A Stronach Family Feud: How Things Fell Apart Between the Patriarch and His Heir Apparent

Dan Donovan was talking about his old friend and former employer, Frank Stronach, a man he hails as a genius, and Frank's daughter, Belinda. Donovan knew both Stronachs well during his four years as Magna International's vice-president of corporate affairs. When he would see them together - Frank, handsome, hard-charging, smart, Austrian-born and a poor kid made good by his wits and a willingness to take business risks; and Belinda, the rich kid born into everything - what always struck him most, despite the different lives they had led, was how similar they were."They are both very determined people," Donovan says from Ottawa, in his current chair as publisher of Ottawa Life magazine. "They are both uncompromising on certain things, in their own ways."So there is an irony there - like father, like daughter - and so this just really saddens me. I hope they can work it out."What Donovan is referring to is the Shakespearian plot twist in a Canadian business fairy tale.A story, happy at first, about a bootstraps-up-to-the-top maverick, now 86, and the daughter he always perceived as his star pupil/next in line - and her (alleged) great betrayal.It is a perceived stab in the back Frank Stronach and his wife, Elfriede, spell out in an Ontario Superior Court lawsuit seeking US$520 million in compensation and damages from Belinda, her two children, and others, in what has been a two-year old fight for control of the family firm, The Stronach Group.The allegations are untested in court. But as literature, they read as a masterwork of paternal outrages, both great and small. Stronach alleges Belinda appointed friends to jobs at "exorbitant" salaries; showed up for scheduled meetings late, or not at all; used the business kitty for parties, vacations with her children, limousine rides and expensive meals, "none of which related to legitimate business expense;" instructed employees to sell off the company jet; and, most painful perhaps, starved of funds her father's late-in-life business vision of transforming 90,000 acres in northern Florida into a vast, organic, quasi-free-range beef-cattle farm - while closing the exclusive 420-acre golf course nearby, and listing it for sale at a discounted price."Belinda has treated her father in a hurtful, disrespectful and irresponsible fashion," the suit alleges.Belinda Stronach has denied the allegations in the suit, and issued a statement Wednesday night, saying "family relationships within a business can be challenging," that her father's allegations are "untrue," and affirming that she and her children "love" him and will respond formally, "in the normal course of the court process."While the airing of the family feud has caught many by surprise, those who have followed Stronach senior's career know he didn't build an empire by trying to please everyone.Stronach frequently raised the ire of Magna shareholders, in part because the company's dual class share structure gave outsiders little power, and partly because at times his attention seemed to be elsewhere.In 2007, for example, the autoparts giant cut its dividend payout in half after spending $84 million to purchase two golf courses from Magna Entertainment. Both companies were chaired by Stronach.In a newspaper article at the time, Claude Lamoureux, who was then chief executive of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, a Magna shareholder, praised Stronach as a successful entrepreneur but said many people considered the decision of the autoparts company to purchase the golf courses "questionable."Louis Lataif, a longtime automotive executive and former Magna director who is now Dean of the School of Management at Boston University, remembers both Frank and Belinda as good listeners in the boardroom but unafraid to make their own desires known.The father and daughter were "not bashful about eventually expressing their preference" after each director had been given an opportunity to express a view, Lataif said in an email."There is typically a certain deference, in all cases, to the position of management and of the CEO in particular, and so it was with Magna."Where did the partnership between father and daughter go wrongTo get to the end, or at least to the current legal cliffhanger, it helps to revisit the start. Stronach the elder took Magna, a company he founded in his Toronto garage in 1957, and built it into a billion-dollar global behemoth. The Stronach family walked away from Magna in 2010 with more than $850-million, a lucrative consulting contract for Frank, a stake in an electric car venture (more on that later) and a new business model, centred not upon car parts but around making several marquee thoroughbred racetracks around the United States cool again - decades after their cachet as sporting destinations had declined; in fact, they were cool in the years before Belinda Stronach (she is 52) was even born.From the outside, going (virtually) all-in on racing may have looked like financial suicide, or just plain dumb. But Stronach, buoyed by the fortune he made selling car parts, has never been afraid of looking dumb. During the Magna years, he spoke of starting an airline (the idea never took off); built a luxury sports car/SUV, a concept that produced a prototype, the Torrero, in 1989, but elicited zero interest from the major automakers to produce it; and ran for Parliament as a Liberal in 1988 - losing to an optometrist named John Cole.He opened Rooney's, a Toronto bar/restaurant that existed for a spell, but was never the place to be. (He also opened Belinda's, a grown-up expression of a father's love for his child - as was the sportscar he gave her for her 16th birthday). The disco he invested in in the 1970s went bust. The glossy business magazine he launched closed. His dream of transforming Cape Breton into a tax-free autoparts manufacturing haven, well, it never came true.Jim Nicol, a former president of Magna, once compared Stronach to Thomas Edison. Edison was restless, an ideas man, and every tenth idea or so he nailed it."This is what Frank is like," Nicol told Maclean's in 1999. "He has an inquisitive mind and tremendous youthful energy. It annoys people at times. But we never know when he's going to invent another light bulb."Stronach has never stopped searching for that next light bulb, while Belinda - as entrepreneurial as her father, according to those close to the family - has been standing ever nearer to the proverbial power switch.Ed Lumley is a former federal Liberal cabinet minister who sat on Magna's board for more than 15 years, a spell that included him recommending Belinda for the top job at the autoparts giant in 2001, a move her father embraced.Lumley, like Donovan, describes Stronach as "her father's daughter."So the difference, then, might boil down to a matter of taste. Indeed. Instead of building his electric car, Stronach senior got the company involved in the manufacture of a design-award-winning electric bike, the Elby, powered by a motor developed by BionX. BionX was run by Fred Gingl, a former Magna executive, longtime Stronach confederate - and fellow Austro-Canadian. Cycling magazines hailed the Elby, which launched in 2016, as the (electric) conveyance of the future. For pure urban dwellers, it was surely the way to go.Matthew Posno is the former chief financial officer of BionX and Elby Bike Co., vertically integrated sister companies owned under the TSG umbrella. Posno describes the bike as Stronach's "brainchild," a passion play, engineered for perfection and "built for everyone." Alas, at $4,000, the Elby wasn't priced for everyone. In 2018, BionX went into receivership, with Stronach listed among the creditors - looking to recoup $22-million on a lost investment."The business was a startup," Posno says. "I still think Frank believes in the product."(Alon Ossip, chief executive of the Stronach Group Inc., and one of the individuals named in the half-billion-dollar-plus lawsuit, said in a statement that Frank Stronach had been a great autoparts engineer, but that his "recent excessive spending and numerous failed ventures put his family's wealth at risk." Ossip did not specifically name the Elby as among those ventures.)Stronach's most passionate gambit over the past eight years has been the organic, grass-fed beef cattle of Adena Farm, which, according to the court filing, Belinda hated - and did everything possible to "impair, undermine and dismantle." While the father has been dreaming of cows and electric bikes, Belinda has been doing some dabbling of her own, including in the cosmetics sector, with Age Quencher, an anti-aging, beauty enhancing elixir she became a partner in in 2016."My hair grows, like, ten times faster when I take it," Stronach said, at a launch event.She also co-founded Acasta Enterprises, a special investment vehicle that bought up companies with the aim of selling them at a profit, an end goal that has unravelled to the tune of millions in losses and led to Stronach's departure from a company directorship in 2017.Oddly, it is in the core family business - horse racing and entertainment - where father and daughter can be viewed as an effective one-two punch. Ross Peddicord is the executive director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board. In a previous work life, he was the horse-racing beat writer with the Baltimore Sun for 20 years. Belinda, he says, wants to make the races into a rock concert. To bring in bands, and scads of rich, young, beautiful and fancy people - and all the other bells and whistles - to venues like Baltimore's Pimlico, which TSG owns, and make the actual running of the horses just one component of a much larger show."They do this in Europe all the time," Peddicord said. "On Friday nights in Ireland, after the work week is over - and after the horse race is over - they have a concert, and it's so much fun, and I think that is the component Belinda has been trying to bring in."Frank, to a degree, wanted to do that. But he is also much more tradition-bound, because of his generation. He has large racing stables, large breeding farms and has had national champion racehorses, so his emphasis always seemed to be on the horses."The Pegasus Cup, the world's richest race, held at TSG's Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla. was the perfect marriage of the Stronach visions. Belinda, in a speech in Washington in May 2017, even credited her father with the idea - of bringing in the world's top horses with a $US12-million purse on the line. (Belinda didn't mention the $30-million giant bronze Pegasus statue her father also had built at Gulfstream). Then she went and tweaked the idea, just for the kids, by using Conor McGregor, the smart-alecky, Irish mixed-martial arts fighter - and global brand - to promote it in a series of videos ending with McGregor, stripped down to his skivvies, as the race's 13th jockey."Traditional racing folks, they embrace these things, but they just don't know how to do it," Peddicord says. "Fortunately Frank has a daughter in Belinda who was hip and cool and a world traveller, and can pull it off - if they don't completely destroy one another first."Stay tuned.

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Expected Value for Light Bulb That Had Burned Out
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Monument to Thomas Edison Switching From Incandescent to ...
EDISON - This summer, when the monument to Thomas Alva Edison on Christie Street reopens after two years of renovations, a small but symbolically significant change will take place.The 14-foot-tall glass replica light bulb on top of the 118-foot-tall tower will no longer burn with an array of incandescent bulbs, Edison's signature invention. The project calls for changing the lights to the new LED bulbs, a lighting-tech leap that came well after Edison's time."Edison was all about innovation," said Kathleen Carlucci, the director of interpretation at Edison's museum in the town named after him. "This is just another innovation."The change in technology at Edison's tower reflects a broader change in the country and the world as Edison's incandescents are phased out for the more energy-efficient LED lights. But experts on Thomas Edison say that he would have understood the bulb change."I think he would see (the switch) as a good thing," Paul Israel, a Rutgers professor and a Thomas Edison expert, said at a recent meeting of the Edison Tower Corporation. "He was very aware of the inefficiencies of the electric light system. ... He'd have been even more pleased if (the LED technology) came out of his lab. If it came out of someone else's, maybe not so much."But still: Whoever invented it, Edison "viewed progress as a societal good," Israel says.The incandescent bulbs waste a lot of energy in emitting heat, Israel said, making them less efficient than the cooler "light-emitting diode" LED lights. That waste of heat was something Edison understood, even when he and his team invented the first commercially-applicable light bulb right here in Edison. The town was named after the "Wizard of Menlo Park" after his death in 1931.And he'd have been proud, too, that his invention was the predominant technology for more than a century, Israel said."I think he would have seen it as progress," said Israel.And Edison fans can take heart: Although the bulb on top will no longer burn with incandescent light, it will still remain in the shape of an incandescent, an incongruity that could serve as a nod to the complications of progress.There are, to be sure, holdouts. Some people in the Edison community don't want the museum to get rid of the invention he was most famous for. And more generally, some politicians don't want the federal government to gradually phase them out. They often invoke Thomas Edison's name when doing so.It was President George W. Bush in 2007 who signed the law phasing out incandescents. On Jan. 1 of this year, the last piece of the 2007 law went into effect, banning the manufacture or import of 40- and 60-watt bulbs. Seventy-five and 100-watt bulbs were already banned. This led to a certain amount of hoarding around the new year.The light bulb array atop the Edison Tower hasn't been "turned on" since before June 2012, when the renovations began. But the incandescent bulbs that lit Edison's tower were unreliable and often burned out, according to the museum.And when the bulbs needed to be changed, workers would have to navigate a narrow ladder up the tower. That will happen less often now: While they cost more, LED bulbs can last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and also use less electricity, according to Energy.gov. Although there might be some sticker shock with the upfront costs, LED bulbs are cheaper in the long run, according to advocates."I know there are other people wondering why we're doing that," said Christa Gaffigan, the architect for Mills and Schnoering Architects, which is leading the $2.4 million project. "But it's definitely for the energy efficiency. It's on the forefront of lighting."The light bulb change is just one small part of the renovation of Edison's 118-foot tower. The project also involves fixing the tower's sound system, which, decades ago, used to play music, a nod to Edison's invention of the phonograph. The tower will be outfitted with mp3 technology. There's also general upkeep of the art deco structure, which, by design, gets lighter in color as it gets to the light bulb on top.Edison Tower advocates also want to expand the two-room museum that sits next to the tower, which is smaller than the Edison museum in West Orange. It's progress -- it's what Edison was all about."If he could have stayed around forever," Gaffigan said, "he would have continued developing the light bulb."
Why Are Moths Attracted to Light If They Come Out When It Is Dark, Why Do They Eat Clothes and How C
MOTHS can be seriously annoying if they start munching your clothes or hovering around your bedtime reading lamp.But what are they so attracted to light and how can you get rid of them? Here's what you need to know.Some insects, such as moths, navigate by flying at a constant angle relative to a light source, such as the moon, keeping them flying in a straight line.But, when it comes to finding their way around man-made lights, the angle to the light source changes as a moth flies by which confuses it.It is thought that the moths become dazzled and seem to be attracted to the light.Mike Saunders, a professor of entomology in the College of Agricultural Sciences, said: "Artificial lights seem brighter than the moon and moths end up orienting to them even though the artificial light is not at optical infinity."The moon remains out of reach of the moths, but a fire or al light bulb is a different matter - as the moths get closer to the light, their ability to triangulate properly is thrown off.It is moth larvae that eat your clothes - not the moths themselves.Moths only have mouths during their larval stage, which usually lasts between two weeks and a month.The larva thrive on keratin and have a fairly specific diet, so female moths usually choose clothes made from animal fibres such as silk, wool, cashmere, angora or fur - all materials that contain keratin.Synthetic and cotton fabrics are usually safe from moths unless they've been blended with animal fibres.Because of their love of keratin, proteins that can also be found in our skin and hair, moth larvae are also sometimes known to chow down on leather, feathers and hairballs of human or pet hair.To get rid of any moths that may be lurking in your wardrobe, make sure you have a deep clean.Moths are fans of undisturbed corners that are dark as well as warm, if you remove everything from your closest and then hoover the corners and the drawers it will help rid any moths.You should then disinfect all areas to kill of any larvae and wash or dry clean all of your clothes.
Easy to Build Cnc Mill Stepper Motor and Driver Circuits
This is a follow up to the Easy to Build Desk Top 3 Axis CNC Milling Machine Once you get the machine all put together its time to make it go.So it's time to drive the motors. And here I've put together a circuit that I think is the absolute cheapest and easiest way to control stepper motors with step and direction signals. It works with many of the free or low cost softwares that produce step and direction signals through the parallel printer port. I'll explain how it works but for those of you who just want to get on with it... The_Next_StepBut I would suggest for those of you who are unfamiliar with circuits to do it on a bread board (see pictures). This way you can easly correct any mistakes and try different things.This schematic is just to control one motor so for the milling machine you need 3 of these circuits and 3 motors.From Left to right and top to bottom. I try to draw schematics so that positive voltages are toward the top and ground or negative volge is toward the bottom. Inputs are to the left and outputs to the right. Fist off the voltage that you are going to use to run the motor needs to be stepped down and regulated for the logic chips. I used a 6.2 volt Zener to do this because it's low enought for the logic chips to receive the signals from your printer port and high enough for the outputs to drive many of the standard power FETs, so you may not have to use logic FETs like the schematic shows. So the resistor R1 drops the voltage, the Zener diode regulates it to 6.2 volts and the capacitor C1 filters out any noise from the motor, and this voltage powers the two IC's.The first IC (CD4516) is called an up/down counter. One signal from the printer port will tell the counter if it will count up or down and the other signal, called step, will increment or decrement the counter by one count. Now were only going to use two outputs from the counter Q1 and Q2. With this binary counting method there are only 4 combinations of output from the counter: 00, 01, 10, and 11. These lines are fed to the A and B inputs of the other IC (CD4028) which decodes these combinations to 4 seprate outputs.I did a trick here using the C input to work as an Enable input. If the Enable(optional) is connected to the parallel port and the computor tells it to shut off all of the outputs to the FETs will go low(Off). So the four outputs of the decoder drive the FET transistors and the FETs drive the four poles of the motor.Now everybody wants to know what the light bulb is for. Its not so much whether you use a bulb or a resistor, its that a bulb comes with a socket. You can get these wedge base light bulbs from 1 watt to 20 watts. Start with may be a 4 watt bulb and if you find you need a little more beef you just pull it out and put in a 10 watt bulb. It's really handy. And I found it's good to have some voltage drop there as kind of a ballast for the motor windings. The diodes catch some of the current that comes out of the motor each time the FET transistors turn off. The diode feeds this current back to the supply.When you get the circuit up and running find a power supply that puts out more voltage than you really need and then change out light bulbs till you get it running smoothly. Some of my stepper motors are 5 or 6 volt and some are 12 volt but it all works out.OK here's what your all looking for. I made a simple PC board layout that includes 3 motor driver circuits connected to a 25 pin D sub Parallel printer port connector. Here's a picture of the layout. At the top of the picture you see a place for a voltage regulator. You can use that or you can put a resistor and Zener Diode in its place(like the schematic shows). On the right edge is a place for the 25 pin D-sub connector that connects to the parallel printer port. You just jam the PC board between the two rows of pins and solder it. On the left side are places for the lamp sockets. You need to look over the schematic to see where some of the parts go but it's all there. If you have a time machine you can go to the future and ask yourself to make the circuit board with the finished machine and then bring it back and finish building the machine. After a couple of tries I got the board to come out pretty good. The machine routes what are called isolation paths which means it seperates the copper that is associated with a conductive path from all the other copper around it. This leaves some areas of the board that are not associated with a path still covered with copper. You could leave this extra copper on there but when your soldering it is easy to get solder bridges across the isolation paths and short circuit something. So I take the soldering iron and touch it on the excess copper and peal it up off the board. It makes the board more like what you would get if you chemical etched it or bought it from a board house(see below). Any way look over the schematic and place the parts accordingly. I added a few capacitors along the power lines just for general principals. There were so few traces on the top side of the board I didn't bother milling it. I just used jumper wires. See the pictures below of the populated board. All the little FETs ligned up like marching soldiers.OK, For all you chemistry majors who want to do something a little more professional here are some .pdf files you can print out and iron on or what ever you do to make an etched PC board. There's a Top Silk (just for reference), Top Copper, and Bottom Copper.If you want to go easy Just do the Bottom Copper. There's not that much on the top and you can just solder jumpers where you need to.Don't be nervus. It's just a little electricity. First off it would be good to load up the KCAM (or what ever you plan on using) in your computor. Then when you feel comfortable that all the parts are in the right place plug the parallel port connector into the driver board(as shown below) and put a low wattage build in the socket for the motor. In this case I'm using middle, the Y axis driver.For power I like to use one if these universal power adapters with selectable voltage output. They're cheap and they don't put out a lot of current so if something goes wrong it's less likely to damage your circuit. Set the voltage low and see if you have some vlotage on the power pins(16) of the CD4516 and the CD4028. If you don't have a volt meter just take an LED and tie a 10K(BRN,BLK,ORN) resistor to the positive(the long leg) and wire to ground tied to the negative(the short leg). Now you can use this as a probe to see where you have voltage. It will be very dim but we don't want to draw too much current away from the circuit.Now go into the computer program and find the Setup Table. Set the steps per inch to 1000. Then open the CNC control and set the single step for .001 inch and activate the single step mode. Now each time you click the yellow arrows (up and down for the Y axis) the computor will output one pulse to the stepper motor driver circuit. Put your LED probe on pin 10 of the CD4516. This is the up down input. When you click the up arrow the input will be low(LED off) and when you click the down arrow the input will be high(LED on). Pin 15 is the step input you will see a very short blink each time you click a n up or down arrow on this pin. Pin 6 is the Q1 output. It will change state(high/low) each time you click an arrow. And Pin 11 is the Q2 output. It will change state every other time you click an arrow.On the output side of things we should see some activity on the CD4028 chip. Putting your probe on any of the output pins 1,4,6,or 7. These outputs drive the FETs. You should see the output go high every 4th time you click the up or down arrow.If this all makes sense so far it's time to get the motor running. The common wire or wires of the motor which are the center tap of the windings should be connected to the light bulb. The other four wires should go to the four FETs on the circuit. If you are really lucky you will get the combination just right in the first couple of trys. Other wise just keep switching the wires arround until the motor steps in the same direction each time you click the arrows.Watch the video in the next step. It may give you a better idea what to do. I'm not a Linux user yet but I have played with it enough to be dangerous. But for you Linux users Chaddcurtis has contributed some setup files and information to help you use Linux CNC with the parallel port and this circuit board layout. Thanks a lot Chad and more power to you.
Led Bulbs Pay Off in the Long Run
If the next light bulb you buy is an LED, it may be your last.The technology behind light-emitting diodes has advanced to the point that the bulbs can replace traditional 40- and 60-watt light bulbs and last up to 25 times longer."You're going to see people say, 'I'm taking my light bulbs with me to my new home,'" says Bill Nottingham of Nottingham Spirk, a Cleveland-based industrial design company that's working on LED lighting technology.Traditional light bulbs are on the way out. The U.S. mandated a phaseout of the most common wattages of incandescent bulbs; inefficient 100-, 75-, 60- and 40-watt bulbs will not be sold after 2014.And the future looks bright for the LED market. Now old-school manufacturers like GE and Philips and younger players like Feit Electric, Cree and Elite are battling it out for shelf space in the lighting sections at big-box stores.WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY OLD BULBS?Dating back to Thomas Edison, incandescent light bulbs mostly produced heat instead of light. Over the last two decades, halogens and compact fluorescents have improved the energy efficiency of bulbs. But they're no match for LED technology. LEDs last up to 10 times longer than compact fluorescents while providing the same amount of light. And, unlike other bulbs, LEDs put off only a small amount of heat and rarely break.SOUNDS GREAT. WHAT'S THE CATCH?In a word: price. While an eight-pack of incandescents costs about $3 at the local big-box store, a single LED bulb can cost between $20 and $50. The high price tag may make it too expensive to outfit your entire home with LEDs at once. But while you're making the switch, test out bulbs from different manufacturers to see what works best for you.Forecasters expect prices to drop as technology improves. "As you see price points drop to the $8 to $10 range, you'll start to see some real adoption there," says Joe Gullo, a former GE lighting executive who's now leading Rambus, an LED designer. "That's probably four to five years out."SO WHAT SHOULD A CONSUMER DO?Know that LEDs are getting better and cheaper all the time-and, no matter the price, they're a good investment. They'll save you money on your electric bill and the cost of buying new bulbs. Plus they open you up to some neat uses of wireless technology: Imagine dimming your lights from an iPhone app instead of a wall switch."LEDs are 'chip-on-board' products; you can control LEDs without even using a light switch. [You'll be able] to turn your lights on and off remotely. You can decide what type of light temperature you want in your home. This is the next generation," says Mark Voykovic, The Home Depot light bulb expert.This article is excerpted from USA TODAY Green Living magazine. The special publication contains articles on sustainable living, green products, DIY projects, and people and companies helping to save the planet. Get an eco-friendly version for your tablet or computer at zinio.com/usatodaymags.
How to Avoid Catastrophe in Your Business
Catastrophes don't just happen. Virtually every disaster is the result of a series of overlooked mistakes - each one set in motion because people simply refused to believe the evidence right in front of them. Will a mistake be fatal to your organization? How you deal with mistakes will determine whether your organization is successful and survives in the long run.It's called the Mistake Chain, a series of compounding errors that can bring about crisis and front-page status. You will make mistakes, but you can make fewer, less serious mistakes by recognizing a mistake or failure and breaking the mistake chain before it results in a major mishap.All disasters large and small have in common a string of mistakes - the Mistake Chain. From the Titanic to Firestone Tire, Three Mile Island to "New Coke", all were preventable and the mistake chains that caused them could have been broken.To avoid a fatal blow to your business, keep in mind these vital strategies:(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();1. Learn to Recognize the Pattern of Mistakes.Prepare your organization and its employees to recognize these patterns before a disaster happens. Damage from a crisis tends to grow exponentially. It can take the form of lost customers, lost sales, lower employee morale and higher costs and lost companies, so taking action to eliminate the threat early on can help avoid full-blown crisis management down the road.2. Fly the Airplane.This is an old adage in aviation. Airplanes have crashed simply because of pilot distraction in the cockpit. This is what happened when Eastern Airlines flight 401 crashed in the Florida Everglades in December 1972. In preparation for landing in Miami, a light bulb indicating 'gear down and locked' failed to illuminate. As the crew became absorbed by what they thought what could be a nose gear problem, the plane lost altitude, going unnoticed until it was too late. After the crash, it was determined a burned out light bulb started the sequence of mistakes.Businesses can get caught up in a similar chain of execution mistakes. For instance, Webvan - the now defunct Internet grocer - took on expansion too fast. It failed to work out operational problems in its initial markets in California, before taking on Atlanta and Dallas. As a result of many execution mistakes, the company ate up more than $1 billion in capital, before declaring bankruptcy in 2001 and laying off 2,000 employees.3. Establish and Enforce Standard Operating Procedures.Aviation and complex manufacturing operations do this. You need to look for everything that can be standardized and make the procedures known. Employees must be trained and those who do not follow them must be held accountable.4. Avoid Ignoring Data or Misrepresenting Customer Data.Intel's new Pentium computer chip was tearing up the processor market in 1994, but a math professor discovered it produced incorrect results for a computation beyond eight decimal places. The company was slow to admit the problem and offer a free replacement chip to customers who asked. That only irritated many customers and ignited criticism in the media, making things much worse. Here was a case of executives not learning from other industries. Communications and public relations fiascos are often part of the mistake sequence that increases the damage in business disasters.5. Create a Culture with a Purpose.Most corporate cultures develop by accident. Yet those that are designed to accomplish a purpose are more effective. They understand what they need to focus on and reinforce it repeatedly. McDonald's Corp. in 2003 posted its first quarterly loss in its history. The company rebounded by going back to basics. It closed underperforming stores and sold off brands not central to the core business. It focused on clean stores, friendly service and hot food. It slowed expansion and stopped pricing wars. Overall, it found out its core competence is in operations and marketing in a fairly narrow area. Extending those competencies to similar but different product areas was more difficult than imagined.6. Beware of Economic Forces and Laws.Industry changes are real. The mistake chain in which entire industry changes occur is driven by a failure to recognize the need to make fundamental changes in a business model early enough to avoid being consumed by the natural laws of economics. Eastman Kodak Co. lost its dominance in the photography business by being slow to recognize the impact of digital technologies.The U.S. auto industry is in a mistake sequence that has been achieving momentum and destroying value for nearly 50 years. Mistakes include: believing profitability and market share were inalienable rights, failing to modernize manufacturing and strangling suppliers by demanding concessions.You will make mistakes. If you don't, you are not taking enough risks. But you can make fewer of them. Catch them early and keep them from spiraling out of control.Reprinted with permission. January 2006Author Robert E. Mittelstaedt, Jr. is Dean and professor of the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, and former, Vice Dean and Director, Aresty Institute of Executive Education, The Wharton School. He has consulted with organizations ranging from IBM to Weirton Steel, Pfizer to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and is a member of the board of directors of three corporations in electronics and healthcare services businesses. His book Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal? Avoiding the Chain of Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Organization is published by Wharton School Publishing September 2005;$25.95US/$36.95CAN; 0-13-191364-6How to Manage a Crisis and Avoid Damage to Your Company's ReputationHow to Avoid Business CrisisIntegrating Supply Chain Management with Back Office OperationsThe Enthusiastic Employee: 16 Myths on Employee and Performance ManagementBreaking Chain Of Mistakes Prevents Business Disasters
Light Bulb Goes on: He Lost 100 Pounds with Plant-based Diet
Editor's note: Do you have a weight-loss success story to share? Tell us how you did it and you could be featured in our weekly weight-loss story on CNN.com.(CNN) -- Having to ask for a seat belt extender on a flight was one of Benji Kurtz's biggest life humiliations.He also couldn't shop at popular clothing stores -- the clothing wasn't large enough. When he found clothing that fit, he often didn't have a choice in styles or colors, able only to purchase pants available in size 50.At his heaviest, in 2005, Kurtz weighed 278 pounds. Only 5 feet 5 inches tall, he was considered severely obese.For several years he cycled around low-carb diets to temporarily lose 30 to 40 pounds, only to gain it back. None of the many other diets he tried worked, either. Then, by chance, the solution found him.Over Memorial Day weekend 2013, Kurtz and his wife watched "Forks Over Knives," a documentary on the science behind plant-based eating. At that point, he weighed 258 pounds.The scientific evidence presented on why humans should eat a plant-based diet just made sense to Kurtz. It was like a light bulb went on, he explains.He read numerous books and watched online lectures to learn more as he began eating from the four food groups recommended by the Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (with nuts and seeds). Gradually, he cut out sugar, salt and oils."As I saw the scientific evidence of how we have evolved as herbivores and not omnivores, and as I saw how well my body was reacting to feeding it a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet, it became progressively easier from there," said Kurtz, a 37-year-old entrepreneur in Atlanta.The quick results were encouraging.It wasn't just his weight that started to drop. His cholesterol went from over 200 to 167. His blood pressure lowered. His health insurance rates also went down three times as he got healthier.At the same time, other things were on the rise, including his energy levels and his ability to taste food."Once you start eating this way, your palate totally changes," Kurtz said. "You are tasting food the way food was supposed to taste in the first place. Like a film has been lifted off your taste buds."He also discovered that he could eat as much as he wanted of the right foods and not gain weight. His new way of eating felt more like abundance than deprivation.Breakfast foods included oatmeal and fruit smoothies with almond milk. For lunch or dinner, his favorite foods became steamed vegetables with a faux Parmesan seasoning, red lentil chili, baked potatoes, vegan mac and cheese and split pea soup. If he got hungry in between meals, unsalted and unroasted nuts, fruit or chia pudding made with almond milk were his snacks.After one year and one day on his new diet, Kurtz had successfully lost 100 pounds. He now weighs 138, his pant size is 31 -- 19 sizes smaller than his heaviest -- and he wears a size small in shirts.Kurtz's story isn't uncommon, says Dr. John McDougall, a California physician who has been studying the effect of nutrition on disease for over 30 years and who answered diet questions from Kurtz during his transformation. After moving people away from a rich, high-fat American diet full of meat and dairy, McDougall says he's seen patients lose weight, be cured of constipation and lower their cholesterol levels.One of the biggest keys to these results, he says, is understanding that humans have always been primarily starch eaters; starches aren't bad. Pasta, beans, rice, corn and potatoes are foods that satisfy the body and can be alternatives to meat and dairy."People think they are going to starve to death if they don't eat a hamburger," McDougall said.McDougall went on to say that the marketing of meat and dairy has become so effective that we often associate calcium with dairy and protein with meat, when, according to him, it's quite easy to get those nutrients from a natural, vegetarian diet.Kurtz credits his ease in transitioning into this plant-based diet to living close to a grocery store where he could purchase healthy foods and working from home, which made it easier to cook. He also found a quiet indoor pool with a friendly staff where he swims around 20 laps six to seven days a week."I don't crave foods I no longer eat. I'm not going to bed hungry. Everything about life is better."From overweight smoker to marathon contender
Cutting of Funds for Enforcement of New Light Bulb Efficiency Standards Will Have Little Effect
The federal spending bill before Congress is a no-spending bill for the Energy Department when it comes to enforcing new efficiency standards for light bulbs.But the new standards for light bulbs - signed into law in 2007 - would remain in place, meaning the effort to stem the new rules might mean little at the end of the day."The provision in the bill does not repeal the lighting standards but only removes funds for enforcement," said David A. Schuellerman, a spokesman for General Electric's appliances and lighting division. "We are required to abide by the standards and, of course, intend to comply with our legal obligation."The law, passed by Congress with bipartisan support and signed by President George W. Bush, sets high-efficiency standards for light bulbs, effectively phasing out the manufacture of the traditional incandescent bulb Americans have used since Thomas Edison.Starting in 2012 with 100-watt bulbs, then in 2013 with 75-watt bulbs, and in 2014 with 60-watt bulbs, the law sets higher efficiency bars that can be met either by new high-efficiency incandescent, compact fluorescent or light emitting diode (LED) bulbs.Over the past year, conservatives have made the light bulb standards a rallying point for complaints about government interference. "Let there be incandescent light and freedom. That's the American way," radio commentator Rush Limbaugh said on a broadcast. And House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), one of the co-sponsors of the light bulb measure in 2007, backed away from the idea of the standards this year.But supporters of the new standards say that the 2007 law doesn't ban incandescent bulbs and that many companies have come up with ways to make incandescents that comply with the new regulations."There is a lot of misinformation," said Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy. "Retailers don't have to take inventories of old bulbs off the shelves. The government is not going to come into homes to check. . . . You're still going to be able to buy incandescent bulbs, they're just going to be 28 to 30percent more efficient."Light bulb makers on Friday took a dim view of the restrictions in the omnibus spending bill. The nation's biggest bulb makers have been gearing up to comply with the regulations, coming up with new types of incandescent bulbs, as well as compact fluorescent and LED bulbs."American manufacturers have invested millions of dollars in transitioning to the standards," said Joseph Higbee, communications director for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. "A delay in enforcement would undermine those investments and cause regulatory uncertainty."Jim Haworth, chief executive officer of Lighting Science Group, an LED maker, called the limits on the Energy Department "unfortunate" but said he expects "sales to grow exponentially over the next couple of years - with or without the light bulb efficiency standards." This year, his sales are running double last year's levels.GE said that in 2011, 94 percent of its lighting investment was in energy-efficient products, a 28per­­cent increase from 2010. "This decision may have little practical consequence. . . . The five major bulb manufacturers have already switched to making and selling the better bulbs," said Sen. Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "If America is to have a rational energy policy, we need to make progress in efficiency."Because of the funding cut, the Energy Department won't be able to make sure light bulbs meet the efficiency standards they claim.The department already exercises such power over appliances. Though it has been criticized over whether it has fully carried out that mission, the department, in a presentation it gave to efficiency experts, said that since Jan. 1, 2010, it has taken more than 200 enforcement actions, removed more than 80 products from the market and collected more than $800,000 in civil penalties for violations.
Choosing the Correct Light Bulb for Recessed Can Lighting
Choosing the correct light bulb for recessed can lighting can be a daunting task. If you aren't familiar with light bulbs and all the different types it's hard to know where to start. Most folks simply replace burnt out bulbs with what they pull out. Others go to the local hardware store and just buy what "looks" right on the shelf. With a simple analysis, you can choose for yourself what the best light bulb for your application is by splitting out the choices that need to be made.Obviously, the easiest way to replace light bulbs in your recessed can lights is to pull out the old one and simply purchase that same bulb. If you don't have that as an option, follow the below steps to choose the correct light bulb.Key Abbreviations to Understand:I'm going first outline the main letters that you'll see on your current bulb or in your can fixture and what they mean. 40W (or any number followed by a W) = 40 Watt; R16 or BR16 or PAR20 (There are many of these. Most start with a letter or a few letters and are followed by a number) = these are bulb shapes; 120V or 130V (This may or may not be stipulated) = Indicates voltage.List from Fixture:Your first step should be to look inside your can fixture. Most will have a sticker on it that will outline about a half a dozen of options that can be used in that specific fixture. I.E. 40W R16Best Style for your Baffle, Lense or Reflector:Next, go to the website of the manufacturer that made your can fixture. The 3 major manufacturers are Cooper Halo Lighting (www.haloltg.com), Juno Lighting (www.junolighting.com) and Lithonia (www.lithonia.com). Around the edge of your can you will have what is known as a baffle, lense or reflector (trim). This is a separate piece you will find in your can. Each manufacturer will have their recommended light bulbs to use that will maximize the effectiveness of your particular baffle, lense or reflector. Find this under their "specifications" sheet attached to your particular attachment.Decide if you want a Spot or Flood:Some light bulbs like Halogen PAR shaped light bulbs will come two ways: Spot lights or Flood lights. The progression goes from Spot to Flood to A19 which lights up in all directions. Most spots light an area up to 20 degrees in width. Most choose these if they want to light up art work or focus on a mantel or something similar. A flood generally goes from 25 degrees to 60 degrees in swath of light. Then an A19 lights up tan entire area. But not all fixtures are made to have A19 light bulbs in them permanently. In most cases, you'll want flood light bulbs.What Color of Light do you want?If you are looking at Compact Fluorescents, you will sometimes have an option of color. And I don't mean pink vs. white. I mean the color of the light that is emitted. If your compact fluorescent says that the color temperature is 2700K, the light will be a soft white color. If it says that it is a 5000K, it will be more of a blue-ish white light.Type of Light Bulb:The last thing you'll need to decide is the type of bulb you will want. The main types of light bulbs that people use are Incandescent, some sort of long life incandescent, halogen and compact fluorescent light bulbs. I'm not going to go into the differences in them all here as that is a whole different conversation. Regardless, many times you will have the option to use any of these types of light bulbs in your can fixture. I.E. A BR40 Incandescent is a similar bulb type as a BR40 halogen. The important thing to remember here is to not go over the wattage the your can fixture recommends. Using a light bulb with the wattage too high for the fixture could shorten the life of the light bulb and could even cause a fire in some of the older cans.By asking yourself these questions before buying, you will eliminate the confusion this purchase can present. And you will be happier overall with your purchase and the look of your room or application.
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