Raising the Bar. Thriving by Continuous Improvement

first_imgRaising the Bar. Thriving by Continuous ImprovementA One-Day Introduction to Performance Excellence Thursday, April 3rd, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.EXPLORE AND LEARN ABOUT:Strategic Planning: Learn how to align decisions, improvement efforts and daily operations to attain the strategic results you require.Leadership: An effective leadership system sets the course and climate for the organization and inspires others to “make it happen.” Find out how to transition from reactive managing to energizing, proactive leadership.Developing the Organization: See examples of how the challenges of current and emerging business trends can be addressed through enhancing agility, innovation and individual and team empowerment. Find out how process and data management also play an important role in the success of high-performance organizations.Improving Business Results: How do you know if your business results are good enough? How do similar companies compare? Learn how high performing organizations use the Performance Excellence Criteria for constantly improving key financial, customer and human resource results.Vermont Manufacturers register for a special rate.To register:1) Contact VCQ at 802-655-19102) Email Laurie@PerformanceExcellence.com(link sends e-mail) or3) Download the attached registration formFor more information, see our web site:www.VermontQuality.org(link is external)last_img read more


first_imgShelburne, November 23, 2005: Armistead Caregiver Services has announced that it has put on a food drive to benefit the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. Armistead caregivers were brainstorming during a recent staff meeting on how to make a difference in their community during the holiday season and decided on the food drive.The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that one in 10 Vermont families is now considered food-insecure, meaning they lack adequate resources to feed every family member. Since 1999 the rate of Vermont children in the family going with inadequate food has doubled, the largest percentage increase of any state in the country.Armistead caregivers will help stock the shelves of the Emergency Food Shelf by bringing donations of non-perishable food items from their clients to the Armistead office which will then be dropped off at the Food Shelf. The food drive will last through the New Year.Locally owned and based in Shelburne, Armistead supports the dignity and quality of life of the elderly and disabled persons by providing non-medical care services through a committed staff of compassionate caregivers. It offers personal care as well as meal preparation, errands, transportation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, and more – all the necessities of life that help seniors and people with disabilities remain in their own home. Armisteads web site is www.armisteadinc.com(link is external).The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, the largest in the state, is dedicated to providing food relief services to low-income individuals lacking adequate food supply or nourishment throughout Chittenden County. Last year, Food Shelf programs distributed over 2 million pounds of food to hungry neighbors with over 1 million pounds of the food donated. The Food Shelf web site is http://www.cvoeo.org/ChittendenEmergencyFoodShelf.htm(link is external)last_img read more

Raymond, Drost join Welch’s staff

first_imgRepresentative Peter Welch today announced the hiring of two Vermonters for positions in his Washington and Vermont offices. Brent Raymond, a Swanton native and Williston resident, will join Welch s Vermont office as Business Liaison. Julia Drost, a Brownsville native and University of Vermont graduate, will join Welch s Washington office as Staff Assistant. I m pleased to welcome these outstanding Vermonters to our team. Brent and Julia both bring valuable experience and an understanding of the state that will be an asset to our office and to the Vermonters we serve, Welch said.A native of Swanton, Brent Raymond joins Rep. Welch s office as Business Liaison after 10 years in Vermont s financial services sector. Raymond was a vice president of TD Banknorth Wealth Management Group and subsequently worked as a Vermont-based financial advisor for Merrill Lynch. He served in the US Air Force for four years, earning several medals and commendations, and later served in both the Vermont Air National Guard and the Vermont Army National Guard. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of Hunter College, Brent graduated with a double major in history and an honors interdisciplinary studies program. Raymond lives in Williston with his wife, Leyla, and their one-year-old son, Brodyn.Julia Drost, previously an intern in Rep. Welch s Washington office, has been hired as staff assistant. Drost, who grew up in Brownsville and attended Windsor High School, graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Vermont in 2008. Drost previously served as a Student Conservation Association National Park Congressional Fellow and has held internships with Vermont Business Magazine and Sen. Bernie Sanders.last_img read more

Unemployment drops slightly to 7.1 percent

first_img       Changes From The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2009 was 7.1 percent, down one-tenth of a point from the revised March rate and up 2.5 points from a year ago. Unemployment rates for Vermont s 17 labor market areas ranged from 4.2 percent in Hartford to 10.9 percent in Newport. Local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. For comparison, the April unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 7.7 percent, down two-tenths of a point from March 2009 and up 2.9 points from a year ago. Job and employment losses moderated in April with the state actually growing employment over the month. said Patricia Moulton Powden, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor. While this may be a sign of stability, it is still too early to say that the job market has turned the corner. Job gains took place mostly in construction where we would expect a seasonal boost and where the early use of Government Stimulus Funds has been focused.Job GrowthApril is a month where we typically see a downturn in unadjusted job counts as winter seasonal activities fall and the warm weather activities have not yet fully engaged. Before seasonal adjustment, Total Non-Farm (TNF) jobs fell by 1,950 and by 12,600 or -4.1% on an annual basis. This represents a small decline in the rate of annual job loss as compared to March. Construction, (+1,750 jobs or +16.4%) led the over the month growth. Retail Trade (+500 or +1.4%), Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities, (+200 or +2.4%) and Administrative Support & Waste, (+400 or 5.7%) also grew unadjusted jobs over the month. Only Healthcare (+1,400 or 3.1%), Government, (+100 or +0.2% )and Education (+150 or 1.1%) showed significant annual improvement.When seasonally adjusted, April job levels grew by 500 jobs or +0.2% from March, but still remain down by 12,600 or -4.1% from April of 2008. The Construction sector grew by 500 seasonally adjusted jobs or 3.9% over March. The Retail Trade sector also grew by 400 seasonally adjusted jobs or 1.1% over March. Healthcare and Education showed small seasonally adjusted increases of 100 jobs each.Employment GrowthVermont s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a point to 7.1 percent in April as a result of increases in the number of employed, (+1,400 to 334,700) and a small decrease in the number of unemployed Vermonters, (-400 to 25,500). Vermont s observed April seasonally adjusted employment, unemployment levels and unemployment rate were not statistically significant from March. For comparison purposes, the US seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was 8.9 percent, up four-tenths of a point from the revised March rate of 8.5 percent.The preliminary estimates of nonfarm jobs for April, and the revisions to the estimates for November 2008 through March 2009, incorporate substantive changes made in the Current Employment Survey estimation procedures. These new procedures are designed to bring the aggregate monthly change in jobs for individual states into closer alignment with the change in national job counts reflected in the estimates produced and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result of these changes, the November 2008 and forward estimates may not be totally comparable to previous months’ data. The impact of these changes in methodology will be better understood when we are able to make comparisons to Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. We expect to make these comparisons beginning in May of 2009. For details of these changes, please contact Andy Condon at the Vermont Department of Labor at 802-828-4153 or andrew.condon@state.vt.us(link sends e-mail).Source: Vt Dept of LaborVermont Labor Force Statistics (Seasonally Adjusted) April 2009March 2009April 2008March 2009April 2008Total Labor Force360,300359,100355,3001,2005,000   Employment334,700333,300338,9001,400-4,200   Unemployment25,50025,90016,400-4009,100   Rate (%) s labor force, employment and unemployment statistics are produced from a combination of a Statewide survey of households and statistical modeling. The data are produced by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program (LAUS) a cooperative program with the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Vermont Department of Labor.last_img read more

Vermont sales tax holiday Saturday, March 6

first_imgThe next Vermont “sales tax holiday” will take place Saturday, March 6. The sales tax holiday was initiated in 2008 and has been wildly popular with retailers, consumers and politicians. All items of $2,000 or less that would normally qualify for the Vermont sales and use tax are exempt. This includes both the regular statewide sales of 6 percent and the 1 percent local option tax that most of the larger towns in Vermont also have instituted.Some economists both here and around the nation, including the Tax Foundation, have questioned the practice. The opposition suggests that it is not really stimulating sales, rather it is only changing the timing of sales that otherwise would have been made. Therefore, the state just loses revenue. If tax revenue is lost from sales, it would mean taxes would have to be raised somewhere else. Florida, for instance, which like most states including Vermont is facing mounting budget deficits, suspended its tax holiday last year. This sales tax holiday is expected to cost Vermont $2.2 million in lost sales tax revenue. The state will pay the 1 percent to the local option towns so those municipalities will see at least a short-term windfall.But most businesspeople see it as a way to stimulate the economy, which was why the sales tax holiday was instituted in the first place. Below are details and qualifications issued by the Vermont Department of Taxes. Other than the $2,000 limit, almost everything that is now taxed is exempt. In most cases, back-ordered and layaway items are also exempt if they paid for on March 6. Some of the non-exempt items include:• Amusement charges including season passes for ski resorts.• Charges for telecommunication services including prepaid telephone cards.• Charges for cable television services.• Digital downloads of music, movies and books.Only a week away, Vermont business owners have high expectations for the sales tax holiday. They remain confident that it will provide a much needed boost to their bottom lines in this down economy. “These sales tax holidays play an important role in getting struggling Vermont businesses back on the path to economic stability,” said Betsy Bishop, President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. “We are optimistic that Vermonters will be out across the state taking advantage of the tax-free holiday as well as other incentives that local businesses are offering. It’s really a win, win situation for consumers, for Vermont businesses, and for the state as we all work to get the economy rolling again.” In 2009, the Legislature approved two tax-free holidays allowing any products costing $2,000 or less, that are normally subject to sales and use, or local option sales tax to be exempt. Some businesses are extending their hours, adding additional staff, and even adding extra discounts and promotions. At Buck’s Furniture in Wolcott, co-owner Sandy Howard said she hopes the sales tax holiday will draw consumers into her store to purchase items that they may not otherwise buy if they had to pay sales tax. “This day really helps merchants,” Howard said. “The previous sales tax holiday last August was our single biggest sales day in our 52-year history and we’re hoping we get the same response next week.” Howard said that Buck’s Furniture will be open 24 hours from Midnight on Friday until Midnight on Saturday and they will have additional staff on hand in order to assist an influx of customers. In addition to no sales tax, Howard said the furniture store will also be offering other promotions and deals.Source: www.stateline.org(link is external), Tax Foundation, Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Vermont Department of Taxes, Vermont Business Magazine.last_img read more

Vermont, Fletcher Allen given featured roles in health quality summit

first_imgNext week’s first national health care summit meeting on health quality and costs since enactment of landmark health insurance reforms six months ago will spotlight Fletcher Allen Health Care’s success with its innovative steps in boosting quality while lowering costs. The day-long conference will convene Monday (Oct. 4) on Capitol Hill in Washington.At the suggestion of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dr. Melinda Estes, president and CEO of Fletcher Allen Health Care, will discuss Fletcher Allen’s model and experience in the conference’s first session, ‘Designing High Value Health Care: Lessons From The Field.’Dr. Craig Jones, director of the Vermont Blueprint For Health, is a panelist in another session on ‘Fostering State-Federal Collaboration And Public-Private Partnerships.’Leahy, who had often touted Fletcher Allen and the Vermont Blueprint For Health during Congress’s year-long health insurance reform debate, had personally suggested roles for Vermont’s health care leaders in the summit meeting to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who organized the conference. She agreed with Leahy that Vermont’s example is valuable as a model for other states to study and emulate.‘Fletcher Allen has put theory into practice, forging innovations that work,’ said Leahy. ‘The impetus for reform is now the law of the land, and Vermont continues to lead on the cutting edge. Fletcher Allen and the Vermont Blueprint For Health will have the health care community’s undivided attention at this summit.’The new law actively encourages others states to follow examples like Vermont’s, and other states and regions are taking note of Vermont’s success.Fletcher Allen consistently ranks as a high-value provider because of the system’s coordinated model of health care delivery that emphasizes reliance on primary and specialty physician care, resulting in lower inpatient and outpatient service needs and in lower costs.The most recent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission report on Medicare payment variations validates Vermont’s efforts, showing the Burlington area (Fletcher Allen’s service area) with a service use per beneficiary rate of 82 percent of the national average ‘ the lowest rate in New England, and ranking 14th best of the 404 service regions surveyed. Statewide, Vermont also ranked high on the list.Vermont’s Blueprint for Health, a chronic care initiative, supports this model statewide by coordinating patient care through the use of ‘medical homes’ ‘ a care delivery system that was recognized in the health reform law.Both models are broadly applicable as other states and care delivery systems move to improve value and curb spiraling costs, as prescribed in the health reform law.Source: Fletcher Allen. 10.1.2010 # # # # #last_img read more

Layoffs at Mine That Supplied Costly Kemper ‘Clean Coal’ Experiment

first_imgLayoffs at Mine That Supplied Costly Kemper ‘Clean Coal’ Experiment FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:The company that supplies lignite coal to Mississippi Power Co.’s Kemper County power plant says it will lay off 75 workers at the mine.It’s the latest fallout from the suspending the part of the plant that was supposed to gasify coal and remove pollutants. Mississippi Power has said it could lay off 250 workers at the plant. The utility’s parent, Southern Co. wrote off $2.8 billion worth of gasifier investment when it announced quarterly earnings last week, adding to $3.1 billion it had lost earlier.“Obviously, any time you have a job loss as significant as that, it certainly has an effect,” Craig Hitt, executive director of the Kemper County Economic Development Authority, told The Meridian Star .NACCO Industries of Cleveland notified investors Monday of the mine downsizing, saying it would lay off workers after the 60-day notice period mandated by federal law.The mine, operating as Liberty Fuels Co., sits within walking distance of the power plant, and has been delivering lignite for testing purposes since 2016. The location for the complex in Kemper County, outside Mississippi Power’s service territory, was chosen so the lignite mine and power plant would adjoin, cutting transportation costs.The $7.5 billion Kemper plant was designed to gasify soft lignite coal, strip out much of the carbon dioxide and other pollutants, and burn the gas to generate power. But the plant has ended up more than $4.5 billion over budget and three years behind schedule. The Mississippi Public Service Commission in June ordered the utility and regulatory staff to negotiate a settlement aimed at running the plant only on natural gas and shielding customers from paying for the gasifier.More: Coal Mine Layoffs Latest Fallout at Kemper Power Plantlast_img read more

Report: Renewables Will Drive ‘Steep Decline’ in Australian Electricity Prices

first_imgReport: Renewables Will Drive ‘Steep Decline’ in Australian Electricity Prices FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Modelling commissioned by the Turnbull government as part of its efforts to back in the national energy guarantee says renewables will drive the first wave of price reductions under the policy. It also floats substantial regulatory intervention to stop the electricity market becoming even more concentrated.The work by Frontier Economics, obtained by Guardian Australia, says a steep decline in wholesale electricity prices forecast between 2018 and 2022 is due to the entry of 6,000MW of renewable capacity which has already been incentivised by the existing renewable energy target.It also acknowledges that the policy, which imposes new reliability and emissions reduction guarantees on energy retailers and large energy users from 2020, could also lead to further market concentration in states like South Australia.The assessment notes that in order to meet their obligations under the Neg, electricity retailers can either contract for supply externally, or integrate vertically with generators, which could be more “cost-effective than external contracting”.It notes this is a factor particularly in South Australia “where a high degree of concentration and vertical integration already exists.More: Renewables will drive ‘steep decline’ in wholesale electricity price in Australia – reportlast_img read more

Regulators telling utilities to go slow on big new capacity projects

first_imgRegulators telling utilities to go slow on big new capacity projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Indiana utility Vectren South wanted to replace its baseload coal plants with a massive gas plant. In late April, regulators blocked that plan.The surprise rejection of the 850-megawatt project, which had been estimated to cost $781 million, comes as regulators in other states have applied greater scrutiny to large capital investments that utilities are seeking to build. The critique holds that massive expenditures for large, centralized assets during a time of rapid change to the electricity industry could become a bad deal for ratepayers.California has already rejected a few natural-gas plant contracts in favor of clean options like energy storage and renewables, but this is a new outcome for coal country. The Indiana decision joins a growing number of cases where state utility regulators have pushed utilities to consider more decentralized, lower-carbon grid planning.Vertically integrated utility Vectren South, whose parent company was recently acquired by Houston-based utility group CenterPoint Energy, serves 145,000 customers in southwestern Indiana. It controls 1,248 megawatts of generating capacity, 1,000 megawatts of which comes from coal sourced in-state. This old-school baseload fleet is having problems in a market that puts an increasing value on flexible operations.The old plants cannot keep up with today’s fast-paced market, so Vectren South decided to retire 730 megawatts of coal plants and replace them with a 700-megawatt combined cycle gas plant, combined with 150 megawatts of new peaking capacity to replace 135 megawatts that will retire.In rejecting the utility-built gas plant proposal, the commissioners highlighted a disjoint between the 30-year or longer lifetime of a major gas plant investment, and the “environment of rapid technological innovation on both the utility and customer side of the meter.” In light of those changes, which include increasingly low prices for renewable power and the maturation of energy storage, the regulators found Vectren South’s RFP to be “unduly restrictive.”More: Gas plant rejection brings the energy transition home to Indianalast_img read more

Hellenic Petroleum to underwrite construction of 204MW solar farm in Greece

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Greece’s biggest oil refiner, Hellenic Petroleum, said on Monday it will finance and operate a 204 megawatt solar energy plant in northern Greece to tap into the country’s shift from coal to renewables.Last year Greece announced an ambitious plan to shut down almost all its coal-fired power plants by 2023 and shift more to renewables. Most of its coal-fired plants are based in northern Greece and the government has announced a series of actions, including renewable energy projects and funds to make up for job losses there.Hellenic, which is 35 percent state owned, already operates solar and wind energy facilities in Greece. It said it will invest 130 million euros ($141 million) in the plant in Kozani, northern Greece, which will be built by Germany’s Juwi. It is expected to start operations in the final quarter of 2021, the company said.Greece plans to boost renewables to 35 percent of its energy consumption by 2030 from 19.7 percent this year, hoping to generate investment worth about 44 billion euros.Hellenic, with three refineries of a total 344,000 barrels per day capacity, operates 26 megawatts of solar and wind parks in Greece. It wants to add another 300 megawatts of renewables to help in the country’s transition to clean energy.[Angeliki Koutantou]More: Hellenic to set up solar plant in northern Greece Hellenic Petroleum to underwrite construction of 204MW solar farm in Greecelast_img read more