Covid diaries: How my estate agency survived the pandemic

first_imgHome » News » COVID-19 news » Covid diaries: How my estate agency survived the pandemic previous nextAgencies & PeopleCovid diaries: How my estate agency survived the pandemicLondon agency chief Steve Wayne shares his recollections of a rollercoaster 2020 – from Brexit hope to Covid mope.Steve Wayne, MD of Benjamin Stevens24th December 20200628 Views The fact is that 2020 has been an extraordinary year for everyone. No one has escaped or been untouched by the effects of corona virus in some way shape or form.I’ve decided to take a look back at the last 12 months, how it affected my agency, the housing market in general and why I truly believe that lockdown had done estate agency a huge favour that can only make things better and more profitable for the coming year and for years to come.January to February I remember starting 2019 with a sigh of relief, full of positivity and enthusiasm. Finally, after years of uncertainty, a [Brexit] agreement had been made, a date had been set, and we were leaving the EU. All the waiting, all the anticipation and all the hesitation from people looking to buy or sell their property seem to vanish overnight.I’d been telling people for months that Brexit wasn’t going to hugely affect the property market. At the end of the day the things that always keeps the market moving are births, death, marriages and divorce – little did I know how this theory would ring true a few months down the line!Business was booming, phones were ringing, exchanges and completions were flying in. Our sales figures were up on the previous 6 months, and even the previous year. For once we were starting a year on the right footing, people’s confidence in the property market was returning and 2020 was set to be a bumper year……News of coronavirus was starting to circle. A few cases here and there, and then sadly a few deaths. At this point, were any of us taking it that seriously? But as the weeks went on the numbers rose and all of sudden instead of knowing someone, who knew someone, who knew someone that died of the virus, the virus seemed to move much closer to home.I started to feel restless and no longer felt comfortable with allowing my staff or our clients to be at any further risk than necessary. So, I decided to shut the doors to our branches for the first time in 16 years. The following week, Boris Johnson ordered the entire country in to lockdownMarch to MayLike so many other agents out there – for the first few days I was in no-mans-land. I was ‘working from home’ for the first time in my career, and added to that, I had a toddler and a new-born with me for office staff! I decided there and then to take this potentially damaging period where my business was closed, and turn it into a positive.The vast majority of my staff were furloughed, all calls were diverted to my mobile. For the first time in many years, it was me speaking to every single client that called up. I was fielding calls, dealing with issues from buyers and sellers who were mid-way through their sales process, as well as property management and block management requests, and people who were simply call up for general advice.I realised this was a golden opportunity.This time out from the office would allow me to review first hand, how my business was working, how our systems were working and what changes needed to be made to make us ready and better for when we reopened.The other factor was our brand. Nobody knew at the beginning of March how long we’d be shut for. We had to keep our name alive. So together with my Marketing Director Rosanne, we decided to start a Facebook Live series. Every single day for the three months of the first lockdown we ran a live interview every day on Facebook at 1pm. We spoke to industry experts, local businesses who were still able to operate during lockdown and local charities raising money for the NHS – all of whom needed some promotion. It was hard work and involved a lot of organising, but it was fun too.We gained 100,000 views over the series and most importantly, people didn’t forget who we were and what we did! I’ve always believed estate agents didn’t need to be stuck in the office 9am-5.30pm every day to get business done, but now, with lockdown, the industry was being forced to adapt and for the better!June to SeptemberWe re-opened our branch doors on 1st June 2020 – a little later than we could have, but we wanted to make sure all health and safety systems for our staff and clients were in place and fully operational first.We hit the ground running. We were busy, REALLY busy. Busier than I could have anticipated. The Stamp Duty holiday played a big part in this but I do people that these people would have looked to move anyway. This initiative did wonders to kick start the property industry, give people a helping hand and in the long run, allow the economy to begin rolling again.We caught up on lost time and lost revenue, the phones were ringing off the hook.During lockdown people had time to assess their lives. Some wanted outdoor space, or extra indoor space, and for many we must remember, sadly no need for the entire property anymore.My team also adapted to the new ways of carrying out valuations and viewings. By being extra stringent, we were able to prioritise serious buyers which allowed the whole sales process to be speeded up.Positively was back. Along with this came an influx of new Negotiators. Our Hub model, where Agents join us as Partners, tripled in size. Many of the Negotiators moved over to Benjamin Stevens from well-established corporate agents, after having spent time during lockdown, assessing what they want from their future careers.October to DecemberAs we approached the final few months of the year things couldn’t have been better, but as our sales figures rose, so again did the number of COVID infections. November saw us in lockdown again but this time estate agencies could remain open and do business. Yes, things slowed down, but they didn’t come to a complete halt. We have seen things ramping up to allow us to be on the same level of completed business as in 2019, even despite being closed for 3 months of 2020.December brought another blow, with COVID cases in London and the South East (the main areas we cover) rising sharply and we entered Tier 3 and very quickly after, Tier 4.Throughout the last 6 months of the year, our industry has been able to continue operating despite tightening restrictions. This has not been the same for so many other sectors and I’m at a loss to try and comprehend how everyone is coping. At times, I’ve openly admitted that I’ve thought it somewhat crazy that as estate agents we could accompany strangers to view other strangers’ home, yet we could not mix with our immediate family.Benjamin Stevens Steve Wayne December 24, 2020Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

HMS Grimsby Visits North East

first_imgRoyal Navy Warship HMS Grimsby made two enjoyable but short visits to the North East as part of a regional engagement programme and in support of a traditional celebration close to the heart of all sailors, Trafalgar Day.The 450-tonne Mine Countermeasures Vessel was first alongside at Victoria Quay in Hartlepool for a 2 day stay before departing Teesside for the short trip north to transit under the Millennium Bridge and berth at Newcastle Quays.The ship – under the command of Lieutenant Commander Mark Hammon Royal Navy then returned to her busy programme conducting operational tasking around UK waters.Lt Cdr Mark Hammon said:“It is vital to us in the Royal Navy that we are able to make visits like these to key British ports such as Hartlepool and Newcastle to reinforce our close bonds that come about as a result of our being an island nation largely reliant on the sea for our economy and security.“I know that my Crew have had and excellent time in the North East, Hartlepool was fantastic and Newcastle is also a favourite place to visit for the Royal Navy, two cities where we are always assured of a warm welcome.”SLt Martyn Harris RN- Navigating Officer of HMS Grimsby said:“It’s my first ever visit to the North East, and it has been brilliant, everyone was extremely welcoming and friendly.“Almost half of the Crew are from this area and for them it has been a bit of a home-coming.”Sailors were sent to numerous events around the area, including a celebration of Nelson’s “right hand man” at Trafalgar, Admiral Lord Collingwood where a “celebratory tot” was drunk in his honour.Following the success of the two previous visits, the Crew of HMS Grimsby then found themselves in the East; conducting Remembrance Sunday in the town of Grimsby. 12 members of the ships company were present for the ceremonies, which were conducted in company with 250 Medical Squadron (TA) and other organisations including Sea Cadets and Sea Scout Groups.The ceremonies involved a march through the town to the War memorial, the laying of wreath on behalf of the Royal Navy and a march past for the Mayor of Grimsby.SLt Stephanie Moss RN, an officer under training on board HMS Grimsby, was “deeply moved by the occasion and felt that it provided a fitting remembrance to those who gave so much for their country.”All those who took part in the events in Grimsby were made to feel very welcome not only by those hoisting them, but by all the people of the town.[mappress]Press Release, November 25, 2013; Image: Royal Navy Training & Education Back to overview,Home naval-today HMS Grimsby Visits North East HMS Grimsby Visits North Eastcenter_img Share this article November 25, 2013last_img read more

Charter Schools USA Loses The Charter Bid, Giving IPS A Shot At Reclaiming Takeover…

FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare The next step lies with the Indiana State Board of Education, which is now expected in January to revisit the question of what should happen to the schools as they exit state takeover at the end of the current school year. IPS will make its case for bringing the schools back under its umbrella.Charter Schools USA officials declined to comment after the meeting. Misty Ndiritu, the state director of Noble Education Initiative, a nonprofit with ties to Charter Schools USA that is the day-to-day operator of the company’s Indiana campuses, said in an emailed statement, “Clearly, we are extremely disappointed in the narrow 3-4 vote today. We will continue to work with the thousands of educational stakeholders who have routinely articulated they want to stay on the current path of success at each school under our leadership and local partnerships.”The charter requests were an unprecedented attempt to sever permanently the state-controlled schools from the district. But in IPS’s late efforts to reclaim the schools, district officials raised financial concerns over the complications of managing the debts on the three district buildings, were they to become charter schools. In the end, those concerns proved to be one of the critical issues leading to the charter denials.Charter board members also said they were uncertain whether the schools would be able to meet lofty enrollment goals, the key to their financial viability, and whether academic progress could be sustained without the extra funds that the schools received under a state takeover.“I was worried about some of the issues with the management. I was worried about the enrollment and the finances,” said Jill Robinson Kramer, vice-chair of the state’s charter board. “It was definitely ambitious without very detailed plans.”After about three hours of discussion, the charter board voted against its staff’s recommendation to grant three-year charters to all three schools.The recommendation, however, came with some asterisks. The board’s staff suggested a short term in order to monitor closely the transition and highlighted the high number of students leaving the two high schools without diplomas, a problem revealed by a recent Chalkbeat investigation. The schools recorded few dropouts but some of the highest proportions in the state of students leaving to home-school, a designation that doesn’t factor into graduation rates.Emma Donnan Elementary and Middle School had perhaps the best shot at a charter, having shown significant academic growth under Charter Schools USA’s management. With the manager’s addition of elementary grades, Emma Donnan raised its consecutive F grades under IPS to a C. The elementary school posts high reading scores and largely surpasses district schools on standardized tests.Charter Schools USA leader Jon Hage noted that those improvements came despite the politics surrounding state takeover. “We persisted through this environment,” he said, adding, “The community has also strongly backed us throughout this process.”The charter applications, though controversial, had hundreds of people — including students, families, community members, and alumni — supporting the efforts, signing petitions and writing letters backing Charter Schools USA’s leadership.Ndiritu, of Noble Education Initiative, stressed the operator’s local ties. “You hear all the time, ‘Florida, Florida, Florida,’” she said at the meeting. “We are from Indiana. We work in Indiana schools. … We are making decisions here.”But the charter board also focused on the uncertainty of whether the schools would be able to execute the visions laid out in the charter applications because of the transition out of state takeover. IPS recently ended its innovation partnership with Emma Donnan, citing declining enrollment and high staff turnover.“That’s some shaky ground,” said charter board member Leslie Dillon. “I keep hearing that, ‘I think, I think, I think.’”The rejection of Emma Donnan’s charter application set a grim tone for supporters for the discussions over Manual and Howe, which were shorter and ended with votes falling along the same lines. The conference room at Government Center was packed with about 75 people, including many from the three school communities and top IPS officials. Those who supported the charters at times grumbled, cried, or called out over critical questions from the board.While IPS has outlined a plan to find a charter operator for Emma Donnan and hand operations of Manual to influential local charter network Christel House Academies, a shadow looms over Howe. IPS officials have not revealed a plan for the high school, which has struggled the most out of the three turnaround campuses, and the district has not ruled out closing Howe.“IPS is committed to addressing the individual needs of each school, and the return of Emma Donnan, Emmerich Manual, and Thomas Carr Howe to the district will allow continued expansion of sustainable choice options for all students,” the district said in an emailed statement.The three outnumbered board members who voted in favor of the charters said they wanted to avoid more turmoil for students and families, particularly by avoiding potential closures. They believed continuing operations as charter schools would be the smoothest possible transition.“I’m a longtime school choice [and] charter school supporter, and I would tend to vote on the side of a parent or a student who says, ‘I love my school,’” said charter board Chairwoman Kim Preston. “That would have been a good step toward stabilizing communities and giving them faith that their schools are going to exist in a couple of years.”(Preston also briefly served on the board of ReThink Forward Indiana, the nonprofit that would have held the charters since Indiana law prohibits for-profit operators, like Charter Schools USA, from being granted charters.)Dillon — who voted against the proposals — urged the community to unite, even amid palpable disappointment over charter rejections. She told them that the vote didn’t dictate what the outcomes would be for their students.“This is not the final say for your babies,” she said. Charter Schools USA Loses The Charter Bid, Giving IPS A Shot At Reclaiming Takeover SchoolsBy Stephanie Wang CHALKBEAT -Indiana –December 13, 201Indiana Charter School Board denied charters Friday for three Indianapolis turnaround schools — a stunning move that could spell the end to the Florida-based Charter Schools USA’s operations in Indianapolis.As a result, the three Indianapolis schools — Howe High School, Manual High School, and Emma Donnan Middle School — face the prospect of another rocky transition to new management or even possible closure.But the board’s 4-3 votes against the charters, which elicited gasps from the audience, marked a major victory for Indianapolis Public Schools, which could win back the three schools that have been under state takeover since 2011. (Two members of the charter board were not present for the vote.) read more

It’s a kind of (pancake) magic

first_imgPancake Day PR of the week comes from self-proclaimed food alchemists Bompas & Parr, who have created “the world’s first food-based magic set that lets you use your kitchen for a performance as magical as the most avant-garde restaurant”.Each set of which only 10 were made for Harvey Nichols contains “a miniature edible laboratory of potions, syrups, powders and pipettes to make pancakes that glow in the dark using the same enzymes as fireflies; fire projectiles across the kitchen; and even turn your pancake topping into real gold”.Damn and we were planning on giving up luminous flying gold pancakes for Lent too.last_img

Euphorium invests £1m in factory and shops

first_imgEuphorium Bakery is investing £1m in a new factory and shop, and has plans to open a further 20 new shops. The north London-based chain, which currently has seven outlets, is due to open the 7,500sq ft factory, 10 times the size of its previous production facility, in Islington this summer.Operations director Andrew Green said the company had outgrown its production bakery in its Highbury shop, and had delayed by two years the opening of a new shop in Threadneedle Street in the City of London, due to lack of production capacity. The new factory means the shop, the company’s eighth, will now open in the summer.Green said Euphorium Bakery had secured private funding that would enable it to expand rapidly to 30 shops over the next four years. This would increase turnover from £3.5m to between £15m and £20m, he added.Funding has come from several entrepreneurs who specialise in food retail. “We had several unsolicited approaches, which we decided to engage with,” said Green. “That process has been going on for the last six months.”The company is recruiting for directors, senior management and shop managers ahead of the expansion. “We are now interviewing to strengthen our board and management team and look forward to opening our new factory with some new team members ready to roll out our plans,” said Green. Twenty to 30 other staff will also be taken on.The company plans to expand its shops initially through acquisition. “We are at advanced stages of negotiation with two separate potential businesses,” said Green. “These two have eight shops between them, so we would have 16 in total. Ideally we’d like to have all 16 trading as Euphorium Bakery by late summer.”last_img read more

BSU Study: Robots could soon take over restaurant service

first_img Twitter WhatsApp Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest Pinterest WhatsApp Previous articleBeware scams targeting Amazon customers in IndianaNext articleNew traffic-focused officer unit created in St. Joseph County Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. By Anthony92931 [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons You always hear about how robots will eventually take all of our jobs, but are we closer to the future than we think? The idea of robots taking our orders, making our hamburgers, or creating a mixed drink could become a reality.Professor Dina Zemke from the Miller College of Business at Ball State University did a study called “How to Build a Better Robot for Quick Service Restaurants,” and surveyed people who work in the food service industry their thoughts on robots.“Participants felt that the incorporation of robotic technology is a question of ‘when’ rather than a question of ‘if,’” Zemke said.She got the idea of the study because of restaurants making changes during the pandemic, having customers order ahead of time on an app, to reduce the amount of interaction inside the restaurant. Even before the pandemic, some fast-food restaurants turned to kiosks, where customers could order their meal on a touch screen.“But that’s not considered to be robotic, since it does not move,” Zemke said.So could actual robots take our order and make our sandwiches?“Everyone is a little suspicious of the voice-recognition technology,” she said. “One of the recommendations, pretty much across the board from the study participants, is don’t use that technology until it has been perfected.”Zemke says the conversations about possibly replacing human employees with robots might become legit if the conversations about raising the fast-food minimum wage to $15 continue.“If your labor costs continue to go up, there is now talk, of course, about ‘well, will restaurant owners replace employees with robots to do the work in the kitchen?’,” she said.The participants in Zemke’s study brought up pros and cons to having robots in restaurants and bars. They mentioned that robots don’t have to call in sick, and they don’t need to take breaks. At the same time, they only work at one pace.Zemke says she and her colleagues once went to a bar that had a robot bartender.“It was fun, it was entertaining and very interesting,” she said. “But the one thing we really noticed, especially since three of us were bartenders in the past, is that we could make drinks much, much faster than the robots could. So if you hit a period where you’re absolutely slammed and you got tons of people waiting for drinks or hamburgers or pizzas or whatever, the robots will not speed up, where as, humans can.”In the end, Zemke says there is still a lot of technology that needs to be developed before we’re all replaced by robots. IndianaLocalNews By Jon Zimney – September 25, 2020 0 327 Google+ BSU Study: Robots could soon take over restaurant service Facebooklast_img read more

Lettuce’s Shady Horns To Play A DJ Set At Sea For Fool’s Paradise

first_imgThe second annual Fool’s Paradise is set to bring the heat to the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on March 31 & April 1, with genre-bending music from Lettuce x2, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (with Jeff Chimenti), The Floozies, The Motet, Manic Science (a special set with Manic Focus & Break Science) The Main Squeeze, Organ Freeman, and Oteil Burbridge & Antwaun Stanley as artists-at-large.Part of what makes Fool’s Paradise so unique is the one-on-one time fans get with their favorite musicians. The event itself is intimate, from the one-stage parameter to the nearby after parties – but there are also opportunities to have even more time with your favorite artists outside of the festival ground. Before the gates open on Saturday afternoon, Fool’s Paradise will offer three artist-led excursions for those in town for a full experience in St. Augustine, FL.One of which is The Shady Horns Sailing Adventure & DJ Set At Sea! Kick back, relax and soak up the sun with saxophonist Ryan Zoidis and trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom” on the Schooner Freedom Charters! Join the jokesters as they DJ their favorite tunes on a two-hour nautical adventure at sea. The guys promise deep cuts from New Orleans, some rare and carefully procured funk, and maybe some reggae if the vibes right.Bring a pair of binoculars and look for dolphins, turtles, and birds, or take the helm for an unforgettable sailing experience. Beer and wine will be provided, though you can always bring more. Snacks are also recommended! The ship boards at 12PM ET. Space is limited, so sign up right HERE.If sailing’s not your thing, you can also play mini-golf with Lettuce’s Jesus Coomes, Vulfpeck’s Antwaun Stanley, and The Motet’s Lyle Divinsky, or go against Adam Deitch and Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff in a ping-pong tournament to raise money for The Water Collective. More information can be found here.last_img read more

Sierra Boggess & Darren Criss Fan Out Just Like You & More Lessons of the Week

first_imgJessie Mueller Has an Onstage Sweet ToothBefore there were pies, there were Twinkies. Jessie Mueller played Role Call and revisited her resume, and she said she’s outgrown her Over the Tavern days, when she played “a 16-year-old who ate Twinkies.” It all worked out for her because we know the only thing better than yellow cake with a creamy center is mermaid marshmallow pie. Surely, her dentist is thrilled. Our Fans Have Spectacular, Spectacular Casting Skills  Come what may, we will not stop dreamcasting Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge musical; we’ve been doing it forever! You chose Darren Criss to play Christian in a stage adaptation back in the day. Other top picks included Aaron Tveit, Jeremy Jordan and Santino Fontana. Who knew the Glee star would stop by Broadway.com HQ the same day this news would break?! Well…actually, not even Criss himself!  Holiday Inn Costs an Arm and a LegWhat’s more exciting than tap dancing on every holiday? Tap dancing with dead arms, of course. To pass the time during tech, Corbin Bleu and his Holiday Inn castmates rehearse their routines with flailing limbs. We’ve never dreamcast those inflatable tube dancers in a musical before, but after this, we’re starting to consider it. The Winter Garden Felt the Spirit of BabsBarbra Streisand paid a visit to her old digs at the Winter Garden Theatre (where she starred in Funny Girl way back when), where she visited Barbra super-fan Sierra Boggess’ School of Rock dressing room. Among Sierra’s decorations were a plethora of framed Barbra album covers, an opening night note from her and a candle with Saint Barbra’s face. Look out, Andrew Chappelle. Your Patti shrine has nothing on the Barbra temple. View Comments Dee’s Dreams Are Not in GreenWe’ve heard that when you play Elphaba, the green stays with you (especially behind the ears). For Dee Roscioli, however, the tint doesn’t stick. Fiddler on the Roof’s new Fruma Sarah recalled a nightmare in which she was preparing to go on as Elphie, but no matter how much green she applied, none of it stayed on. Fruma Sarah and bad dreams go together like Elphaba and questionable headwear. Star Files Darren Criss Sierra Boggesscenter_img Bryce Ryness Has an O.K. PlanHe was a pirate in Peter Pan Live!, but now Bryce Ryness wants to smell the sweet wavin’ wheat in a live Oklahoma! The Matilda favorite revealed he’d love to see a site-specific telecast that shoots in Oklahoma, with real cornfields and real golden haze. We’re all for this, but two questions: Are two exclamation points in Oklahoma! Live! excessive, and can it feature Mary Testa making cornbread? Anastasia Knows Blondes Have More FunWhat do you mean, “Journey to the Past”? Anastasia’s tresses are apparently all about the future in the recently released Broadway artwork. Though the title character of the popular animated film rocked red locks in ’97, it looks like it’s time for a change. Whether she’s werkin’ a “Ginger Top” or “Legally Blonde,” we’re still amped to see Anastasia bow on Broadway on March 23, 2017! We Love Ana Villafañe’s ‘Conga’ SwimsuitHow does Ana Villafañe make it happen? With a #Conga one-piece. The On Your Feet! vlogger went on a water park excursion with her fellow cast members, during which time she revealed a custom-made bathing suit perfect for Broadway’s Gloria Estefan. We think this could be the start of something, Ana. You can have your own #Conga line of swimwear. Or #Conga almond butter! Darren Criss, Jessie Mueller, Bryce Ryness, Ana Villafane, Sierra Boggess & Alexandra Silber(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser, Joan Marcus & Caitlin McNaney) Labor Day weekend is finally here! Before you head to Coney Island for Elsie Fest or start up the grill for your epic barbecue, it’s time to review the Lessons of the Week. From Jessie Mueller’s fave treat to the Wicked Witch’s own worst nightmares, here’s the knowledge that got dropped!   Elsie Fest = Darren Criss’ Fantasy Football  Speaking of super fans, Darren Criss graced us with his presence on #LiveatFive this week to talk all things Elsie Fest. The Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner told us that the concert is actually a mastermind plot for him to assemble the stars he fans out about, like a Fantasy Football League (you know, for people who enjoy Sports Ball). Cynthia Erivo, Corey Cott—game on!  Cat’s Got Alexandra Silber’s TongueWhen Alexandra Silber met Angela Lansbury after a performance of Fiddler, she had a full speech prepared detailing how the grande dame is her one true idol. Absent from Silber’s speech, however, was her cat, Tatiana Angela Lansbury Romanov. The feline has her own Instagram account replete with show tune quotes. It’s probably best you didn’t tell her, Al. We know she’s more of a rabbit person, anyway.last_img read more

USA Risk Group Announces New Employees and Office Move

first_imgMontpelier, VT USA Risk Group announced today its expansion of its Burlington offices. They have recently hired two experienced captive insurance account managers, Jenny Denison and Judy McNally to assist in the continued captive growth of the Group.With the two new hires, the Burlington office will be taking new office space in the Gateway Plaza office building at 30 Main Street, Suite 450 in Burlington effective December 12th.USA Risk Group is a leading alternative risk service provider with offices in Arizona, Bermuda, BVI, Cayman Islands, New York, South Carolina, Vermont, and USVI. Business Insurance recently named USA Risk Group the 2nd largest independent captive manager and 7th largest in the world. Further details on USA Risk Group are available at www.usarisk.com(link is external).last_img read more

Joint partnering efforts in U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise reach record donations for the Dominican Republic humanitarian civic assistance

first_img From April through June 2014, thousands of patients received general and specialized care as part of the U.S. Southern Command-sponsored Beyond the Horizon 2014 (BTH) exercise in Barahona, Dominican Republic. U.S. Southern Command’s Partnering Directorate coordinated with governmental and non-governmental agencies to provide humanitarian civic assistance in the form of medical and dental care and engineering expertise to the local community. As the executive agent, U.S. Army South in partnership with the Dominican Republic, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Peru militaries, conducted Medical Readiness Training Exercises (MEDRETE) and an All Dental Readiness Training Exercise (DENTRETE), providing evaluations and health services including – pediatrics, dentistry, gynecology, geriatrics, ophthalmology, and nutritional counseling. CitiHope International’s (CHI) Caribbean Regional Director, Tim Tuccelli said, “This MEDRETE is one of the most amazing operations in terms of efficiency, in getting over 500 people per day channeled into individual departments where their needs are met at the primary care level.” Tuccelli added, “CitiHope International is also able to assist in ensuring that they’ll have the medicines in the future, as we stay on after the MEDRETE to ensure that the medical clinics that have been built will still have formulary, medical supplies, and fortified foods for the region for years to come.” CHI and the Dominican Institute for Integral Development (IDDI) provided sixty on-site translators for the medical and dental care professionals; and are working closely with the Dominican Republic Ministry of Health through the Heal a Nation [Sanar una Nación] alliance to assist patients with supplementary needs. By Dialogo August 01, 2014 i would like talk with the Gen. Kenneth Tovo.I think that he is an Interesting man. Heal a Nation, is a growing public-private partnership developed by a coalition of leading Dominican businesses, CHI, the Ministry of Health, Dominican and U.S. military leaders, healthcare institutions, local and international NGOs, and community-based groups that support the logistics for procurement, delivery, and distribution of donated goods in the Dominican Republic. BTH Dominican Republic 2014 received over $4M in donations from non-governmental organizations and the private sector, over the course of the exercise. Heal a Nation partners – Fundacion Rica, IDDI, Children of the Nations, Grupo Rica, Banco Popular Domincano, and Grupo Ramos; and NGOs – Food for the Poor, Midwest Mission Distribution Center, and Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach together provided translation services, school equipment, preventative medicine training, and fortified foods. “I would like to extend our deep appreciation for [Heal a Nation] Sanar una Nación’s continuing commitment of sustainable support of the health care needs in the region,” said Tuccelli. Since 2013, Heal a Nation has donated over $70M to credible health and educational institutions across the Dominican Republic including pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and equipment, and fortified foods, with about 25% going to assist citizen security throughout the Dominican Military, National Police and the Presidential Cabinet of Social Policy. BTH Dominican Republic is the largest NGO and private sector collaboration in a U.S. Southern Command hosted exercise. This year, contributions were so great, U.S. Southern Command was able to support activities beyond the original scope of the exercise – The U.S. military provided engineering expertise and assisted with the construction of four new classrooms at two schools in Barahona, new facilities at two existing medical clinics: Clinic Vicente Noble and Clinic Palo Alto, and an entirely new clinic, Clinic Invicea Villa, that will serve 1600 families in the region. U.S. Southern Command, NGO Relations Chief CDR Chris Cruz stated, “By working closely with NGOs and private sector partners, we’re able to achieve whole-of-society solutions to the challenges we face in the Caribbean and Latin America.” He added, “Whether it’s government or non-government, public or private, business or academic, our many partners are critical to success within a whole of society approach. It is through relationships established during important engagements like BTH that partnerships are made and cultivated. Separately, we all have limitations. But through partnering, we can accomplish great things.” At the closing ceremony on June 16, representatives from governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations reflected on the tremendous successes of the exercise. “This exercise clearly demonstrates how well joint, combined interagency partners can successfully come together to achieve common goals and objectives,” said U.S. Southern Command’s Military Deputy Commander Army Lieutenant General Kenneth Tovo. “Our goal was to improve the quality of life of the Dominican people,” said Tovo. “With your hard work, I believe we did just that.” last_img read more