Archive for June, 2011

Taking a few days off

The economy needs to step it up and create a lot more jobs in the third quarter.

I hope it gets going NOW — even while I take a few days off.

Have a wonderful July 4th holiday and Peachtree Road Race.

I’ll see you next Tuesday. Be well.

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Savvy women entrepreneurs lead fast-growing firms

One sells interactive software to turn kids on to learning in school. The other cleans up and disposes of hazardous waste.

Cynthia Kaye

Cynthia Kaye

I’m talking about two women entrepreneurs who are making it in widely different businesses with similar approaches.

Cynthia Kaye, founder and CEO of Logical Choice Technologies in Lawrenceville, and Danielle Waske, founder and president of DNT Environmental Services in Atlanta, own two of the fastest-growing women-led firms in America, according to a new list from the small business unit of American Express and the nonprofit Women Presidents’ Organization.

I sat down with them together to see if their shared experiences could help others.

First, a little background. Kaye, 46, started Logical Choice in 1994 after she got tired of her 2-year-old “drooling and throwing Cheerios at me.” With a background selling PCs and Macs to schools, Kaye set up an educational tech firm.

“I set up in the basement with two folding tables and my Mac …

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Power Breakfast: Delta expects ’solidly profitable’ quarter, immigration, Philips Arena, rail, oil, IMF

Delta Air Lines expects to make a profit in the second quarter, even amid continuing high fuel prices that have prompted flight and workforce cuts, AJC writer Kelly Yamanouchi reports.

The Atlanta-based airline said in a regulatory filing Monday it expects a “solidly profitable” April-June quarter, adding that higher revenue has “largely offset” a more than $1 billion increase in fuel expense year over year, Yamanouchi writes.

Airlines have raised fares to cover high oil costs, and Delta said unit revenue — the amount from each passenger — is up 10 percent for the second quarter compared to the prior-year period, Yamanouchi reports.

Delta expects its operating margin to be 6.5 percent to 7 percent for the quarter, Yamanouchi writes.

Also in the AJC:

In other …

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Cable and DVR boxes use more electricity than refrigerator

I always thought the air-conditioner or refrigerator burned the most energy in the home, but I’m wrong.

The New York Times reports that the little boxes that transmit cable signals and digital recording capacity to televisions have become the single largest electricity drain in many American homes.

Some typical home entertainment systems consume more power than a new refrigerator and even some central air-conditioning systems, the Times writes.

Many homes now have one or more basic cable boxes as well as add-on DVRs, or digital video recorders, which use 40 percent more power than the set-top box, the Times writes.

One high-definition DVR and one high-definition cable box use an average of 446 kilowatt hours a year — about 10 percent more than a 21-cubic-foot energy-efficient refrigerator, a recent study found.

These set-top boxes are energy hogs mostly because their drives, tuners and other components are generally running full tilt, or nearly so, 24 hours a day, …

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Do we need a second airport?

Do you think Atlanta needs a second airport?

A federally funded study this spring re-examined the issue and looked at eight potential locations — concluding none is economically feasible, AJC reporter Kelly Yamanouchi writes.

But, Yamanouchi points out, Atlanta remains one of the few major U.S. cities without a second commercial airport.

Supporters say a second airport could bring more competition and, depending on the location, better convenience for northside travelers, Yamanouchi writes.

But major obstacles include high costs and the likelihood of intense local opposition to any site considered, Yamanouchi reports.

What do you think? How do you size up the benefits vs. costs?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

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Power Breakfast: Georgia bank failures rise to 65, paying more for math teachers, Home Depot, immigration, debt ceiling

Just in case you missed it, another Georgia bank failed late Friday. It was the 65th since the financial crisis began in 2008 — the most of any state.

AJC writer Arielle Kass reports that Mountain Heritage Bank in the north Georgia town of Clayton was closed by regulators — the 14th failure of a Georgia-based bank this year.

It was sold to First American Bank and Trust Co. in Athens, the FDIC said.

The bank, founded in 2003, had $103.7 million in assets and $89.6 million in deposits at two branches, Kass reports. The failure is estimated to cost the FDIC’s deposit insurance fund $41.1 million.

In 2009, after receiving cease-and-desist orders by regulators that June, Mountain Heritage Bank president Jim Wallis told the AJC he was trying to raise $2 million and shrink the bank’s balance sheet, Kass writes.

As with nearly every failed bank, Mountain Heritage bet heavily on real estate, Kass reports. Most of Mountain Heritage’s losses were on loans for construction of …

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Which is better: Complete or partial sale of Atlanta Hawks?

Which is a better outcome — a complete or partial sale of the Hawks? Why?

One scenario — the current owners of the Atlanta Hawks sell out completely to a new owner or owners, who keep the team here.

Another scenario — the seven-man group, known as the Atlanta Spirit, add other investors — but stay in the game.

AJC writer Tim Tucker reports that Hawks’ part-owner Bruce Levenson is denying a Sports Illustrated report that the basketball team is on the verge of being sold.

“Not true,” Levenson said in an email statement to Tucker. “As we have stated for an extended period of time, we engaged an investment banker to assist us in looking for investors for the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena operating rights,” the statement said.

What would you like to see — more investors or a total change?

There’s plenty of history and controversy to rely on for your decision, including a lengthy legal battle among the owners and the group’s recent sale of the Thrashers to a Canadian group …

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Power Breakfast: Hawks searching for investors, Aflac takes hit from Europe, Chick-fil-A, solar power, oil, Nike

Will another Atlanta sports team be sold?

Hawks part-owner Bruce Levenson denied a report Thursday by Sports Illustrated that the basketball team is on the verge of being sold, AJC writer Tim Tucker reports.

“Not true,” Levenson said in an email to Tucker. “We will issue a statement shortly.”

That statement indicated a deal is not imminent but reiterated that the Hawks’ owners are at least seeking new investors, Tucker reports.

“As we have stated for an extended period of time, we engaged an investment banker to assist us in looking for investors for the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena operating rights,” the statement said. “We have spoken with a number of parties, but at this time, there is no deal in place, nor is there an exclusive negotiating agreement in place. We will have no further comment at this time.”

As the AJC has previously reported, the Hawks’ ownership group, through investment bank The Raine Group, has had talks with various potential buyers or investors …

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Hawks searching for investors, Aflac takes hit from Europe, Chick-fil-A, solar power, oil, Nike »

Power Breakfast: MARTA raises fare to $2.50, metro jobless rate up, Cobb development, Georgia bonds, Fed, hedge funds

In what one MARTA board member called an “agonizing” decision, the transit agency on Wednesday voted to raise one-way fares from $2 to $2.50, AJC reporter Ariel Hart writes.

When the fare hike goes into effect on Oct. 2, a MARTA trip will cost more than a ride on the buses and subways of New York City, the nation’s largest transit system, Hart reports. MARTA serves 135,000 riders on an average weekday.

Just two years ago, at the time of the last fare increase, the basic MARTA fare was only $1.75. The price of a monthly pass, then $52.50, will now rise to $95, Hart reports. That’s an 81 percent increase.

“You’re killing us,” said Brenda Sanders, 52, as she waited for a bus Wednesday morning outside Five Points Station. “Jobs are going down, food is going up in the store and now you’re raising the fares? Who is going to give us a break?” Sanders said she doesn’t drive and has no car, so MARTA is the lifeline to her job as a hotel maid in Sandy Springs, Hart …

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Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate rises to 9.7 percent in May

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate increased to 9.7 percent in May — up from a revised 9.6 percent in April, the state labor department said Thursday.

There has been little progress from a year ago when the jobless rate was 9.8 percent.

The rate rose in May because:

– More than 21,000 new job seekers entered the labor force looking for work, the labor department said. While about 15,000 of them found a job, about 6,000 did not.

– Also, metro Atlanta had a net loss of 900 jobs. An increase of 1,100 jobs in manufacturing and construction was offset by a loss of 2,000 service-related jobs, the labor department said.

Among the core metro counties, Clayton had the highest rate at 12 percent. It was followed by both Fulton and DeKalb at 10.1 percent. Cobb posted 9.2 percent, while Gwinnett’s rate was 8.8 percent.

The city of Atlanta had a 10.6 percent jobless rate.

Last week, the labor department said Georgia’s unemployment rate was 9.8 percent in May. It was the 46th consecutive …

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