Keeping the Economy Moving
Keeping the Economy Moving
Next month my firm will begin recruiting for businesses in the Portland Metro area to participate in a Commercial Vehicle Travel Study. While normal commuters share in the headache of congestion in the mornings and afternoon, imagine if you spent your day navigating the streets, delivering goods or going from site to site to offer commercial services. This study will collect data from the drivers whose routines keep them on the streets a large portion of the day.
Once complete, the information will be used to provide a better understanding of travel patterns and needs. This in turn will give key decision makers the ability to better plan for infrastructure improvements and influence where to invest transportation dollars. Making these necessary improvements will enhance the region's quality of life and business environment.
Next week we're conducting two focus groups to learn more from the six market segments that will be recruited to participate in the study. I wanted to thank the organizations that offered referrals for focus group participants. The focus group participants will provide feedback on the overall approach of the study, the survey tools and the methods of outreach.
If you have any question or are curious about the study, please feel free to contact me.
Moving Forward with a New Online Look
As we all know, a successful business never truly stands still. Adapting to constant changes, facing new challenges and finding new avenues for improvement are all things that Synergy Resources Group helps clients with on a daily basis. In the spirit of change and improvement, we are pleased to announce a brand new online experience for visitors to the Synergy Resources Group website. Let us know what you think!
Experience Over Things: The Future of the Consumer Economy
Published with permission from Bill Conerly, Conerly Consulting
Does money buy happiness? And at what exchange rate? And how do I get the most happiness from a buck of money? Happiness research, based on surveys of life satisfaction, has addressed these issues, with implications for both personal behavior and the economic forecast.
Happiness is measured by a variety of surveys asking people how happy or satisfied they are. The data are imperfect, but the questions have been asked by lots of researchers in different ways, and in different languages, and we're getting some consistent answers. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers reviewed many other studies and concluded that money does, in fact buy happiness.
However, more money helps a poor person's happiness more than it does a rich person's. An extra $10,000 a year starting from $20,000 does more good than if the person is starting at $100,000. Researchers find the relationship looks logarithmic (and if you don't recall logarithms, just think of a curve that rises and then flattens out).
Making the Decision to Delegate
A common reaction we've heard from CEOs, entrepreneurs and supervisors about delegating goes something like this: "After explaining the work you want done, checking to make sure it's done right, and then correcting it when it isn't, you may as well do it yourself." We encourage you to read the recent research by Gallup that finds that only one in four CEO's has a high level of talent as a delegator.
Gallup studied 143 CEOs included on the Inc. 500 list of the country's fastest-growing companies. Those with high levels of delegator talent had a three-year growth rate of 1,751 percent - 112 percentage points higher than CEOs with limited or low delegator talent. The highly talented delegators also generated 33 percent more revenue than their less talented peers.
An Institute for Corporate Productivity survey showed that nearly half of companies have high or somewhat high concerns about the delegation skills of their employees. Strangely, however, just 28 percent of those businesses offer training in delegation.
Synergy Resources Group has worked with many managers to develop delegation skills and actionable plans to get the process started. There are a number of ways delegation goes wrong and Synergy Resources Group can help with strategies that improve your approach to delegation and identify ways to inspire your team.
U.S. Volunteer Time Worth $188 Billion
The value of volunteers' time hit a record high in 2015, an estimated $23.56 per hour nationwide. The sum represents more than a $1 increase compared to the figure in 2013. This equates to roughly eight billion hours of time donated by volunteers.
Increasing Difficulty Filling Job Vacancies in Oregon
According to recent data for the first quarter of 2016, Oregon's private businesses reported 41,300 vacancies this winter. That marks the first time winter vacancies have exceeded 40,000, and reflects rapid job growth in the state. Health care and social assistance topped all industries with 9,400 vacancies in the winter. Leisure and hospitality (6,600) and retail trade (4,800) also reported large totals. Together these three industries accounted for half of all winter vacancies. Businesses were hiring for diverse types of jobs across the economy though. Seven of 14 major industries reported at least 2,000 job vacancies. Occupations with the most job openings this winter ranged from retail salespersons and cashiers to personal care aides and nursing assistants, cooks, carpenters, maintenance and repair workers, and truck drivers.
Diesel Engine Clean-up Programs Lead to Major Health Benefits
Exposure to diesel exhaust can lead to serious health conditions like asthma and respiratory illnesses. It can also worsen existing conditions, especially in children and the elderly. EPA's grants to clean up old diesel engines through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program have greatly improved public health by cutting harmful pollution that causes premature deaths, asthma attacks, and missed school and workdays.
The DERA program has helped clean up approximately 335,200 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 14,700 tons of particulate matter (PM). The program has also saved 450 million gallons of fuel and prevented 4.8 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions - equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions from more than 900,000 cars.
Read EPA's Third Report to Congress on highlights from the DERA grant program.
PDX Bizwomen Coalition & Mentoring Monday 2016
Recently Debra had the opportunity to meet up with other outstanding businesswomen and colleagues at a PDX Bizwomen Coalition reception hosted by Vanessa Sturgeon, President & CEO of TMT Development, at the beautiful Park Avenue West building in downtown Portland. Vanessa, who has spent the last fourteen years developing and managing mixed-use high-rise assets, spoke to the group about real estate and commercial development in the Portland market. This reception was held just days before the nationwide "Mentoring Monday." Debra was one of 40 mentors who were invited to be part of the event, which is setup much like speed dating for mentors. Professional mentees spent seven minutes with each mentor, asking prepared questions, seeking advice from the mentors and discussing challenges, career dreams, business start-up ideas, managing priorities and working with new supervisors, among other topics.
"Imagine a room full of 250 plus women, energized, eager, nervous and prepared to make a lasting impression," commented Debra, "It was inspiring to meet so many professionals at different stages of their careers and have to reflect on my own career path."
Featured Nonprofit: New Avenues for Youth
New Avenues for Youth takes a complete approach to addressing youth homelessness and its root causes, delivering support and resources that enable foster, at- risk, and homeless youth aged 14-24 to overcome their barriers and realize their potential. Through direct service, community partnership, advocacy, and data-driven evaluation, the group helps youth exit street life and prevent those at risk of homelessness from experiencing it.