Archive for September, 2010

Power Breakfast: Obama economic team changing, Gwinnett airport, Delta, Hartsfield, KFC, homebuilding

It’s not a local story, but it affects us all. The president’s economic team is changing.

Lawrence Summers, the economist who helped design and secure President Barack Obama’s top economic policy priorities, will return to Harvard University at the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Summers will be the third top economic official to leave the administration, following the president’s first budget chief and his first Council of Economic Advisers chairman.

Two people familiar with the matter said the president is considering a senior corporate executive as a successor to lead the National Economic Council, the WSJ reports. That would answer criticism that the Obama administration lacks private-sector experience and is aloof from corporate America.

Former Xerox Corp. chief executive Anne Mulcahy quickly emerged as a leading candidate to replace Summers, though White House officials caution that no decisions have been made yet, the WSJ writes.

In the AJC:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Obama economic team changing, Gwinnett airport, Delta, Hartsfield, KFC, homebuilding »

Suppport or oppose expanding Gwinnett airport?

Worried about increased noise and traffic, about 400 people stayed late at the Gwinnett County courthouse in Lawrenceville to tell commissioners they do not want operations at the airport expanded to include commercial service, AJC staffer Patrick Fox reports.

Supporters of the idea, including the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, have said a small-scale commercial airport would provide a convenient alternative to Hartsfield-Jackson and produce thousands of jobs.

What do you say?

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Novelis president acts swiftly to turn manufacturer around

Talk about flying under the radar.

Bet you can’t name the Atlanta company — with $9 billion in revenue — that says it’s the biggest buyer of aluminum in the world. No, it’s not Coke or CCE, but it does make the aluminum sheets used to produce their beverage cans.

Phil Martens

Phil Martens

It’s Novelis, the spinoff from Alcan that chose Atlanta as its headquarters five years ago. In case you’re one of the millions of metro Atlantans who don’t know it, Novelis buys 2.75 million tons of aluminum a year and then fabricates it into flat-rolled products used by the beverage, auto, electronics, construction and other industries around the world.

I sat down with Phil Martens, the president and top exec (the company doesn’t use the CEO title), to see how the turnaround is going.

For its fiscal year that ended March 31, 2009, Novelis lost $1.9 billion. Then two weeks later, Martens, an auto industry veteran, was hired to stanch the flow of red ink. By this March, the company had posted a profit of …

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Power Breakfast: Developer auctioning equipment, Deal finances, school board ethics, recession, Fed, Wal-Mart

In another sign of dreary times in commercial real estate, embattled metro Atlanta developer Stan Thomas is auctioning off much of his fleet of grading vehicles, AJC staffer Rachel Tobin reports.

More than 175 pieces of heavy equipment from Setco Grading, a company Thomas owns, are to be sold Wednesday, Tobin writes.

“We’re just downsizing,” Thomas told Tobin. “We’ve got too much equipment right now in this world. We’re keeping some of it, but we’re selling a good bit. It’s just crazy to pay interest on it.”

Among the items to be auctioned: 10 Peterbilt twin-axle dump trucks, six Caterpillar crawler tractors and 12 hydraulic excavators.

Thomas, who is based in Newnan, is known locally for his “power center” shopping developments but took on larger, riskier ventures during the boom years. As the Great Recession hit, he was involved in more than 15 large developments at one time, Tobin writes.

He has laid off hundreds of employees and filed for bankruptcy protection on …

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Developer auctioning equipment, Deal finances, school board ethics, recession, Fed, Wal-Mart »

Has the recession ended for you?

What do you know? The recession has ended.

The longest recession the country has endured since World War II officially ended in June 2009, Associated Press reported Monday.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, a panel of academic economists based in Cambridge, Mass., says the recession lasted 18 months, AP reported.

It started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. That was the longest of any recession since World War II.

But unemployment in Georgia remains at 10 percent and is just a hair better nationally.

What do you make of this latest news? While the recession has ended for the academics, has it ended for you?

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

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Football Classic Job Fair in Atlanta on Friday

The Georgia Department of Labor and 100 Black Men of Atlanta will co-sponsor the Football Classic Job Fair in conjunction with the game between the Tennessee State and Florida A&M.

The job fair, with about 50 employers expected to participate, will be held Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Georgia World Congress Center.

“Tens of thousands of Georgians are out of work and this event is an excellent way to bring job seekers and employers together,” state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said in a statement.

Applicants are encouraged to bring multiple copies of their resumes and be professionally dressed.

Expected employers include:

Accounting Principals, Allied Barton Security Services, Amerisourcebergen, Ark Temporary Staffing, Ashford University, Charter, Correct Health, Credability, DeKalb Workforce Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, Edward Jones Investments, EMC Corporation, Emcompass Digital Media, EZ Prints, FBI, FedEx Ground, First Data IS (Freedom), Gate …

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Got a special tip to protect against ID theft?

Doing something smart to protect yourself against ID theft?

The problem is becoming pervasive, with the Federal Trade Commission receiving 1.3 million fraud complaints in 2009 alone, reports AJC staffer Katie Leslie.

Sixty-two percent of people said the Internet, largely through e-mail, was the source of initial contact, Leslie writes.

Plus, the growth of social networking sites is likely to fuel many more victims.

By sharing seemingly mundane personal details and preferences, people might be giving the bad guys clues about their security codes, Leslie writes.

For example, by revealing your dog’s name, hometown and date of birth on your Facebook page, a persistent hacker could reasonably guess potential passwords and use computer programs to run millions of iterations of possibilities.

Has anything like this happened to you?

Have you stopped or restricted your use of social networking sites because of privacy and security issues?

What do you do that can help avoid …

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Power Breakfast: Georgia bank failures, emergency landing, ID theft, ports, floods

Three more small Georgia banks have been seized by regulators, pushing the state’s nation-leading total to 44 failures over the past two years, AJC staffer Scott Trubey reports.

One of the three banks was led by a chief executive who was also the one-time chairman and interim CEO of a bank that failed last year, Trubey writes. Another had U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, as a founding investor and board member until earlier this year.

All three banks — two in metro Atlanta and one based in extreme North Georgia— succumbed to soured real estate loans in the worst recession in generations, Trubey reports.

Peoples Bank of Winder, Bank of Ellijay and First Commerce Community Bank of Douglasville were seized Friday and sold by the government as a package to Carrollton-based Community & Southern Bank.

Service at the banks will not be affected by the takeover, according to the FDIC, and customers will continue to have access to their accounts. The FDIC insures deposits up …

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Is your company top notch?

Work for a good company?

Want the employer to be recognized?

Here’s the link to nominate that company as a Top Workplace.

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What will United-Continental merger mean?

After only two years, Delta is losing its status as the world’s biggest airline as United and Continental join forces.

What do you think about the trend toward fewer but bigger carriers?

Do you worry about fares going up and service declining, along with less competition?

Or do you think that these mega-mergers — first Delta-Northwest and now United-Continental — will create a more stable environment for both passengers and employees?

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

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