Bottom lines: Our views on recent news

Here are our bottom-line views on a few items of note in the Crossroads Business Journal area: • Welcome to Rockwool (North America), which officially broke ground recently on its second stone wool insulation manufacturing facility in the United States. The new $150 million plant is being built in Ranson, W.Va. • Also welcome to Ring Container Technologies, which recently held a grand opening ceremony for its new facility near Hagers- town, Md. The company makes plastic containers. • Good luck to WVU Medicine Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., which has closed two deals to buy about 75 acres off Tavern Road […]

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Are you a manager or a leader?

There was a time when shift managers in a 20th century factory didn’t need leadership to achieve the weekly production goals. His or her job was to organize the work, assign the right people to the necessary tasks, coordinate the results, and ensure the job got done. The focus was on efficiency. In the today’s economy, management and leadership are not easily separated. In fact, successful organizations create environments that cultivate leadership in managers at every level. Today’s employees look to their managers not just to assign them a task, but to define the purpose of the activity. Managers still […]

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Business schools engage business community

Sustaining current economic growth requires fulfilling businesses’ demands for a highly skilled workforce. Higher education, particularly public colleges and universities, has a huge role in fulfilling the need for a highly skilled labor force. Historically, institutions of higher learning have been instrumental to economic growth and development because of their research and discovery; their ability to prepare students for the future workforce; to serve communities; and to provide overall economic impact. Despite colleges’ and universities’ commitment to economic growth and development, there have been concerns over student readiness to meet the future needs of industries. Businesses also have realized that […]

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Coolsen: Business should jump in sooner on social media

In the new reality of social media, almost all of our relationships (both personal and professional) now take shape and develop, at least in part, in a virtual and public space.  And, even if you are in the subset of people who choose not to participate in any sort of social media, your relationships can still be affected by your choice not to participate online. (For example, a friend of mine once told me that he rarely keeps in touch with anyone that is not on Facebook.) For better or worse, social media has now replaced a good portion of […]

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Bass: Is it possible that both workers, employers have gaps to fill?

When we discuss the workforce gap, we are usually discussing the skills that industry needs versus the skills candidates have. If you are an employer facing this gap, you may want to consider your options for closing the gap by moving toward the other side. Let’s consider the case of a real person as he began entering the workforce recently. “Ralph” is attending community college part time. He worked one summer in an assembly plant, then one month in a fulfillment/distribution center. The initial job was interesting at first, but without a team to assist him, the tasks were too […]

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Bottom lines: Our views on recent news

Here are our bottom-line views on a few items of note in the Crossroads Business Journal area: • A vote of support for the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which are implementing Apprenticeship Maryland Program statewide. The program, piloted in Frederick and Washington counties, provides high school students with paid work-based learning opportunities, related classroom instruction and one-on-one mentoring from industry professionals. • Congratulations and thanks to all of the Healthiest Maryland Businesses Wellness at Work awardees for recognizing the importance of their employees’ health. • Kudos to area wineries for their award-winning efforts […]

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Entrepreneurial mindset essential in economic development

Economic development is a government process to improve the economic, civic and social well-being of its people. It can be accomplished via public or private organizations. All for-profit firms, no matter the industry, size or form, began as an imagined opportunity in the mind of an entrepreneur. Thus, the essence of private economic development is entrepreneurship — the identification of unrecognized business possibilities. Entrepreneurs perform several functions for sustainable economic development to occur: They take the initiative to launch the start-up; make business model decisions and innovations, and bare the risk/reward. Today it is necessary to train government leaders in […]

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Bottom lines: Our views on recent news

Here are our bottom-line views on a few items of note in the Crossroads Business Journal area: • In unveiling electric refuse trucks, Volvo Group also revealed an interesting take on the commercial EV market. In a news release, the company said “at this stage of electromobility technology and infrastructure development, a fully electric vehicle will deliver the most value within a closed loop application, in which the truck returns home every night, such as refuse.” • Hats off to the Specialty Granules LLC’s Charmian Plant of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., which was honored as Outstanding Community Investor at the […]

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Business succession planning: Here today, here tomorrow

The future of any organization depends upon the smooth transition of leadership from one generation to the next. From the C-suite to the first-line supervisor, sooner or later, most positions will be open. Without a succession plan, organizations find themselves with vacancies at lead positions or, worse, with underqualified people filling key slots. The best way to minimize the effect of leadership vacancies is to develop and implement a robust succession plan for all key positions. Current trends in the U.S. economy make succession planning a top priority. Consider the following points from “Succession Planning and Management” by Theresa Howe: […]

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Professional services benefit from artificial intelligence

Certain professional services have been keeping their glamour and scarcity due to the difficult scalability. Legal advice, financial services, management consultancy and other types of tailored advising such as medical advice, graphical design and others fit this mold. Artificial Intelligence — aka cognitive technologies — are reaching the level where they have the potential to change that situation. AI is a machine that works and can react like humans, while still benefitting from accessing data bases and working tirelessly under the most demanding conditions. On one hand, AI allows advanced and higher-quality services by supporting human service providers in accessing […]

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