Astron

first_imgAstronOn 19 Sep 2000 in Personnel Today Shortlisted team for easycando Award for e-learning: Personnel Today Awards 2000 Two years ago Astron was a traditional printing and warehouse operation. But through a radical change operation, driven and supported by an extensive training and development programme, the company has taken itself to the cutting edge of information logistics. Today, the Internet is the focus for all operations: customers can order across the Net, information management is delivered over the network and web-based performance improvement databases are maintained to keep the company on track. To achieve this dramatic change in business, Astron undertook the task of training all employees in e-business skills, a programme conducted via information technology and the world wide web.Having decided to move the organisation towards “e-working”, the change management project began with dedicated sessions of process mapping – an activity which began within the management team, but spread to allow input from everyone in the company. As a result, it was decided to completely reshape the organisation, redesigning the sales platform and treating customers as collaborators.Group operations director Kathy Woodward was adamant the training and development delivered had to be based purely on the new business requirements and should support the company in achieving a cycle of continuous improvement. The firm recruited four skilled software engineers and, rather than limiting them to only one area of the company, they were given free range to have an impact across the business. As they developed the new network they were also able to pass on their knowledge and relevant skills to other parts of the company.Web use slowly increased throughout the organisation and every new project brought with it a learning opportunity. A cross-organisational development programme was instigated, analysing requirements, allocating resources and delivering training and coaching to each division of the company. Alongside this, a new relations programme was developed to ensure communication and consultation strategies as well as performance management methods would support the new culture and values of the organisation.An IT training centre was established at the heart of the company’s warehouse, creating an environment where learning and working existed side by side. Astron brought in full-time coaches to help individuals adapt to the new working environment and a partnership arrangement was established with a lecturer from Harlow College. This lecturer was seconded from the college to deliver bespoke training to the company. The external education resources gave additional encouragement to everyone working in the business – from customer service to the warehouse – to become e-literate. Company fact fileTeam Astron, Change Management TeamTeam leader Kathy Woodward, group operations directorNumber in HR team ThreeNumber of employees responsible for 400Main achievements 24 employees with no previous qualifications completed NVQs in IT. Turnover increased from £14m to £30m and profits rose from £600,000 to £2m. Customer survey shows 98 per cent satisfactionPriorities for next 12 months To continue supporting and managing the changes within the companyJudge’s Comment “This is an excellent HR project which has helped transform Astron into a true e-business and a showpiece in the printing industry. There is a fantastic team spirit at the company and significant results for both the company and for individuals” Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.center_img Previous Article Next Article Sponsor profileeasycando.com is a new business-to-business e-learning and knowledge network run by Futuremedia. It aims to integrate web technology with traditional learning techniques to provide organisations with a complete e-learning solution. The focus is on “the three Cs” of e-learning – content, community and commerce. Through the co-branding of an easycando.com-based web site, organisations of all types and sizes can quickly and easily provide a tailored learning solution to their audience. Visitors to the web site will soon have access to more than 1,400 individual courses and 5,000 hours of quality-assured training contentlast_img read more

Noble Midstream-Greenfield JV to acquire 20% stake in Saddlehorn pipeline

first_img Noble Midstream and Greenfield Midstream exercise Saddlehorn option. (Credit: Pixabay/PublicDomainPictures) Black Diamond Gathering, a joint venture (JV) between Noble Midstream Partners and Greenfield Midstream has agreed to acquire a 20% stake in the Saddlehorn pipeline.The acquisition is valued at $155m or $84m net to Noble Midstream.Owned by affiliates of Magellan Midstream Partners, Plains All American Pipeline and Western Midstream Partners, the Saddlehorn pipeline is able to transport about 190,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil and condensate from the DJ and Powder River basins to facilities in Cushing, Okla. Magellan is the pipeline operator.Noble Midstream president and chief operating officer Robin Fielder said: “This accretive transaction represents a rare opportunity to buy into a largely-contracted pipeline with high-quality producers and midstream operators.“Saddlehorn strengthens the Black Diamond position as the premier full-service crude transportation provider in the DJ Basin and enhances the value proposition provided to our customers.“Further, this investment is anticipated to generate high rates of return, provide diversification, and increase our exposure to stable cash flow streams.”Saddlehorn pipeline’s capacity is being increased by 100,000bpdFollowing a successful open season, the Saddlehorn pipeline’s capacity is being increased by 100,000bpd to 290,000bpd.The increased capacity is expected to be available in the later part of 2020. No additional capital will be required by Black Diamond for the expansion.Black Diamond expects cash distributions from Saddlehorn in the first quarter of this year.Noble Midstream operates Black Diamond, which comprises a major incorporated crude oil gathering system in the DJ Basin, which includes 386km of pipeline, 300,000 bpd delivery capacity and 390,000 bpd oil storage capacity.The system is connected to major takeaway pipelines in the DJ Basin including the White Cliffs Pipeline, the Saddlehorn Pipeline, the Grand Mesa Pipeline, and the Pony Express Pipeline.Last March, Noble Midstream Partners secured an equity investment commitment, worth $200m, from Global Infrastructure Partners Capital Solutions Fund (GIP) to fund capital needed for a 30% stake in the EPIC Crude Pipeline in Texas. The Saddlehorn pipeline’s capacity is being increased by 100,000bpd to 290,000bpdlast_img read more

Petrobras reports oil discoveries at Búzios and Albacora fields in Brazil

first_imgPetrobras is the operator of the Búzios field with 90% stake while other partners include CNOOC with 5% and CNODC 5% Petrobras makes two oil discoveries at in Brazil. (Credit: Pixabay) Brazilian firm Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) has announced the discovery of oil of good quality in the Southeast area of the Búzios field and greater potential in the pre-salt of the Albacora field in Campos Basin.The firm discovered the oil at the 9-BUZ-39DA-RJS well located in the Southeast area of the Búzios field, in the Santos Basin pre-salt, 210km from Rio de Janeiro.Oil reservoirs of 208m have been confirmed at the well, which is being drilled, through tests at a depth of below 5,400m, Petrobras said.In a statement, Petrobras said: “The Búzios field is covered by the largest seismic data volume of the nodes type in the world, whose technology is among the most modern for the construction of three-dimensional images of high resolution in oil reservoirs, allowing to optimize the productivity and profitability of this field.”Petrobras is the operator of Búzios fieldPetrobras is the operator of the Búzios field with 90% stake while other partners include CNOOC with 5% and CNODC 5%.The company said that it has also identified approximately 214m of reservoirs, with the presence of light oil, following tests carried out from 4,630m depth at the 9-AB-135D-RJS well.The well is located in the Albacora field, inside the Plano de Avaliação de Descoberta (PAD) of Forno area, in the Campos Basin pre-salt, 184km from Macaé, Rio de Janeiro.Last month, Petrobras announced the oil discovery in an exploratory well located in the Sudoeste de Tartaruga Verde block, the Campos Basin.Located 130km from the city of Macaé (RJ) and in water depths of 1,080m, the well, called Natator, encountered oil in carbonate reservoirs in the post-salt section.last_img read more

The Governor’s Week in Photos

first_img1) Governor Pence Delivers Commencement Address at Indiana Wesleyan University // April 30, 2016. Governor Mike Pence joins more than 500 spring graduates at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion to deliver the spring commencement address. 3) Governor Pence Joins Evansville Leadership for SS&C Ribbon Cutting// May 5, 2016. Governor Mike Pence joins regional leadership in Evansville to cut the ribbon on financial services company SS&C’s new office. The new facility is at the historic Sterling Brewery which was the first building in Evansville to have electricity.image004 2) Governor, First Lady Thank Educators During Teacher Appreciation Week // May 3, 2016. Governor Mike Pence and First Lady Karen Pence deliver coffee and donuts to teachers and staff at St. Thomas Aquinas School in Indianapolis during Teacher Appreciation Week. 6) Indy 500 Reserved Tickets Sell Out Ahead of 100th Running // May 6, 2016. Governor Mike Pence joins Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Allison Melangton and Doug Boles to announce this year’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be held before a sold out crowd.image011 image001 4) Governor Pence Names 21st Century Scholarship to Recognize Former Governor Bayh // May 5, 2016. Governor Mike Pence signs an Executive Order to formally change the name of the 21st Century Scholarship Program to the Evan Bayh 21st Century Scholars Program. Evan Bayh, who served as the 46th Governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997, made the scholarship a top priority during his tenure, with the goal of helping ensure Hoosier students afford the opportunities provided by post-secondary education.center_img FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare image006 image002 5) Salesforce Announces Plans to Grow Regional Headquarters, Add 800 High-Wage Jobs in Indiana // May 6, 2016. Governor Mike Pence joins Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and executives from Salesforce as the company announces plans to significantly expand its regional headquarters in Indianapolis, investing more than $40 million over the next 10 years and creating up to 800 new jobs by 2021. To accommodate its growth, the company will move into a new regional headquarters downtown at 111 Monument Circle, which will be branded as Salesforce Tower Indianapolis. The expansion will result in a $122.7 million total economic impact.image010last_img read more

New minimum wage raises job fears

first_imgCompanies, particularly smaller firms, could be reluctant to create jobs by recruiting inexperienced staff because they are put off by an increased wage bill, the Low Pay Commission has claimed.New rates for the minimum wage took effect on Saturday. For 18- to 20-year-olds, the minimum wage is now £4.98, up from £4.92. For 16- to 17-year-olds, the new rate is £3.68, up from £3.64.In its official advice to the government on this year’s pay rates, the Commission raised concerns about younger workers, the first such warning since the introduction of the legal minimum rate in 1999.And the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) said that attempts to tackle the minimum wage should be part of the effort to reinvigorate the economy. Adam Marshall, director of policy at the BCC said there should be a freeze in the minimum wage for younger workers, followed by a consultation with employers about a gradual reduction in the rate.He said: “The concern is that the current rate is discouraging some employees from taking on young people and giving them a chance to get into the workplace. Some companies are finding the rate is a real problem.”>> Start-ups: hiring your first employeeslast_img read more

Getting under the skin of psoriasis

first_imgPsoriasis, a chronic skin condition that causes itchy, red, scaly patches, afflicts more than 8 million Americans and 125 million people worldwide. Small molecule-based drugs like steroids can penetrate the skin to treat the condition, but they can cause skin irritation and thinning and their efficacy can decrease over time. Antibodies that target specific inflammation-related molecules associated with psoriasis have been developed, but because they cannot be delivered via the skin, they are injected using needles and syringes, which limits their acceptance and can have negative systemic side effects.A team of researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has circumvented these limitations by using an ionic liquid (IL) combination to successfully deliver a small interfering RNA (siRNA)-based treatment directly to the skin in a mouse model of psoriasis, significantly reducing levels of inflammatory cytokines and symptoms of psoriasis without systemic side effects. The research is published today in Science Advances.“Compared to other technologies that have demonstrated delivery of nucleic acids to the skin, our IL platform offers unique opportunities in terms of tunability, an excellent safety profile, and economical scale-up,” said first author Abhirup Mandal, a former postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute and SEAS who is now a senior research scientist at CAGE Bio. “We think that effective topical delivery of macromolecules will revolutionize the treatment options for debilitating dermatological disorders like psoriasis.”When “naked” siRNA was applied to mouse skin, it showed poor absorption (center). Complexing it with the CAGE+CAPA ionic liquid allowed increased penetration into the epidermis (right).Running simulations to predict real successSynthetic siRNAs are non-coding double-stranded RNA molecules that are routinely used in biological research to “silence” a target gene by destroying the gene’s RNA transcripts. This ability also makes them very attractive candidates for treating diseases and disorders without modifying the DNA in a patient’s cells. However, their use in medicine has been hampered because RNAs are large, hydrophilic molecules, and therefore have a hard time crossing cells’ hydrophobic membranes.The team at the Wyss Institute and SEAS tackled that challenge using a recently discovered class of material called ionic liquids (ILs), which are essentially salts that are liquid at room temperature. Based on earlier research investigating the interactions of ILs with lipids, the researchers had a hunch that ILs could stabilize siRNAs and improve their penetration across lipid-based cell membranes, enabling localized gene silencing.The team first created a library of different ILs, then tested combinations of them to see which had the physical and chemical properties they were looking for. They settled on a mixture of two — CAGE (choline and geranic acid) and CAPA (choline and phenylpropanoic acid) — that helped associated siRNA molecules retain their structural integrity and led to increased siRNA penetration into pig skin in vitro. When they applied the CAGE+CAPA mixture as a thick topical liquid to the skin of living mice, they observed no inflammation or irritation, indicating that it was non-toxic.Because ILs are a fairly new material, predicting their interactions with the cargoes they are meant to deliver is challenging. The researchers collaborated with co-author Charles Reilly, a senior staff scientist in the Bioinspired Therapeutics & Diagnostics platform at the Wyss Institute, to perform molecular dynamics simulations to model and understand how the CAGE+CAPA solution would interact with siRNA and cell membranes at the molecular level. The observations from those simulations predicted that this IL-siRNA complex had superior stability due to its component ions’ strong chemical interactions with the RNA base pairs. The model also suggested that it led to higher penetration of cell membranes because the ions in the IL were able to pack closely together, forming aggregates that augmented the complex’s ability to disrupt the membrane and allow the siRNA’s entry.When psoriasis was induced in mouse skin, it caused inflammation (left). When treated with an ionic liquid without an siRNA, the inflammation worsened (center). When treated with the IL-siRNA complex, the inflammation was reduced (right).Breaking down barriersArmed with an effective delivery vehicle, the team then coupled it with a specific siRNA designed to silence a gene called NFKBIZ, which has been implicated in the upregulation of a number of inflammatory molecules that are involved in psoriasis. They applied the CAGE+CAPA mixture along with the siRNA to the skin of mice with a psoriasis-like condition for four days, then compared those mice to others that had received CAGE+CAPA with a control siRNA, CAGE+CAPA alone, or no treatment.The mice that were given the NFKBIZ siRNA treatment had reduced epidermal thickening, skin discoloration, and keratin overgrowth compared to the other experimental groups, as well as less redness and scaling. They also displayed a significant reduction in the expression of NFKBIZ and other psoriasis-related gene products in their skin cells, demonstrating for the first time that IL-siRNA complexes can induce a therapeutic effect at both molecular and macroscopic levels by silencing a target gene in vivo following topical administration.“Topical creams have been used to treat skin conditions for hundreds of years, but the skin is a very effective barrier against most substances, which limits their effectiveness. Being able to bridge that barrier to deliver nucleic acid therapeutics directly to skin cells is a huge accomplishment in the quest for targeted, effective therapeutics,” said corresponding author Samir Mitragotri, who is a core faculty member at the Wyss Institute and the Hiller Professor of Bioengineering and Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at SEAS.This IL-based delivery platform can be easily scaled up and tuned to interface with a variety of therapeutic molecules, including DNA and antibodies. It could also empower transdermal drug delivery for the treatment of other dermatologic skin conditions including eczema, and improve the long-term efficacy of therapies by targeting genes that mediate multiple disease pathways.Based on the encouraging results from this study, Mitragotri’s lab is initiating new collaborations with researchers at various institutions focusing on understanding local and systemic mechanisms associated with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases in the skin.“Many of the innovations that biologists have been using in research for years have significant clinical potential, but most haven’t achieved it because of fundamental limiting factors such as, in this case, the barrier posed by the skin. This creative solution to this drug delivery problem holds great promise for enabling a new class of effective treatments that are long overdue,” said the Wyss Institute’s Founding Director and co-author of the paper Donald Ingber, who is also the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, and Professor of Bioengineering at SEAS.Additional authors of the paper include Ninad Kumbhojkar and Anvay Ukidve from the Wyss Institute and SEAS, and Vimisha Dharamdasani, formerly of the Wyss Institute and SEAS and currently at the University of Cambridge.This research was supported by The Leo Foundation and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.last_img read more

Ex-officers could face criminal charges over racist video

first_imgHAMILTON, Ga. (AP) — A western Georgia prosecutor says he’ll seek to indict a former police chief and officer for violating their oaths of office. Body camera footage showed Hamilton Police Chief Gene Allmond and Sgt. John Brooks making racists comments before a Black Lives Matter march in June. The two resigned Jan. 25 after an employee discovered the footage and showed it to officials. District Attorney Mark Jones tells news outlets he believes the comments violate the oaths of office the two men took as police officers. That’s a felony in Georgia. Jones says a grand jury in May could decide on charges. The prosecutor says he wants to block Allmond and Brooks from being rehired as officers.last_img read more

University hires digital officer

first_imgAmong several technology-based initiatives in the works for next year, the University created a new position called chief academic digital officer to promote digital learning and appointed Elliott Visconsi to fill the position, according to a University press release.   Visconsi, associate professor of English and concurrent associate professor of law, said he will work to guide and support students and faculty in technology research, investment and application. “What we are trying to do is figure out [is] how do we integrate digital tools into our overall educational mission?” Visconsi said. “How do we integrate these things in a meaningful way that doesn’t demote the quality of the student experience, that enhances the bond between students and faculty?” The need for this position comes as the University explores the role of digital tools in higher education, University provost Thomas  Burish said in the press release. “Online learning and the digital academic environment in higher education have been growing and developing rapidly over the past decade, and the potential advantages and pitfalls for the higher education industry and institutions like Notre Dame are both enormous and complex,” Burish said. Visconsi said he envisions a digital strategy that “will expand the campus a little bit and give people newer options that are non-competitive with the options on campus,” he said. Visconsi said his goals for the coming academic year include promoting and facilitating student engagement with digital media and technology, assisting with the increased use of digital tools by faculty and expanding Notre Dame’s involvement with digital solutions, particularly through expanded online course offerings. “At the end of the day, what we’re trying to do with this job is really build an integrated University-wide strategy that is always going to put quality at the very forefront,” he said. “We must protect the quality of the student experience, we must protect the quality of the faculty experience and use these tools as enhancements to get people further into the curriculum.” Students who create digital solutions to existing problems might benefit from the new digital initiatives through increased University support, Visconsi said. Incentives for innovation may include grants, prizes or general recognition, he said. “There’s so much we can do to harness the creativity and energies of students,” he said. Visconsi said he also hopes to see cutting-edge technologies find a physical home at Notre Dame. “I would like to put student creativity and energy to work potentially in the form of something you’d call an innovation lab, meaning a hub or a space where students can come at all hours, where there are certain kinds of hardware [like] 3-D printers and fancy technology that would be a gathering space,” he said. The space could also support visitors from corporations like Microsoft and sponsor events discussing digital solutions, Visconsi said. In addition, he said hopes to foster connections among students in a variety of fields sharing a common interest in digital strategies. Visconsi’s resume and academic research focus primarily on literature and law during the 17th and 18th centuries. He developed an iPad app called “The Tempest for iPad” to give users an immersive experience into the Shakespeare play, an experience he said offered him more insight into digital media. “What is literary studies but a subset of the analysis of mediation? We can think in really historical, philosophical or ethical ways about the relationship between form and content,” he said. Ultimately, Visconsi said he hopes new digital strategies will complement Notre Dame’s pre-existing academic ideals. “The most importantly social network that we will ever build is the network between faculty and students, the personal connection,” he said. “That is the core of what we’re trying to offer as a University. These digital tools are not meant to replace that effort but to enhance it.” Contact Lesley Stevenson at [email protected]last_img read more

10 critical things young leaders need

first_imgLeaders — real ones — want to grow. They tend to have an almost insatiable appetite to learn, grow, develop, and just get better. Now it should be noted that are others — and it doesn’t come from a bad place I don’t think — who want to want those things; but when it comes down to it, they really don’t. They like the idea of leadership, and they like the idea of being perceived as a leader; but they don’t really, truly like the hard work involved with actually being one.Talking about leadership is easy. Leading is hard. But for young leaders who really want to learn and grow, here’s what they need…Young leaders need someone to tell them yes.In order for young leaders — or anyone, really — to grow, they need to be able to ask things and try things. Always hearing “no” will eventually make them stop asking. (And no, I’m not saying they should always hear “yes.” See below.) continue reading » 36SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Sports helped shape Biden. But expect a quieter fan in the White House.

first_imgAlthough Mr. Biden has not worn his sports allegiances on his sleeve — as Mr. Trump and many politicians have — playing fields have often intersected with his life, going back to his childhood, when sports provided a universal language of communication while he managed a stutter. He served as vice president under a noted sports fan, President Barack Obama, who this summer counseled N.B.A. players who boycotted playoff games in a protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake.“You see these two things happening in his life at the same time,” Evan Osnos, the author of “Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now,” said, referring to Mr. Biden’s high school days. “One, he’s breaking the back of the stutter, and two, he’s finding his place on the football field. Those converged to give him this altered sense of himself, and that’s really the beginning of what was at that point almost a ludicrously ambitious notion of what he might be able to do in life.” President Trump has had a long association with sports, starting as a baseball player in his youth, and more recently as an avid golfer with something to say, often incendiary, about athletes and leagues.But the Biden White House is likely to bring a lower temperature when it comes to commentary and influence on issues related to sports, though not a lack of interest. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. was a high school football player and dabbled in baseball and track and has pledged to dismantle Trump administration policies that, in his view, negatively affect transgender athletes’ access to sports and the way sexual assaults are investigated on college campuses.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Mr. Biden celebrated on the field when the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl in the 2017 N.F.L. season. The Washington Nationals have already invited him to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day. (The White House declined the Nationals’ invitation for Mr. Trump to throw an opening day pitch in 2017, citing a scheduling conflict.) – Advertisement –last_img read more