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Volume 5 ● No. 1


Jim Offner A variety of perspectives on health and wellness.

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University of Northern Iowa Creating a balance between work and family.

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Chamber newsletter What’s happening with Chamber of Commerce members.


ADVERTISING Bret Danielson (319) 291-1403

Jim Offner (319) 291-1598

Jackie Nowparvar (319) 291-1527 Sheila Kerns (319) 291-1448

Cedar Valley Business Monthly is published monthly. It is a free publication direct-mailed to more than 6,500 area businesses. For distribution, call Courier Communications at (319) 291-1527 Contact Cedar Valley Business Monthly at P.O. Box 540, Waterloo, IA 50704.

TIFFANY RUSHING / Courier Staff Photographer

The RIO, Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System, assists surgeons in patient-specific knee surgery. The technology was demonstrated Nov. 4 at Allen Hospital in Waterloo.

Dr. Roboto Technology leading patients to quicker recoveries By JIM OFFNER


Jennifer Friedly, director of surgical services, demonstrates how the RIO, Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System, works and the added security functions that aid the surgeon in a more precise procedure at Allen Hospital in Waterloo.

WATERLOO — In the business world, a health-related layoff can put company profits on the critical list. The two largest hospital systems in the Cedar Valley are addressing that problem, turning high-tech procedures into shorter stays for patients. Allen Hospital, for example, is using robotic technology to avert knee-replacement surgery that could require time-consuming occupational therapy and a long convalescence.

A robot from Mako Surgical Corp. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., helps surgeons replace bone lost to osteoarthritis, which is degenerative and progressive. It is a computer-controlled arm for reshaping bone, similar to computer-controlled machine tools for working wood or steel. A camera and computers on the pedestals help the surgeons tell the arm everything it needs to know before it cuts anything. The software is driven by detailed CT scans of the patient’s knee, helping the system identify what bone goes and what remains.

With the da Vinci Surgical System, surgeons at Allen now have an alternative to both traditional open surgery and conventional laparoscopy, putting a surgeon’s hands at the controls of a robotic platform. The da Vinci system enables surgeons to perform complex procedures through very small incisions. It has been used in more than 60 hysterectomies since the hospital brought it in last year, and has potential in other surgical applications in the future.

See ROBOTS, page 4





Get set to read a variety of perspectives on health and wellness Each month, the Cedar Valley Business Monthly looks at a specific issue affecting the business community. This month’s issue, on health and well-being, has a broader focus than others. Health, after all, Jim Offner affects everyone. is the Courier Whether the business editor. issue is the heart, Contact him at the mind, the jim.offner@ joints or even the soul, the state of one’s business depends on the health of the entrepreneur in charge. It’s a bit of a turnaround for Business Monthly. The magazine usually looks issues involving the health of businesses. This is more personal, because profits and losses, innovation and creation,

family-run businesses, agriculture, technology and every other concept that affects business begins and ends with health issues. Health is a broad issue and makes for some interesting discussions. This year in particular, with a massive party switch in Congress, the direction of health care reform remains a question. Hospitals and hospice services, care of the elderly and technological advances continue to gain prominence. Competition is an issue, as are continually escalating costs. It doesn’t stop there. Health entails keeping the outer person as fit and vibrant as the inner organs. That includes hygiene, dress and appearance. It encompasses keeping teeth straight and fingernails clipped. It’s an allinclusive category that blends wellness of mind and body.

Some issues grab the headlines, but plenty of others require attention. This month, Cedar Valley Business Monthly opens up its pages to opinions on all facets of health and well-being, whether it’s a company’s healthy bottom line or the importance of policies that encourage the good health of employees. The cover story takes a look at the importance of technology that enables patients to get treatment, recover and return to work in a shorter time frame. Whether it’s robotics that are playing a more prominent role at Allen Hospital or new, advanced treatment for cardiovascular problems at Covenant Hospital, the accent is on less invasive procedures that lead to quicker recovery. Technological advancements are keeping the Cedar Valley at the forefront of medical treat-

ROBOTS From page 3

The hospital has invested $1.4 million on the da Vinci technology and about $800,000 on the Mako robot, he said. “That’s the trend we started when we bought the da Vinci,” he said. “The big technology elements that we’re investing in now are designed to get people back to normal function much quicker.” “The Da Vinci has done that with our hysterectomy market in gynecology, and we expect Mako to do the same thing in orthopedics,” Slessor said. Similar advancements are occurring at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, which has Abiomed’s Impella 2.5 Percutaneous Circulatory Support System. It provides quick, effective treatment for heart attacks, said Dr. Richard Valente, an interventional cardiologist at Covenant Hospital in Waterloo. “Somebody comes in with a heart attack, and you have to open their artery and the heart muscle has been weakened,” he said. “You can go inside the heart, and it can take the blood out of the heart and pump it to the rest of the body at an almost-

normal rate.” The device takes stress off the heart muscle for a few days, allowing it to heal, Valente said. “This allows the heart to rest and pumps blood to the vital organs while it heals.” An otherwise high-risk procedure is much safer, and the patient has a much higher survival rate, Valente said. “It’s all done with a little incision in the leg,” he said. “It doesn’t require cracks in the chest or cuts in the sternum. When we’re done with the procedure, we pull it out and hold pressure on the vein and you’re good to go.” The procedure also can spare patients a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., or the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City. The hospital has had this technology for about two months, Valente said. “The patients that benefit the most are ones that have weak heart function and need their arteries fixed with stents,” he said. “There will be lots of procedures using this device in the next year. It’s an overnight stay as opposed to weeks.”

The two systems can cut patient recovery time dramatically. Workers can be back on the job in days rather than weeks or even months, according to Jennifer Friedly, director of surgical services. “There’s much less physical therapy,” she said, discussing the Mako system, which the hospital brought in at the end of September. “Patients are up the next day. The typical stay in the hospital for a total joint is three to four days. It’s much quicker recovery.” The procedure averts the necessity of replacing all tissues, as in a total knee replacement, Friedly said. “It’s a much smaller area, maybe one or two compartments as opposed to the whole knee,” she said. Less-invasive procedures and shorter recovery times have long been a goal in the medical profession. Now they’re becoming reality, said Steven Slessor, Allen’s senior director of strategic development.

ments, which leads to a healthier region, inside and outside of the business realm. This issue of Cedar Valley Business Monthly offers a variety of

perpectives on health and wellbeing. Readers will come away with new insights on this bottom-line topic that affects everyone, every day in multiple ways.





Keeping your business aoat in choppy waters Small business is said to be the lifeblood of the nation’s economy. Cash can be the lifeblood of any small business that wants to survive and thrive in a choppy economic environment. Building up a sufficient cash reserve to help see a business through lean times can be a Larry K. Fox challenge, but it is senior ďŹ nancial should be a prioradviser with ity for any smallAmeriprise business owner. Financial Inc., Just as indiWaterloo. Contact viduals and famihim at 234-7000. lies should have enough emergency cash on hand for a rainy day, the same is true for a business. A three- to six-month reserve of cash is critical to help a business overcome periods when business slows or other factors affect cash ow. Here are four important ways that a sufficient cash reserve can help your business:

Keep up with payroll, bills You and your employees count on a regular paycheck, but cash ows into your company might vary unpredictably from month to month. Having a stash of money in the bank can provide a necessary cushion to meet payroll and monthly expenses when cash ow is tight. It can also help cover the costs of supplies, equipment and services necessary to conduct business.

Avoid borrowing Financing can be a challenge for a small business, particularly in today’s economic environment. Business loans are not always easy to obtain, and interest and fees have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line. In many cases, business owners utilize high-cost credit card debt if other sources of borrowing are not available. Having money in the bank to meet cash ow needs or to make large

investments designed to help grow the business always gives a company greater exibility and lowers costs.

Reduce current debts Many business owners started their company with some debt. As cash reserves build up, some of those dollars can be used to pay down existing loans, reducing interest costs and ďŹ xed monthly payments. That will help improve the cash ow and general ďŹ nancial health of the company.

Stay aoat Perhaps the most important function of a cash reserve is to provide a bit of an insurance policy for a small business. The economic environment of recent years has proven to be unpredictable. More small-business owners are being forced to ďŹ nd creative ways to keep their company relevant and proďŹ table. As business ebbs and ows, a cash reserve helps keep operations running smoothly.

Build reserves A lesson many small-business owners probably learned during the recent recession was that the good times can’t be taken lightly. When business is booming and money is coming in, it makes sense to tuck some of it away. Having that kind of foresight helps your business survive difficult times and facilitates its next growth phase. This money needs to be fairly liquid and readily available. It should not be invested in longterm assets such as stocks, bonds or real estate. Try to earn a competitive return, but without taking undue risks with the money. The most important role of a cash reserve is to be there when your business needs it. Brokerage, investment and ďŹ nancial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC.


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Inform yourself about osteoporosis, fracture prevention One in a series of articles about osteoporosis seminar Nov. 16 and will have another in the spring. bone health. You can read my new blog on our Breast cancer, heart attack website, www.CVBoneHealth. and stroke are the most com- com. We are revising the informon threats to a woman’s health. mation on the site. Copies of the But fractures due Cedar Valley Business Monthly to osteoporosis articles will be added as well. The new blog will have inforare more common than all three mation added constantly to address new issues that come combined. Fractures caused up in the national media. The by osteoporosis articles in this magazine have are the leading addressed such issues several reason for dis- times, but always weeks after Jay Ginther, ability and nurs- questions arise. There will be no MD ing home place- need for that delay with the new is director of the ment for women blog. Cedar Valley Bone I attended the American Society and men. You Health Institute. for Bone Mineral Research annucan lower your Contact him at (319) 233-2663. risk by prevent- al meeting in October. There was ing or treating more information about the new drug Prolia. I heard the full report osteoporosis. You can be an informed and about the long- term effects of proactive participant in your bisphosphonates and attended health care. We had our fall a panel discussions about that

topic. You can lower fracture risk if you prevent osteoporosis. Doctors can prevent osteoporosis from getting worse in most people and prevent osteoporosis from happening in most people. Once osteoporosis is present, we can only make it less bad. To prevent osteoporosis, you need to detect it early. Visiting our updated website will inform you what to look for. If you wait for a hip fracture, or if you have shrunken from gradual crunches in your spine, you do not need to “screen” for osteoporosis; you already have it. We can only test to see how bad it is. Our goal becomes salvaging bad bones by making them less bad. We would rather treat “good enough” bones with the goal of keeping them good enough. At Cedar Valley Bone Health Institute, we perform complete

screenings for osteoporosis. We add vertebral fracture assessment to the standard DXA test for bone mineral density. This allows us to pick up an additional 20 percent of osteoporosis patients who are missed by DXA alone. We obtain full blood tests looking for conditions that cause osteoporosis. We calculate the FRAX screen for fracture risk. Many people are unsure if insurance will pay for osteoporosis screening and treatment. Medicare will pay for osteoporosis screening at age 50 or after menopause for women and at age 70 for men. Most private insurance will also cover at these ages. If a person has risk factors for osteoporosis, the minimum age is lowered or eliminated. Fragility fractures (including the upper spine crunching down), steroid treatment (such as for asthma or rheumatoid arthri-

tis), diseases such as hypothyroidism and early menopause from complete hysterectomy are among the risk factors usually covered. Men with such medical conditions, or with low testosterone levels from treatment for prostate cancer, are also usually covered. Preventing osteoporosis through early detection and treatment is far better than waiting until you have fractured. Most people think that a woman should be checked for osteoporosis when she is 70 or 80 or 90. Certainly, that is time for a checkup if you haven’t had one yet, whether you are a woman or a man. But the first screening should be much earlier. If you want to prevent osteoporosis, you need to detect the risk early enough to take preventive action. Visit to learn more.







Wartburg College We make leaders Todd Wille / 1985 graduate President and CEO, Unify Corp. Provider of application modernization solutions American Business Association’s 2008 Turnaround Executive of the Year On his first day as the head of Unify, Todd Wille was greeted by 19 lawyers and investigators from the Department of Justice, FBI, and SEC as well as 39 class-action lawsuits after its previous CEO committed securities fraud. During the next six months, Wille saved the company. Its stock price would increase by 432 percent and revenue would grow by 76 percent in one year. It has been in acquisition mode ever since.

Future leader Jordan Galles Senior, Cedar Falls Biology major Leadership and psychology minor Involved in the Community Builders program that won a MacJannet Prize for global citizenship “My leadership experience at Wartburg College has challenged me to become a better community member and global citizen through academic study and hands-on experience.�

Get your money’s worth Advertising in the Cedar Valley Business Monthly is an efficient way to spend your advertising dollars. If you want to place a display ad, call an account executive at 291-1497 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Our account executives and creative department will be happy to help you establish a campaign, step-by-step, that will sell. Before you set next year’s budget, give us a call.

Wartburg College has trained generations of business and community leaders. Future leaders—like Jordan—benefit from our Institute for Leadership Education and Leadership Certificate Program.

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Podiatrists play integral role in managing diabetes By DR. PHILIP MORREALE

It is believed that three of four Americans suffer from some foot ailment, and greater than 60 percent of those consider it normal for their feet to hurt. Doctors of podiatric medicine diagnose and manage a wide variety of lower extremity disorders in geriatrics, adults, children, infants and athletes. Medical conditions that affect the foot include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Traumatic and repetitive stress injuries include fractures, dislocations, tendonitis, ankle sprains, osteoarthritis and heel pain. Congenital and acquired conditions include bunions, hammer digits, tumors, flat feet, deformed nails and ingrown nails. Many conditions can be treated conservatively, but when

conservative measures fail, sur- tations. A comprehensive footgery becomes a viable option. care plan can reduce amputation rates by 80 percent, according Diabetic foot care to the American Diabetes AssoNearly 24 million adults and ciation. A recent study highchildren have diabetes in the U.S. lighted the dramatic impact that Close to 6 million have diabetes even a single visit to a podiatrist and don’t know it. The feet can can have on patients with diareveal the first signs of diabetes betes. The study, sponsored by the American Podiatric Medical and other conditions. Diabetes can damage nerves in Association, examined records the legs and feet, reducing the for more than 32,000 patients ability to feel pain. That, along with diabetes ages 18-64 and with poor blood flow, can cause compared health and risk factors small sores and cuts on the feet for those who had podiatry visits to heal slowly. This can develop to those who did not. Researchinto a wound, also called a dia- ers found that care by a podiatbetic foot ulcer. Up to 25 percent ric physician (defined as at least of people with diabetes develop one preventative, pre-ulcer visit) foot ulcers, which can escalate was associated with a nearly 29 into gangrene, bone infection and percent lower risk of amputaeven lower limb amputations. tion and 24 percent lower risk of Diabetes is the leading cause of hospitalization. Podiatrists play an integral role nontraumatic lower-limb ampu-

Caregiving, illness, and grieving can have

to learn.

a huge impact on the workplace. That’s why Cedar Valley Hospice offers Caring Connections, a no cost training for you and your employees on how to cope with these issues. Contact Jennifer Siech at (319)272-2002 or for more information. 2101 Kimball Ave. | Waterloo, IA

319.272.2002 | Grundy Center | Independence | Waverly | Hospice Home

in a diabetes management team focusing on limb preservation. They utilize the most advanced and innovative wound care products and grafting techniques to encourage and expedite the wound healing process. Prevention is the key. Those with diabetes need to be espe-

cially careful about foot care and should work with a podiatrist to determine the best preventive treatment plan. Philip Morreale is a doctor of podiatric medicine at Cedar Valley Podiatry Foot & Ankle Center in Waterloo. Contact him at (800) 362-4180.


Get your money’s worth Advertising in the Cedar Valley Business Monthly is an efficient way to spend your advertising dollars. If you want to place a display ad, call an account executive at 291-1497 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Our account executives and creative department will be happy to help you establish a campaign, step-by-step, that will sell. Before you set next year’s budget, give us a call.








Chiropractic care can treat many maladies By BRAD BROOKS

Chiropractic is a health care discipline and profession that emphasizes diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. It is a system of therapy that utilizes the recuperative powers of the body and the relationship between the musculoskeletal structures and the functions of the body, particularly of the spinal column and the nervous system, in the restoration and maintenance of health. Chiropractic medicine employs manipulation and adjustment of specific areas of the body (often of the spine) to prevent and treat disease and nerve function. Treatment methods include massage, joint manipulation (most notably of the vertebrae) and other forms of therapy. Chiropractic is one of the most popular alternative therapies available. Many would say it now qualifies as mainstream treatment as opposed to complementary medicine. The ability of your body to handle stress and to stay in balance is a large component of your total well being and health. There are three main types of stress including nutritional/ chemical, mental/emotional and structural/physical. When any of these three are lacking, then your health and well-being can suffer. Chiropractic care keeps your body in balance and able to control stress better. Two main symptoms of physical stress are headache and backache, which are also the most common complaints that people bring to their doctors. Many people think headaches are normal and take over-thecounter or prescription drugs to

relieve the pain. However, these drugs only dull the pain. They don’t treat the cause, which is why the headache returns. In addition to chronic headaches, chiropractic care is also effective in treating tension headaches. A recent study released by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research found that individuals undergoing chiropractic therapy showed sustained reduction in headache frequency and severity compared with patients who took the drug amitriptyline, a commonly prescribed medication for tension headaches. The American Chiropractic Association reports that 14 percent of the public who see chiropractors presently go for headaches. Chiropractic has such a huge success rate in the treatment of headaches because most headaches are soft tissue or nerve related. A spinal adjustment can help alleviate the pressure put on muscles, nerves and blood vessels, which will allow better function and diminish the symptoms of a headache. It’s well known that anxiety and stress can trigger a backache. It’s not clearly understood why or how, but there is evidence to indicate that muscles tightened by stress can result in all kinds of aches and pains. If there also happens to be some arthritis, disc degeneration or other structural problems in the spine, the muscle tightness can lead to irritation of joints. Chiropractic treatment helps balance your body’s structure and function and promotes self-healing. Chiropractors correct subluxations (joint misalignment) by manipulation of the vertebrae and sometimes other areas of the body. This is called an adjustment. Spinal adjustments are

usually done manually, the chiropractor using his or her hands to apply pressure to the spine to coax the vertebrae into proper alignment. Chiropractors usually massage and stretch muscles before doing an adjustment, and some may apply spinal traction or other modalities. This allows the vertebrae to more easily be manipulated. When the spine is in proper alignment, back pain will be alleviated, decreasing stress and improving health and well-being. From a holistic point of view, nutrition is a natural fit for chiropractic care. Chiropractic is trying to heal the body naturally. When you are eating healthy foods, it helps the body with the ability to heal itself. Nutrition can also directly impact sublux-

ations from the standpoint that improper nutrition can affect fluid levels on a cellular level, which affects nerve transmissions. Proper nutrition may also help patients hold an adjustment longer. Chiropractic also promotes a “sound mind in a sound body” by removing nervous system damage, the vertebral subluxation complex. When the spine and nervous system are relieved of subluxation damage by chiropractic adjustments, emotional/ mental health has been observed to improve. Your nervous system appears to be a liaison between your mind and body. While many patients visit chiropractors when they are in pain, there is great benefit in addressing your overall health

from a preventive point of view. Prevention is always easier than helping an injury or health issue. Another benefit of prevention is to allow the person to have an optimal health level. Chiropractic medicine is becoming a mainstay in health care today rather than an alternative treatment. Chiropractic services can treat the whole body and mind from nutrition recommendations to spinal manipulations. This helps the patient enjoy the lifestyle they choose rather than having their health conditions make that choice for them. Brad Brooks, D.C., is with Chiropractic Services at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare. Contact him at 575-5607 or Brad.brooks@wfhc.

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What does your company do to encourage healthy employees?

“Like many companies trying to cut health care costs and reduce employee illness, we have implemented a Wellness Program with one of the local hospitals. I believe it is just as important to create a mentally and emotionally healthy environment. We were recently reminded by our CEO of the importance of using our time off to refresh our mind, body and spirit. Time off is an important investment in your most important resources—the human ones.” Wendy Knapp / Goodwill Industries of North East Iowa

“As manager of Peoples Savings Bank in Dike, we, as a team like to promote healthy life choices. As young adults our time is filled with running children to daycare, sports practice, school and many other events, partner this with a full time work schedule and community events and it is rare we get to sit and eat a home cooked meal. As a staff we bring in home cooked meals for lunch on occasion to share with the team. We also provide bottled water and healthy snacks in our break room to keep the mind energized throughout the day. We are fortunate to have a bike trail that is 10 feet from our back door and on nice days we are able to get out and take a small stroll on our lunch hour.” Michael Bahnsen / People Savings Bank

“Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare offers many programs and services to associates throughout the year to encourage healthy living. The Associate Health & Wellness Committee writes monthly articles in our newsletter featuring tips about exercise, healthy eating and work/life balance. We also have the WIN program where associates can earn chances to win cash prizes for things like maintaining healthy weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Each year associates are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated for the seasonal flu and the company provides the vaccine at no charge for associates. Wheaton also offers the Employee Assistance Program with free confidential counseling assistance for employees and their families. The Wheaton Wellness Center also has many programs associates can choose to participate in including personal training and group exercise classes.” Andrea Barker / Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

“My company does believe that a healthy employee is a very productive one. The company working with many different health and fitness clubs makes discounted memberships to these places available to employees. I am also very impressed with the fact that my company is not just focused on the physical health of it employees. The company has just as much focus on the mental development of its employees. Employees are encouraged to read books or articles that are motivational. I believe that this double focus of a health body and mind of employees are key points in what makes for a strong and productive environment for success for both employees and company.” Sid Harris / Aflac



10 ways to support a grieving friend The holidays are generally perceived as “the most wonderful time of the year.” But for those who are facing grief after the death of a loved one, the holidays may instead be a time filled with pain and sadness. Mary Alfrey Friends, family is director of members and coadvancement at Cedar Valley workers may be unsure how to act Hospice in Waterloo. Contact or what to say to her at (319) support those who 272-2064. The are grieving durWeb site is www. ing the holidays. The In general, the toll-free phone best way to supnumber is (800) port someone is 617-1972. to let them know you care. They need to be remembered and they need to know their loved ones are remembered, too. Cedar Valley Hospice grief counselors emphasize friends and family members should never be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, because making an effort and showing concern will be appreciated. Here are some tips grieving people have shared: 1. Be supportive of the way your friend or family member chooses to celebrate the holidays. Some may wish to follow traditions. Others may choose to change their rituals or may not feel up to any type of celebration. 2. Offer to help with tangible tasks such as baking, cleaning, or decorating. Seemingly simple tasks can be overwhelming while dealing with grief. 3. Invite the person to attend a religious service with you and your family. 4. Offer to help with holiday shopping or share your favorite catalogs or online shopping sites. 5. Invite your friend or coworker to your home for the holidays.

6. Inquire if your friend is interested in volunteering with you during the holiday season. Doing something for someone else, such as helping at a soup kitchen or working with children, may help them feel better about the holidays. 7. Make a donation in memory of the loved one as a reminder their special person is not forgotten. 8. Remember to avoid telling those who are grieving to be “over it.” Grief is an individual process and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. 9. If your family member, friend or co-worker wants to talk about the deceased loved one or feelings associated with the loss, listen. Don’t worry about being conversational … just listen. 10. Remind the person you are thinking of them and their loved one who died. Cards, phone calls and visits are great ways to stay in touch. Cedar Valley Hospice is a valuable resource to help people who are struggling with grief and loss. Bereavement support is provided to all members of the community at no cost, whether or not your loved one was in the Cedar Valley Hospice program. The grief counselors at Cedar Valley Hospice know the importance of providing emotional and spiritual support to those who are grieving. Cedar Valley Hospice also offers Caring Connections — “It’s About How You Live At Work,” a training for your staff available at no cost to your business. Serious illness, death, caregiving and making health decisions are tough topics — but facing the problems and discussing the issues will help your business and your staff survive these difficult times. For more information, contact Jennifer Siech at (319) 272-2002 or jsiech@cvhospice. org.


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Tend to your soul and find a happy, healthy life By JESSE TINK

How’s your soul? When was the last time someone asked you that question? Have you ever asked yourself that question? In the interest of integrity and transparency, you should know I’m a pastor. It’s my business to ask this question. I have a set of beliefs and prescriptions that flow from that question. But my desire isn’t to get you to ask religious questions of yourself. I’m not asking you if you’re going to church. I’m not asking if you’re doing more good than evil. I’m not asking you to weigh the proverbial scale of your life. I’m not asking you what you believe about God or the afterlife. In fact, I’m not asking you to take stock of what you believe about anything. All I’m asking you to do is this:

Create some space in your life to take some personal inventory. Your soul is your interior life. We all have one. Your soul is the seat of your emotions and the content of your will. Your soul is your character, out of which your behavior comes. It’s the life you are living on the inside. It is who you really are. It is the driving force on the inside that shapes, sometimes mysteriously, but always measurably, the life that you are living on the outside. Most of the time the state of your soul gets masked by the life that you are living on the outside. It gets lost underneath the pile of to-do’s, expectations, responsibilities, problems to be solved, meetings to attend, goals to reach and relationships to manage. Its whispers are lost among the din of the many other voices in our lives: children, spouses, bosses, employees, co-workers, media,

voice mails, text messages, emails, commercials and talking heads. The window to our soul is often muddied by the business and noise of our lives. Create some space to clean the window to your soul. Allow silence and solitude to do their cleansing work. Are you constantly hurried and anxious? Are you driven by unhealthy fears or compulsions? Are you using your strengths to mask interior flaws? Are you using substances to medicate what is underneath? Is there a disconnect between the life you are living before others and the life only you can see? Do you feel like a prisoner of your own expectations or the expectations of another? Do you enter each day trying to prove to yourself and others that you really do measure up? These are the questions the soul is begging us to ask. These are the questions your

soul is desiring for you to create some space to answer. But let’s be honest: These are the questions few of us are willing to stop long enough to ask ourselves. Maybe we feel like we’re too busy. Maybe we find it difficult to see the of asking and answering such questions — how it would impact our dayto-day. Maybe we’re unsure of how to answer. Perhaps we are afraid of what the questions will reveal, or afraid we won’t be able to do anything to change what we realize is crying to be fixed. There is a reason why the phrase “ignorance is bliss” still can be heard echoing through our minds today as it concerns the matters of the soul. Of course, on some level, we all know that ignorance is not bliss. None of us refuses to look at our bank statements, hoping that everything is OK, not wanting

to face reality. None of us fails to keep an eye on what the market is doing, preferring to instead imagine a future in which everything magically works out in the end. No. We take a disciplined look at our habits, our decisions and our environment, and we make informed adjustments that will position ourselves to weather, survive, and even thrive. It should be the same for our interior life. We need to be aware of it. We need to steward, shepherd and take care of it — just like any other facet of our lives. It is ignored at our own peril, and it is to our benefit if we stop long enough to ask ourselves and one another: How’s your soul? Jesse Tink is programming director and Waterloo campus pastor at Prairie Lakes Church. Contact him at 266.2655, ext. 126





Is your company’s website making the grade? Does this sound familiar? You’ve spent a lot of time and money building your company’s website to reveal it to the world. Then it sits dormant in cyberspace for the rest of eternity (or until you are replaced). Even as a proJuli Camarin fessional Web is senior designer developer this with Aces/ happens to me AMT — Aces I Marketing Through occasionally. spend most of my Technology. The time working on Web site is www.acesiowa. everyone else’s com; www.amt2. website but my com. own. In fact a coworker e-mailed me recently notifying me that I still had an employee listed on our site who left the company at the beginning of the summer. As I think about it, I have to ask myself is my website making the grade? You might be facing the same thing. You’ve poured the effort and the finances into it, and now you want to know if your site is bringing in the return on investment you had hoped for. Here are a few tips to evaluate the effectiveness of your website. By comparing these items against your site, you should be able to extrapolate a score on how your site is doing in comparison with the normal standards of today’s websites. ■ Do you have a blog? Blogs are important for today’s websites. Blogging is a great way to reach your customers and share your thoughts, opinions and offerings on relevant topics. It creates an

ongoing interest in your site. ■ How many pages has Google indexed? The Google Web spiders come to your site occasionally and look for new content to index. Generally, the more pages you have in the Google cache, the better you will fare. (This is another bonus of a blog; new content to index, keeping the crawlers happy and hard at work). ■ What is your site’s readability level? Your site is scored using a simple formula that measures the approximate level of education necessary to read and understand the content on the page. In most cases, the content should be made simple so that a majority of the target audience can understand it. Do this by keeping your sentences short and using words with fewer syllables. ■ Is your site optimized? Optimizing your content is a key step. To ensure you give your valuable content the best chance of drawing traffic from the Web, here are some tips: ■ Complete metadata for every page on your site (site descriptions and keywords). Use alt tags on both images and links so that the search engines can process and understand them. Let the search engines know exactly what your site and pages contain by making sure your keywords show up in the correct density and appear in top of your content and the title of your pages. ■ How long is your domain name registered? Most experts agree you should register your domain for a long time, because search engines factor

domain stability when looking at your pages. Show Google and other search engines that you are committed to the domain name; take a leap and renew it for five years. ■ How many sites link to your site? One of the most important measures for a website is how many other sites link to it. This is called inbound linking ( The more sites you have that that link to you the better, because search engines see this as a vote of confidence. It is an indication that your website is trustworthy and contains good content. ■ Have you promoted your site recently? Utilize Twitter, StumbleUpon, Google Buzz,

with them. ■ Have you measured your site’s traffic lately? Check your analytics regularly. Watch your bounce rate ( blog-article-archives/153paying-attention-to-yourwebsites-bounce-rate) and pay attention to how visitors use your site. Monitoring your site traffic will help you optimize new content and improve your site. Evaluation on your traffic and site stats will help you draw conclusions from your competitors and other sites that are related to your business and make the necessary adjustments. Those are some key ideas to enusre a high-quality website. As traffic goes up, hopefully ROI will, as well.

Comprehensive Chiropractic approach to treating and reducing pain. Chiropractic care treatment includes: z z z z z z z

Find all your latest news in

Facebook, Delicious and other bookmarking sites. ■ Do you have an RSS feed? RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a standard way to easily deliver content to visitors after they’ve left your website but they’re still interested in your subject. RSS is commonly used with blogs, news feeds, and other formatted news or other sources of information. ■ Do you have a conversion form? Conversion forms are the primary way to get leads from your website. Without forms, you can’t convert your website traffic into customers. They are easy to set up and very customizable. Let your visitors engage with you by giving them an opportunity to fill out a simple contact form and following up

z z z

Chronic and Difficult Cases Fibromyalgia Carpal Tunnel Tendonitis Musculoskeletal Sprains Auto Injuries Back Injuries Pre-Employment Exams Return to Work Examinations Worker Compensation Injuries Arrowhead Medical Center Corner of South Main and Greenhill Road 226 Bluebell Road, Cedar Falls, IA 50613 319-575-5600 (phone) / 319-575-5617 (fax)





Is your company’s website making the grade? Does this sound familiar? You’ve spent a lot of time and money building your company’s website to reveal it to the world. Then it sits dormant in cyberspace for the rest of eternity (or until you are replaced). Even as a proJuli Camarin fessional Web is senior designer developer this with Aces/ happens to me AMT — Aces I Marketing Through occasionally. spend most of my Technology. The time working on Web site is www.acesiowa. everyone else’s com; www.amt2. website but my com. own. In fact a coworker e-mailed me recently notifying me that I still had an employee listed on our site who left the company at the beginning of the summer. As I think about it, I have to ask myself is my website making the grade? You might be facing the same thing. You’ve poured the effort and the finances into it, and now you want to know if your site is bringing in the return on investment you had hoped for. Here are a few tips to evaluate the effectiveness of your website. By comparing these items against your site, you should be able to extrapolate a score on how your site is doing in comparison with the normal standards of today’s websites. ■ Do you have a blog? Blogs are important for today’s websites. Blogging is a great way to reach your customers and share your thoughts, opinions and offerings on relevant topics. It creates an

ongoing interest in your site. ■ How many pages has Google indexed? The Google Web spiders come to your site occasionally and look for new content to index. Generally, the more pages you have in the Google cache, the better you will fare. (This is another bonus of a blog; new content to index, keeping the crawlers happy and hard at work). ■ What is your site’s readability level? Your site is scored using a simple formula that measures the approximate level of education necessary to read and understand the content on the page. In most cases, the content should be made simple so that a majority of the target audience can understand it. Do this by keeping your sentences short and using words with fewer syllables. ■ Is your site optimized? Optimizing your content is a key step. To ensure you give your valuable content the best chance of drawing traffic from the Web, here are some tips: ■ Complete metadata for every page on your site (site descriptions and keywords). Use alt tags on both images and links so that the search engines can process and understand them. Let the search engines know exactly what your site and pages contain by making sure your keywords show up in the correct density and appear in top of your content and the title of your pages. ■ How long is your domain name registered? Most experts agree you should register your domain for a long time, because search engines factor

domain stability when looking at your pages. Show Google and other search engines that you are committed to the domain name; take a leap and renew it for five years. ■ How many sites link to your site? One of the most important measures for a website is how many other sites link to it. This is called inbound linking ( The more sites you have that that link to you the better, because search engines see this as a vote of confidence. It is an indication that your website is trustworthy and contains good content. ■ Have you promoted your site recently? Utilize Twitter, StumbleUpon, Google Buzz,

with them. ■ Have you measured your site’s traffic lately? Check your analytics regularly. Watch your bounce rate ( blog-article-archives/153paying-attention-to-yourwebsites-bounce-rate) and pay attention to how visitors use your site. Monitoring your site traffic will help you optimize new content and improve your site. Evaluation on your traffic and site stats will help you draw conclusions from your competitors and other sites that are related to your business and make the necessary adjustments. Those are some key ideas to enusre a high-quality website. As traffic goes up, hopefully ROI will, as well.

Comprehensive Chiropractic approach to treating and reducing pain. Chiropractic care treatment includes: z z z z z z z

Find all your latest news in

Facebook, Delicious and other bookmarking sites. ■ Do you have an RSS feed? RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a standard way to easily deliver content to visitors after they’ve left your website but they’re still interested in your subject. RSS is commonly used with blogs, news feeds, and other formatted news or other sources of information. ■ Do you have a conversion form? Conversion forms are the primary way to get leads from your website. Without forms, you can’t convert your website traffic into customers. They are easy to set up and very customizable. Let your visitors engage with you by giving them an opportunity to fill out a simple contact form and following up

z z z

Chronic and Difficult Cases Fibromyalgia Carpal Tunnel Tendonitis Musculoskeletal Sprains Auto Injuries Back Injuries Pre-Employment Exams Return to Work Examinations Worker Compensation Injuries Arrowhead Medical Center Corner of South Main and Greenhill Road 226 Bluebell Road, Cedar Falls, IA 50613 319-575-5600 (phone) / 319-575-5617 (fax)





Employers can save money with the right wellness plan By JOSH BUDKE

On Dec. 24, 2009, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — the health care reform bill. This bill carries a price tag of $871 billion but does little to address cost containment and less about the need to overhaul Americans’ health and well-being. Americans suffer from obesity, diabetes and lifestyle health issues at alarming rates. For employers, this translates into a less productive work force and rising insurance costs. According to the Center for Disease control, $9 billion in productivity is lost annually due to heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes attributed to poor nutrition and obesity. The average amount spent on health insurance in 2007 was $7,421, and that number is

expected to rise to $13,101 by the year 2017. So, what can you do as an employer to control your health insurance costs and also protect your employees? “Best practice” employers start by implementing a wellness program with three key elements: ■ Clinically based intervention programs with ongoing care and disease management. ■ Cash-based incentives to drive healthy behaviors. ■ Proactive excellence in benefits administration and communication. ■ There is more to a health program than the insurance premiums and deductible levels. The implementation process can seem overwhelming, but we’ve broken it down into seven steps. 1. Capture senior-level sup-

Research: A noisy workplace doubles risk of heart disease Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Years spent in a noisy workplace may take a toll on both hearing and heart health. A study published in October found persistent noise in the workplace doubled the chances of an employee developing serious heart disease. Previous studies on the effect of loud noise on the heart have produced mixed results. For the new study, researchers examined a database of more than 6,000 employees ages 20 and older who were surveyed about lifestyle, occupation and health. The participants were grouped according to those who endured loud noise at work (meaning it was difficult to talk at a normal volume) for at least three months and those who did not experience loud noise. The study found 21 percent of workers, mostly men, endured noisy workplaces. They were two to three times more likely to have heart disease compared with

workers who did not experience noise. The workers who endured loud noise also were more likely to smoke and weigh more than other workers. But noise emerged as a risk factor for heart disease even when controlling for those other risk factors. The authors of the study, published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, speculate noise exerts the same kind of stress on the body as sudden strong emotion or physical exertion. Stress triggers the release of chemicals that constrict blood flow through the arteries. The study has flaws. Researchers couldn’t rule out that the increased risk wasn’t also due to other factors, such as air pollution, shift work or workload. But the research does suggest persistent loud noise can affect health and “deserves special attention,” the authors said. It is also could be easily prevented, say with earplugs.

port — Senior leadership should initially communicate the company’s commitment to employee health and participate in the initial screening before rolling it out to the larger employee group. 2. Create a wellness team — Buy-in is key and having employees from various areas in your company participating helps promote the program. Also, don’t make it just the super fit marathon runners on your committee, choose a diverse demographic. 3. Collect and track data — Make sure you are tracking your progress with cohort reports. Nothing is worse than showing zero progress due to turnover. Keep that in mind when you review your wellness companies’ platform. 4. Craft an operating plan — Wellness programs cost money, so having a long-term strategy in place to maintain your momen-

tum is important. This might mean having a “quarterback” to oversee your program. This individual doesn’t have to be you. The right wellness company and/ or insurance broker might be the best answer. 5. Choose appropriate reinforcement of your message — It’s imperative to persuade employees in order to have them engage in the right behaviors. Cash moves people to make the right choices. 6. Develop a supportive environment — Junk food in the vending machine and pizza parties on Fridays don’t support the culture you are trying to create. Make sure all areas of your company support your wellness message. 7. Evaluate your outcomes and ROI — The business owner and CFO want to see what your

wellness program means to the bottom line. Through tracking and measurement ROI can be achieved. All wellness programs are not created equal. Many advisers and companies preach wellness and only add to the cost of existing insurance. Look for a proven track record and return on investment for current clients. If ever there is a time to reevaluate health and wellness, it’s now. While our health insurance model continues to evolve, it’s important to partner that evolution with lifestyle changes. Not only will this evolution protect employees but also the employers who invest in them. Josh Budke is employee benefit specialist with TrueNorth Cos. Contact him at (319) 739-1205 or jbudke@





Find balance between work and family By BRENDA BASS and ADAM BUTLER

Demographic and workforce trends over the past few decades have triggered discussions about work-family balance and the need for policies that promote it. Today the majority of children are raised in households where all parents work, and nearly one in four Americans are caring for elders. At the same time, American businesses face new pressures to recruit and retain a welltrained and highly productive work force in a globally competitive economy. Can businesses remain competitive and help employees achieve balance in their lives? Research on work-family initiatives suggests there are “winwin” solutions for employers and employees.

Flexible work arrangements are an effective response to the challenge of managing the demands of work and family. National surveys indicate about a third of employers allow adjustments to work schedules, and about 15 percent provide the opportunity to work from home. The results only work environment, pioneered in 2006 at the headquarters of Minneapolis-based Best Buy, is a good example of a flexibility program. ROWE allows workers complete freedom to determine when and where they work, yet holds them accountable by establishing measurable performance goals. Does it work? Best Buy reports productivity has increased and voluntary turnover has decreased since the program started. It now

Holiday shoppers cut their budgets The Associated Press

The recession may be over, but people are still shopping with an eye on savings. About 30 percent of U.S. adults want to cut their holiday budgets this year, according to an October Consumer Reports poll. That follows years of cutbacks. The 2008 holiday shopping season was the worst in decades, and 2009 was only slightly better. Last year, roughly a similar number of shoppers — 33 percent — said they were expecting to spend less. The poll also suggested that shoppers would remain intent on finding discounts and deals in November and December, which could hurt prices. But there were some good tidings for retailers in the survey. The gap between people who want to trim their budgets and people

who say they want to spend more is shrinking: 19 percent of shoppers say they’re inclined to spend more this season, up from 16 percent in late 2009. “We’re guardedly optimistic about how this year’s going to shape up,” said Ed Farrell, Consumer Reports’ Director of Market Research. People expressed more interest in buying all types of gifts — clothing, electronics, food and wine — than last year. And no matter what shoppers say about budgets, they tend to spend more than they had planned. Last December, respondents said they would drop $699, on average, on presents. A month later, they said they had actually spent an average of $811. Consumer Reports polled 1,010 U.S. adults from Oct. 14-18 over the telephone. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

leases out office space formerly occupied by its employees. Not all work can be performed under the kind of flexibility envisioned by the ROWE program. Bank tellers need to be available at certain hours, and miners can’t work from home. Still, employers can help these employees by providing a family-supportive culture. Supervisors can be trained to provide both emotional and tangible assistance to employees who are struggling with balance. Organizations can develop cultures that recognize employees as people with lives that extend beyond the workplace. Businesses that do this are often recognized as among the best places to work. Ignoring the issue of workfamily balance poses significant

risks to business. Workers who struggle to manage their work and family demands have poorer performance and higher turnover rates. Balance also has important implications for employee wellness: imbalance is associated with health problems, including hypertension and illness, and also increases stress, depression and substance abuse. These findings underscore the business imperative of enhancing workfamily balance. While a single approach will not be effective in all of the unique workplace environments, promoting work-family balance makes business sense. Research suggests business organizations that implement policies aimed at improving work-family balance for employees increase

company loyalty and morale, decrease absenteeism and turnover and increase productivity. At the same time, healthier and more balanced employees contribute vital participation in local communities. Creativity in business has helped strengthen the economic foundation of the Cedar Valley. This same creative thinking can help us navigate the barriers to developing more work-family balance in our community. Brenda Bass is associate dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and professor of family studies at University of Northern Iowa. Contact her at 273-3545 or brenda. Adam Butler is professor of psychology at UNI. Contact him at 273-7293 or

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Joint replacement can restore quality of life By DR. DOUGLAS COOPER

Why is total joint replacement necessary? The goal is to relieve the pain in the joint caused by the damage to the cartilage. The pain may be so severe a person will avoid using the joint, weakening the muscles around the joint and making it even more difficult to move. A physical examination, and possibly some laboratory tests and X-rays, will determine the extent of damage. Total joint replacement will be considered if other treatment options will not relieve the pain and disability. How is a total joint replacement performed? You will be given an anesthetic and the surgeon will replace the damaged parts of the joint. For example, in an arthritic knee, the damaged ends of the bones and cartilage are replaced with metal and plastic surfaces that are shaped to restore knee movement and function. In an arthritic hip, the damaged ball (the upper end of the femur) is replaced by a metal ball attached to a metal stem fitted into the femur, and a plastic socket is implanted into the pelvis, replacing the damaged socket. Although hip and knee are the most common joints replaced, this surgery can be performed on other joints, including the ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow and fingers. The materials used in a total joint replacement are designed

to enable the joint to move just like a normal joint. The prosthesis is generally composed of two parts: a metal piece that fits closely into a matching sturdy plastic piece. Several metals are used, including stainless steel, alloys of cobalt and chrome and titanium. The plastic material is durable and wear-resistant (polyethylene). A plastic bone cement may be used to anchor the prosthesis into the bone. Joint replacements also can be implanted without cement when the prosthesis and the bone are designed to fit and lock together directly. What is the recovery process? In general, your orthopedic surgeon will encourage you to use your new joint shortly after your operation. After total hip or knee replacement, you will often stand and begin walking the day after surgery. Initially, you will walk with a walker, crutches or a cane. Most patients have some temporary pain in the replacement joint because the surrounding muscles are weak from inactivity and the tissues are healing. This will end in a few weeks or months. Exercise is an important part of the recovery process. Your orthopedic surgeon or the staff will discuss an exercise program for you after surgery. This varies for different joint replacements and for differing needs of each patient. After surgery, you may be per-

Get your money’s worth Advertising in Cedar Valley Business Monthly is an efficient way to spend your advertising dollars. If you want to place a display ad, call an account executive at 291-1497 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Our account executives and creative department will be happy to help you establish a campaign, step-by-step, that will sell. Before you set next year’s budget, give us a call.

mitted to play golf, walk and dance. More strenuous sports such as tennis or running may be discouraged. The motion of your joint will generally improve after surgery. The extent of improvement will depend on how stiff your joint was before the surgery. Is total joint replacement permanent? Most older people can expect total joint replacement to last a decade or more. It will give years of pain-free living that would not have been possible otherwise. Younger joint replacement patients may need a second total joint replacement. Materials and surgical techniques are improving through the efforts of orthopedic surgeons work-

ing with engineers and other scientists. The future is bright for those who choose to have a total joint replacement to achieve an improved quality of life through greater independence and healthier pain-free activity. Your orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor with extensive training in the diagnosis and nonsurgical and surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves. Grundy Center resident Maris Byrnes used to experience pain on a daily basis. Byrnes has been a dedicated walker, going 24 blocks every day. But as the pain in her knee got worse, she started to decrease the number of blocks,

first to twelve, then to six. Eventually she was not walking at all. “The pain was interfering with the daily activities and not allowing me to do the things I’ve always done. That was when I knew, it was time to have my knee replaced,” Byrnes said. Now, four months after surgery, Maris walks 20 blocks every other day and has even gotten back to 24 blocks on a couple of occasions. “It’s just wonderful,” she said. “Now when I walk, there is no pain. I can do the things I want to do; I have my quality of life back.” Douglas Cooper, M.D., is with Grundy County Memorial Hospital in Grundy Center. The telephone number is (319) 824-5085.



Probiotics critical to digestive health Winter is just around the corner, which brings the sniffles and sneezes. Recent trends show more people are turning to natural products to fight these nasty germs. An important part of a strong immune system is having a well-functioning digestive system. Digestive health is connected to every funcMarilyn tion of our body Bartels is owner if TnK and is critical to Health Food a healthy body. Store in Waterloo. Probiotics can Contact her at play a crucial 235-0246. part in a healthy digestive tract. They are the “good” or “friendly” bacteria, also known as microflora, that keep our digestive systems running smoothly. An imbalance in beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract may disrupt proper digestion leading to problems that could vary from acutely minor to seriously chronic. Probiotics may produce antioxidants and improve nutrition through enhanced breakdown and absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids and synthesize the B vitamins. Probiotics colonize our intestinal tracts and play key roles in maintaining nutritional status, which enhances immune function, reduces cancer risk, improves cholesterol metabolism, reduces toxic load, and improves the aging process. The effectiveness of every probiotic depends on its ability to

reach the large intestine alive and well, so it will “stick” to the intestinal wall. Studies have also shown probiotics given to infants in day-care centers had fewer absences, fevers, and tummy aches as well as less prescriptions for antibiotics. There are many different “strains” of probiotics. Multi-strain probiotics are considered to have more of a synergistic adhesion to the intestinal wall. Once the good bacteria sticks to the intestinal wall, they can multiply into a colony or colonize. Probiotics could be quite beneficial for those who have recently taken antibiotics. The antibiotics strip the digestive track of the “good” bacteria. Unless that “good” bacteria is replaced, it may leave us vulnerable to more illness, since we don’t have this beneficial bacteria to fight off invading bad bacteria. Yogurt is considered a source of probiotics, but since it needs to stay chilled and contains sugar (or artificial sweeteners), calories and fat, it is not always healthy or convenient. Also, much of the beneficial bacteria is often lessened in the heating process of making yogurt. In addition, because of harsh stomach acids, most probiotics may not survive the journey through our stomach into the intestine where it is best utilized. That is why many people rely on probiotic supplements. Probiotics are available in powder or pill form. Include probiotics in your daily regimen. Visit your natural health food store and ask for a high quality probiotic.

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UNI business school gets high marks in Princeton Review’s latest rankings CEDAR FALLS — The University of Northern Iowa has been named an outstanding business school for the fifth consecutive year by The Princeton Review. The New York-based education-services company features the school in its 2011 edition of “The Best 300 Business Schools” (Random House/ Princeton Review, Oct. 12). “We are pleased to recommend UNI to readers of our book and users of our site,, as one of the best institutions they could attend to earn an MBA,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review senior vice presidentpublishing. “We chose the 300 business schools in this book based on our high opinion of

their academic programs and offerings, as well as our review of institutional data we collected from the schools. We also strongly consider the candid opinions of students.” “It is gratifying to receive recognition from The Princeton Review, which is internationally respected for its independence,” Farzad Mousavi, dean of UNI’s College of Business Administration, said in a news release. “Princeton Review’s focus is on MBA programs, but our MBA program does not operate in isolation. It relies on the same faculty, staff and academic philosophy as the rest of the college. What Princeton Review finds so appealing — high quality of instruction and strong

student orientation — defines the entire college.” “The Best 300 Business Schools: 2011 Edition” has twopage profiles of the schools with write-ups on their academics, student life and admissions, plus ratings for their academics, selectivity and career placement services. UNI’s MBA program facilitates the professional development of middle-level managers and those aspiring to managerial positions. The program seeks to improve their dynamic capabilities to discern, describe and solve business problems and manage resources for value creation. Learn more about UNI’s MBA program at edu/mba.



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Resources abound for aspiring entrepreneurs After looking at the University of Northern Iowa Business and Community Services annual newsletter at w w w. b c s . u n i . edu/thelinkage/ and preparing to take a group of Katherine students to the Cota-Uyar Iowa Entrepreis associate neurs Conference, director of the John Pappajohn I realized how Entrepreneurial many resources Center at the actually exist to University of help entrepreNorthern Iowa. neurs and people Contact her at aspiring to be 273-5732 or entrepreneurs in katherine.cota@ Iowa. A few conferences are held

each year that provide valuable information and inspiration for entrepreneurs. One of them is the Iowa Entrepreneurs Conference, usually held in October in Des Moines. Another is EntreFest, usually held at the end of February. The 2011 EntreFest will be held in Dubuque on Feb.24-25. Information about this event can be found at www., the online community for entrepreneurs now 6,000 strong, provides webinars, a resource library and a money map to help people find financing for their small businesses. The Institute for Social and Economic Development helps people use their skills and talents to start small businesses. Visit for more

Wealthy Americans still feel fine The Associated Press

Wealthier Americans feel better about their own finances, according to a recent survey. Many affluent people — defined in the survey as those with assets of $250,000 and higher, excluding real estate — remained anxious about the health of the economy. Only 26 percent said they thought the general economy would improve next year, while 25 percent were pessimistic and the rest fell in the middle. Some have had to make sacrifices — 20 percent tapped retirement savings and other long-term investments to cover immediate

cash needs, and a majority said they would have to retire later than they had initially hoped. Still, most expected their own finances to improve or at least remain level in the next 12 months: 41 percent said they thought their financial situation will improve, and 37 expected it to stay the same. Only 21 percent expected a decline. Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch Wealth Management division commissioned the survey, which questioned 1,000 U.S. adults from Sept. 13 through Oct. 7 over the phone. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

information. In Iowa there are 15 Small Business Development Centers located throughout the state, and each is responsible for providing small-business owners with counseling, resources and information. Many offer classes and workshops to teach the aspiring business owner what is needed to start a business. To find an SBDC near you, visit www.iowasbdc. org/. Iowa has six business accelerators located in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, the Iowa Lakes corridor, Mason City and southwest Iowa. These accelerators are staffed with seasoned entrepreneurs to assist businesses with growth. In addition to these six, several colleges and universities offer

acceleration or incubation facilities. The University of Northern Iowa has three incubators. The Student Business Incubator is a program of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and focuses on incubation for students, primarily UNI students. The Innovation Incubator, located on the ground floor of the BCS building on the UNI campus, focuses on faculty, staff, and community entrepreneurial company incubation. The downtown Waterloo incubator, located on Fourth Street, focuses on incubation for community entrepreneurs. All of these incubators offer a variety of programs and services to benefit all types of entrepreneurs. Finally, the state has information for entrepreneurs at the

websites for the Department of Economic Development, the Secretary of State and the Department of Revenue. In addition to all of these resources, financial assistance for entrepreneurs can be found at the Iowa Department of Economic Development’s website at, the USDA’s Rural Development Business & Cooperative program website at www.rurdev.usda. gov/ia/rbs.html, at, Renew Rural Iowa/Iowa Farm Bureau at www.renewruraliowa. com, Iowa Small Business loan program, and the Community Vitality Center. If you or someone you know has thought about starting a business, take the first step and check out one of these resources.





Realize what you are missing without a hearing aid Sounds provide useful information and enhance our experiences that give meaning to our lives. Maybe you have already forgotten the sound of a purring cat or the crisp sound of snow under your boots one cold Ron Potter winter morning. is a hearing aid Because hearspecialist at ing loss typically Potter’s Hearing develops graduAid Service in Waterloo. Contact ally, you may not him at 232-7113. notice the loss of subtle everyday sounds such as a ticking clock or a rustling newspaper. Before you know it, you are missing sounds that are critical to communication. In 90 percent of all cases,

hearing loss occurs because the delicate hair cells in the inner ear are irreparably broken or do not otherwise function properly. This means that the brain does not receive all the sounds and frequencies it needs to provide a complete soundtrack. It is like removing all the high keys on a piano and asking somebody to play a well-known melody. Even with only six or seven keys missing, the melody might be difficult to recognize and simply wouldn’t sound right. Hearing loss can be conductive, sensorineural or both. Sensorineural is the most common and refers to problems in the cochlea or auditory nerve. Most are due to deterioration of the tiny outer hair cells that line the cochlea and transmit sound to the auditory nerve and then

the brain. This accounts for 95 percent of permanent hearing losses. It also is a natural part of aging, though there may be other causes. It cannot be corrected medically. Conductive hearing loss is caused by any obstruction or malfunction of the outer or middle ear that prevents sound waves from reaching the inner ear. The most common challenge associated with hearing loss is “understanding” everything that’s being said. Most people can hear loudness of sound fine but easily lose the meaning of words. Because some sounds are heard but not understood, it becomes more challenging to maintain a healthy conversation. Living with untreated hear-

ing loss means difficulties in conversations with others, at social gatherings, and perhaps with lost performance at work. Often it becomes too challenging to keep up with life around you. You may become sad or depressed, worry, stay away from social gatherings and feel emotional turmoil and insecurity. By not seeking help for your hearing loss, you are missing out. This can be detrimental to your physical well-being for it is known that lack of social interaction plays a role in depression and can adversely affect your health. Humans are designed to be social, and when isolation becomes the norm your health will suffer. The first step in getting help is to have an effective analysis

and diagnosis of your hearing loss. Once there is a diagnosis, a specific solution can be offered and follow-up appointments can help you achieve continued satisfaction. There is no good reason to wait. Most people typically disregard their hearing loss for five to seven years. This is a bad decision. Putting off the inevitable will just make it harder to rectify the problem. Your brain gets used to not hearing everyday sounds; the longer you live without sounds, the longer it may take for the brain to understand them again. Regular hearing instrument use can help maintain your brain’s ability to interpret sounds. Make a decision to get tested now and experience better hearing in your life.

Define employee responsibilities clearly By MARIE G. MCINTYRE McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Q. One of my employees shows me little respect. I recently became the manager of a senior center, and “Sharon” is my assistant. She is older and has been here for 12 years, but I have credentials she lacks. Sharon has a lot of experience, but never shares any information with me. She also picks and chooses the things she prefers to do. She enjoys attending meetings, but avoids helping me with activities. I would like to ask her to answer our phone, but I know she won’t want to do that. When I’m out of the office, she gets extra pay to serve as the acting manager, but never performs any of my duties. She just sits at my desk and takes messages. I think she should make an effort to learn my job so she can fill in when I’m away. I also feel that when Sharon has down time, she should come and ask if I need help with anything. On several occasions, I have found her reading a novel or playing cards on her com-

puter. How should I handle this situation?

A. You must be assuming that Sharon has psychic powers, because apparently you have never told her about these expectations. You need to establish her duties and see that she carries them out, even if you find her experience slightly intimidating. Draft a job description for the assistant manager position and review it with your boss. Meet with Sharon to discuss her newly defined responsibilities, but don’t just issue orders like a drill sergeant. Instead, ask for her input and adopt any suggestions that seem useful. To ensure she never runs out of work, give Sharon a list of pending projects to complete as her schedule allows. Then, if you find her playing solitaire, simply ask her to tackle one of those tasks. If you want Sharon to share information, set aside time for meetings and keep a list of topics to cover. With more open communication, perhaps the two of you can eventually become an effective management team.

Your Source for Environmental Consulting Services Phase I/II ESAs Asbestos/Mold Surveys UST and LUST Assessments & Remediation SPCC Plans to better serve Waterloo and Eastern Iowa

223 East 4th Street, Suite D Waterloo, IA 50703 319.233.0441





Physical therapy can treat tension headaches By MATT BUTTJER

Do you spend several hours in a seated position, either at home or work? Whether reading or working on a computer, most of us answer yes to this question. Unfortunately, when sitting for prolonged periods of time on a regular basis, most of us tend to adopt poor postural habits (slouching). Many physical therapists recognize this problem simply as a “rounded shoulder, forward head posture.” A common problem associated with this poor postural habit is the development of headaches. Slouching causes the muscles in the back of the neck to shorten, or lose their flexibility. This causes pressure on the nerves that pass through these muscles. This pressure decreases blood flow to the nerves and, depending on the nerve involved, will often create headache pain. This pain is typically located in the back of the head or the upper region of the neck near the base of the skull. At times, the pain can migrate to the forehead or eye region. These headaches are known as cervicogenic headaches and more commonly are referred to as tension headaches. Anyone can get tension headaches, but the most common factor seems to relate to a history of prolonged sitting, most commonly at a desk or driving in a car. Stress, sleep patterns and posture also appear to play a role in the development of tension headaches. Disruption

of normal vision can also, due to its influence on the head and neck posture, be a contributor to tension headaches. A vast majority of people seen for this problem are women. Most of us are aware of several different over-the-counter medications that are marketed specifically to people who suffer from tension headaches. Most people, though, are not aware that tension headaches can be treated successfully with physical therapy. Physical therapy not only treats the symptoms but targets the cause. With manual therapy, handson techniques targeting the neck and upper spine regions, physical therapists can decrease muscle tightness and flexibility restriction, thus increasing mobility. There are also exercises that can be prescribed for physical therapy clients. Many of these are corrective flexibility exercises to influence proper posture and can be done right at their desks while at work. Several of the exercises take only a few minutes to perform. These exercises assist in making your work efforts more productive. Another treatment option for therapists is activity and postural modifications. Discussions with clients include proper work station set-up, proper sleeping positions and even proper positioning of the patient’s car seat and steering wheel to promote good postural habits. Many times the cure to lingering tension headaches is quite simple. Once a tension headache is

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diagnosed it can be graded in one (or all) of three manners: ■ Frequency. ■ Intensity. ■ Duration. The most important aspect of a tension headache to report to a physical therapist is its frequency. Research shows that over the course of therapy the frequency of headaches should drop significantly if all facets of the physical therapy regime are being employed. The usual course of physical therapy treatment consists of three physical therapy sessions per week for up to four weeks. This allows the physical therapist time to effectively mobilize the affected tissues. The effects of mobilization of soft tissue (muscle) is cumulative thus compliance with

appointments is an indicator of a favorable response to therapy It also provides ample time to educate, instruct and review the exercises necessary for the client to perform. At the end of a successful regime of physical therapy, the patient will be able to properly perform a series of exercises that they can easily reproduce on their own. The goal of these exercises, along with the manual therapy techniques, is to prevent the tension headaches from returning. The exercises are typically not overly strenuous and will not have to be done as often as they were during the initial phase of the physical therapy sessions. However, to maintain any improvements in symptoms, it is essential that the exercises be maintained and

performed on a regular basis. The exercises should be performed regardless of the status of the symptoms. The exercises are both corrective and preventative. This may sound difficult to do with everyone’s busy schedules, but the exercises can easily be performed a few times during the day without interrupting normal daily activities. If you are suffering from headaches, we encourage you to see a physical therapist. Physical therapy can help you significantly decrease or eliminate your headaches and empower you with the tools to keep the headaches from returning in the future. Matt Buttjer is facility manager at Accelerated Rehabilitation in Cedar Falls. Contact him at 273-8988.





Prayer is the most powerful treatment As a child, long before answering the call to the ministry, I became familiar with the concept of supernatural healing. That, however, was not what my grandparents, aunts and uncles or my mother and father called it. Growing up, we were told that no matter what doctors said or did, no matter what The Rev. Mary the diagnosis, E. Robinson God had the ultiis pastor of All mate say, because Nations Com- he was the one munity Church who actually did and chaplain at the healing. If a Tyson Foods in medical proceWaterloo. Contact dure was successher at maryrobin- ful, it was because son4648@gmail. God had guided the thoughts and hands of the practitioner, surgeon or technician. He was the source from which those in the medical profession received their education and training. If someone had been diagnosed with a medical condi-

tion and miraculously recovered, that was no surprise, because God was the source of “every good and perfect gift.” Through him all things were possible. Religion, faith and prayer are powerful tools. It can be difficult to explain the “why” of it to everyone’s satisfaction. Nothing seems to give such great hope in the face of trying circumstances than these three. As a chaplain and pastor, it is no surprise when I observe individuals get better when they have been diagnosed with a chronic or incurable disease. Many have been given clean bills of health. It is also not uncommon for those who are dying, and who know it, to develop a profound sense of peace and seem to get a new lease on life. It wasn’t until I attended seminary that I was introduced to the terms “spiritual healing” and “faith healing.” Although used interchangeably, the terms are very different. Faith healing is “the belief that religious faith can bring about healing — either through prayers or rituals that,

Use caution shopping online McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Internet security should be a top concern for anyone who shops for goods and services online — especially during the holiday season. A simple mistake or assumption about a retail shopping site’s security can increase the possibility of having a credit card number stolen or even identity theft. Several websites offer solid information about online shopping security. Here are some locales worth a visit: ■ Discusses credit card protections, fraud shield and security issues. www. spx

■ Better Business Bureau: Details Internet connection security, passwords, phone-in option. onlineshoptips/security.asp ■ Federal Trade Commission: Provides consumer’s guide and tips to using e-payments for online shopping. bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/tech/ tec01.shtm ■ Visa: Covers ways to reduce your risk and watch for spyware when shopping online. com/personal/security/learnthe-facts/protection-tips/o nline-protection.html ■ Presents 10 basic, yet key safety tips for online shopping and auctions. personal_information_safety/ shopping/index.html

according to adherents, evoke a divine presence and power toward correcting disease and disability.” Biofield energy healing or spiritual healing “are terms used to describe a number of techniques by which practitioners intend to treat illness.” My suspicions are that most of us when, referring to spiritual healing, are actually speaking of faith healing. I now realize that this is what my family clung to with such an unwavering belief. The notion that there is someone or something more powerful than human beings working on our behalf is very comforting. Those who believe in this concept find solace and confirmation from Bible verses, most notably the Hebrew Scriptures, which say in part: “The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of

illness.” And, “The Lord … heals us when we are sick and protects us from death.” The Book of James in the New Testament poses the following question and solution: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them … and the prayer offered in faith will make them well. ... The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Online one can find tens of thousands of sites detailing scientific and not-so-scientific studies about whether faith and prayer really work in healing and alleviating disease. Some studies say faith and prayer are effective. Others say the results are inconclusive. I cannot vouch for the truth of any of these studies. I can only say that in my personal experience there is no doubt one’s faith and belief system are

powerful forces in the healing process. To deny God heals in the face of overwhelming odds is to deny my own story of healing and to deny the testimonies of those to whom I have ministered. Thank you to those in the medical profession who have the grace and humility to acknowledge their limitations in treating illnesses and who welcome faith and prayer as partners in the diagnosis, treatment and healing of their patients. It gives hope where none would otherwise exist. There are times when we have been ill or lost loved ones, even after fervent prayer. Only God knows the reasons our prayers do not seem to get answered. I am just thankful for the times when prayer does work, and I will continue to pray for more and more of these times in all of our lives.




Welcome New Chamber Members!

Allstate Insurance-Scott Parsons 1120 W. 4th St. Waterloo, IA 50701 Phone: 319-233-3380 Website: scottparsons Contact: Scott Parsons Category: Insurance Agencies Candlewood Suites 2056 LaPorte Rd. Waterloo, IA 50702 Phone: 319-235-7000 Fax: 319-235-0300 Contact: Natalie Cummings Category: Hotels & Motels Casey’s General Store 2425 Center St. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-277-9815 Contact: Margo Shaw Category: Convenience Stores Casey’s General Store 5908 Nordic Dr. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-277-1170 Contact: Angelica Higham Category: Convenience Stores Casey’s General Store 5226 University Ave. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-266-3864 Contact: Emily Carlson Category: Convenience Stores Casey’s General Stores 1604 LaPorte Rd. Waterloo, IA 50702 Phone: 319-234-2025 Contact: Kellee Twaites Category: Convenience Stores

Casey’s General Store 2424 Ranchero Rd. Waterloo, IA 50701 Phone: 319-234-2424 Contact: Melanie Nisius Category: Convenience Stores

Casey’s General Store 51 E. Tower Park Dr. Waterloo, IA 50701 Phone: 319-232-7000 Contact: Melissa Cunningham Category: Convenience Stores Casey’s General Store 3260 University Ave. Waterloo, IA 50701 Phone: 319-234-2244 Contact: Jennifer Arthur-Markey Category: Convenience Stores Cedar Falls Brown Bottle 1111 Center St. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-266-2616 Website: Contact: Jim & Jodi Landau Category: Restaurants/Bars/Caterers

Famous Daves Bar-B-Que 6222 University Ave. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-266-0200 Fax: 319-266-0206 Contact: Stacey Cirksena Category: Restaurants/Bars/Caterers Fareway Stores Inc. 40 W. San Marnan Dr. Waterloo, IA 50702 Phone: 319-236-0107 Fax: 319-236-0107 Contact: Allen Weimerskicch Category: Grocery Stores

Farrell’s Extreme BodyShaping 4507 Algonquin Dr., Ste. C Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-266-6686 Fax: 319-266-1964 Website: www.extremebodyshaping. com Contact: Chris Usher Category: Exercise & Physical Fitness

Gates Park Golf Shop 820 E. Donald St. Waterloo, IA 50703 Cedar Valley Catholic School System Phone: 319-291-4485 Website: 3231 W. 9th St. Contact: Nate Lubs Waterloo, IA 50702 Category: Golf Pro Shop & Lessons Phone: 319-232-1422 Fax: 319-232-3977 Glass Tech Website: 510 State St., Ste. E Contact: Jeff Frost Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Category: Education Phone: 319-268-9850 Fax: 319-277-6849 Complete Nutrition Contact: Jodie Watson 6406 University Ave. Category: Auto-Repair & Service Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-575-0750 Contact: Ian Tibben Category: Grocery Stores

Heartwood Investments Inc. 216 E. 4th St. PO Box 1197 Waterloo, IA 50704 Phone: 319-233-1717 Fax: 319-233-1987 Website: www.heartwoodinvestments. com Contact: David Sparks Category: Investment Brokerage/ Stocks/Bonds Hibachi & Sushi Buffet 1535 Flammang Dr. Waterloo, IA 50702 Phone: 319-232-6868 Contact: Kevin Wang Category: Restaurants/Bars/Caterers Hy-Vee Gas Station 6301 University Ave. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-266-3451 Contact: Glen Thomas Category: Convenience Stores Hy-Vee Gas Station 1512 Flammang Dr. Waterloo, IA 50702 Phone: 319-233-8353 Contact: Libby Webber Category: Convenience Stores Hy-Vee Gas Station 2221 Logan Ave. Waterloo, IA 50703 Phone: 319-833-5537 Contact: Annette Ellis Category: Convenience Stores


Welcome New Members continued Hy-Vee Wine & Spirits 5925 University Ave. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-266-3401 Contact: Matt VanEe Category: Wine & Spirits Hy-Vee Wine & Spirits 2126 Kimball Ave. Waterloo, IA 50702 Phone: 319-232-2694 Contact: Dwight Dehl Category: Wine & Spirits Iowa Sports Center 1719 Commercial St. Waterloo, IA 50702 Phone: 319-233-6803 Contact: Mary Grosse Category: Sewing & Embroidery Johnson Chiropractic & Integrative Health 226 Brandilynn Blvd., Ste. D Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-266-7788 Fax: 319-266-8088 Website: www. Contact: Michael Johnson Category: Chiropractors


WWW.GREATERCEDARVALLEYCHAMBER.COM KJ & Kompany 2060 Crossroads Blvd., Ste. 161 Waterloo, IA 50702 Phone: 319-232-9177 Fax: 319-232-5446 Contact: Emily Daws Category: Barbers/Beauty/ Tanning Salons

Montage 222 Main St. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-268-7222 Website: www.montage-cf. com Contact: Jim & Jodi Landau Category: Restaurants/Bars/ Caterers

LongHorn Steakhouse 1425 E. San Marnan Dr. Waterloo, IA 50702 Phone: 319-235-4336 Fax: 319-235-3086 Contact: Jim Kasprzak Category: Restaurants/Bars/ Caterers

Professional Lawn Care LLC PO Box 1942 Waterloo, IA 50704 Phone: 319-240-1941 Contact: Dennis Lickteig Category: Lawn Care/ Landscape/Snow Removal

Moment In Thyme 819 Longview St. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-269-6658 Website: www. Contact: Len Swiatly Category: Restaurants/Bars/ Caterers

Specialty Printing 4717 Leslee Ln. Waterloo, IA 50701 Phone: 319-610-3651 Contact: Bill Atkins Category: Printers/Publishers/ Graphics Suburban Extended Stay Hotel 300 Viking Rd. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-268-2222 Fax: 319-268-2223 Contact: Deanne Jakoubek Category: Hotels & Motels

Interested in joining the Greater Cedar Valley Chamber of Commerce? Contact one of our membership representatives today to learn how your business will benefit by being a Chamber Member! Molly Brown - Bette Wubbena - Phone: (319) 232-1156

December Calendar of Events December 2 December 8 December 10 December 14 December 16 December 24 December 31

Good Morning Cedar Valley, Kittrell Elementary, 1304 Oregon, Waterloo, 7:30 - 9:00 AM Strictly Business Task Force, Waterloo office, 7:30 AM Government Relations, Cedar Falls office, 7:30 AM Cedar Valley Ambassadors, Beck's Sports Brewery, 3295 University Ave., Waterloo, 4:00 PM Chamber Board of Directors, Holiday Inn, University Ave., Cedar Falls, 8:00 AM Happy Holidays! Alliance & Chamber offices closed Happy New Year! Alliance & Chamber offices closed

You're invited to attend a

Meet and Greet Reception with our Greater Cedar Valley Legislators on Thursday, December 16 from 4:30 - 6:00 PM at Sky Event Center, 501 Sycamore St, Waterloo Legislators from the Greater Cedar Valley Region (includes, but isn’t limited to, Black Hawk, Benton, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Fayette, Grundy and Tama Counties) will be invited to meet with Alliance & Chamber Investors and Members. This is a great opportunity to congratulate your lawmakers and share your viewpoints with them. Appetizers and bevarages will be served. Please RSVP to Amy at 232-1156 or if you plan to attend.




Thursday, December 2 7:30 - 9:00 AM Kittrell Elementary 1304 Oregon, Waterloo

Cardinal Construction 700 Waterloo Bldg., Waterloo

The program will include updates on city and county issues from Mayor Buck Clark, Mayor Jon Crews and a representative from the County Board of Supervisors. There is no cost to attend; however, reservations are required. Please RSVP by November 26 to the Alliance & Chamber offices, 232-1156.

Sponsored by:

Clear View Service 4227 University Ave., Cedar Falls

Glass Tech 510 State St., Ste. E, Cedar Falls

Hibachi & Sushi Buffet 1535 Flammang Dr., Waterloo

Howard R. Green Waterloo Bldg., Waterloo

Did your business recently expand, remodel or relocate? Are you a new Chamber member? If so, we can do a ribbon cutting for you! Call Bette Wubbena at 319-232-1156.

Speer Financial 531 Commercial St., Ste. 608, Waterloo

Please note our NEW Cedar Falls office hours! Monday - Friday 10 AM - 2 PM




Home for the Holidays in the Cedar Valley Throughout the holiday season, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is emphasizing the exceptional holiday shopping and entertainment opportunities in a special Home for the Holidays in the Cedar Valley campaign. The Home for the Holidays campaign is designed to encourage residents of the Cedar Valley to support their local businesses and, in turn, their local economy. The initiative includes the following elements: t Emphasize the Positive: Cedar Valley retailers, restaurants, and venues are prepared to deliver a great holiday experience. Cedar Valley consumers are in



good condition to support our market this year. When Consumers Spend, We Should Spend in the Cedar Valley! Simple reminders to our family, friends and employees to shop and have fun in the Cedar Valley can have a significant impact on the holiday season. Emphasize the Experience: Wow! So many unique and fun shopping

experiences are planned in our Downtowns, Districts, Malls, hotels and venues. A large part of Home for the Holidays is emphasizing the experiencesalreadyplanned and the bargains available to Cedar Valley shoppers. t Shop Cedar Valley Web Sites: Cedar Valley shoppers should browse Cedar Valley web sites and then make a short drive to our Cedar Valley businesses to make the purchase. t Home for the Holidays Saves Jobs: This campaign isn’t just about the store owners, but the entire team that works in the store, supplies the store with products and services, and related jobs. Going

2011 Business Education Series: Part One

Drive the Business, Steer the Brand +BOVBSZt".t*TMF$BTJOP)PUFM8BUFSMPP Phil Akin has spent nearly 30 years helping companies such as Advance Auto Parts, GE, 3M, Ecolab, AutoZone, Praxair and many others drive retail traffic, launch new products, and develop new profit centers. In this educational program, Drive the Business, Steer the Brand, Phil will outline the steps needed to develop and implement a marketing strategies that have a history of proven success. Attendees will learn: t The four steps necessary to develop a results oriented marketing strategy. t The four stages of customer acquisition needed to grow sales. t Media selection strategies. Cost is $20 for members and $40 for non-members. To make your reservation, please contact the Alliance & Chamber office at 232-1156. A continental breakfast will be served.

“out of town� whether in a car or online impacts jobs in our neighborhoods. “I strongly encourage the people who reside in the Cedar Valley to purchase from local businesses. Many of our local merchants depend upon sales from the holiday season for a large percentage of their annual budget. These are businesses which support our local economy in so many ways, including employing our family members, friends and neighbors. All of us can make such a difference by buying local,� said Bob Justis, President of the Greater Cedar Valley Chamber. We are asking for the support of our Cedar Valley businesses by displaying the Home for the Holidays logo on their

web sites, in their stores, on their promotional materials, etc. Businesses can obtain this logo by contacting the Alliance & Chamber Waterloo location at 319-232-1156 or by e-mailing anderson@ Cedar Valley residents can stay updated on what’s happening here at home throughout the season by visiting our Facebook page: www.facebook. com/cedar valleychamber. Home for the Holidays in the Cedar Valley – we hope you and your family will shop, dine, and entertain here this year. Please enjoy a wonderful holiday season in the Cedar Valley. It is the best gift we can give each other!

Maximize Your Chamber Investment! MEMBER SERVICES & MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES Buyer’s Guide FREE Business Showcase


Chamber EXTRA advertising Ad is included in two editions


Mailing Labels (main contacts) Not Yet Chamber Members

$100 $400

Mailing Labels (all contacts) Not Yet Chamber Members

$150 $500

VIP Labels Not Yet Chamber Members

$15 $150

Membership Blast Fax


Membership List (main contacts) Not Yet Chamber Members

$60 $360

Membership List (all contacts) Not Yet Chamber Members

$100 $450

CertiďŹ cate of Origin


For more information on any of the opportunities above, please contact Amy at 232-1156.




Thank You for Building Something Greater

Campaign Chair Jim Coloff 93.5 The Mix/1650 The Fan

Thank you to all of the TRC Volunteers! t t


t t

t t t t t t t t t

Mary Alfrey, Cedar Valley Hospice Al Bangtson, TRC Team Captain, Community National Bank Andrea Barker, TRC Team Captain, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Philip Bash, Community National Bank Sue Beach, TRC Team Captain, American Red Cross Patty Berning, Bridges Senior Lifestyles Living Tim Bradford, Next Generation Wireless Adam Brickley, LSB Financial Bridget Bryson, Barmuda James Buchholz, KWWL Crystal Buzza, Waterloo Community Schools Bruce Clark, Liberty Bank Jessica Crouch, Organized for You! Amy Dall, TRC Team

Campaign Vice Chair David Braton Courier Communications

Campaign Vice Chair Stacey Bentley Community National Bank t t t t

t t

t t

t t

t t t

Captain, Hy-Vee Food Stores Shelly Davis, KWWL Dana Derflinger, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa Brenda Everts, Hy-Vee Food Stores Dustin Fadiga, TRC Team Captain, Northwestern Mutual Shannon Farlow, Waterloo Center for the Arts Kim Fettkether, TRC Team Captain, Veridian Credit Union Jaclyn Heller, KWWL Rhonda Hinton, TRC Team Captain, Community National Bank Erin Hinton, Ameriprise Financial Services Kade Hoppenworth, TRC Team Captain, Lincoln Savings Bank JohnHuff, TRC Team Captain, KWWL Chris Hurley, Farmers State Bank Niki Keller, Hy-Vee Food Stores

t t t t t t t t t t t t t t t t t

Sheila Kerns, Courier Communications Scott Kinter, Courier Communications Dawn Klein, Wells Fargo Pat Knudson, Community National Bank Jay Koweil, KWWL Sarah Langel, 93.5 The Mix/1650 The Fan Tonya Ledvina, Comfort Suites Mike McCrary, Lincoln Savings Bank Michelle Meaney, Wells Fargo Stef Moudry, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Maria Murphy, Holiday Inn - Cedar Falls Jim Nadeau, Hy-Vee Food Stores Steve Nida, Wells Fargo Jackie Nowparvar, Courier Communications Lesley Ortner, KWWL Sheri Purdy, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Mike Reyhons, Bravo

Campaign Vice Chair Jim Mudd, Jr. Mudd Advertising

Campaign Vice Chair Corey Clark Lincoln Savings Bank t t t


t t t t t t t t t t

Printing Ryan Risetter, Farmers State Bank Bill Roths, MidWestOne Bank Heidi Rush, TRC Team Captain, Farmers State Bank Bonnie Sadler, NuCara Pharmacy/NuCara Home Medical Teresa Samec, Liberty Bank Steve Schmitt, Schmitt Telecom Bethany Shepard, KWWL Kathy Siebel, Lincoln Savings Bank Caleb Sieh, LSB Financial Lindsey Smedley, Veridian Credit Union Sara Smith, Courier Communications Patrick Smith, Wells Fargo Jennifer Smith, Wells Fargo Kris Sproul, Wells Fargo

t t t t t t t t t

John Steen, Wells Fargo Jerry Twinde, TRC Team Captain, Wells Fargo Mike Tynan, Community National Bank Abbie Vandenakker, KWWL Dave Vandeventer, Oakridge Realtors Jerad Welter, Hy-Vee Food Stores RyanWilliams, Community National Bank Bill Wilson, PDCM Insurance Doug Wright, Community National Bank





Caregivers can find ways to ease stress One of the most stressful jobs around today isn’t found in corporate America. Rather, it’s a job that one in every four Americans wakes up to each morning. Can you guess what it is? It comes with the title “family caregiver”— a role that Candy brings signifiDiercks is franchise owner cant rewards and of Home Instead equally signifiSenior Care in cant challenges. Waterloo. Contact Every day I her at 235-5999 encounter these or candy.diercks@ family caregivers: people who love and want the best for their aging family members, but don’t know how to fit it all in. For these compassion-

ate people, stress is a constant companion. Most family caregivers agree that there are many rewards associated with this job, so they don’t want to give up caregiving. They just need some additional support — which can make all the difference for them and for the people to whom they’re providing care. In addition to asking for help, there also are many things that family caregivers can do to take care of themselves. Here are some tips: 1. Work out: Exercise and enjoy something you like — such as walking, dancing, biking, running or swimming — for a minimum of 20 minutes three or more times per week. 2. Meditate — Sit still and breathe deeply with your mind

as “quiet” as possible whenever you are feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities as a caregiver. 3. Take a break — Make arrangements for any necessary fill-in help (family, friends, volunteers or professional caregivers). 4. Eat well — Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins — including nuts and beans — and whole grains. 5. Attend to your own medical needs — Just like you make sure your loved one gets to the doctor regularly, make sure you get your annual checkup. 6. Indulge — Treat yourself to a foot massage, manicure, nice dinner out or a concert to take yourself away from the situation and to reward yourself for the wonderful care you are pro-

viding to your aging relative. 7. Support — Find a local caregiver support group that will help you understand that what you are experiencing is normal for someone in your position. Social workers and other senior-care experts often rec-

ommend resources to keep seniors independent and help their family caregivers manage stress. Check www.caregiverstress. com and the Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging’s website,

A personal, more meaningful approach to financial planning. Whether you’re a small business owner, evaluating your estate plan, or sending your kids to college, We can help you plan to reach your financial goals through personal, customized financial planning. Call (319) 234-7000 and ask for Larry today!

Larry K. Fox & Associates A financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

3404 Midway Drive • Waterloo, IA 50701 Phone: 319-234-7000 • Toll Free: 888-300-7844 Ameriprise Financial cannot guarantee future financial results. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC.





Don’t fall into bad habits over holiday season For many, the holidays are a double-edged sword. They can be a great time to get together and celebrate with friends and family. But they also can be a stressful time of out-ofcontrol eating, relatives giving their opinions and just trying to meet everyone’s expectations. How can you get through the holiDawn Wiegmann day season with RN is director your physical and of wellness and mental health health promotion. intact? Well, many She can be things we know. contacted at dawn. We know what wiegmann@ we should eat and what we shouldn’t, but when tables of goodies are in front of us we lose control. Then our stress level rises with the

amount of daily tasks we need to do and the rising level of calories we consume. So let’s just discuss some practical ways to keep us going in a healthy direction. ■ Hold your holiday food celebrations at normal mealtimes and encourage others to do so also. This will make everyone less likely to overeat. ■ Keep healthy food choices available, and for those other yummy treats, place small decorative plates out to help us only take a few items. ■ If there’s alcohol at the celebration, limit your consumption. Alcoholic drinks have a surprisingly high number of calories. Use slim milk and fat free half-and-half for your eggnog. You also can make a wine spritzer with a splash of wine, your favorite light or 100 percent fruit juice and club soda. Both

will cut calories almost in half, from the original drink. ■ Try to get some exercise every day, even if you can’t maintain your normal routine. Just doing something will help. Walk up and down the stairs to get “each” food item you need from the basement freezer, with each trip adding up to a little more walk time. Or involve the whole family by shoveling the snow together, window-shopping, or bring the family to The W in Waverly for a swim in the indoor pool. Enjoying each other, and the special times you have will reduce your holiday stress. So remember to enjoy the special times. ■ Take some time to relax every day. This will help to deal with the pressures of the holidays. Don’t feel guilty about having some “me” time. This also is needed and should be enjoyed. ■ Have realistic expectations

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about what you can accomplish with cooking, gifts and decorating. Ask for help – again involve your family for more together time. Remember you don’t need to do it all alone. ■ Establish a holiday budget and stick to it. ■ If you’re feeling overwhelmed,

talk with a friend or family member. These relationships may even become stronger as a result of reaching out. So get out there and enjoy your parties, your friends and your family and always strive for healthy and happy holiday memories.





Giving of oneself fosters a sense of well-being Well-being is an inner sense — a personal and subjective view of one’s quality of life. It is an attitude or a mindset. It is possible to have a sense of wellbeing even in the absence of good health, financial security or professional achievement. But just as good health comes naturally to one, well-being Wendy Knapp requires attention is marketing project coordinator and discipline for others. for Goodwill Science has Industries of North East Iowa in proven that a Waterloo. Contact positive attitude her at 234-4626, and an optimistic ext. 253. disposition contribute to overall health and well-being. Statistics also show more and more Americans are attaining these peaceful, easy feelings using medication. Sometimes, this medication is prescribed by professionals. Sometimes we practice self-medication. Here are some simple practices we need to be reminded of as we seek a sense of well-being. We move too fast, taking too much for granted. Pause throughout the day to reflect, count your blessings and practice gratitude. You may find you are better off than you thought. Common courtesy is all but lost in our society today. Write the thank-you note. Reply to the

RSVP. Smile and say please and thank you. Not only will it make your mother proud, it will make you and those around you feel good. Parker Palmer, in his book “Let Your Life Speak,” reminds us that being kind to others is one of the best ways to combat depression because it strikes at self-condemnation, the root of depression. Too often we wait for the big event to lend a hand in our community or favorite charity. A lifestyle of kindness and service may have a bigger impact on you and those you serve. Right outside your own back door you will find people in need of a little kindness — a senior citizen or a single mom who could use a hand or a simple plate of cookies. Don’t wait for them to ask, go. Take the time to support a friend at the funeral of a family member. Make the hospital visit, if only for a few moments. At the very least, send a card with a handwritten message. These gestures may not be returned directly, but will never be forgotten. One definition of goodwill is ‘‘the friendly hope that something or someone will succeed.’’ If we think the best of others and their motivations and hope the best for them, it is harder to engage in backbiting or slanderous talk. When we operate out of a sense of suspicion and take the position that others are out to get us, we harm ourselves. We

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cannot have a sense of personal well-being when we hurt the reputation of others by repeating hearsay or opinion. Instead, be encouraging. Write notes. Do not withhold words of praise. Speak encouragement not to feed the ego or win the affection of another but out of sincere hope for their success. Isolation is far too convenient. Offering hospitality by opening our homes to neighbors or inviting an awkward co-worker to join us for lunch will always

be a rewarding experience. We can learn more about each other as we pass the salad dressing than we might in a year of meetings. Keep it simple and casual. Everyone appreciates authenticity and pleasant company. You will find your life richer for the time spent. Listening is a lost skill. When others are speaking, listen. Do not try to formulate your response. Do not provide condescending solutions. And do not try to match their story with

one of your own. Just listen. Let the other express their feelings, joy or sorrow. You will gain a better understanding of yourself and insights into your own natural reactions as you refrain from speaking. I believe our true self will be revealed in those later, not-sogolden years. If we practice the discipline of well-being today, perhaps it will come naturally when we need it most, when others need it most, and everyone will all be better off for it.

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Health savings accounts just what the doctor ordered By JORDAN ALBORN

substantial. However, HSAs aren’t foolproof. If you have relatively high health expenses (especially soon after opening your account), you could deplete your HSA or even face a shortfall.

Are health insurance premiums taking too big a bite out of your budget? Do you wish you had better control over how you spend your health care dollars? If so, you may be interested in an alternative to traditional Tax beneďŹ ts health insurance called a health HSAs offer several valuable savings account. tax beneďŹ ts: â– You may be able to make preHow does this option work? tax contributions via payroll An HSA is a tax-advantaged deduction through your employaccount that’s paired with a er, reducing your current income high-deductible health plan. tax. Let’s look at how an HSA works â–  If you make contributions on with an HDHP to enable you your own using after-tax dolto cover your current health lars, they’re deductible from care costs and also save for your your federal income tax (and perfuture needs. Before opening an haps from your state income tax) HSA, you must ďŹ rst enroll in whether you itemize or not. You an HDHP, either on your own can also deduct contributions or through your employer. An made on your behalf by family HDHP is “catastrophicâ€? health members. coverage that pays beneďŹ ts only â–  Contributions to your HSA, after you’ve satisďŹ ed a high and any interest or earnings, annual deductible. Once you’ve grow tax deferred. satisďŹ ed your deductible, the â–  Contributions and any earnHDHP will provide compre- ings you withdraw will be tax free hensive coverage for your med- if they’re used to pay qualiďŹ ed ical expenses (though you may medical expenses. continue to owe co-payments or coinsurance costs until you Can anyone open an HSA? reach your plan’s annual outAny individual with qualifyof-pocket limit). ing HDHP coverage can open Because you’re shoulder- an HSA. However, you probing a greater portion of your ably won’t be eligible to open an health care costs, you’ll usually HSA if you’re already covered pay a much lower premium for by another health plan. You’re an HDHP than for traditional also out of luck if you’re 65 and health insurance, allowing you enrolled in Medicare or if you to contribute the premium dol- can be claimed as a dependent lars you’re saving to your HSA. on someone else’s tax return. Your employer also may contribute to your HSA or pay part Contribution limits of your HDHP premium. When For 2010 and 2011, you can you need medical care, you can contribute up to $3,050 for withdraw HSA funds to cover individual coverage and $6,150 your expenses, or opt to pay for family coverage. This annual your costs out-of-pocket if limit applies to all contribuyou want to save your account tions, whether they’re made funds. Because there’s no “use by you, your employer, or your it or lose itâ€? provision, funds family members. You can make roll over from year to year. And contributions up to April 15 of the account is yours, so you the following year. If you’re 55 can keep it even if you change or older, you also may be eliemployers or lose your job. You gible to make “catch-up concan even let your money grow tributionsâ€? to your HSA, but until retirement, when your you can’t contribute anything health expenses are likely to be once you reach age 65 and enroll

in Medicare.

Can you invest HSA funds? HSAs typically offer several savings and investment options. These may include interestearning savings, checking and money market accounts, or investments such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds that offer the potential to earn higher returns but carry more risk (including the risk of loss of principal). Make sure that you carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with each option before investing.

Using HSA funds You can use your HSA funds for many types of health care expenses, including prescription drugs, eyeglasses, deductibles and co-payments. Although you can’t use funds to pay regular health insurance premiums, you can withdraw money to pay for specialized types of insurance such as long-term care or disability insurance. IRS Publication 502 contains a list of allowable expenses. There’s no rule against using your HSA funds for expenses that aren’t health-care related,

but watch out — you’ll pay a 10 percent penalty if you withdraw money and use it for nonqualiďŹ ed expenses, and you’ll owe income taxes as well (in 2011, the penalty increases to 20 percent). Once you reach age 65, however, this penalty no longer applies, though you’ll owe income taxes on any money you withdraw that isn’t used for qualiďŹ ed medical expenses. Jordan Alborn is a ďŹ nancial adviser with FSB Warner Financial in Waterloo and can be reached at 235-6561 or








Simple steps can avert a holiday party disaster By JOYCE E.A. RUSSELL Special to The Washington Post

Holiday celebrations are important to people. While celebrations at work can be fun — and people certainly need more fun at work these days — problems can arise. Most people have stories of co-workers or bosses overindulging at office parties (drinking, getting sick, making fools of themselves, having breakdowns, fighting or engaging in affairs). You name it and people have seen it — and now they can use their cellphones and other gadgets to videotape it and put it out on the Internet. Given all this, there are some things managers can do to create a positive experience: ■ Let employees craft out what, if anything, should be done for the holidays. Let them take ownership and get a mix of people involved in the planning. Instead of having the same party planning committee as in the past, ask some of your newer employees to be involved and then listen to their ideas and input. ■ Respect your co-workers’

religious beliefs. Holiday celebrations should be inclusive, rather than designed for a certain group. Some firms have a New Year’s celebration instead of a Christmas party so that everyone can feel part of the event. ■ It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can reinvent the office party. Try something new like a volunteer activity with a local charity or a group outing to a bowling alley or ice skating rink. Host an employee talent show to let the members of your team showcase their various skills. ■ If you do have a company party, it’s a great time to have the chief executive or organization head share a few sincere words of appreciation for what everyone has done during the past year. This could be especially meaningful, given that people are working harder and longer for less pay. This should not be a planned-out speech — just some genuine words of thanks. ■ Make the events optional — people should not feel pressured to attend holiday celebrations. The planning committee should consider why their co-workers

would want to attend. Sometimes employees view these parties as obligations, while they would rather spend time with their own families in a relaxed atmosphere. ■ Give options for beverages — not everyone drinks alcohol or sodas. If you do serve alcohol, make sure employees know when to say when (they are expected to act responsibly). Arrange alternative transportation, and don’t serve alcohol for people to take on the road. ■ If gifts are typically involved, make the gift exchanges reasonable so people don’t feel financially burdened. You might have party swaps for small gifts, or have people vote on a favorite charity or several charities and bring donations, such as canned goods for a food pantry, animal treats for the local Society for the

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, etc. It is important to let employees pick the charity. ■ Think carefully about what time of day to hold celebrations. If the celebrations are only for employees, then consider using time during the day. It is getting increasingly difficult for employees to attend parties on nights or weekends as they have other responsibilities at home. The same thing goes for Friday afternoons. Having several smallerscale celebrations during the workweek can be fun, seem more spontaneous and enable some employees who might not have been able to attend on a weeknight or weekend to be there. ■ If you do invite families to office celebrations, make sure the planning group is sensitive to their needs. Consider having small gifts or games for children.

Despite the craziness that often accompanies office celebrations, they really are intended to allow employees to relax and have fun. We don’t need to get rid of them, we just need to remember why we have them in the first place and design accordingly. If we think about the purpose of holidays, they are times to reflect and to celebrate something good and important. It’s a time for community building and bonding — for simple fun and enjoyment of each other’s company. Remember that when you are planning your next office celebration. Russell is the director of the executive coaching and leadership development program at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. She is a licensed industrial and organizational psychologist.

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More small businesses turning to microlenders to hire someone for A Turtle Loves Me. Accion gave her the loan in April. Matta’s sales are about $480,000 so far this year, up

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — Michelle Matta had never heard of microfinancing before landing a microloan. After working for a promotional products company for eight years, she decided to branch out on her own. In 2007, she started A Turtle Loves Me, using her husband’s nickname. Within a week, she landed her first big contract — a $152,000 order for travel mugs from Corner Bakery Cafe. Within a month, she spent $5,000 in family savings. Six months later, she asked her bank of 20 years for a $25,000 loan to buy an embroidery machine. The bank turned her down because she hadn’t been in business for three years. Undeterred, she approached microlender Accion, which lent her the $25,000 at 13.5 percent interest. “I really thought this would be a company that I ran on my credit cards for a while,” said Matta, 42, who dropped out of high school at 17. By end the end of 2007, sales totaled $233,000, and the homebased business was profitable. In the second year, her husband was able to quit his trucking job to work with her. Since then, she has received two small loans from Accion TexasLouisiana, which is based in San Antonio but has a Dallas office. Microlending — lending small amounts of money to help people start or expand a business — is usually associated with developing countries. Such programs began in the 1970s to provide credit and banking services to the poor. But microlending is on the rise in the United States, filling a void as banks have tightened credit in the last few years. It serves a crucial role in helping entrepreneurs, especially low- to moderate-income people and minorities, gain access to capital. U.S. microlenders made 9,191 loans totaling $100.9 million in fiscal 2008, the latest data available from the Aspen Institute, a nonprofit research group.

from $287,000 for all of 2009. “I’m really hoping that one day, if we do well, we can invest with Accion and help other small businesses,” she said.

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Michelle Matta, a small home business owner, in her work area in Carrollton, Texas. She has received several microloans to help start and expand her promotional products business. Most of them provide loans up to $35,000, with a third making larger loans. There are 360 microlenders in the U.S. U.S. microlenders have existed “below the radar” for a couple of decades, said Tammy Halevy, a senior vice president at the Association for Enterprise Opportunity in Washington. Microlending is getting more attention now because of increased demand in a down economy and enhanced awareness, she said. Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in microfinance. “Business starts are increasing as more people are turning to entrepreneurship,” Halevy said. “Traditional access to mainstream commercial banks is getting tighter. As people look for capital to start or grow a business and banks say no, more people are turning to nontraditional lenders.” Accion, the nation’s largest microlender, said it made $2 million in loans in North Texas this year through Sept. 30 vs. $2.2 million a year ago. Of those loans, nearly 8 percent were overdue by 31 days or more, and the default rate was 5 percent. “Our problem right now is not

necessarily finding more customers; it’s liquidity,” said Accion Texas-Louisiana Chief Executive Janie Barrera, a former Catholic nun. She plans to start a campaign to raise $7 million in a revolving capital fund (with a matching loan loss reserve funded from operations). Now, the nonprofit is funded by revenue from its $30 million loan portfolio and fundraising from the U.S. Treasury, foundations, banks and corporations. Microborrowers tend to have low credit scores and no credit histories, but many microlenders help them build credit and gain business skills to qualify for a loan. Accion’s startup clients must have a business plan, but a template is available on Accion’s website for borrowers of less than $10,000. Startups also must provide collateral to secure a loan; Accion accepts car titles, accounts receivables, public contracts and restaurant equipment. “The banks can’t make these loans — they’re regulated,” Barrera said. “Often the banks are rejecting startups with too low profits or not enough real assets or collateral.” Earlier this year, Matta was rejected by two banks for a loan

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Strategic planning mistakes slow business growth By RICK BRIMEYER

As we wind down 2010, your leadership team should begin planning for the upcoming year. Hopefully, that planning will include a formal strategic planning session. Below are some thoughts regarding common strategic planning questions, challenges and mistakes. One of the first questions to address is the time horizon for a strategic plan. This depends on the rate of growth or change impacting the organization. For example, a small, young firm may experience the same percentage of sales growth in three months as a large, mature firm would in three years. Thus it’s necessary for faster-growing firms to set shorter horizons and to revisit plans more frequently. That said, over-arching statements like the mission and values should be almost timeless. The most useful vision statements typically define what the organization is striving to become within the next five years or so. This seems to be far enough out that some imagination is required, but not so far that one has to wonder what the world will look like when it arrives. A handful of high level metrics, commonly called business objectives, should be chosen to measure progress against the vision. Strategies for proceeding toward the vision should cover the next one to three years. Finally, the initiatives or projects used to implement the strategies look out over the next year. A common mistake committed by organizations is taking on too many strategies. What’s the appropriate number? This is best answered by considering the three tests for a viable strategy: ■ The strategy really matters to your customers. ■ The strategy will differentiate you from your competition. ■ You have the ability to become the best at implementing the

strategy. The third test requires that the number of strategies pursued be limited to a vital few. Your organization simply can’t become the best at implementing 17 different strategies. Instead, aligning your workforce around a handful of critical strategies and their supporting initiatives will result in significant, measurable progress towards the vision. Besides, if you err on the low side and skillfully implement a few chosen strategies faster than anticipated because of strong management focus, you can always add a new strategy or two later. On the other hand, choosing too many will result in the organization drifting aimlessly as priorities shift from one strategy to the other. Selecting strategies is a case where less is more. Less is more is also the case when identifying responsibility for the various initiatives. A common mistake is to list multiple owners for a given initiative. Research has consistently shown that our propensity to

take action is reduced as the size of the group gets larger. A friend of mine paraphrases this tendency by advising that if you’re going to have a heart attack, have it with one other person rather than a roomful of people. Therefore, a single person should be selected as the owner for each initiative. That owner can lead and document agreements on who else is required to support the initiative. Another common mistake committed by organizations while strategic planning is trying to do it themselves. Using a facilitator from outside the leadership team with experience and skill in the intricacies of strategic planning allows leaders to focus on the quality of the plan rather than the logistics of facilitating the process. Finally, a frequent and most serious mistake is not designing the review process into the plan’s creation. This dramatically increases the possibility that the plan will collect dust. For a plan to be successful, leaders should spend roughly

100-fold more time on executing and monitoring it than they did creating it. Even a perfect plan left unused becomes perfectly useless.

Rick Brimeyer is president of Brimeyer LLC, a management consulting firm in Ames. Contact him at (515) 450-8855 or www.





Workplace bullying, a growing concern, can ruin lives steal your purse or something,” he out to the movie or whatever you says. “It’s obviously a huge viola- were going to enjoy.” Lepowsky fought back. tion, something no one is looking for. It comes out of the blue and prevents you from enjoying going See BULLIES, page 41

Contra Costa Times

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — Kim is being stalked in the halls by her supervisor. Her every move is scrutinized, judged. Every day, she is berated with personal insults suggesting that she’s just not good enough to work anywhere. The yelling and unfair accusations do not simply make her hate coming to work. It has led to more serious health issues. Kim, a 29-year-old medical office worker, who didn’t want her last name used, has fallen into a depression. She’s losing weight, having panic attacks and, two months ago, had to take a leave of absence from work. The Berkeley, Calif., resident is hoping to transfer to another office, but in the meantime, she’s going to counseling to heal. She dreads returning to her workplace and her bully. “It’s like I’m stuck,” she says. “I don’t know what to do. I am sick, and I can’t change this person. I don’t want to lose my job.” Bullying is a growing concern across the country, yet workplace bullying is a life-altering threat that rarely gathers the attention that schoolyard bullying does. Still, workplace bullying can prompt feelings of stress, depression and anxiety, and some say it can cause heart attacks and even lead to suicide. There are no laws on the books in any state against workplace bullying and no easy legal recourse to embark on when bullying ruins lives. Psychologists and spouses Gary and Ruth Namie have heard thousands of stories as heartbreaking as Kim’s since 1997, when they developed an antiworkplace bullying organization in Benicia, Calif. Now called the Workplace Bullying Institute and headquartered in Bellingham, Wash., the center offers support and counseling to people who are victims of what the Namies call verbal violence in the workplace. They also commission studies to find out whom is being bullied


William Lepowsky, a math teacher at Laney College in Oakland, Calif., was bullied at work in the early 2000s. He fought back. at work and how bullying affects the workplace. The Namies got into this business after Ruth Namie became a target for a bully at a mental health center. Soon after reporting to her job, she says she was screamed at in the halls, picked on by her boss and isolated from her co-workers. “I felt I had done something wrong,” she says. “I did so well in my other jobs and never had a problem. I had a very good career. I just wanted to work. But I kept feeling like I was doing something wrong. I was ashamed, and I didn’t want to tell anybody.” She was eventually put on administrative leave, and she and her husband made it their mission to fight workplace bullying. “I am so worried about this,” says Gary Namie, visibly shaken during a recent seminar in South San Francisco where a young woman in tears shared that she had been bullied two years before. “You don’t typically read about the suicides that are related to this, the health problems. Yet we tell (victims of bullying) that if you don’t take care of your health, it will harm you in innumerable ways, and it could cost you your life.” Workplace bullying can happen in any workplace, Namie says, and the targets are usually people

who simply want to do their work undisturbed. The bully can be a boss, co-worker or supervisor. According to 2010 research by Zogby International, 35 percent of workers have experienced bullying firsthand, what amounts to 53 million people. The study says that 62 percent of bullies are men, while 58 percent of targets are women. Women target women 80 percent of time. Workplace bullies are usually jealous of the target’s accomplishments and drive, the Namies say. “You’re sport,” Gary Namie says. “Targets are the salt of the Earth, and it gets you snookered.” Math professor William Lepowsky had been teaching at Laney College in Oakland, Calif., for 32 years when bullies started targeting him in the early 2000s. “It was something I was absolutely ignorant of until I experienced it,” he says. The bullying started after Lepowsky wrote and self-published a statistics textbook used at Laney. He was accused by an administrator of acting improperly and, even after being cleared of any wrongdoing, Lepowsky says he was threatened with the loss of his job. “A good analogy to (workplace bullying) is that it’s like a mugging. You go to the theater and you’re walking home, and they

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Shoppers whip out smart phones to streamline purchases By DORIS HAJEWSKI Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MILWAUKEE — Standing before a display of heart-rate monitors at Sports Authority, Robert Dries of BrookďŹ eld, Wis., was ready to buy the one he’d heard about at his health club. But before making the purchase, he decided to pull out his Apple iPhone and check some reviews online. “They were not that favorable at all,â€? Dries said. “I ended up buying another model.â€? All over the country, shoppers armed with smart phones are doing some version of this, and the trend is expected to be bigger than ever this holiday season. “It’s a hot topic,â€? said Anne Brouwer, senior partner at McMillan/Doolittle, a Chicago retail consulting ďŹ rm. One-quarter of Americans who own smart phones — cell phones that run software, play media and connect to the Internet — plan to use them this year to look for gift ideas, compare prices and ďŹ nd items in nearby stores, according to a survey by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation. Among young adults ages 18-24, the percentage using phones for shopping is 45 percent.

BULLIES From page 40 He gathered support from coworkers and won, eventually receiving a written apology from the then-chancellor of the district for the “stress and strainâ€? caused by actions of other administrators. A change in leadership at the college made him feel comfortable at work again. Lepowsky talks openly about his experience because he wants to help others. He never sued the district nor got a settlement. But if he had chosen to sue because of the bullying, he would have faced a daunting problem: The practice is not illegal in the workplace if it’s not based on discrimination and doesn’t ďŹ t the

This is the ďŹ rst year the retail trade group asked the question. But while it’s still a relatively new phenomenon, experts expect shopping applications to exert a growing inuence on retailers, as consumers continue to use their mobile devices to take more control of the buying process. Consumers who own smart phones have an ever-growing number of shopping apps to choose from, in addition to the ability to surf the Web on traditional sites. There are apps that help ďŹ nd stores, locate products locally, review products, provide coupons and compare prices. Fast Mall, an app that launched this fall, has a voice recorder to help you remember where you parked, as long as you remember to use it. Once inside, the app will give you bathroom locations in the mall and can guide you to a particular store if you type in your location. Point Inside, a geo-positioning app, can pinpoint your location inside malls and airports, and provides maps of the premises. The Coupon Sherpa app lists national chains alphabetically and provides store coupons and special offers. Price comparison apps with

bar code scanners could have the biggest impact on retailers because they can bring up a list of other merchants offering the same item, allowing an instant price comparison. “We recommend that retailers get over the fact that consumers can compare prices,� said Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail in New York. “That horse has left the barn. So go with it and turn it into an advantage.� For example, Corlett recommends retailers have a store app that will pop up when a shopper enters their stores. Retailers are adapting to the new smart phone technology, but are still early in the process, according to a report this summer from Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. About 60 percent of retailers surveyed early this year either had no mobile strategy or were in the early stage of development. About 35 percent of retailers had a special site that works with mobile browsers, and a third had an iPhone app. Android and BlackBerry apps were available for 8 percent of retailers. Kohl’s Corp. has its weekly ad circular available on its app,

legal deďŹ nition of harassment. Therefore, if a target chooses to take legal action they rarely win cases against their employers. “They have no legal recourse because it’s not against the law,â€? says Michelle Smith, a Sacramento-based workplace advocate trying to gather support for the Healthy Workplace Bill. So what can be done if you are a target of bullying? The Namies assure targets they are not alone, that they didn’t cause the bullying to happen. “Bullying is domestic violence where the abuser is on the payroll,â€? Gary Namie says. And, like in cases of domestic violence, the victim is simply that, a victim. In their book “The Bully At Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dig-

nity on the Job,â€? (Sourcebooks, $16.99) the Namies suggest ways of taking care of your needs ďŹ rst. See a therapist or work with a Workplace Bullying Institute expert to develop strategies for coping with the bully. In some cases, asking an employer to ďŹ x the problem is appropriate — but it could backďŹ re. According to Workplace Bullying Institute research, in some cases the complaints are either ignored or the bullying is intensiďŹ ed. In a worst-case scenario, if your health is being severely harmed, they suggest taking time off work or looking for alternative workplaces. “I think your health is much more important than working at a job that can potentially kill you,â€? Ruth Namie says.

along with store information. Macy’s app lists special events by store and sale information. Both Kohl’s and Macy’s apps allow users to make a purchase

from their phones. JC Penney’s app has product-related YouTube videos, offers weekly deals for mobile and sends coupons to your phone.









All eyes on you: Strategies to perform under pressure Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Everyone has been there at one time or another: blowing a job interview, flubbing a pitch to a client, flunking a test. During stressful situations, even people who are capable of performing better and have done so in the past have dropped the ball. James Sprayregen, a Kirkland & Ellis bankruptcy lawyer who handled the United Airlines reorganization, recalls how he froze during a key presentation before directors of a Fortune 100 company. Sprayregen said he started his talk by saying there were three major reasons the company he was representing should avoid a certain course of action. Spelling out the first reason was easy. Then his mind went blank. “I stood there for about 30 seconds, with everyone staring at me, trying to remember two and three,” Sprayregen said. Finally the two other reasons popped into his head. “Ever since then, I never say there are ‘three major reasons,’ but rather there are ‘several reasons,’ “ he said. Sprayregen prefers speaking extemporaneously, even though he knows that’s risky. Occasionally, he’ll keep a piece of paper with a handful of key points, “sort of like Sarah Palin with the writing on her hand,” he said. Another way to prevent choking is to practice in comedy or acting classes, said Sian Beilock, a University of Chicago psychologist and author of “Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To.” “Pressure-filled situations can deplete a part of the brain’s processing power known as working memory, which is critical to everyday activities,” Beilock said. Such memory serves as a mental scratch pad that temporarily stores information relevant to doing a math problem, responding to a client’s questions or car-

rying out other stressful tasks, she said. When worries creep in, the working memory can become overburdened. And you know what happens next. Your mind goes blank, you become tongue-tied, your heart begins racing and your face turns red. Here are some tips on how to avoid such embarrassment: STATE YOUR TAKE-HOME POINT IMMEDIATELY: That’s particularly useful advice in job interviews and business meetings. “If I tell you what I’m trying to get across at the beginning, everything else can be hooked onto that,” Beilock said. “Research shows it matters when you give people the take-home point.” Also, think about what you want to say, not what you don’t want to say. The ability to inhibit unwanted thoughts is compromised during stress, Beilock said. MEDITATION: The process can help people let go of negative thoughts and worries that can deplete mental resources that could otherwise be devoted to performing well under stress, Beilock said. Meditation “has been shown to change the function and the wiring of the brain,” she said. Even 10 minutes of meditation training can improve performance under stress, she said. YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH AND SMART ENOUGH: Remind yourself of your credentials and the reason you’ve been asked to give a speech, make a presentation or address a weighty matter during a meeting, Beilock said. Kirkland & Ellis’ Sprayregen said when nerves arise, such as before a speech, it’s useful to remember that “most of the people in the crowd would be 10, 20, 100 times as nervous making the speech.” If you know your subject, there’s little reason to get nervous, he said. “Somebody asked once, ‘How long did you prepare for that speech?’ and my answer was, ‘20 years,’ “ Sprayregen said. “I

usually speak on what I know about.” For court, he said, you can never really be finished properly preparing. “But you need to be able to present almost not like a lawyer, but in an understandable way that will grab the judge’s attention to try to focus him on why you’re right,” Sprayregen said. “I try not to get mired in legalese.” During negotiations, he believes in listening closely and watching body language. “It’s easy to talk a lot, but the best thing you can do in pressure-filled negotiations is to listen and watch,” said Sprayregen, an avid reader of books on negotiating tactics. “It tends to relax you also.” PRACTICE MAKING A FOOL OF YOURSELF: Practicing under mild or even low levels of stress can help people prepare for the real thing, Beilock said. But if practicing leads to negative anticipation, that can be counterproductive, she said. Marybeth Wolff, product implementations manager for Allstate’s Midwest region, said she recalls a time when she choked giving an update on a project to a group of co-workers. “I was reading my notes word for word, and during the presentation my voice was trembling, and I was visibly shaking to the point that the paper I was holding was shaking too,” she said. That was the wake-up call to improve her public speaking skills. To hone her ability to prepare, practice and convey confidence, she joined Allstate’s Toastmasters group. “It gives me an opportunity to practice a variety of speaking styles,” Wolff said. “It’s a way for me to continue to develop my skills in a safe environment where I receive feedback and grow.” PUT WORRIES TO PAPER: Spending as little as 10 minutes writing about your worries, such as, “I’m worried I’ll fail this test and not get my license,” can make performers less likely to fizzle. Students who do that before a

big test perform 15 percent better tested writing versus studying than students who sit and stew in more,” Beilock said. “I can tell their worries, Beilock has found. you that the writing works.” What about just spending that time studying more? “We’ve See PRESSURE, page 43

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PRESSURE From page 42 PAUSE: While taking a demanding test or trying to solve a difficult problem, pausing can help prevent going down the wrong path or getting distracted by irrelevant details. Even walking away for a few minutes can lead to an “a-ha” moment, Beilock said. Bob Stegmann, partner at Tatum LLC, was recently supposed to headline a two-hour training presentation, on how to make effective presentations, to about 50 people. He rehearsed. But “I got up in front of the room and just drew an absolute blank.” He looked up and smiled. “I think when you smile at people, particularly when you’re stumbling, it’s disarming and puts people at ease and sets yourself at ease,” Stegmann said. “I said, ‘I’ve got to be honest with you. I’ve just drawn an absolute blank on what I was going to say next.’” He excused himself, took a minute to mentally regroup and got back on track. Trying to fill the silence, rather than taking the time to collect your thoughts, will likely dig a deeper hole, he said. “The immediate reaction in that situation is just to be honest, and people will respect that,” he said. “And the reason that people are there listening to you still hasn’t changed.” Karolina Patino, a college student and intern at the Better Business Bureau in Chicago, also knows the value of taking a

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break. “When I am overwhelmed and just feel like what I have to study is too much, I stop for around a half hour and go do something else, like eat ice cream.” She returns to her studies feeling calmer. KNOW WHEN TO PUT IT ON AUTOPILOT: Football teams often call a timeout when the opposing team’s kicker is about to boot a field goal. It’s because people who know a subject or a procedure well, and who should be able to execute it fluidly and flawlessly, can get tripped up if they overthink a well-practiced speech or sales presentation or dwell on it too much to try to control every word or aspect of their performance, Beilock said. They can suffer what she calls “paralysis by analysis.” Take John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, who flubbed giving the oath of office to President Barack Obama. Beilock bets that Roberts practiced administering the oath to perfection. “Then he got in front of everyone and started paying too much attention and trying to control everything that came out of his mouth,” she said. “He should have let that go on autopilot.” Similarly, for well-practiced procedures that you’ve done countless times, whistling, singing a song or speeding up can help prevent interfering with movement or processes that should run on autopilot, she said. Also, during a sales presentation or a speech that you’ve practiced, avoid the temptation of trying to control every word. Jason Tyler, research operations director for Chicago-based

Ariel Investments, recently gave the commencement address for the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in front of about 1,000 people. He was more nervous before he wrote the commencement speech than before he delivered it. He read it probably 50 times and practiced it in front of people about 10 times. So by the time he took the stage, he felt confident. “You never feel completely relaxed, because practicing doesn’t perfectly replicate the experience of standing in front of a live audience, but you can reduce nervousness by having trained yourself to be in that moment,” he said. He had a copy of the speech during the event but rarely looked down at it and didn’t obsess over every word. “That’s where a lot of people miss, when they try to get every nuance as opposed to the theme,” Tyler said. “All I’m trying to get to is an outline in my mind that I can work from. The words are always going to change.” An Ariel colleague recently gave him a copy of “Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t” that he has begun reading. Another Tyler favorite is “Everyday Survival.” And “even martial arts has helped me a lot because it’s all about focus and control,” he said. “To the extent you can, do things where the subject matter is within your expertise,” Tyler said. “It’s amazing how much calmer I feel about speaking when the content is related to the one or two areas where I know a lot about the topic.” Don’t worry about what you



can’t control: Terry Keating, managing director for Amherst Partners, makes presentations six to eight times a year. To calm his nerves, he tries to seek out a familiar face in the audience. “Mentally, I’ll look at that person and pretend I’m talking to them,” he said. Once

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he gets going, he tends to relax. During one presentation, the slide projector failed. “Instead of getting bogged down in trying to fix it, I just moved on,” he said. “Had I stood there and waited for the tech guy to fix it, it would have started rattling around in my brain.”



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Tech hiring booms as broader economy languishes San Jose Mercury News

SAN JOSE, Calif. — In the midst of a jobs crunch that has thousands of people out of work in Silicon Valley, there’s a hiring frenzy going on among startups, social networking companies and some of the valley’s tech giants. The Googles and Apples of the valley are competing with nimble, fast-growing social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Startups are scrambling for good hires, offering the thrill of creating something new instead of big salaries. While a hiring boom may seem a contradiction when so many people are unemployed, the reality is that many of those out of work don’t have the skills some of these companies are looking for. “There is not even nearly enough engineers, developers and research scientists here in the Bay Area,” said Greg Mikulin, co-founder of Clarity Technology Partners, a Palo Alto, Calif., staffing agency. “The motivated people who have this pedigree are all working.” The hiring began in earnest last fall, according to those who follow the social media and search business, and really picked up steam at the beginning of this year. Google has lost some highprofile people to Facebook and reportedly is offering large retention bonuses to a few key employees while aggressively expanding its sales and engineering side. It added about 3,500 people globally in the first three quarters of the year, putting pressure on smaller but fast-growing companies that are hiring from the same select pool of candidates. “There’s definitely a war for talent between the large companies and the startups,” said Tom Silver, vice president of tech job listing service Overall, tech job listings are up 38 percent nationally from last year on, Silver said, but they have jumped 64 percent

Top jobs, a search engine for job listings from thousands of sources, reports these are the top 10 job categories found in a keyword search of want ads and corporate websites in Silicon Valley. ■ Software engineer ■ Senior software engineer ■ Project manager ■ Retail sales ■ Product manager ■ Retail customer support ■ Web developer ■ Business analyst ■ Java developer ■ Senior product manager

Jobs trends These are terms found most frequently in a keyword search of national job listings, according to ■ Facebook ■ Virtualization ■ iPhone ■ Social media ■ Sharepoint ■ Twitter ■ Certified nurse assistant ■ Patient care technician ■ Cloud computing ■ Blogger

in Silicon Valley., which aggregates thousands of employment sites, says the leaders in the number of jobs open are Apple and Google. Valley companies are looking for Java programmers, network engineers, network-security analysts, cloud-computing specialists, virtualization programmers, user-interface engineers and mobile-technology specialists, Silver said. The average salary for these jobs in Silicon Valley is $96,299. Redbeacon, which offers multiple price quotes on local services like gardening and home repair and was founded in 2008 by exGoogle employees, recently hired an in-house recruiter to “work every single day on hiring,” said co-founder Ethan Anderson. “We’re seeing definitely one of the most challenging recruiting environments in memory, especially in the technical area.” That’s partly because of the

rise of angel and micro-venture investing, he said, which involves individuals and small groups raising $1 million to $2 million to fund startups. “That means there are more engineers starting more companies,” Anderson said. “Each will have two or three engineers, but there are hundreds of them, so that on a percompany basis there are fewer engineers available.” A second challenge is the sheer volume of hiring by larger companies like Google, he said. Or Cisco, for that matter, which expects to add 2,000 to 3,000 people worldwide in the next several quarters. While the hiring frenzy has spawned a seller’s market for top talent, it’s leaving some midlevel technical workers sitting on the sidelines, Mikulin of Clarity said. With the rise of cloud computing — the Internet-based sharing of software and information — some desktop and support positions are disappearing, he noted. “It’s some of the lower level jobs that are starting to go away, unfortunately,” he said. “The cloud and enterprise spaces right now are absolutely on fire,” said Aaron Levie, founder of, an online work space information sharing company that recently moved into bigger quarters to house a staff that’s grown 70 percent this year. Krish Parikh, 27, an M.I.T. grad in engineering and computer science, came to from Oracle a few weeks ago. He said he has no regrets. “It’s very exciting, the atmosphere is great, and there’s a lot of energy. People come in early, stay late — it’s the make-it-or-break-it aspect of startups.” LinkedIn, an online professional network based in Mountain View, Calif., will nearly double in size this year, from 450 to 850 people, said Steve Cadigan, LinkedIn’s vice president of people operations. “Reading a lot of the articles about what’s happening with unemployment, I feel like I’m living in a different world here,” he said.

While Google expands its work force, other companies lure the workers Google already has. Facebook has hired away some of Google’s top talent, but the Palo

Alto social networking company failed to land one person after Google offered him a six-figure bonus, according to several recruiters.





Great Recession spurs the rise of the surgical shopper BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — Think of the Mall of America as the Colosseum of American consumerism: It has more than 500 shops, 50 eateries and its own theme park, complete with an indoor roller-coaster. And now it, too, seems a symbol of a bygone era. Some 40 million people still visit each year. But many are like Michelle Hoppe of New London, Minn. She drove two hours to spend just $100 at three stores — Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret and a toy store. Three years ago, she says, she would show up with a “pocketful of cash” and pop in and out of stores all over the mall. “We would just spend,” says Hoppe, 45, a home health aide. The days when shopping was a leisure activity are over, at the nation’s largest shopping center and beyond. Americans are being precise in how they shop, regardless of what they are buying. They’re visiting fewer stores, checking off their lists and walking away. They’re spending fewer minutes online when they shop. They aren’t stockpiling. Shoppers today visit an average of three stores during a trip to the mall, according to ShopperTrak, a Chicago research firm that tracks sales and customer counts at more than 70,000 stores. That compares with an average of five stores in 2006. Inside stores, there’s evidence that impulse buys are on the decline. Stores are messier because people dump so much merchandise before they check out, says Paco Underhill. His company, Envirosell, studies how consumers behave in stores. It’s “surgical shopping,” says John Gerzema, a brand executive at advertising and marketing firm Young & Rubicam, and co-author of a new book about the changing ways we spend money. The shift is greatest among lowincome Americans. You can see it during the wee hours of the morning on the first day of each month. That’s when government assistance electron-

ically drops into debit cards of millions of Americans. So they line up to get the basics just after midnight, a scene that’s increasingly common across the country. Stores that close overnight report crowds first thing in the morning. “I have a whole strategy. I shop for the big packs every six months,” says Pia James of Harlem, who had just received her Social Security check and was clutching a fistful of coupons she had used as she left her local Costco an hour after the store opened at 10 a.m. She was pushing a cart filled with fresh vegetables and fish as well as big packs of soap and other toiletries. As Americans are increasingly selective, stores are under more pressure. One or two fewer trips per shopper per month may not seem critical, but multiply that by millions of consumers, and the impact can be devastating for the retail industry. In the first nine months of this year, the nation added about 23 million square feet of retail space, according to CoStar Group, which tracks the data. Four years ago, that figure was nearly 149 million. About 700 shopping centers broke ground compared with more than 7,000 in 2006. At The Shoppes at Pinnacle Hills in once-booming Rogers, Ark., which opened four years ago near the headquarters of Walmart, a third of the space is empty. Some malls haven’t even been completed, like a five-story complex outside of New York that was to be the biggest in the country. The commercial real estate industry is likely to keep struggling in part because of more targeted shopping by Americans. J.C. Penney Co. CEO Mike Ullman calls this behavior “appointment shopping.” He’s seeing more shoppers only visiting stores when they have a specific reason to buy —Christmas, backto-school, Mother’s Day, etc. Meanwhile, websites like Groupon are becoming more popular. Since its launch in late 2008, the

site has attracted 25 million subMeanwhile, Penney and many made shoppers, who don’t want scribers around the world. They other stores are emphasizing to spend until they need to, even band together to get the lowest clothing that shoppers can wear more turned off by clothing that’s price on an item, then pounce. right away. The downturn has not in sync with the weather. Shoppers who sign up for Groupon e-mails are pitched mainComputer Equipment IOWA ly local offers, from discounts Dictation Equipment on massages to restaurants. If BUSINESS Copiers enough people act to take advanNetworking M ACHINES , INC . tage, the deal takes effect. If that Computer Printers OVER Calculators quota isn’t met, it doesn’t. 1009 Decathlon Drive Cash Registers The Gap’s recent Groupon offer Waterloo, IA 50701 Facsimile YEARS of $25 off a $50 purchase was a Check Writers • Sales blockbuster. Gap sold 441,000 Time Clocks offers as part of a one-day only • Service Typewriters JIM KAYSER promotion in August, for a total • Supplies SALES CONSULTANT of $11 million. Mall of America reports the (319) 235-0346 • 800-545-3383 Fax # (319) 233-3847 average number of stores per visit at its mall is rebounding to prerecession levels, based on its own internal study. But on a recent day, it wasn’t hard to find people making more tactical strikes. Online, people are lingering less at each shopping site than they did in 2008, according to tracking Contact us for firm Coremetrics. And more peoCo Corporate Wearables ple are going to a site and leaving & Workwear. in a few seconds — 35 percent, up 1808 East Street . Cedar Falls Phone: 277-2385 or 1-888-652-8316 . Fax: 266-4057 from 25 percent two years ago. “That shows that shoppers Serving the Cedar Valley for Over 30 Years know what they’re shopping for Free Catalog Available! and then they want to go on to the next activity,” like Facebook, says Coremetrics chief strategy officer John Squire. “They’re spending more time searching and shopping instead of browsing.” The changes in spending habits are forcing retailers and manufacturers to rethink how they do business. As Target remodels its stores, it’s trying to make it easier for shoppers to quickly check out prices and quality. For instance, • Special Back Room shoppers will find items like Seating for up to 50 sheets grouped together so that they can quickly figure out what • Breakfast Meetings they want; in its expanding food sections, it’s making sure that it • Lunch Groups displays both store and national brands together, says Kathee • Award Winning Tesija, Target’s executive vice Homemade Salad Bar president of merchandising. In the past, different types of home • Best Broasted Chicken goods were grouped by theme or in the Cedar Valley color, which made it easier for customers to leisurely wander through the area. Kitchen 7am-10:30pm Across from the Mall


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Enrollment is up at trucking schools McClatchy Newspapers

FORT WORTH, Texas — Michael Brock is hitting the open road in search of job security. After two decades working construction jobs, he is tired of being laid off when times get tough. He enrolled at the C1 Truck Driving School in Benbrook, Texas, and plans to become a long-distance driver. “Construction is not stable enough for me,” Brock, 43, said recently during a class. “Driving a truck is a stable industry. As long as you keep your report clean, you’ve got a job.” Americans as a whole may be struggling to find work after a long recession, but there are jobs aplenty in the cab of an 18wheeler. Trucking companies are reporting a shortage of drivers nationwide, which could delay shipments and ultimately raise the price of goods. “During the recession, companies had to cut the work force, so now that freight volumes are picking back up they don’t have the work force to accommodate the demand,” said Brandon Borgna, spokesman for the American Trucking Association in Arlington, Va. “A lot of drivers are older. There isn’t that younger generation stepping in.” But filling those jobs could prove tough. New federal rules that clamp down on drivers and companies with poor safety records could force veteran drivers to quit or retire and scare off new drivers with a blemished past. And an economist says he’s skeptical when businesses claim to have a driver shortage. He said the current need for drivers may be short-lived, lasting only as long as companies restock shelves after the recession. Nonetheless, schools that train truckers to get their commercial licenses are preparing for an enrollment spike.

“It’s going to be hot and heavy,” said Tim Megard, vice president of operations for C1 Truck Driver Training, an Indiana-based company that operates schools in four states. “The big companies will be taking out ads.” Megard said that C1’s schools train about 4,000 entry-level drivers nationwide per year and that enrollment has risen since midyear. At the Benbrook campus, about 29 students enroll each week. They undergo about a week of classroom work, followed by two weeks of instructor-guided driving practice at a dirt lot. Two-thirds of C1’s students have jobs lined up at graduation, Megard said. Some companies even cover tuition. Among the students at CI’s Benbrook school is Jill WiederMerrell, 50, who plans to work for Arkansas-based USA Truck upon graduation. Wieder-Merrell’s husband already drives for USA, and the couple plan to work as a team on cross-country trips. Federal safety rules restrict truck drivers’ hours on highways, but the couple can cover more ground if they take turns behind the wheel. The downside to driving a truck isn’t the pay — entry level salaries of nearly $40,000 are common. Instead, the biggest complaint is time away from home. Many first-year employees drive for six days at a time, with one day off per week. But it’s a lifestyle that’s comfortable for Wieder-Merrell, who has no children. “I’m from a small town to begin with, and there’s a lot of close friends, and we go to the local store and have coffee,” she said. “And from what I have seen, that’s how truck stops go.” Trucking companies, many of which have cut back routes and driven off employees through

retirements and layoffs the past couple of years, are now looking to rebuild their work force. More than 140,000 trucking jobs have been lost since 2008, and many smaller trucking companies went belly up, a report from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals says. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, about 290,000 new truck drivers will need to be hired by 2018 to meet the expected demand. Today, about 1.8 million people are employed as long-distance tractor-trailer drivers. Grapevine, Texas, trucker Chris Black said the problem “is not a shortage of drivers; it’s a shortage

of good companies.” “Where I’m at now, it’s a small company, and I know the boss personally,” said Black, who works for Champion Transportation Services. “I’d probably make more money somewhere else, but they keep you on the road a lot more.” Michael Belzer, a former Chicago trucker and now an economics professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, has criticized the trucking industry since deregulation in 1980. “Freight transport is a leading economic indicator, but I suspect that this ‘recovery’ is a false one as companies restock inventories,” Belzer, author of the 2000

book “Sweatshops on Wheels,” wrote in an e-mail while traveling last week in Taiwan. Belzer is more optimistic about new federal regulations being rolled out late this year to improve safety. Under the new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules, known as CSA 2010, drivers and trucking companies are assigned points for safety violations during inspections and crashes. Ideally, companies that have a good safety history — and hire drivers with clean records — would pay lower insurance rates and be able to charge higher shipping costs.

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Business Monthly - December 2010  

High-tech, quick cure: Area hospitals turn to technology, help patients return to work faster.

Business Monthly - December 2010  

High-tech, quick cure: Area hospitals turn to technology, help patients return to work faster.