Archive for March, 2013

Emory may drop Chick-fil-A from campus options

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CHICK2Emory University students may no longer be munching on Chick-fil-A sandwiches and waffle fries this summer, and the campus insists it has nothing to do with fallout over comments about gay marriage the popular restaurant chain’s president made last summer.

Students on an advisory committee have recommended that the restaurant, which has been on campus for 29 years, not be among new food vendors in a redesign of Cox Hall Food Court on the DeKalb County campus. A final decision on whether to include Chick-fil-A in the mix has not been made, a campus spokeswoman said.

Michael Sacks, co-chair of the Food Advisory Committee at Emory, said surveys show students want more choices at the food court, and a chicken restaurant is not among them.

“It’s really not politically motivated,” Sacks told AJC reporter Leon Stafford. “It’s a coincidence of timing.” He said the committee decided last week to remove Chick-fil-A and  Domino’s Pizza, …

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Most Atlanta companies to fill openings in coming months

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The majority of metro Atlanta companies plan to fill professional staff openings as they come up in the coming months, and some plan to increase the number of  workers on their payroll, according to a new survey of chief financial officers.

While 77 percent of companies say they won’t be increasing the number of workers they employ in the second quarter, they will fill any vacancies, according to the survey conducted by the staffing firm Robert Half. Twelve percent, however, said they expect to add new positions in April, May and June.

Nine percent of CFOs aren’t planning any hiring, even to fill open positions, and 1 percent said they plan to cut staffing levels.

The survey, which gauges hiring in accounting, administrative, IT and other skilled jobs, involved more than 100 CFOs at metro Atlanta companies with 20 or more employees.

It’s the first time Robert Half has done such a study so there are no comparative numbers for the first …

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NYC’s big sugary drink ban knocked down

Big news today in the ongoing battle over regulating sugary drink consumption.

A judge has struck down New York City’s ban on big sugary drinks,  just hours before it was supposed to take effect. The judge ruled that the first-in-the-nation measure arbitrarily applies to only some sweet beverages and some places that sell them.

Was it the right thing to do? Or not?

Let us know what you think.

And, for the full story, check here:

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Grady Health CEO tackles tough financial issues, offers career advice

It’s tough enough cutting any corporate budget in lean times. But when you’re a CEO of a safety net hospital like John Haupert, of Grady Health System, the choices become even more distasteful if low-income and uninsured patients with limited options find it harder to get the medical care they need.

John Haupert

John Haupert

Haupert, a veteran hospital administrator, is committed to running Grady as a business. That may mean cutting $45 million in services starting in 2014 if the state sticks with its decision to opt out of federal money for Medicaid expansion. Gov. Nathan Deal has said it will cost the state too much over the long haul.

Grady has had a turbulent financial history, often taking one step forward followed by one backward. Last year, for example, Grady posted a $27 million net profit under Haupert’s leadership.

Haupert, 52, has been involved with hospitals for most of his life. He talks about his background, the value of mentors, clueless CEOs and how he’s approaching …

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Would a Friday beer cart motivate you at work?

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

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How’s this for motivation? A beer cart rolls around on Friday, dispensing your favorite brew while you’re still at work and on the clock?

Advanced Medical in Port Orange, Fla., has had “Beer Cart Fridays” for two years and the company’s chief executive officer, Jennifer Fuicelli, plans to keep the free suds coming, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Fuicelli says it’s a way to show her 350 employees she appreciates their work. Advanced Medical is a provider of physical, occupational and speech therapists.

“We put our corporate culture before profits, and when you do that, profits will follow,” she told the News-Journal. She says she’s following the leads of Twitter and Yelp Inc., an online directory service. DPR Construction lets employees drink wine. MillerCoors employees are encouraged to test the company’s brews – after hours.

There are limits to the drinking at Advance Medical. Workers can …

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FTC cracking down on spam text messages



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The Federal Trade Commission has filed complaints against 29 affiliate marketers, accusing them of bombarding consumers will hundreds of millions of text messages that falsely promise free gift cards to major retailers.

The FTC said the spam not only was misleading but consumers’ information was then sold to third parties. Many consumers also ended up paying for the text messages.

“The messages promised consumers free gifts or prizes, including gift cards worth $1,000 to major retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart and Target,” the FTC said in a statement. “Consumers who clicked on the links in the messages found themselves caught in a confusing and elaborate process that required them to provide sensitive personal information, apply for credit or pay to subscribe to services to get the supposedly “free” cards.”

An affiliate marketer is a company that pitches a product or service for another company. The marketers …

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Georgia’s jobless rate remains stuck at 8.7 percent

The stock market may be rocketing to a record high but the job market is still struggling.

Georgia’s unemployment rate did not budge from December to January, stuck at 8.7 percent as employers remained skittish about hiring, the state labor department said Thursday.

There was a loss of 47,700 mostly seasonal jobs and a rise in initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, the labor department said. But the increases were not enough to change the unemployment rate.

The number of first-time claims for jobless benefits, resulting from layoffs in January, rose by 20,669 from December. The increase was mostly from seasonal layoffs in manufacturing, administrative and support services, construction and retail trade.

There has been an improvement in the job market from a year ago, when the unemployment rate was 9.3 percent.

“We start the year with 79,600 more jobs in January than we had in the same period a year ago,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a …

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Daylight Saving Time to cost more than hour of lost sleep

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

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Springing forward an hour this Sunday may cost metro Atlantans more than an hour of sleep. has come up with its first “Lost–Hour Economic Index,” which attempts to put a price tag on the hour lost to Daylight Saving Time and the problems from fatigue and sluggishness. Researchers estimate metro Atlanta will face about $7.5 million, or $1.39 per-capita, in costs due to injuries and lost productivity.

The index was created by Chmura Economics & Analytics for SleepBetter, a website the provides information on, you guessed it, sleep.

To come up with its findings, Chmura relied on a 2008 study from The New England Journal of Medicine, which found a 5 percent increase in heart attacks;  a 2009 study from The Journal of Applied Psychology, which found a nearly 6 percent increase in construction and mining injuries; and a 2012 Journal of Applied Psychology study that found a 3 percent increase …

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Can you have it all? Execs, managers say ‘yes’ but …

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Most men and women managers and executives surveyed for the consulting firm Accenture believe you can have it all – but maybe not at the same time.

The “all” is a successful career and a full life outside of work. The survey of 4,100 people in 33 countries found two-thirds believe it’s possible. Most of them, 56 percent, said a career is successful when you can balance both work and outside life, such as a family.

Fifty-percent, however, say you can’t have it all at the same time. “More than half (52 percent) say they have turned down a job due to concerns about its impact on work-life balance,” the survey said.

Only 46 percent said they measure success by the amount of money they make.

The keys to striking that work-life balance is technology and flexible work schedules, the respondents said. “Eighty  percent report that having flexibility in their work schedule is extremely or very important to work-life balance. The …

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Homebuilder has battled cancer, climbed ‘The Seven Summits,’ wrestled with housing meltdown

One of the hardest things in life is learning how to overcome obstacles.

Hugh Morton, president of Jonesboro-based Peachtree Homes, has faced three tough ones — climbing to the top of the highest mountain peaks on each of the seven continents, trying to withstand the recent housing crisis as a homebuilder, and fighting cancer.

Hugh Morton on Mt. Everest in 1992

Hugh Morton on Mt. Everest in 1992

By the time Morton reached his last summit — Vinson Massif in Anarctica in 1999 — fewer than 70 people in the world had climbed “The Seven Summits.” Morton endured minus-40 degree temperatures, severe winds and the sight of three people, frozen in the snow, who died trying.

Most of his climbs were made while he was running a homebuilding company that thrived when metro Atlanta grew rapidly in the 1990s and first half of the 2000s. But the collapse of real estate market starting in 2007 turned black ink into red, forcing Morton to decide between bailing out or repaying mountains of debt with money he didn’t …

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