Archive for March, 2012

The Ten Best Places to Eat in Atlanta

March 28th, 2012

Sotto Sotto
Sotto Sotto is a mainstay of the Atlanta, Georgia, dinner scene, and has some of the best Italian dishes in town. The biggest thing that customers say they love about Sotto Sotto is the consistency of the dishes. They can be sure that the dishes will be cooked to roughly the same specifications every time they come to the restaurant. With many “finer dining” establishments, this is not always the case..

Aria
Located on East Paces Ferry Road, Aria boasts some of the most eclectic choices of any restaurant in Atlanta. Not only does it have a great, diverse menu of delicious meat and vegetarian options, but renowned pastry chef Kathryn King is on staff here. This means that Aria can offer its customers a very well-rounded dining experience, making it very popular for birthdays.

Miller Union
Miller Union is located on Brady Avenue, and is known throughout the city as “the” place to go for traditional southern cuisine. However, thought it’s a traditional place, don’t expect the food to be without a little extra flair. Miller Union has gone a long way toward tastefully enhancing the traditional southern fare that people have grown to love. It does all of this with a wide range of dishes, and without compromising its traditional heritage.

Bones
On Piedmont street, you’ll find Bones steakhouse. This is a traditional steakhouse that has a number of things going for it that make it very special. First of all, owners Susan DeRose and Richard Lewis run the place with exceptional tenacity. They are obsessive perfectionists, that work very hard to keep their special recipes secret. They even keep the source of their beef very close to their chest. This is definitely a unique place to eat.

Empire State South
Empire State South can be found on Peachtree Street, Midtown Atlanta, and it is well known as one of the most creative restaurants in town. Their menu is constantly changing, as the owner and the head chef come up with new ideas for dishes constantly. The little tweaks that they do to their dishes to account for the seasons also make them very popular. This is the place to go if you want to dine on something absolutely unique and creative.

Tomo
Tomo is located on Cobb Parkway, smack-dab in the heart of a strip mall. While the location may not be what you would call “extravagant,” this certainly does not take away Tomo’s reputation as the best Japanese restaurant in town. In fact, many people say that the location allows people to feel more comfortable and just enjoy a great meal.

Holeman and Finch Public House
Located on Peachtree street, Holeman and Finch Public House is renowned for their amazing pork dishes. In fact, most people look at this restaurant as the only place in town to get a high-class pork meal. They also serve a wide range of “alternative” foods like rabbit livers and sheep testicles for the heartier diners out there.

Cakes and Ale
Cakes and Ale is located on West Ponce de Leon Avenue, and is known for one big thing: simplicity. The simplicity of the menu may seem boring to some, but it is really an amazing display of chef Billy Allin’s confidence in his abilities to make fresh-tasting, amazing food. This is the place to go if you want something simple and tasty.

Restaurant Eugene
Restaurant Eugene is the top Southern/New American fusion restaurant in town. Located on Peachtree Road, Eugene takes the best of what southern food has to offer, and it adds a tasteful bit of class that creates an altogether new dish. This is the place to go when you want a little of the ordinary, and a lot of the extraordinary.

Bacchanalia
Located on Howell Mill Road in an old meat-packing plant, Bacchanalia stands as a testament to what good food and a great atmosphere can do for a meal. The place is home to a number of amazing dishes, and the restaurant itself is a sight to behold. Instead of the fancy trappings found at most restaurants like this, Bacchanalia has a decidedly more “industrial” look, and it creates an amazing atmosphere.

Chicago’s Top Ten Employment Agencies

March 26th, 2012

Elite Staffing
Elite Staffing has been connecting employers to new employees since 1991. Its mission is to provide an extensive screening, interview, and networking service to both employers and job-seekers. Elite Staffing is one of the many employment companies in Chicago that deal with a wide range of industries. They don’t simply find employees for a certain type of industry, and this makes them very popular.

AppleOne
AppleOne is unique among the various employment agencies in the Chicago, Illinois area. Instead of simply connecting job-seekers to employers, AppleOne provides a large number of employment resources as well. They offer resume services, a job-hunting guide, and a newsletter as part of those resources. Due to this focus, AppleOne is focused on helping their job-seekers find long-term, career-oriented employment.

BPS Staffing

BPS Staffing bills itself as a “full service” staffing company. Their focus is both long and short-term employment, and they have a number of resources to help you reach your employment goals. For job-seekers, BPS Staffing has one of the best track-records in Downtown Chicago for employment. For employers, BPS Staffing conducts a very extensive screening process to ensure only the best applicants make their way through.

Banner Personnel
Banner Personnel is the premier employment agency in Chicago that specializes in “office-based” work. Their entire service is set up to help link employers in the administrative, academic, and insurance industries with qualified individuals. They accomplish this by conducting an intensive screening process that ensures only the most qualified, motivated workers make their way through the process. Banner Personnel is a member of the National Association of Personnel Services and the Illinois Search and Staffing Association.

A-Pro Temps
A-Pro Temps is one of the most independent staffing agencies in the city. They are a privately owned business that specializes in every aspect of the employment process. They are especially popular as a direct-hire agency, and they have a great track-record of positive employment results. Their screening process is a little more lax than other agencies. Though A-Pro Temps is located in downtown Chicago, it serves the surrounding suburban community as well.

The Esquire Staffing Group
The Esquire Staffing Group has been connecting employers and job-seekers for over half a century. They are a family owned business that connects employers to full-time staff, temporary staff, and even event staff. The screening process at Esquire Staffing Group is among the strictest in Chicago. This means that applicants need to be prepared to take the application process very seriously.

 First Associates, LTD
First Associates is a very popular staffing company in Chicago. It boasts the most easy-to-use website of the various employment agencies on this list. Through the web portal, employees can do everything from job-hunt to access useful employee resources. First Associates is highly regarded in the banking, financial, legal, and accounting industries. Despite this, they also help many people find work in other industries.

A Personnel Commitment
A Personnel Commitment is one of a few successful “boutique” personnel firms in Chicago. They have a very good track-record in executive recruitment and mid-level staffing. Employers looking to fill an executive position will find that the screening process here is much more personalized than at other staffing agencies. Instead of relying on an institutionalized screening process, A Personnel Commitment looks at the unique qualities of each applicant.

The Larko Group
The Larko Group is a trusted supplier of workforce solutions to over 200 employers in the Chicago area. The Group has been working closely with employers to meet their needs for decades. They have developed a reputation for giving each of their employment partners a personalized experience that focuses on each clients unique needs. The Largo Group even sends an employment specialist to the office of each client to get a better understanding of what the client needs.

The Chicago Hire Company
The Chicago Hire Company spends a lot of time working with employers to figure out exactly what they’re looking for in an employee. The focus here is on building long-term relationships with their clients. As a result, they are noted for having a great deal of success in matching employers with a qualified workforce.

America’s Youngest Entrepreneurs

March 21st, 2012

The Internet has created a lot of opportunities for young entrepreneurs to get their ideas out to the world. Before the Internet, the idea of a 16 year old kid successfully marketing a product to worldwide audience was completely unrealistic. The entrepreneurs listed here have found a way to utilize the power of the Internet to build impressive empires before their 18th birthday.

Jason O’Neill
When he was 12 years old, Jason O’Neill from California, invented a very simple pencil accessory that turned out to be very popular with younger kids: Pencil Bugs. Pencil Bugs are essentially little heads attached coils of wire that can be wrapped around the end of a pencil. While the idea itself may not be complex, O’Neill made them very popular at local craft fairs by giving each Pencil Bug a name and birth certificate. He built an entire mythology up around his invention and they quickly became very popular. In fact, he did so well with his idea that he was named 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year.

Ashley Qualls
Ms. Qualls, from Michigan, began her entrepreneurial career at the tender age of 14 by starting a website called WhateverLife.com. The site was originally centered around layouts for MySpace and HTML tutorials for boys and girls in her age group. While it was nothing but a hobby at first, the website soon developed into a complete sensation. It was recently reported that Ms. Qualls turned down an offer to sell her website for $1.5 million. While her net worth is not currently known, she makes enough from the site to employ her own mother and pay in cash for a $250,000 home in the suburbs.

Garrett Yazzie
Garrett Yazzie’s life is something of a Cinderella story. He was born on a Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona to a very poor family with very little means. He grew up in a small trailer without running water, electricity, or heat. The small amount of heat that his family could muster from time to time came from burning wood and coal in a furnace. This led to many respiratory problems with a younger sister of his.

When he was 13, Garrett’s life completely turned around. His teacher mentioned a state science fair and asked if anyone was interested in participating. Garret was the only person who showed an interest, and it would turn out to be a very important decision in his life. The project he created for the fair was a solar-powered heater that he made out of used aluminum cans and an old car engine he found in a junkyard. The heater was a national success, and it earned him loads of accolades. He has since gone into a special preparatory school and has been given a free ride to the college of his choice.

Anshul Samar
Anshul Samar is the CEO of Elementeo, which is an educational gaming company located in Silicon Valley. He started up his business when he was only 14 years old, and it has developed into one of the most popular educational gaming companies in the country. The flagship product of Samar’s business is called Elementeo. The game is a card-based board game that mixes fantasy and chemistry in a way that makes learning about chemicals fun for kids. He operates the business out of his home with very little overhead operating costs. By conservative estimates, Samar has sold over 50,000 units of his game all over the world. With each game costing roughly $25, that is an amazing amount of revenue.

Maryanne Barrott
Maryanne’s business started much like many other businesses on this list. She originally just wanted to do a simple summer project with her mother. The project was to start making her own body care products out of special ingredients. What it has turned into for her is an amazingly popular line of body care products that are sold mostly online. Maryanne, from Idaho, didn’t get this successful with nothing more than a good product, though. She thoroughly planned the roll-out of her product by creating a business plan that was so well-conceived that it won her the Business Plan of the Year award from the Young Entrepreneurs of America.

The Top Ten Companies to Work for in Washington DC

March 19th, 2012

Amtrak
Headquartered in Washington, DC, Amtrak is a government-owned corporation that has been providing interstate train travel since 1971. Amtrak is actually the DBA of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and it employs 20,000 people throughout the United States and Canada. Amtrak serves over 30 million people on 21,200 miles of track.

AES Corporation
AES is an electrical power utility that both generates and distributes electrical power throughout the world. It is a Fortune 200 company that provides electrical power to over 27 countries, and maintains holdings in most of these companies to help generate that power. Their revenue was over $16 billion in 2010, and resulted mostly from their utilities division. They maintain a workforce of 28,000 employees worldwide.

Kiplinger
Kiplinger, established in Washington DC, specializes in producing business forecasts in a number of different industries. It helps its clients by creating a financial prospectus that takes into account all of the different variables of their respective industries, while projecting possible gains due to certain strategies. In 2007-8, Ethisphere magazine named Kiplinger one of the most ethical companies in America, solidifying its reputation for a very high standard of ethics.

Capital One
Capital One is one of the largest bank holding companies in the United States. They operate a number of different lending programs, and are most well known for their credit card products. Capital One employs almost 28,000 people around the world, and has posted revenues of $16 billion for the year 2010. It is the fourth largest client of the United States Postal Service, and sponsors a number of professional and amateur sports teams. They generally sponsor college football, European soccer, and Canadian curling events.

Fannie Mae
Fannie Mae is the common name of the Federal National Mortgage Association. It was created in 1938 as part of the New Deal during the Great Depression. It had a profit of $14 billion for the year 2010, even after a significant restructuring of the business following the economic collapse of the first decade of the new millennium.

Freddie Mac
Freddie Mac is a publicly sponsored government entity that deals in secondary mortgage bundling. After a significant restructuring after the housing collapse of 2008, Freddie Mac has been turned into a more well-functioning entity that has become more financially viable. They posted revenues of $14 billion in 2010, and employ 5,300 people.

Gannett Company

Gannett Company is the largest US newspaper publisher, with such major national holdings as USA Today and USA Weekend. It was started in 1906 in Rochester, NY by Frank Gannett, and has developed into one of the most financially viable print companies in the United States. It posted revenues of more than $5 billion in 2010, and has been pioneering the move toward digital media with the downturn of traditional print media. Gannett employs more than 32,000 people.

General Dynamics

General Dynamics is a United States defense conglomerate that is headquartered in West Falls Church. During the cold war, the company was highly involved with the development of defense technologies, but has diversified after the fall of the Iron Curtain. They posted revenues of nearly $32 billion in 2010, and it employs over 91,000 people over four major aspects of their business.

Goodwill Industries
Goodwill Industries is a non-profit business that operates a number of thrift stores and job training centers throughout the United States. Their headquarters is in the Washington, DC area, and they are one of the largest non-profits in the world. Goodwill Industries employes thousands of people at more than 2,000 different Goodwill locations throughout North America. While they are a non-profit, there are a number of different paid positions at the headquarters.

Interstate Hotels and Resorts
Interstate Hotels and Resorts is one of the largest hospitality companies in the entire country, with locations scattered throughout the United States, Canada, and 6 other countries throughout the world. They specialize in running up-scale businesses such as resorts and high-class hotels. They are a subsidiary company of the Thayer Lodging Group, which is based in Maryland. They are well known throughout the world as a holder of many reputable brands.

NLRB Employee-Rights Rule Due to Take Effect this April

March 14th, 2012

From the 30th of April, 2012, most employers in the US private sector will be required to display posters stating the rights of workers to form a union. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule states that under federal regulation, an 11 by 17 inch poster must be displayed in a prominent position, informing each employee of their rights to engage in collective bargaining and form a union. This regulation will apply to both non union and union workplaces.

The NLRB Employee-Rights posting rule has gathered some controversy and has been challenged by a number organisations including the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) argued that the National Labor Relations Board’s Employee-Rights notice posting regulation is in violation of an employers First Amendment rights, and the organisations filed a complaint in the US District Court. Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the US District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, rejected the argument and upheld the National Labor Relations Board’s Employee Rights posting requirement rule.

Government owned corporations including the U.S. Postal Service and the Federal Reserve System are exempt from the NLRB Employee Rights posting rule. In addition stock brokerage firms, airline and agricultural employers and professional sports teams are also exempt from the ruling.

The National Labor Relations Board is an independent five member federal agency which has been authorized by the US Government to protect employee rights, ensure employer and union rights and obligations are upheld and promote jurisdictional standards. The NLRB conducts elections, investigates charges, decides cases, facilitates settlements and enforces orders. The current National Labor Relations Board memebers are Mark G. Pearce (Chairman), Sharon Block, Richard Griffin, Brian Hayes and Terence F.Flynn. The President of the United States, with the consent of the Senate, appoints the board members for a five year term.

References for this article: The National Labor Relations Board and JDSUPRA

Top Ten Cities for Business Start Ups in the US

March 12th, 2012

Rockville, MD
Rockville is a small suburb of Maryland that has a population of a little over 50,000 people. While it may not be the biggest place in the world, its location is what makes it such a hotbed of startup activity. Its proximity to a number of major national laboratories makes Rockville specifically a hub of the biotech industry, and it means that there are a lot of funding sources available for the right type of startup.

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, California, is known mostly for its art and culture, but it also has a bustling economic scene in these tough times. The real benefit of operating out of San Francisco is the convergence of academia and business. There are a lot of established universities out here, as well as a lot of giants in the technology industry.

Franklin, TN
Franklin, Tennessee, is a small town about the size of Rockville, but is more of an entity of its own. There is a major biotechnology push in Franklin, with the university putting up state of the art facilities to push development in that sector. More than half of the people living in Franklin have at least a four year college education, and the technology industry here is on the rise.

Bellevue, WA
Close to the home of such giants as Microsoft, Bellevue, situated in Washington, is one of the hottest spots of activity in the technology sector in the country. Bellevue residents hold more patents than any other city in the country, and there are a lot of tax incentives for small startups, especially in the technology sector. Being so close to many of the larger, older technology firms gives startups the ability to utilize a wealth of industry information that is more readily found in this area than in other areas.

Cambridge, MA
Cambridge will be recognizable to most people as the home to both MIT and Harvard, two of the most prestigious universities in the world. As a town of roughly 100,000 people, Cambridge maintains a very low-key persona that carries an air of growth. The town has a reputation to uphold as one of the hotbeds of advancement in the country, and the incentives for small business development here are ample.

Irvine, CA

Irvine, California, has a number of things going for it that make it very attractive for startups. It is right outside of Los Angeles, so it is mostly populated by technology and entertainment-based startups, but there are many different businesses here. One of the most attractive aspects of the city is that it gives entertainment and technology startups access to Los Angeles without actually having to be located in the city itself.

Bend, OR
Bend, Oregon, has experienced a growth rate of 50 percent over the past decade, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The town itself used to be centered around logging, but has since become very involved with the technology, aviation, and biotech industries.

Santa Monica, CA
Santa Monica, California, has become very popular for film startups over the past decade. The proximity to Los Angeles is the big draw here, with business owners getting all the benefits of Los Angeles without the stifling taxes that come with living in the city. Digital media production companies find that they are able to compete with larger film companies while operating out of Santa Monica.

Boca Raton, FL

Looking to shirk its reputation as nothing but a paved old folks home, Boca Raton, Florida, is very welcoming of startups, especially in the technology industry. There are a lot of smaller companies that work here that have been started by employees of IBM, which has operated out of Boca Raton since the 1970s.

Boulder, CO
Boulder, Colorado, has become something of an icon of the technology startup community. As the university has advanced its technology base over the past ten years, more and more businesses have been developing here from the resulting boom in startup grant funding. There are a number of national research labs maintained in Boulder, and these labs bring in a swathe of talent from around the globe– making Boulder a hotbed of activity in the technology industry.

Ten Things To Do In San Francisco

March 9th, 2012

For visitors who want to stray from the beaten path while visiting San Francisco, here are 10 activities to consider:

1. The all American game—baseball—is alive and well in San Francisco, California, at the AT&T Ball Park. Catch a game at one of the best baseball stadiums with a classic feel and outstanding views.

2. Not exactly “in” San Francisco, but 20 minutes north across the Golden Gate Bridge are ancient giant trees that are part of the Coastal Redwood Forests. They provide a relaxing walk where visitors can be inspired by the centuries old trees amid overwhelming pine scent.

3. China Town should be on every tourist’s itinerary. A visit to this area can be as structured or adventurous as each individual desires. Dim sum tea houses make great choices for a lunch stop or to grab a meal to go.

4. At the Northwestern tip of the city is Lincoln Park and one of the most scenic trail walks available anywhere. Starting from the Sutro Bath Ruins and the Cliff House walkers move along Land’s End Trail. It provides a fantastic view of Golden Gate Bridge and the bay, ending near Sea Cliff and China Beach Park.

5. Market Street is a great place to shop or just watch the locals do their shopping. The street leads straight to the Ferry Building and the Saturday outdoor farmer’s market. Many of the shops and restaurants spread into the outdoors as well along the water’s edge and the city’s piers.

6. Golden Gate Park hosts numerous attractions including the Japanese Tea Garden, Academy of Sciences, de Young Museum, and Stow Lake. Events are scheduled there throughout the year. It also provides miles of paved trails to bike or walk.

7. Visit the USS Pampanito at Pier 45, Fisherman’s Wharf. This World War II Balao Class Fleet Submarine has become a memorial and museum. Educational day and overnight programs are available for children throughout the year.

8. The Exploratorium houses ongoing exploration of art, science and human perception. It has a vast collection of interactive exhibits, web features, supervised programs, activities and events.

9. The Marrakech Magic Theater provides an unforgettable show filled with laughter and intriguing feats of magic for the whole family.

10. The Walt Disney History Museum displays many artifacts from Walt’s personal life from birth to death and all the amazing things he accomplished that continue to entertain visitors today.

The Top Ten Convention Centers in the Midwest

March 5th, 2012

St. Paul River Centre

Since opening its doors in 1998, the St. Paul River Centre, established in Minnesota, has hosted over 3,000 conventions and events within its ample show space. It has been rated as the “Best Convention Center” by Minnesota Meetings + Events Magazine three times in a row, and has played host to some major events over the years. It has even accommodated the Republican National Convention, providing space for over 15,000 members of the media.

Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center

This conference center shares its campus with that of Michigan State University, giving it a very unique feel and a youthful vigor. One of the major perks of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center is that it is influenced by very modern architecture and furnishings. With its proximity to the college, Kellogg has a decidedly academic feel to it, utilizing furnishings and décor that provide the perfect marriage between form and function.

Cobo Center

Located in Detroit, Michigan, the Cobo Center shows you everything that the motor city is still capable of these days. The design of the building could be described as ultra-modern, with an overall feel that will appeal to the aesthetic sensibilities of just about any tastes. The Cobo Center is also the largest of the recognized “Green Venues Michigan,” and the number of environmental initiatives going on here are really a sight to behold.

The Reed Center

This Oklahoma gem has something for everyone, and is designed with the event planner in mind. The technological aspects of the Reed Center have been designed specifically to facilitate any gathering you can imagine, and it has done all this while keeping its costs low. While some convention halls are located in bustling urban centers, the Reed Center is located in a quiet, peaceful suburban setting.

Tinley Park Convention Center

Just outside of Chicago lies one of the few untapped gems of the convention center world. Tinley park offers a great set of options to convention goers and event planners, giving them the ability to create a unique event that is sure to please anyone. Their convention center space is 75,000 square feet of space that can fit just about anything.

Gateway Center

Located in Collinsville, Illinois, the Gateway Center is a highly regarded, first-class venue. The big benefit of Gateway Center is its perfect location. Not only is it located close to bustling St. Louis, but it is also right near some amazing shopping and dining locations. Being outside of the city allows them to have big, open, tranquil space for your event.

Sawmill Creek Resort

At Sawmill Creek Resort, located in Ohio, there is an awesome, rustic convention room that is a sight to behold. The room is known as the Wilderness Hall center, and it can accommodate up to 2,000 people at a time. Its 50,000 square feet of functional, open space make it perfect for just about any type of gathering imaginable. By far, what most people say they like about Wilderness Hall at the Sawmill Creek Resort is the price. It’s the most affordable option in the Midwest if you want actual quality.

Midwest Conference Center

It may not be the cheapest, and it may not be the biggest, but the Midwest Conference Center just outside of Chicago is one of the most stunningly beautiful convention centers in the country. The place simply oozes class and refinement, with some facilities giving you a panoramic view of Chicago that will take your breath away once the sun goes down. It is very close to O’Hare, and boasts a very flexible convention space that gives you around 35,000 feet to spread out in.

DuPage Expo Center

A relatively new convention center in Illinois, the DuPage Expo Center is quickly gaining a positive reputation for itself. This is a great location for tech conventions, as the space is very clean and not stifling like other expo centers can be.

Frontier Airlines Center

Opened in 1998, the Frontier Airlines Center is by far the largest convention center on this list. With 188,665 square feet at your disposal, it’s amazing what you can do. It is very popular in Wisconsin, especially for sporting conventions.

New York’s Battery Park City is Green Building Leader

March 1st, 2012

When it comes to eco-friendly residential buildings, New Yorks‘ Battery Park City stands out as a leader in the green building movement.

The very first LEED-certified residential eco-friendly building built in the US was the Solaire, in 2003. This was followed by the Verdesian in 2006 and the Visionaire in 2008, all three were built in Battery Park City and consume thirty five percent less energy and fifty percent less water than your average residential buildings.

A large portion of the BPC eco-friendly buildings electricity supplies are generated by solar panels and include energy efficient appliances. Water is purified and reused and each room is equipped with motion sensors which activate heating, lighting, ventilation and air cons.