s key services is mediation. Mediation is a nonbinding, facilitated settlement negotiation. The term non-binding refers to the fact that there is no resolution unless the parties agree to the terms of resolution. Any agreement achieved, however, is as binding as any other contract or settlement agreement. Regardless of the type of case, whether it is a construction case, an employment discrimination
claim, or insurance coverage dispute, the process is essentially the same. Mediations can be conducted at the firm or any other location that is agreeable to all parties. Will has mediated cases as far away as California, Ohio, and Georgia, and routinely mediates disputes in Houston, Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio. Most mediations begin with an informal joint session. Participants have an opportunity to summarize their perspective and evaluation of the dispute. When the joint session has run its course, the parties divide into separate caucuses. The mediator then becomes a “shuttle diplomat” between the parties, going back and forth until the case, hopefully, is resolved. There are at least two schools of thought with respect to the proper role of the mediator. One view is that the mediator should always be non-evaluative, that he or she should facilitate communication but not express opinions or make recommendations. Another view is that the mediator should be evaluative, and should share his or her views, opinions, and evaluation of the case. Will Pryor is evaluative, utilizing his judgment, experience, and instincts to assist the parties with their evaluation and reevaluation. Will firmly believes that any form of communication prior to the mediation is appropriate. Pre-mediation communication with mediators is often essential to resolution of the dispute. Whether the communication is a phone conference, a written submission, or a meeting, the communication will be treated confidentially. Everything submitted is reviewed in preparation for the mediation. If requested, any or all of the materials are returned at the conclusion of the mediation. Typically Will asks that clients provide, prior to consultation, a brief summary of the dispute and the client’s perspective on it (if this is reflected in a trial pleading, motion, or other readily available document, that is all that is needed) as well as a list of everyone who will be attending the mediation.