Meet the 29-year-old computer scientist who wrote the algorithm for the first black hole picture

first_imgTake your rightful seat in history, Dr. Bouman! Congratulations and thank you for your enormous contribution to the advancements of science and mankind.Here’s to #WomenInSTEM! https://t.co/3cs9QYrz9C— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 10, 2019Black holes are areas so massive they warp space and time so much that even light cannot escape. As such they aren’t visible directly, but are surrounded by dust and gas swirling around it at velocities near the speed of light, which causes the detectable emission of radiation. The boundary of a black hole is called an event horizon.“Bouman prepared a large database of synthetic astronomical images and the measurements they would yield at different telescopes, given random fluctuations in atmospheric noise, thermal noise from the telescopes themselves, and other types of noise. Her algorithm was frequently better than its predecessors at reconstructing the original image from the measurements and tended to handle noise better,” according to a press release from 2016 from MIT, where she developed the algorithm.“Radio wavelengths come with a lot of advantages,” Bouman said in the press release. “Just like how radio frequencies will go through walls, they pierce through galactic dust. We would never be able to see into the center of our galaxy in visible wavelengths because there’s too much stuff in between.”The attention on Bouman may give a skewed impression of the number of women involved in the EHT project.Feryal Ozel, an astrophysicist at the University of Arizona who was the modeling and analysis lead on the project, told ABC News the gender breakdown was “pretty dismal,” noting that there were about three senior women, including herself, out of about 200 total scientists on the project.“I’ve been a lot of projects where it’s better. We are trying to change that,” she said. “We are trying to bring in graduate students and postdocs and a younger generation that is excited to work on this. Hopefully that’s changing the face of the collaboration a little bit. But we still have work to do.”Bouman did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for an interview. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. National Science Foundation(NEW YORK) — After an international group of scientists revealed the first ever photos of a black hole on Wednesday, the Internet quickly turned its attention to the 29-year-old computer scientist who played a key role.Katherine “Katie” Bouman, a postdoctoral fellow with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), created the algorithm that stitched together the data from the a global network of satellites that produce the historic image.The EHT project used radio dishes scattered around the world to create a large Earth-sized telescope. Bouman’s specialty is using “emerging computational methods to push the boundaries of interdisciplinary imaging,” according to the bio on her website.That’s pretty much what she did in creating the algorithm behind the black hole close-up.Bouman’s contribution eventually got the attention of freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted, “Take your rightful seat in history, Dr. Bouman! Congratulations and thank you for your enormous contribution to the advancements of science and mankind.”last_img read more

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Sticky situation: Truck carrying 41,000 pounds of honey overturns on highway

first_imgIndiana State Police(INDIANAPOLIS) — An overturned semi-truck caused what the Indiana State Police are calling a “sticky situation” Wednesday when it spilled 20 tons of honey on Interstate 80/94.The spill closed down three lanes of traffic for several hours while crews worked to remove the truck and its payload of 41,000 pounds of amber honey.According to a press release from the Indiana State Police, the semi was traveling eastbound when its axle broke, causing the vehicle to roll over when its driver lost control.The truck’s 41,000 pounds of honey was being hauled in 13 containers. Five of the containers sheared through the trailer’s roof and fell out during the crash, with several of the containers leaking honey onto the roadway.In addition to the honey, the truck was leaking diesel fuel as it had just refueled.Indiana State Police urged commuters to avoid the area because of what they called “gawkers” slowing down to view the wreck from the opposite lanes.It’s not known how long the accident will take to clean up, but police expect it to be an extended cleanup and closure.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Across the border

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Across the borderOn 1 Apr 2000 in Personnel Today A new research programme is aiming to identify the training and practiceslinked to the OH nursing profession in Scotland – and you could help developthe survey.  By Dr Bernice West The confusing boundary between the role of the nurse and the role of thedoctor is especially acute in OH practice. But over the last five years nurseshave voiced concern in professional literature about a lack of definition ofnursing roles in general. The plethora of titles used in practice, emphasis on public health andgeneral reluctance to distinguish or appropriately remunerate levels ofpractitioners have led to confusion over the roles of nurses in specialismslike OH. This diffuse picture has evolved since the UKCC published The futureof professional practice – standards for education and practice followingregistration1 six years ago. It set out a structure for nurses to progress fromprofessional to specialist and to advanced practitioner according to expertiseand qualifications. As smoke-stack industries have declined in Scotland and it has become moreintegrated into the wider European context, so the practice of OH nursing hasexpanded in the last decade2. It has traditionally been considered a specialist area, but in recent yearsthere have been moves for it to be incorporated into primary care and publichealth3. The role has developed immensely, yet in UK literature there is littlesystematic evidence of the scope of practice. New research A research project funded by the National Board for Nursing Midwifery andHealth Visiting (Scotland) aims to survey a large number of OH nurses workingin industries and the public sector across Scotland and its offshore waters.Its objectives are: – To identify the educational background and preparation of OH nursescurrently practising in Scotland – To explore the suitability of their educational preparation for practice – To articulate the scope of their professional practice – To describe the range of job titles currently deployed – To identify the continuing professional development requirements – To identify areas for practice and professional development. A preliminary search of the literature and three focus group interviews havebeen carried out. Comparable previous survey research has been evaluated alongwith theoretical literature on the range and scope of OH nursing. The strengthsof the research lie in the specification of nursing activities in OH. Theweaknesses are in the inability to make substantial inferences from theinformation. It appears the application of prior research to informing education andpractice has been limited. The current researchers are concerned to avoid thesame mistakes and are seeking assistance from the profession through focus groupdiscussions, local networks. Consulting the profession In research there are always problems about sampling. In this projectfinding OH nurses is a major challenge to us. A presentation about designingthis research and the general need for research in OH nursing will be made atthe conference of the RCN OH Nurses Forum (Scotland) in Glasgow this month. Wehope to raise awareness of research in general and encourage participation inthis project. We will be asking for volunteers to carry out a critical reviewof our questionnaire. It is important that since we have this opportunity tofind out about the scope of practice in OH nursing that we ask the rightquestions. Dr Bernice JMWest is director of Centre Nurse Practice Research andDevelopment at the Robert Gordon University School of Nursing and Midwifery,Aberdeen References 1 UKCC,1994, The council’s standards for education and practice followingregistration. UKCC London 2 Pickvance S (1996) Towards multidisciplinary prevention services. OHReview, Sept/Oct 3 Shipley P (1996) OH outside the factory gate. OH Review, May/June last_img read more

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Store wars

first_imgIn the first of a series of in-depth reports on the key players in differentindustry sectors, we look at what Tesco, Budgens, Asda and Sainsbury’s are doingto win the battle for customersAt first glance Manchester United and Tesco may not appear to have a greatdeal in common. But the country’s premier football club and premier foodretailer share more than you might think. Manchester United, for instance, wasthe first club to be worth £1bn, while Tesco became the first supermarket chainto report pre-tax profits of £1bn in 2000. United dominates a hugely competitive market, has become a force to bereckoned with abroad as well as at home and is determined never to let itsrivals have a sniff at the top. The same principle applies to Tesco. Ever since Tesco clawed its way past Sainsbury’s in 1995 to take poleposition in the UK grocery retail sector, an increasingly fierce battle hasbeen on for the heart and, critically, the purse, of the British food shopper.Sainsbury’s, after a number of years of drift and stagnation, has recovered itssense of purpose under Sir Peter Davis and is showing signs of gaining groundagain. US giant Wal-Mart’s takeover of Asda in 1999 sent tremors through themarket, giving the chain the financial clout essential for it to make its ownrun at the title. The move has led to a revolution in how the sector looks atits people management and HR. The battle for supremacy in the supermarket trade is as much about gettingHR right as it is about ensuring you can make money from a 9p tin of bakedbeans or from stocking 12 varieties of rice. In a cut-throat industry – whereit is estimated UK shoppers will be spending £119bn by 2006 – HR is playing acritical role in ensuring supermarkets have the right teams in place. Richard Hyman, chairman of retail research body Verdict Research, says:”Until a few years ago, expanding a retail business in the UK was aboutopening more stores. But as retailing has become increasingly mature, that hasbecome a less significant factor.” Stores have had to find ways to expand the market with what they have got,attracting more shoppers without necessarily being able to add to shopfloorspace. “One fundamental difference we are seeing is the quality of peoplestores employ and the skills they have. People are becoming a much moreimportant determinant in the business. The people you have, even on theshopfloor, are becoming much more important,” Hyman adds. Should the economy take a downward route, hitting the disposable income ofshoppers with its inevitable tightening of household budgets, the staff a chainemploys will have as an important a part to play as its ability to cut marginsand lower prices. The key battle has been in recruiting and retaining the right people, fromshelf stackers and backroom distribution experts up to board level. Yet agovernment report on skills published in November last year found extensiveevidence of skills gaps in UK companies, highlighting communication skills,customer handling and problem-solving as particular problem areas. Gaps in anyof these areas would be very serious for a retailer, so supermarket chains haveto work hard to address them. Other issues include training and developing staff correctly, whether onlineor in the classroom, and continuously challenging employees’ performance. Justas the best football team ensures it is spotting and bringing on the besttalent for the future, this is a central challenge for an HR team in the retailsector too. Tesco HR director Clare Chapman says: “We have 200,000 people in theUK. What makes the difference is the person they report to. We have a very bigprogramme of supporting our leaders to be best in the business.” Branding has been a critical part of the success of all the mainsupermarkets – from Tesco’s ‘Every Little Helps’, Sainsbury’s ‘Taste theDifference’ to Asda’s pocket pat. Promoting that brand and instilling thevalues associated with it at every level has relied on focused HR input toensure there is a common thread to the message that goes out to staff. In January this year, for instance, mid-way through its three-year changeprogramme, Sainsbury’s reported sales figures showing it was closing the gap onTesco. Key to its recovery, it said, was a shake-up of its central human resourcesfunction, creating three specialist teams covering organisational change,resourcing and reward plus a new pool of consultants. The change aroundincluded the appointment of a new HR director, Imelda Walsh, whose prioritiesinclude developing the brand, knowledge management and linking reward toperformance. Tesco, by comparison, launched what it claims is the UK’s biggest retailcareers website last autumn in an effort to help it fill some of its 50,000vacancies. It has also put emphasis on communication and talent spotting. Asda, too, famous for calling employees colleagues and holding meetingsstanding up, has made a point of looking hard at its people policies. It hasbeen putting in place innovative flexible working arrangements, such aschildcare leave and shift swapping schemes that allow staff to be absent fromwork for specific family or domestic reasons. And for smaller players such as Budgens, the emphasis has been on instillinga culture of coaching within the organisation, as well as focusing on makingknowledge much more accessible through a new e-learning system. Industry auditThe UK food retailing industry isworth more than £100bn, according to the Institute of Grocery Distribution, andis dominated by five big players: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Safeway andSomerfield. These major multiple retailers control more than half of the marketand their share is increasing all the time.Among the second-tier multiples, there are a number of strongregional chains, notably northern-based William Morrison and Waitrose, part ofthe John Lewis Partnership, predominantly a southern England chain.Other key players include the Co-operative Movement, with itscombination of supermarkets, convenience stores and neighbourhood stores andMarks & Spencer which, until its recent recovery, was arguably being keptafloat by the performance of its food halls. There are specialist operators such as frozen food retailerIceland along with discount chains such as Kwik Save, Netto and Lidl. Thepublic’s ever-increasing appetite for convenience foods and ‘top-up’ shoppinghas benefited chains such as Budgens, Alldays, Spar and Costcutter whileencouraging the bigger chains to make forays into this lucrative market.Food retailing is a huge employer, with the top five chainsemploying more than 600,000 people in the UK alone, with an average staffturnover of about 33.4 per cent.In a relatively mature market and with little scope for organicgrowth, particularly with ever-tighter planning constraints, expansion isnormally at the cost of a rival. Competitive edge, in this case attracting andkeeping customers, will often come down to the human face of the chain – itsshopfloor staff – and customer service as much as what is on the shelves.HR, then, has a key influence in this sector, in training staffappropriately, instilling company values, retaining and developing skilledstaff and attracting and nurturing the best talent in a highly competitivemarketplace.Tesco hothouses its home-growntalent Tesco, the UK’s largestprivate-sector employer, is set to increase its workforce by a further 25 percent this year. Training has become such a big issue that the supermarket giantis developing its own learning academy. Nic Paton reportsWith 185,000 staff in the UK and240,000 worldwide, Tesco is not just the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, it isalso the country’s largest private-sector employer. In the UK alone it operates692 stores, with an additional 77 in Ireland. There are another 108 in EasternEurope, one in France and 35 in the Far East.Tesco was founded by Jack Cohen in 1919 – a former Royal FlyingCorps pilot who invested £30 to set up a grocery stall in London’s East End.The Tes comes from the initials of partner TE Stockwell and the co from Cohen’ssurname.The group has expanded organically and through acquisition toaccount for 16.2 per cent of the UK food market now. In the year to February2001, sales were £22.8bn, while pre-tax profits were £1.07bn.Key to its success has been a focus on a number of HR-ledvalues, such as ‘using our strengths to deliver unbeatable value for ourcustomers’, ‘sharing knowledge’, ‘treating people how we like to be treated’and ‘looking after our people so they can look after our customers’.RecruitmentApproximately 40,000 staff were recruited last year and atarget of 50,000 has been set for this year – a 25 per cent increase.Tesco runs two management schemes for graduates, one for thoseinterested in running stores and the other for people who want to move intohead office roles.Recruitment methods vary, from media advertising through toin-store promotions and word-of-mouth. Last year it launchedwww.tesco.com/careers, the UK’s biggest retailing careers website. It getsabout 5,500 hits a day.RetentionStaff turnover runs at about 29.9 per cent a year. A recentstaff survey found one in three had been with the company for more than sixyears and one in six for more than 11. Of the group’s 10 board directors, six are home grown, as areall four of its regional managing directors, 27 retail directors and all butone of its 10 store board directors.Part-time working, career breaks and shift working are allnormal practices. About 67 per cent of its staff in the UK work part-time.All female staff are entitled to 18 weeks maternity leave fromthe start of employment. Those with more than 12 month’s service can take extraleave. New fathers can take three days paid paternity leave, with part-timeworkers getting time off on a pro-rata rate. The supermarket chain also offersbereavement leave and emergency leave.  Staff can continue working until 70 or beyond, and one in sixTesco staff are more than 50 years old.There are also Save-As-You-Earn and Buy-As-You-Earnprofit-sharing schemes available.Training and developmentTesco appointed its first director of learning, Kim Birnie, inJanuary 2000. There are 11 people in the supermarket chain’s group learningteam, 14 retail trainers and 400 store-level trainers. The distributionbusiness and head office both have seven-strong training teams. The majority of learning is still delivered in-house by Tesco’sown trainers at various UK sites. The programme is split into bronze, silverand gold. External programmes, mostly for senior managers, are availablethrough organisations such as Cranfield, Harvard and London Business School.There are a range of induction programmes for new recruits.During the past two years, the company has invested £15m intraining and development for its frontline managers.On average, store workers received 30 minutes of formaltraining per person per week last year – 4.5 million hours globally. Time spent on training and development varies depending on thenature of the role and seniority. Store managers, for example, are offered fivedays training at Manchester Business School. A basic e-learning system is being piloted in the group’sstores in South Korea and Tesco is developing an academy that will offerphysical learning centres as well as online learning.Performance managementPerformance management is linked to the company’s bottom lineand values. There is an ongoing performance and development routinecomplemented by a bi-annual staff survey. Staff hold formal weekly meetings, known as Team 5, while Take5, informal five-minute huddles, are also encouraged. In addition to annualreviews and personal development plans, staff receive quarterly coachingsessions and regular development updates.HR director Clare Chapman says: “We see ourselves as theSandhurst of retailing. It is a requirement to have spotted the up-and-comingtalent in the same way it would be expected in a first-class football team. Weare always scouting for talent.”Staff are encouraged to come forward with ideas. “Therewas a major shift recently in the way we deliver to our stores and that camedirectly from staff. Our big focus this year is on listening. It makes such adifference when your staff know what is going on. “We are getting very good at communicating but what we cando better is listen,” says Chapman.Tesco factfileSalary More than £200,000Is the HR director on the board?No, but Chapman reports directly to chief executive Terry Leahyand sits on Tesco’s People Matters Group, which meets for two hours every twoweeks to work through people issues affecting the chainHR department structureTesco has five central directors, overseeing learning,resourcing, communication, reward and people insight. There are also fouroperational directors responsible for Tesco stores, international stores,distribution and head officeSize of HR teamExcluding payroll, 400 in the UK. Including payroll, which haspeople working in every store, this increases to many hundredsRatio of HR to employees One to 500 (excluding payroll)HR starting salaryAbout £24,000HR priorities for the yearStrengthening talent spotting, developing leaders,communication, supporting the focus on serviceMinnow beats the bigfish on staffretentionLocal convenience food chain Budgensbelieves having a contented and challenged workforce helps the bottom line andstaff retention. Each employee has a personal development plan and staffturnover is well below the industry average. Nic Paton reportsBudgens may be a minnow in comparisonto the big retail players such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, but it hasnevertheless carved out  an enviableniche in UK retailing for itself. Founded by John Budgen in Maidenhead in 1872,it now operates 234 stores, covering 25 counties mostly in southern England, expandingmostly through organic expansion rather than acquisition.Unlike the bigger players, Budgens is not a ‘pure’ supermarketchain, preferring to spread itself firmly into the convenience food sector,forecourt shopping and through its local format, smaller, neighbourhood stores.During its 130-year history, it has also remained unswerving inits commitment to fresh produce and to tailoring each store to meet the needsof its local community or neighbourhood.In the year to the end of April 2001, the group reported salesof £477m and pre-tax profits of £17.2m. It employs 6,100 staff.RecruitmentWith 20 new stores planned this year, each employing 10 to 15people, Budgens needs to potentially recruit about 300 extra staff  this financial year.It aims to recruit about 50 graduates a year for the next threeyears. Budgens is committed to promoting internally and, while more than 100people will be moving into managerial roles, only 10 are likely to come fromoutside the company, says senior HR adviser Paul Daynes. This has been anongoing process for the past five or six years.The graduate management scheme fast tracks recruits, so oftenthere is as little as 12 to 14 months between someone joining the scheme andbeing in charge of a store.More than half the graduates are now applying online and, whileBudgens does advertise conventionally, a lot of recruitment comes fromword-of-mouth because it is so community based.RetentionApproximately 1,775 people left Budgens last year, giving astaff turnover level of about 29.4 per cent – nearly 5 per cent below theindustry average. And among managers, turnover dropped even further last yearto 10 per cent. The company offers the usual benefits of pension and holidays,plus a share-save scheme and the option of flexible working. There is an equalopportunities policy and a large proportion of the workforce are women and fromethnic minorities. There are also many part-time workers and staff have theopportunity to earn overtime. Maternity pay and leave are set at the statutoryrates, although there are enhanced terms for managers. Training and developmentThe training and development team consists of about 10 people.For the first six months new recruits undergo intensive training, with at leastsome element of training every day. Graduates on the management training schemetend to follow a year-long programme, while training for in-store workers willbe structured towards achieving competencies in various areas.In April last year, the group expanded its management traineescheme to meet its 20 new stores’ target. Candidates undertake placements intwo stores, with one day a month spent on skills development.Training is delivered through a combination of conventional,classroom-based learning, distance learning, coaching and workshops. Thissummer, Budgens is to introduce an e-learning system across the business,linking its checkouts and store systems with continuing training anddevelopment. It is impossible to gauge what the company spends on training,says Daynes, simply because all managers are expected to coach their staff onan ongoing basis. “It occupies a huge part of their time,” he says,adding that he estimates that “thousands of pounds” are spent ontraining each employee during the course of their career.”Every single person in the business will do some formaltraining each year, even the managers who have been with us for 25 years,”he says.Performance managementThe company’s ethos is very much that having a contented andchallenged workforce helps the bottom line, says Daynes. “If you have a workforce that is happy then you are likelyto have customers who are happy,” he adds.Performance management is focused on encouraging staff to lookat the opportunities available to them, to look at where they can move in thebusiness and how they can develop. Even the chief executive Martin Hysonrecently went on a three-day training course.Each employee – including all part-time workers – has apersonal development review, which is development-related rather thanperformance-related, says Daynes. Most staff will be working to a two- tothree-year or a five-year development plan, he adds.Martin Hyson holds six management conferences a year and eachstore manager will be invited to a conference twice a year.There are constant team briefings, product and team talks.There is also an employee newspaper. “We are expending a lot of time and effort in encouraginga creative and open culture,” says Daynes. There is also a voluntary 360-degree appraisal system in place.Staff are encouraged to communicate – via e-mail – with Hysonand other executives with ideas, and he receives about six a week.BudgenS factfileSalary: Less than £200,000Is the HR director on the board?Hare sits on the Budgens Stores board, but not as HR directorof the plc. However, he is also company secretary, which is a plc board-levelappointmentSize of HR teamThe central HR team consists of 12 people, complemented byvarious client groups working with management teams within the stores andacross the organisationHR department structureThe HR function is based on a consultancy model, with HRprofessionals sitting within the business at all levels, working withmanagement teams, particularly on areas such as employee relations and trainingand development. There are also operations people who work on HR-relatedactivities at store level but who are not part of the HR departmentHR starting salaryAbout £20,000HR priorities for the yearTo tap into the investment in technology being put into storesto develop staff and training opportunities, to keep on generating ideas, tokeep challenging employees to do their best and be the bestStores of learning Asda/Wal-Mart boasts widespreadflexible working practices, has invested £3m in Stores of Learning and runs theAsda Academy to teach staff traditional skills. It also holds monthly colleaguecircles and staff surveys to canvass grassroot opinion. Ross Wigham reportsAsda, or Associated Dairies, wasformed in 1965 by a group of Yorkshire farmers but has evolved into one of themajor players in the UK grocery sector. Since then it has developed into a245-store chain with 19 distribution centres and a network of more than 2,800suppliers.The supermarket, bought by Wal-Mart, the world’s biggestretailer, in the summer of 1999, employs more than 109,000 staff. Since theacquisition, the chain has expanded its offering to include a mix of  fresh food, clothing, and home, leisure andentertainment products.The first Asda/Wal-Mart supercentre opened in 2000 in Bristoloffering customers both stores’ product ranges. It sells itself on being‘stores of the community’ and has introduced several local-based communityinitiatives.Its three core HR business values are: ‘we are all colleagues’;‘one team’; and ‘service with personality’.RecruitmentLast year, Asda recruited 16,000 extra staff through a mix ofexpansion and new store openings with 77 store renewals and 62 new storeopenings over the past five years. This year, the company predicts it willcreate another 10,000 positions through an additional 10 to 12 stores andexpansion of its distribution network.Asda uses a mix of traditional and innovative recruitmentmethods, even converting customers into staff. People director David Smith says:”We use things like shelf-label advertising as customers are a valuablerecruitment pool.” That method accounted for about 40 per cent of totalrecruitment last year and the company even advertised in the actors’ bible TheStage when looking to hire employees who have to perform on the shopfloor.RetentionAsda employees receive free shares and more than 84,000 holdWal-Mart shares through the Colleague Share Ownership Plan or Sharesave.Flexible working is widespread and 74,000 staff work on apart-time basis. It introduced its first store manager job share in 1999 andruns shift swapping, childcare leave, a school starter scheme and a three-monthunpaid leave programme. All male staff are entitled to paternity leave and allstaff are entitled to two days unpaid leave to attend religious festivals. Asdais part of the Work Life Balance Alliance and 245 stores provide localchildcare information in partnership with national charity Kids Club Network.Seven per cent of Asda stores are run by female managers andthe company aims to increase this proportion to 30 per cent by 2003.Training and developmentAsda invested £3m in eight Stores of Learning, which havetrained nearly 2,000 new managers and every store has at least one SOL graduatein the management team. The scheme, which was awarded the Personnel Today awardfor Excellence in Training in 2000, has 70 per cent of attendees receivinginternal promotion or development.The Asda Academy teaches staff crafts or skills for usein-store. Staff can learn traditional vocations and has trained 550 butchers,550 bakers, 500 greengrocers, 300 vintners, 40 fishmongers and 40 florists. Theacademy programmes are accredited by an external awarding body and relevanttrade associations.The official induction programme lasts one day and staff arefully trained after 12 weeks. The majority of further learning is done byin-house training staff and conducted on site.Performance managementThe HR strategy is linked to the business values of the companyand is monitored by the ‘we’re listening survey’, which measures staff opinionon a monthly basis. Colleague circles meet each month at every store and arepresentative from these circles gets to question the board at an annual,national meeting.The company has received more than 50,000 letters and commentsfrom staff through its suggestion scheme. The annual appraisal system is linkedto the business values and a competency framework that has been running forthree years.ASDA factfileSalary Not suppliedIs the HR director on the boardDavid Smith has a seat on the board along with all otherdirectors, reporting to chief operating officer Tony DeNunzio.Size of HR team Asda has an HR team of 100 colleaguesHR team structureAll the people heads across the business report to David Smithwith the following structure: remuneration and benefits, people development,retail people, Asda House headquarter staff, colleague relations, people developmentand resourcing.Ratio of HR to employees The ratio of HR to staff is one to 100 at Asda House, thegroup’s headquarters in Leeds. In the field across the UK it’s 250 HR to110,000 colleaguesHR starting salaryNot suppliedHR priorities for the yearRecruit, train, motivate and retrain Asda staff. The mainpriority is to make Asda ‘the best place to work’.Food for thoughtTo win back market share, supermarketchain Sainsbury’s is planning an overhaul of HR practices and systems designedto exploit the employer brand. Noel O’Reilly reportsSainsbury’swas founded in 1869 by John James and Mary Ann Sainsbury when the first branchwas opened in London’s Drury Lane. Over the following quarter of a centurybranches opened all over London and contemporary advertisements reveal that thecompany’s brand values were surprisingly similar to those of today’s company. An advert for its Croydon store in 1894 proudly describesSainsbury’s “exceedingly handsome and well appointed stores” andinforms customers that: “Mr Sainsbury deals with the producer, both athome and abroad, and this saves the middle man’s profit.”Today’s Sainsbury’s, with its 142,000 staff and 453 stores, isone year down a three-year transformation programme which began with thearrival of Sir Peter Davis as chief executive in March 2000. Davis is leading aroot and branch reform of the store aimed at closing the gap on Tesco whichovertook Sainsbury’s as market leader in 1995. The tide may be turning: strong Christmas sales allowed thecompany to announce a 6 per cent growth in sales in January for the thirdquarter of this financial year. A month later it announced it would berecruiting 10,000 new staff in 2002. Davis has engineer-ed a step change at the supermarket. Theplan to overhaul the supply chain was cut down to three years compared to theoriginal seven, for example. The company is currently refurbishing all itsstores.Staff will be at the heart of the supermarket’s revival, butthe HR team is still thrashing out precisely what recruitment, reward,performance management and development programmes are going to boost thenumbers of customers going through Sainsbury’s checkouts. One thing which isclear is that HR initiatives will be based on the company’s employer brandwhich emphasise quality and service more than price. Imelda Walsh, recruited as HR director in October last year,describes how this will work: “Having a clear sense of our employmentbrand gives us the template through which you can view every aspect of HR andthe way you treat people, behavioural frameworks – it absolutely must be basedon the company’s brand. You won’t be able to get a bit of paper between thosetwo things.”In December all 2,700 corporate staff moved into a gleaming,Norman Foster-designed head office in Holborn. This is where the corporate HRteam sit, and itis currently emerging from a period of soul-searching andrestructuring. Following the arrival of Davis, Alison Davies, who now headsthe organisational change team, led the HR restructure. A consultation withstaff showed that people felt the HR function should be more customer focused,proactive, flexible and able to respond quickly to change. There are plans to extend the small shared services functionand introduce transactional e-HR which will move much HR activity out of thestores. Every HR job at corporate level has been redesigned and a small numberof positions have disappeared. The company’s employee commitment index went up 10 points afterthe restructure. Now all the HR team have to do is deliver the goods.RecruitmentIn February the company announced it would be recruiting anextra 10,000 staff at all levels in 2002. Last year the company recruited about60,000 to permanent positions and expects to recruit the same number this year.Sainsbury’s recruited 150 graduates last year and also plansthe same intake this year. The main recruitment tools used are online recruitment andin-store promotions depending on the role. For a retail position it usesin-store promotion and the local press. Ninety-nine per cent of graduaterecruitment is done online. For management vacancies, advertising andrecruitment consultants are employed. RetentionThe staff turnover rate per year at Sainsbury’s is 35 per centand bringing this down is a key priority for HR in 2002. The company offers a huge number of staff benefits including afree share scheme, company pension, two weeks’ paid paternity leave, interestfree loans, flexible contracts, fostering and adoption leave and paid time offfor fertility treatment. It offers 22 days’ holiday rising to 25 after five years’service and 27 days for middle management and above. Among the flexible working schemes on offer are flexible hourscontracts, dual store contracts, variable hours contracts, temporary vacationcontracts and alternative working arrangements contracts. Sainsbury’s is committed to equality and diversity as part ofits customer service work, for business benefit and as an effective tool inattracting and retaining ‘talented people’.Staff with more than one year of service are entitled to 40weeks maternity leave, with 14 weeks paid at 90 per cent and four weeks at theflat rate. Staff with less than one year’s service are entitled to 18 weeksleave, with six weeks at 90 per cent and 12 weeks at the flat rate.The company is currently trialling creches in three stores.Training and developmentThere are 80 in the training team at the central businesscentre and 600 in stores. Training is delivered to staff online  at the [email protected] site. New recruits receive on average a minimum of four daystraining. The company spent about £30m last year on training. Investment in HRsystems will be considerable over the next few years with the replacement ofthe entire existing systems. Performance managementThe company uses an annual appraisal system for all colleaguesand twice-annual reviews for managers. The company values are encapsulated in the customer promise tobe ‘easy, enjoyable, inspiring’, and these are communicated through everythingfrom training literature to the website. Other employment brand values arecurrently under review.Succession planning is managed throughout the organisation andcross functional moves are encouraged. The company uses development centres and defined careerdevelopment routes and the director of talent is currently working on improvingtalent management.It remains to be seen whether Sainsbury’s can improve standardsof service in its stores without a purge of under-performing store managers –the company firmly rebutted a recent press story suggesting that 1,000 managersfaced the axe. Managers’ performance is currently being reviewed under theDelivering Great Service initiative.Sainsbury’s factfileName of HR director: ImeldaWalsh was appointed HR director in October to lead the HR function, and toimprove succession planning within the HR function. Walsh’s appointmentreflects the fact that board-level HR director John Adshead’s portfolio hasbecome too wide to effectively lead the HR function. Adshead is responsible forHR, overseeing business transformation and ITSize of HRteamAt the business centre in Holborn there are 200 staff. Thetotal, including the supply chain and retail is 1,200HR department structureHR is structured with three small specialist teams at thecentral business centre covering business development, talent and reward. HRdirectors work alongside managing directors in the business. A pool of HRconsultants implement projects for the specialist teams. Beyond the businesscentre the stores are split into 18 regions of about 26 stores each. Eachregion has an HR partner along with an assistant, while each store has apersonnel and training manager along with a team, the size of which dependsupon headcountRatio of HR to employees About 1:104. HR starting salary range £10,000 –this is the entry-level basic salary for an assistant personnel trainingmanager based in storeHR priorities for the yearThe employment brand, performance management, leadershipcapability, change management, improving staff retention.www.j-sainsbury.co.uk Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Store warsOn 12 Mar 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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eXp rides housing boom with $31M in profits

first_imgUPDATE: The headline has been corrected to indicate that eXp made $31 million in net income.  Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Tags Email Address* Full Name* Share via Shortlinkcenter_img eXp realtyglenn sanfordHousing MarketResidential Brokerage eXp Realty founder Glenn Sanford. (eXp)UPDATED, March 11, 2021, 6:58 p.m.: As traditional brokerage firms scrambled to go virtual last spring, eXp Realty didn’t miss a beat. The cloud-based brokerage maintained “continuous operations,” said CEO Glenn Sanford.The result was eXp’s most profitable year ever, with $31 million in net income, compared to a $9.6 million loss in 2019. Its 2020 revenue also soared 84 percent to a record $1.8 billion, up from $979 million a year prior.Founded in 2002, eXp operates in a Sim City-like virtual world. It has grown rapidly by offering agents 100 percent commission after they hit a certain threshold. Over the past year, it’s reported back-to-back quarters of record profits, in part because it has a fraction of expenses owed by its incumbents, who are saddled with brick-and-mortar offices.ADVERTISEMENTRead moreTrial by fire: virtual showings put to the test Virtual firm eXp notches another profitable quarter Can eXp’s virtual world work in NYC? In 2020, the firm added 15,000 agents for a total of 41,313, up 63 percent year over year. It also launched in five countries — France, Portugal, Mexico, India, and South Africa — and added a commercial arm in 26 U.S. states in 2020.With few apparent obstacles in eXp’s path, it’s not apparent it will gain market share in luxury markets or in New York City, where it launched in 2019.On Thursday, eXp said sales volume soared 89 percent year over year to $72.2 billion. Along with the rest of the housing market, things heated up in the fourth quarter, when sales spiked 123 percent year over year to $24.6 billion.Contact E.B. Solomont Message*last_img read more

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Prep Sports Schedule: 4/11

first_img Brad James Written by April 11, 2018 /Sports News – Local Prep Sports Schedule: 4/11 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailBoys SoccerRegion 17Wasatch Academy 1 Merit 1SoftballRegion 15Grand 8 North Sanpete 5Grand 11 North Sanpete 4Non-RegionGunnison 16 Richfield 6BaseballNon-RegionSummit Academy 7 Juab 2Beaver 18 Manti 8Cedar 10 South Sevier 0 Tags: Beaver/Gunnison/Juab/Kanab/Millard/Richfield/South Sevier/Wasatch Academylast_img

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Purplebricks’ finance chief resigns amid company’s fight to survive crisis

first_imgThe Group Chief Financial Officer of Purplebricks, James Davies, has resigned from the company and is to be replaced by a former senior member of the Zoopla management team.Davies has been with Purplebricks since May 2017 and joined from betting giant William Hill, but has not given any reason for his departure.The writing was on the wall, however, when the usually reticent Davies gave a candid ‘swansong’ interview to a business magazine recently, in which he criticised its attempt to break into the US, explains why its Australia business flailed and denied that any of its online reviews were fake.“I joined when it was a nascent challenger brand and today it ranks as the UK’s largest estate agency by volume,” says Davies today.“I am proud to have been on that journey. Notwithstanding the current COVID-19 circumstances, the Company is in a strong financial position and ready for its exciting next stage of development and success.”Davies’ last day will be on 8th May and he will be replaced by Andy Botha (left) who was Zoopla’s CFO until June 2019 but who, after a three month hiatus, joined upmarket online travel platform Secret Escapes where he has been in post for just eight months.His previous experience prior to joining Zoopla included roles at Lastminute.com, Betfair and Notonthehighstreet.com.Paul Pindar, Chairman of Purplebricks, says: “On behalf of the Board I would like to thank James for his hard work and dedication during his tenure at Purplebricks. We wish him the very best with his future endeavours.“I am delighted to welcome Andy to the Board as Chief Financial Officer. Andy has a remarkable track record in growing digital businesses, and I look forward to working with him and the executive management team to execute Purplebricks’s strategy.”James Davies Purplebricks Andy Botha Zoopla April 17, 2020Nigel Lewis3 commentsAndrew Stanton, CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist 20th April 2020 at 1:01 pmJust to help, James Davies CFO, why is he leaving now? Well has it to do with the 30th of April 2020? The day that marks the end of Purplebricks financial year? I think so.The figures are in and someone has to walk the plank. We mere mortals may not hear what the Purplebricks financials really are until June, but we know that cash reserves will be through the floor, and income will have stalled pre-Covid-19.With Toscafund divesting in Purplebricks and the share price dropping like a brick post the revelation of 18M of fee being held by Purplebricks ‘for not selling’ over 21,000 properties for disappointed vendors in 2019, we are possibly at the end of Purplebricks in its present form.The questions that remain are, will Axel Springer take full control and take it private?Will it then become – further automated and a vendor list service … the ultimate agent lite experience? I think we will soon see.Log in to ReplyMatteo Donna, Alex & Matteo Estate Agents Alex & Matteo Estate Agents 17th April 2020 at 12:46 pmI am not surprised. Although many thinks Purplebricks is a great platform I personally think that to pay £1,499 to buy a listing space on Zoopla and Rightmove (which is basically all Purplebricks have to offer) is a lot of money.BestMatteoLog in to ReplyDAVID C HAYWORTH, astons estate agents astons estate agents 17th April 2020 at 11:19 amHow much longer has this company got…Has it ever made a real profit…How do they get away with being paid for not selling houses….Share price at 36 pence and dropping….OK idea badly executed….Log in to ReplyWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » COVID-19 news » Purplebricks’ finance chief resigns amid company’s fight to survive crisis previous nextAgencies & PeoplePurplebricks’ finance chief resigns amid company’s fight to survive crisisTalk about timing! James Davies is to leave on 8th May and will be replaced by Zoopla’s former CFO Andy Botha.Nigel Lewis17th April 20203 Comments5,944 Viewslast_img read more

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Local Artists David and Barbara Rodenberg to Display Work at UE

first_imgThe work of local artists David and Barbara Rodenberg will be featured in an exhibit titled Rodenberg & Rodenberg from September 12 to October 22 in the Melvin Peterson Gallery at the University of Evansville. There will be a reception for the artists on Thursday, September 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the gallery.David Rodenberg is a sculptor, potter, art educator, and UE graduate. His clay sculptures and functional work has won numerous awards in competitive shows for 41 years. His work can be seen in many collections in the US and abroad and has been included in shows in New Zealand and Germany. It has also been featured in a traveling exhibit that toured France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.Barbara Rodenberg is a mixed media collage artist and writer. Her elegant collages are made of scraps of metal, old machine parts, road maps, old books and handmade paper. She has exhibited her work in the Evansville area since 2009.The Melvin Peterson Gallery is located on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Weinbach Avenue. Gallery hours are: Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from noon-3:00 p.m., and Wednesday and Thursday from noon-6:00 p.m.For more information, please call the UE Department of Art at 812-488-2043.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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Carford’s counter move

first_imgThe Carford Group’s new Lincoln CTI Countertop impinger oven (1300 Series) has digital controls that allow for easy programming, said the firm.It is small enough to sit on most commercial countertops, and has a new front-controlled reversible conveyor direction switch.The CTI also has a 16-inch-wide conveyor belt and a 20-inch baking chamber and can be stacked two high. The impinger allows food to be cooked quickly at a variety of different temperatures.[http://www.carford.co.uk]last_img

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Press release: M6 upgrade stepped up with bridge demolition

first_imgHighways England is removing the bridge as part of a major project to upgrade the motorway in Staffordshire.The M6 will be closed in both directions, between junctions 13 and 14 at Stafford, for up to 18 hours over the weekend of March 23 and 24 while work takes place to remove the Burton Bank Footbridge.The bridge, north of junction 13, was built in the early 1960s. Due to the curved shape of the footbridge, there isn’t enough headroom for HGVs to travel under the bridge when the hard shoulder becomes a new running lane.The footbridge is nearly 200ft (60m) in length and weighs around 140 tonnes. In total it contains enough concrete to fill some 20 tipper trucks.This will be the second bridge removed as part of work to upgrade the motorway between junction 13 (Stafford) and junction 15 (Stoke-on-Trent) after Creswell Home Farm bridge, just north of junction 14, was demolished last year.The motorway closure will start on Saturday 23 March with significant lane restrictions from 5pm, leading into a full closure by 8pm. The motorway will reopen on Sunday 24 March as soon as work allows.Drivers are being warned to expect delays from 5pm and are advised to plan alternative routes while work takes place.Highways England smart motorways project sponsor Peter Smith said: To safely carry out the demolition of an arched bridge, which is a very complex process, we have to use both carriageways of the motorway so the M6 will be closed for up to 18 hours. We will be doing all that we can to minimise disruption in the Stafford area. I would urge anyone wanting to use the M6 in the area during the work to plan an alternative route and to allow extra travel time and fuel for your journey. I would also like to thank motorists, businesses and residents in advance for their patience. Traffic will be diverted off the M6 between junctions 13 and 14 and will use the A449 and A34 as the diversion route. This route has been agreed with local authority partners and will be kept clear of other works during the demolition.To reduce M6 traffic on the day, signs will alert motorists to the closure as far away as Dover and Carlisle. Motorists and hauliers travelling between the North West and the Midlands and South of England will be advised to avoid the area by using the M62 and M1.General enquiriesMembers of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.Media enquiriesJournalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.last_img read more

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