Brain Hubs creat jobs for middle skilled

AUSTIN, Texas—As the nation grapples with stubbornly high unemployment, Texas's political and high-tech capital shows one way to create good jobs for people who didn't go to college: Attract highly skilled entrepreneurs, and watch the companies they start hire lower-skilled workers.
[MIDJOBSsub] Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The Texas state Capitol in Austin, a city that in the past decade has added 50,000 'middle-skill' positions that pay roughly $38,000 a year.

Praxis Strategy Group, an economic-development consultancy, estimates Austin added 50,000 "middle-skill" positions in the past decade. These are jobs that require a two-year associate's degree or the equivalent work experience, and pay a median wage of $17.30 an hour, or $38,000 a year. That pace of growth is roughly four times faster than the nation's as a whole, three times that of New York and Portland, Ore., and twice that of Phoenix.

Austin's success in creating middle-class jobs runs against the grain of national trends. As America's shift from manufacturing to the service sector has accelerated, economists have noted a hollowing out of such jobs.

In recent decades, a select number of brain hubs like Austin have attracted a higher percentage of well-educated workers and a lopsided share of new investment and young companies. In 1970, the top 10 most-educated metropolitan areas among the nation's 100 largest had an average of 23% of workers holding a bachelor's degree or higher, compared with 10% in the bottom 10, according to an analysis of Census data by Harvard University economist Edward Glaeser. The 13-percentage-point gap has widened every decade since, and had doubled by 2010.
Where Jobs Can Be Found

See the growth in middle-skill jobs from 2001 in Austin and other regions.


Majority of American Workers Not Engaged in Their Jobs

Majority of American Workers Not Engaged in Their Jobs

Highly educated and middle-aged employees among the least likely to be engaged

by Nikki Blacksmith and Jim Harter

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Seventy-one percent of American workers are "not engaged" or "actively disengaged" in their work, meaning they are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and are less likely to be productive. That leaves nearly one-third of American workers who are "engaged," or involved in and enthusiastic about their work and contributing to their organizations in a positive manner. This trend remained relatively stable throughout 2011.

Highly Educated and Middle-Aged Workers Less Likely to Be Engaged

Americans who have at least some college education are significantly less likely to be engaged in their jobs than are those with a high school diploma or less. Additionally, workers aged 30 to 64 are less likely to be engaged at work than are those who are younger or older. Workers aged 65 and older are the most likely to be engaged in their jobs.

Men are much less likely than women to be engaged at work. There are no significant differences in employee engagement by income level.


Innovation - Every company needs new ideas to stay relevant

A recent article written by Rachel Siverman of the WSJ outlines the need and importance of innovation....

"Not every company is led by a visionary like recently retired Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs. But nearly every company needs to come up with new ideas to stay relevant.
Developing new ideas involves a certain amount of experimentation and failure, as well as prioritizing of the most promising ideas.
Management scholars, who have spent years studying what drives creativity within companies, say there are specific ways firms can generate ideas and execute new products.
"Apple's success doesn't have to be a mystery to us," says Vijay Govindarajan, a professor of global business at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and former chief innovation consultant at General Electric Co. "It can be replicated."
Mr. Jobs is known for being deeply involved in the creation and development of his company's products. But in many highly innovative companies, great ideas come from all levels of an organization, not just from the top, experts say. At most companies, the problem is, employees have little input.
Driving Innovation
Management experts say there are specific ways firms can generate and execute new ideas.
• Solicit input. Great ideas come from all levels of the organization, not just from the top.
• Provide workers time for "unofficial activity," set time to work on creative ideas.
• Executing ideas is often tougher than generating them. Companies need a clear process to prioritize, resource and test ideas quickly and cheaply, so that they can afford to experiment.
Research has found that the average U.S. employee's ideas, big or small, are implemented only once every six years, says Alan G. Robinson, a professor at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. More innovative companies typically implement far more employee ideas, Dr. Robinson says.
Senior leadership is still important: There need to be forward-thinking leaders who "allow for the culture of ideas to percolate up," says Dr. Robinson. That means providing time, staff, funding and other resources for new ideas to be executed.
Some companies, such as Google Inc., provide workers time for "unofficial activity"—set time to work on creative ideas. Giving employees time for open-ended ideas can be expensive, especially with many companies short-staffed, but it may pay off. "When managers cut to the bone, one of the things they stifle is innovation," says Dr. Robinson." see more at


EV's will need infrastructure before they succeed.

Infrastructure is coming soon than you may think. Thousands of chargin units are being installed across the county as more companies start up and other move in with their strategy and answers to rolling out networks.

"The U.S. automobile industry of the 20th century flourished based on a gas station infrastructure that at one point numbered in excess of a quarter-million locations. For electric vehicles (EVs) and, to a lesser extent, plug-in hybrid vehicles (PEVs) to succeed, three different networks outside of the automakers’ control are required: communications, charging, and smart/electric grid infrastructures.
The wireless infrastructure is in place for communications with the vehicle. Cars simply can take advantage of the existing cellular companies’ widely distributed cell towers. The Ford Focus, the Nissan Leaf, and the Chevy Volt all have a telematics solution with an embedded modem as well as smart-phone apps. Drivers can link to their vehicles and read the charge status and stop and start the charging cycle whenever they please.
“Once the car has a modem in it, you can have an app on your computer or on your phone or anywhere you are,” says Mark Fitzgerald, associate director of automotive electronics at Strategy Analytics. “As long as the car is connected, you can be connected to the car.”
It seems like embedded modems and smart phones will be an integral part of carmakers’ strategy to give vehicle owners more control and access to critical information about their vehicles. “The idea is that you can’t launch successfully a purely electric vehicle without telematics in it of some sort,” says Fitzgerald.
Still Required Infrastructures......see link to read full article. by Randy Frank

for Engineers Who Hate Networking


"Hello, I'm Gary Perman. I'm a headhunter; an industry insider in the fields of electric vehicles, alternative energy, and electronics. Technology companies hire me to find their next executive, manager or engineer."

Sometimes it seems like I hit two or three networking events a week. One might think that since I do so much networking, such events would come natural to me. Some might even think I have the "people gift." Not so. There are times I dread going. At times I even search for ways to get out of attending them. So, even a guy who makes his living networking and matching people with people can get the networking jitters.

Personally, I am much more comfortable behind a phone and a computer than meeting new people face-to-face. Perhaps you are more comfortable innovating new products and solving problems? Yet face-to-face networking is essential today. Networking provides opportunity for collaborations, improving relationships, building trust, growing your business, and yes, even future employment. The market has proven time and time again that you never know when you will become unemployed. The more people you know, the sooner you may be able to rebound from a layoff. Nothing can replace face-to-face interaction.

Most engineers I know share a common dislike for networking. However, it is not so much "dislike" as it is fear. Remember high school? Getting up the nerve to ask someone to a dance? Or standing in line during gym class waiting to see who picks you for their team? That is the same kind of fear that many of us carry with us as we approach a networking event. Well this isn't high school; it is real life and your career depends on networking.

I've read the networking books, attended workshops, and asked a lot of people who are good at networking to share their secrets. I have collected traits and practices that have made me better at networking. I still face those initial jitters during the first moments at the registration table, but now they dissipate with the first handshake. I am here to tell you that you don't have to be a master at networking or have a "Type A" personality to succeed. All it takes is a little planning and some strategy, and after all, isn't that what engineers do best anyway?

Have a Plan

When I attend a networking event, I typically plan to meet one to three people I picked out in advance. If they are not there or not available, I have a backup plan. I pick a number of new people I want to meet, usually five to 10. My goal is to ask them two questions and swap cards with them. Once I reach my goal, I am off the hook. I can go home, see a movie or catch the end of the game at the bar. I have set a goal and reached it. Networking events are not a prison sentence — if you don't make them one.

Kathy Condon, author of "It Doesn't Hurt to Ask," has some great advice on networking. She is a consummate networker and lives by what she teaches. One of the best tips I ever learned was from her many years ago: When you first enter a room, step to the side and assess the room and the people in it. Look for the person who is standing alone. That is target number one. Most likely, that person would love to talk with someone. Personally I have met some of my best contacts that way; people who have turned out to be executives and engineering leaders. Some of them are just not very good at schmoozing, but get them one-on-one and they will talk your ear off.

It's Not All about You

Keith Ferrazzi made this important point in his book, "Never Eat Alone." When it comes to networking, it's not about you. When you spend time meeting people, try and see if there is a way that you can help them. Putting this priority first in your mind makes networking easier. Why? You might not be a great networker, but you are a great problem solver. If you can help someone else with an issue, solve a problem, generate an idea, or make a contact, you are working in the sweet spot of your skill set. Not only will you help someone else, but along the way good things will happen to you, too.

Ask Good Questions

Get to know people by asking good questions. Boring questions get boring answers. What do you do? Tell me about your company. How long have you been with company X ? All are examples of typical openers that get typical results. They are boring and the answer usually involves the other person looking over your shoulder in hopes of finding a more interesting person to talk to. Instead, try these questions (it’s okay to write them down and carry them in your pocket):

"What business problem does your company solve?" Follow up with, "How are you doing that?"

"What has been the biggest win for you (or your company) in the last six months?" Follow up with, "What do you think it will be in the next six months?"

"What is the most interesting initiative you have planned at your company this year?" Follow up with, "How will that change your company?"

"Do you know anyone who might be able to help me…?" Ask for names of people who might be able to help you find the person you are looking for, or solve a problem you are dealing with.

"My favorite approach," says Condon, is to "walk up to someone with your hand extended and smile and say, 'So tell me what great thing happened to you recently.' The key here is to really listen to the answer — then you'll be given the information you can use to ask the next question. People love to talk about themselves — get to know the person standing before you on a personal level. Then set up a coffee date and you can talk about your work at that meeting. People hire people, collaborate with people and refer people they know and like."

You want to ask questions that initiate a conversation out of the norm, and these questions will do that. Once they have answered your questions, there is just one more to ask: "Is there some way I can help you?"

I have a good friend who always ends every conversation with, "What can I do for you?" He is seriously asking if I might need a referral, a new contact or a solution to a new problem. At first my response was, "Oh nothing. I'm fine." Until I wised up. Since his business takes him into contact with many companies, I started asking questions like, "Well, yes. Do you know anyone who works at XYZ company?" When I ask, I often receive a positive reply, something I appreciate and remember him for.

It's The Little Things

In networking, business and in life, it is the little things that people remember. After I network with someone I jot down a note on the back of their contact card. It might be something special about them, how I might help them, or what I thought of them. I use that information when I write them a follow-up email the next day. Want to make an even bigger, more positive impression? Send them a handwritten note the next day. It's the little things that make a great impression.

Maybe they gave you a great idea or helped solve an engineering problem you were stuck on. Perhaps they provided a referral to a potential client. Thanking them goes a long way toward creating a long-lasting relationship. I often meet people at networking events who are unemployed. If I can't help them professionally, I can offer to send them a copy of "Doug's List," an extensive list of networking events, groups and job boards in the area. Though it costs me only a few seconds of my time, it might mean a lot to them. Those are the kind of "little things" that people will remember about you.

Exit Gracefully

Recently, I watched a real networking pro work a room. She would introduce herself, ask a question or two, and ask if she could help them. Then she would exchange contact cards with them, put out her hand to shake, and say, "It has been so nice to spend a few minutes getting to know you. I hope you have great success with your new product launch." Then she would smile graciously and just move on. She took the initiative to introduce herself, she controlled the conversation with a few questions, and then she exited gracefully. Not monopolizing a person's time is a real courtesy in a networking situation.

The rhythm that she set was exactly the right tempo to accomplish what a networking event should accomplish. Finding that rhythm can be a challenge for many of us. When we find someone willing to engage in a conversation, we are in our comfort zone. Being comfortable with someone feels safer than making an exit and trying to find another person to talk with, yet by using these methods, you can move from one person to another, meet a variety of people, and plant the seeds for future business relationships.

Strategy for Networking

Plan to come away from your next networking event with these three things:

Contact cards. These cards provide the contact information you need to stay in touch. The notes you made on the backs of the cards will be used when you follow up with an email or a note the following day.

Names of prospective contacts. These contacts may lead to future collaboration or future employment.

Knowledge. Plan to leave an event with more information about your industry, competitors and clients than when you went in.

Checklist for Networking Success

Before the event, rehearse what you are going to say: who you are, what you do, and how you solve people's problems.

Check that you have your contact cards with you. Always. No exceptions, no excuses. If you want to appear unprofessional, show up at a networking event without cards.

Smile. It sounds trite, but people who are nervous often project a message that says, "Stay away." Be conscious of your smile. It is your invitation to others to step up and say, "Hi."

Unplug your phone. Engage with people in the room. If you must have a phone, put it on vibrate and carry it out of sight. If you receive a call, excuse yourself from the conversation and step out of the room before taking it.

Be the first to introduce yourself every time. Put your hand out, smile and follow your plan.

The day after the event, send a quick email to every person you have a card from. Thank them for their time and the opportunity to meet them. This step pays huge dividends.

Don't complain. Just because networking isn't your thing, no one wants to hear about what you don't like. You are there. Do what you came to do with a smile on your face.

Condon says, "Social media networking (e.g. Facebook and LinkedIn) has to be a part of your personal and professional marketing wheel, but face-to-face networking will never be replaced.”

For some people, networking comes naturally, and I envy them. For others like me, we have to work at it. Following the plan outlined above takes almost all of the stress out of networking, and I've even learned to enjoy it. I hope to see you at a networking event soon.

Venture Capitalist Advice: Startups Need To Hire A Recruiter...Now

Venture Capitalist Advice: Startups Need To Hire A Recruiter...Now
Jeff Bussgang is a former entrepreneur turned venture capitalist at Flybridge Capital Partners in Boston

The unemployment rate in America is hovering around 9%. But if you are a competent engineer, sales executive, online marketer or general manager in Silicon Valley, NYC, Boston, or other startup hotspots, the unemployment rate is 0%.
The talent market has gotten as competitive and aggressive as I have ever seen in the last 20 years. CNN recently reported that 40% of the 130,000 job openings in Silicon Valley are for software engineers. Senior executives have never been harder to secure. That's why, even though it flies in the face of conventional wisdom, I'm advocating that all my portfolio companies hire recruiters when they are trying to fill senior or key positions. Immediately.
Typically, when a young company gets financing and begins to hire, they seek to leverage the network of the founding team and their investors. This network provides some valuable leads and perhaps a few hires. Leveraging existing networks has greater benefits than simply cost savings and convenience. Teams that have worked together in the past simpy are well-positioned to out-execute those that haven't due to their common history, language and relationships.
I have read studies that show that one of the factors that correlates highly for success in a startup is if the team has worked together and made money together in a previous startup. But tapping those informal networks alone doesn't scale. And reacting to inbound people flow generates an adverse selection bias - the best people are not looking, so they will never contact you and respond to your job posting.
As an entrepreneur, I was initially very skeptical of fast-talking, expensive recruiters. I thought hiring them represented a personal failure on my part as an entrepreneur. After all, it was my job to secure the best and brightest talent through my own efforts and my own network. But my years of recruiting have taught me that startup CEOs are at a distinct competitive disadvantage if they don't get outside help for recruiting.

Here are the top five reasons why:
1) You Never Have Enough Proactive Time. As an entrepreneur, you are always battling dividing your efforts into proactive time (where you direct the activities through your own energy) versus reactive time (where you are reacting to people and forces around you). With the inflow of real-time information and people coming at you from all sides and demanding your attention (employees, investors, customers, etc), it's hard to find enough proactive time in the day. Recruiting is a proactive exercise. It requires effort and energy from the entrepreneur to generate candidate flow, meet candidates, vet them, check references. It is therefore important to have an outside force push you to react to candidates and help you prioritize the recruiting effort, just as your VP Sales is pushing you to prioritize sales and your VP Marketing is pushing you to prioritize marketing.
2) Hiring Inexperience. Most entrepreneurs are first time CEOs or even second time CEOs who simply do not have a lot of experience hiring, particularly hiring the particular executives they're hiring for (Try this exercise - ask your favorite CEO/entrepreneur how many times they've hired a CFO. Most never have but even if they've done it once or twice in the past, are they really now an expert at it?). Like anything else, hiring is a science. A recruiting friend of mine likes to say, "interviews are inquisitions, not discussions". Too many entrepreneurs don't actually know how to interview well. Further, they're not experienced at assessing their current human capital needs, analyzing the gaps of management team members, and then understanding the market and how to fill the gaps. Good recruiters are invaluable in this regard.
3) Shallow reference checking. Busy entrepreneurs and busy VCs typically do cursory reference checking when making even senior hires. They allow themselves to be swayed by their own conviction, let the candidates spoon feed them their top fans from past jobs and ignore the opportunity to push for a deep understanding of candidates' histories and claims. When I make an investment in a company, I typically do 8-10 reference checks and get a wide variety of perspectives from people who have worked with the entrepreneur in the past and seen them in a range of different situations. It's hard to have the discipline to replicate this thoroughness when making a senior hire, particularly when trying to move quickly in a competitive hiring market (see "You Never Have Enough Proactive Time" above).
4) Quarterbacking the Selling Process. Many hiring managers don't realize that the due diligence process for a candidate is as thorough, if not more so, than your due diligence on them. The best candidates have choices and are sought after. Even though you are deciding whether to "buy" over the course of a series of interviews, you need to be in a position to sell every step of the way. "Everyone's trying to be the coolest place to work," observed one Stanford junior who is being barraged with job opportunities. Recruiters can be very helpful in quarterbacking the selling process - proactively surfacing objections and handling them with data and follow-up conversations, linking candidates to the right people at the right time in the process.
5) Focus on closing. Closing candidates in this competitive a market is very hard. counter-offers, compressed timeframes and personal considerations all get in the way of smooth closes. Again, if you don't have alot of proactive time available to you (and who does?!), there's great benefit to having a focused closer.
Further, I have found having an intermediary helps tremendously with the negotiations. A candidate will be unafraid to tell a recruiter what it takes to get the deal done, and a tough back and forth with the help of an intermediary can avoid bad feelings afterwards between two principals that will need to work together as a team when the dust settles. Too often I hear entrepreneurs say, "I'll work my network for a few weeks and then we'll hire a recruiter."
Many VCs are over-confident about their own recruiting prowess and will tell entrepreneurs to wait until they talk to their partners and surface a few great candidates from their network. The problem, of course, is that everyone gets busy and distracted. A few weeks turns into a few months, a few candidates get turned up and interviewed but then discarded, and finally when the network comes up dry, the group reconvenes and decides to hire a recruiter. Now the recruiters need to be selected, interviewed, reference checked, negotitated with and ramped up - causing more delay. By the time you get around to getting the recruiter ramped up, the board and CEO feel frustrated that they are already behind.
To be clear, not all recruiters are created equal and some are a waste of time and money. But if you can find a good one, don't let them go. Paul English, cofounder of Kayak, is a truly gifted recruiter and there has been a lot written about his approach to hiring. If you can be that exceptional, perhaps you don't need a recruiter. And, believe me, the price you pay for these folks feels exorbitant, particularly if you are in the scrappy, lean start-up phase of development.
My bottom line advice is to just bite the bullet and hire a recruiter now. The difference will cost you an incremental $50-100k, but everyone knows hiring an "A" has a massive positive impact as compared to a "B" - and that impact is compounded if it can be achieved 3-6 months sooner.

12 keys to creating long-term success for your organization by putting meaningful measures on strategic activities

The most common performance measurements in organizations are traditional financial reports, yet these numbers reflect decisions made months, if not years, before. While it is important to track financials, they only keep score of how well decisions were made in the past. A pro-active leader focuses on measuring strategic items that will create positive results months and years in the future. For example, continuous development and sales of new products may be a crucial strategy of a high-tech company. An appropriate measure might be the percentage of sales generated by products developed in the last 12 months.

Effective organizations have strategic plans with specific strategies that help accomplish their missions. Those who understand the Continuous Improvement process realize that "you can't control what you don't measure," and according to CEO Neal Keefer, "you probably won't improve what you don't measure." 'This implies that successfully implementing a strategic plan requires measurable strategies with frequent reviews. Yet strategies are often broad and difficult to measure. In addition, our efforts to accomplish them may not bear fruit for several months or more. How do we put meaningful short-term measures on long-term strategic activities? Almost any strategy can have an effective measurement associated with it if the suggestions below are followed.
1. Form a strategy team to implement the strategy, determine the measure, and drive the improvement process. This team should consist of the people who are affected by the strategy, who can impact the implementation, and who have a strong desire to see the strategy implemented.
2. Keep it simple and easy to capture the data and track the results — one company wanted an indicator of employee morale, so they did a "rate my day," asking employees to rate their day from one to five on a slip of paper. Obviously you should always measure this one on the same day of the week
3. Use measures that will respond fairly quickly to actions intended to improve them — to improve sales in a new market might require activities that do not produce results for several months. Rather than tracking actual sales, you might measure the percentage of activities in the marketing plan that is on schedule.
4. Measure the desired end result (the output), rather than a step (the process) that leads to the end result. If your strategy is to take advantage of employee suggestions, measure the number of employee suggestions implemented rather than the number submitted. This guideline can conflict with number 3 above; the team will have to find an appropriate balance, possibly by using more than one measure.
5. Watch for the quality-quantity conflict — in the example in number 4 above, it would be tempting to use the dollar savings from suggestions as a more results-oriented measure, but this could deter suggestions that would have dramatic, but unquantifiable, effects on morale. Here again, the team may need more than one measure to maintain a balance.

6. Use measures that are minimally impacted by issues outside the strategy team's control. Using the employee suggestions example again, if your workforce varies seasonally, the number of suggestions implemented per employee on the payroll would be a better measure than the total number of suggestions implemented. A company that sells products to truck manufacturers, a very cyclic market, could measure sales in terms of products per one thousand trucks manufactured. This indicates their market penetration regardless of the overall level of activity in the market.
7. Support your organizational values — measuring the number of suggestions per employee might promote suggestions from individual employees, but it might not encourage people to work together to create better suggestions. If you want to promote teamwork, count only suggestions from two or more employees, or give greater weight in the measure to suggestions from teams.
8. Avoid conflict with other strategies and activities — A strategy team promoting employee training might consider measuring the number of hours spent in training each month. This, however, may conflict with the time needed to get production work done. A better measure might be the percentage of employees who have completed training in certain key competencies; this measure emphasizes the most important training without promoting excessive time in training at the expense of other activities.
9. Use measures that are not influenced by weekly, monthly, or seasonal causes. One company has a four-day workweek, Monday through Thursday, but their biggest customer has a five-day workweek, making Thursdays extra busy for the supplier. Any measure they use should average an entire week as opposed to measuring the results of one day of the week.
10. Use "positive" measures that increase, rather than decrease, with improvement. For example, measure the ratio of customer compliments to complaints, instead of just complaints. (Using a ratio of good to bad also eliminates the impact of any periodic variation in overall response rate from customers.)
11. Do not set numeric goals or objectives; instead focus on continuous improvement of the measure. Numeric objectives are rarely realistic because no one can anticipate all the obstacles or breakthroughs that a team will encounter. Goals that are too easily accomplished trivialize the importance of the team's work. Goals that are set too high demoralize them. As leader of a volunteer organization, I took responsibility for measuring the number of acknowledgments given for supporting our objectives. I never would have believed that an organization that held only two regular monthly meetings could give over 50 acknowledgments in a month, but, after a few months of tracking, this happened regularly. If a goal is truly needed, the team will set it, and will usually set it higher than any manager would. Given the necessary training, resources, information, authority, and support, teams will produce amazing results.
12. Team representatives must meet with the leadership of the organization regularly, usually monthly, to report on their measures. When positive trends occur, acknowledgment and congratulations are in order. When measures go down, attack the problem, not the person (or team). What problem-solving techniques can the team use to address the situation? Are additional training, resources, information, authority, or support needed? Is management somehow hindering progress?
The checklist below can help teams review a proposed measure against these criteria. But even well thought-out measures sometimes aren't adequate. Don't be concerned if a team's measure goes down because of some unexpected factor, or if it causes problems in other areas — remember Continuous Improvement is a journey, not a destination. Change either the measure or the system being measured, and learn from the experience.
A final suggestion — be creative! One organization has a strategy to make their workplace less stressful. My associate, Chip Phelps, had a great suggestion — regularly measure the blood pressure of the employees.

-Gabe Fasolino owns Spirited Venture
thriving leaders, thriving people, thriving enterprises
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27 APRIL 2011 – The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) and SAE International today announced that the two organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a strategic partnership in vehicular technology related to the Smart Grid. In doing so, IEEE-SA and SAE International are striving to create a more efficient and collaborative standards-development environment for the industry participants that they serve.

Both SAE International and IEEE-SA already have made significant contributions in standards in areas such as plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), vehicle-to-grid (V2G) communications and power and the Smart Grid. SAE International Ground Vehicle Standards Technical Committees are leading the vehicle transportation industry in the development of standards to provide safer processes and practices for effective implementation of hybrid/electric vehicles. A total of 24 SAE International Ground Vehicle electrification committees with over 780 members have devloped 46 standards and are currently working on over 30 new standards in process.

IEEE, the world's largest professional association advancing technology for humanity, has more than 100 standards and standards in development relevant to the Smart Grid, including more than 20 named in the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards. Under terms of the MOU signed by IEEE-SA and SAE International in February 2011, each organization will share its draft standards related to the Smart Grid and vehicle electricification for input from the other.
more information, go to,

'Who Killed The Electric Car?' Sequel Premieres Tonight (Video)

Who Killed the Electric?" seemingly stung General Motors enough that the company unveiled the Chevrolet Volt concept in 2007 and then, startled by its popularity, decided to put the range-extended electric car into limited production.
Now, there's a sequel, appropriately titled "Revenge of the Electric Car," and it premieres tonight as part of Robert De Niro's Tribeca Film Festival in New York City."

see the trailer at the link


Executive Searches are on the Rise.

In an article published in the Wall street Journal this week by Joann S. Lublin for Wall Street Journal She had some very specific discoveries…...

“As the economic recovery gathers speed, big U.S. businesses are coming out of their crouch and hunting for fresh management talent that can help them grow faster. The number of North American executive searches rose by 27% last year after plunging 24% in 2009, according to the Association of Executive Search Consultants.
The hottest prospects are team players who created value at big companies that held their own during the downturn, recruiters said. Star executives innovate and move quickly.
Strategies needed "to steer toward new growth are different than in the past," said John Wood, head of the global CEO practice for executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles International Inc.
With the fastest growth happening overseas, many boards are looking for executives with a global view and work experience in several foreign countries, said Karena Strella, U.S. co-leader for another leading search firm.”

At PermanTech we are experiencing very similar issues within our searches. Management and executive level searches are on the rise in Electric Vehicles and Electronics. A track record of past successes is extremely important as hiring authorities are demanding talent that can hit the ground running. We’ve seen talent still a little skittish about relocating; the uncertainty of company stabilities have many talented professionals still a reluctant to make a move and several are turning down better paying, more challenging job offers due to that fear of uncertainty. Those that do step in tend to hedge their bets by refraining from selling their homes right away, negotiating employer paid temporary housing for six month or other strategies.

How Do Your Employees Really Feel about Working for You?

Published in IEEE Todays Engineer
-Gary Perman
Many employers are feeling the double-edged sword of economic recovery. One the one hand, there’s the exhilaration that the recession may be ending; on the other, the stress of depleted inventories and resources, and the constant challenge of revenue growth. This plurality of thought is changing not just the landscape of how management views its continued corporate growth, but its relationship with its employees as well.

Recent federal incentives have seeded many companies in markets such as wind, solar, energy, automotive and the electronics industries to spur job creation. I have seen a flurry of industry growth and employee optimism. Unfortunately, federal incentive funding is also “running out,” exemplified by the Solar Panel incentives in Colorado, resulting in the closure of branch offices, and fueling the merger/acquisition of other companies. Venture capital remains tough to come by in the United States, and further contraction of venture firms is expected domestically so many entrepreneurs are reaching out to financiers in places like Poland, Brazil, Israel, India and China. to invest in America’s emerging technologies. Adding to the confusion is the big question: “Should we, as companies, grow, expand, or stay put? If our crystal ball were firmly in place, the answer would be easy, but accurately reading the pulse of industry in the next few years is beyond the scope of reality.

As managers focusing on this conundrum, you may be ignoring an even deeper concern—the employees and team spirit that drive your success. These are the very individuals who help your company grow and prosper, yet, as the economy slowly recovers, may, at this very moment, are thinking about leaving you.

Despite the recession, most employers have had a very difficult time recruiting and hiring away highly-qualified, technically-proficient people. No amount of advertising would entice them away from their current jobs because they fear any employment change. They are also not reading the very publications that would motivate them to seek you out, even though their unhappiness grows. The end result is a tremendous number of unfulfilled high-tech jobs, fueling the belief that the United States is plagued with a significant engineering shortage.

That perception is changing, though, as industry begins its slow but steady recovery, and consumer confidence grows. With an emerging light appearing at the end of this hiring abyss, and employees start to feel a bit more comfortable peeking out from behind their cubicles, this trickle will soon become a stream.
read the rest at


2011 Technology Innovation Awards

Nominations are now being accepted.

The Wall Street Journal invites companies, organizations and individuals world-wide to apply for the 2011 Technology Innovation Awards.
Winners will be chosen by an independent panel of judges and will be featured in The Journal's Technology Innovations Report, appearing October 10 online and in our three global editions.
Please complete and return this form with any supporting documentation by May 6, 2011 (6 p.m. New York time) to:


Cause of worker unproductivity is Web surfing

The studies seem to agree on this one. The No. 1 cause of worker unproductivity is Web surfing. But rather than deal with it, most employers I know turn their heads the other way and rely on the professionalism of their employees to keep things in check.

But if your company does play Internet traffic cop, be aware there is a right way and a wrong way to get people off the digital drug.

In a new working paper called Temptation at Work, Harvard Business School professor Marco Piovesan and colleagues Alessandro Bucciol and Daniel Houser point to one common practice as an example of the wrong way to do it. This is when employers ban Web surfing until after work hours.

The problem? Workers who are asked to use willpower to resist temptation are more likely to be less productive and make more mistakes in subsequent tasks. Employers would be better off either turning off outside Web service completely, or allowing specific times of the day for personal surfing, they write.

“Employers should not prohibit the Internet and yet leave it available. Instead, employers should either remove it entirely or, when doing this is impractical, allow employees a certain amount of time — maybe even as often as several minutes per hour — for personal Internet activity. Perhaps lunch-breaks can be somewhat shortened to accommodate “surf-time”. Alternatively, employers might consider allowing regular Internet breaks, in the same way that many currently accommodate short but not infrequent cigarette or coffee breaks.”

Hey, are you reading this at work?

By Sean Silverthorne | March 11, 2011

See Article:


PermanTech Chosen to participate in MIT Research Collaborative

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Job Search Research Collaborative

In light of the current labor market crisis, the MIT Job Search Research Collaborative, has chosen Permantech to participate in researching job search and recruiting strategies and experiences. The ultimate goal is to provide more effective job search support and advice to job seekers.

"we are pleased to be asked and honored to assist such an important study. I hope the results positively assist job seekers-current and future" said Gary Perman, President of Permantech.



Don't let yourself be ambushed by "courtesy meeting"


Business Technology Spending Picking Up Indicating Hiring strain

WSJ writer Dana Mattioli announced this week that....."After delaying technology purchases and upgrades during the downturn, businesses started spending strongly again in the fourth quarter, lifting profits at tech suppliers including EMC Corp., SAP AG, International Business Machines Corp., and Xerox Corp.

Companies are signaling they’re more comfortable spending money on technology now that sales and profits are expanding. “What drives tech spending are profits,” said Bill Whyman, head of tech strategy research at equity research broker dealer ISI Group Inc. Corporate profits have been surging the last few quarters and spending usually lags profits by three quarters, he said.

World-wide information technology spending is forecast to increase 5.1% to $3.6 trillion this year, according to market research firm Gartner Inc." As Technology spending increases, Managers need to be prepared for the groundswell; increased hiring among vendors to supply the Tech companies with products and services - thus we'll see an upswing in Tech vendor output and a warning to management - as always, when business picks up, Management drives urgent needs to add talent. More talent is needed to grow and sustain the demands of your clients. Managers also need to be aware that this is also the most volatile time for existing talent to jump ship. The lure of higher salaries, more challenges, title promotions drive good talent away from many companies during this time. Now is the time to be focused on talent retention as well as hiring.


Survey finds economists optimistic on hiring rate

We are see more and more reports of optimism in the business world lately.

WASHINGTON —Employers will hire more workers this year, and the economy will grow faster than envisioned three months ago, according to an Associated Press survey that found growing optimism among leading economists.

But unemployment will stay chronically high — nearly 9 percent by year's end, the latest quarterly AP Economy Survey shows. A majority of economists say it will be 2016 or later before unemployment drops to a historically normal rate of around 5 percent.

Economists have become more confident 19 months after the worst recession since the Great Depression ended. Lower Social Security taxes and higher stock prices will embolden Americans to spend more and help power the economy, they say.

'People will finally recognize that an economic recovery is under way,' said Lynn Reaser, a board member of the National Association for Business Economics. 'This won't be a recovery seen only by economists.'

The gains this year will be enough to withstand the threats still clouding the economy, the AP survey found. A majority of the economists doubt, for example, that falling home prices and higher mortgage rates will pose a major risk to the economy in 2011.

The AP survey collected the views of 42 private, corporate and academic economists on a range of indicators. Among their forecasts:

The economy will grow 3.2 percent this year, compared with the 2.7 percent they forecast in October; employers will create a net total of 2.2 million jobs; consumers will spend 3.2 percent more this year than last year; inflation will be 1.8 percent this year, barely more than the 1.7 percent the economists forecast previously.

Among the reasons for the economists' growing optimism: an extension of income-tax cuts, a cut in Social Security taxes for workers, easier access to loans, higher stock prices and a government that seems more sympathetic to the priorities of businesses

The Five Worst Management Concepts in Business.

Geoffrey James published an article last week in BNET which is a good springboard for contemplation and discussion.
See the entire article at

Geoffrey highlights some very common sense and sometimes humorous ideas. Although I agree with many of these ideas, I doubt industry will make any fundamental change….companies are too engrained, set in their ways. The larger the company, the more beaurocratic and less likely to make any significant departure from tradition. Below are the five areas Geoffrey James mentions.

#1 Downsizing
“Downsizing is a sign of failure. It means that management has failed and rather than doing the right thing — which is to quit without severance — they’re passing along the penalty for that failure to the people who, in good faith, tried to execute the flawed strategy that top management pursued. That’s why top managers (and the kiss-butt journalists in the mainstream business press) love the word “downsizing.” It makes the results of failure sound like a strategy, rather than a desperate way to remain profitable after top management has made a complete pig’s breakfast of things.”
“… As we go forward [in business] let’s stop calling it downsizing. Let’s call it what it is: firing productive workers because top management was a bunch of overpaid pinhead losers who shouldn’t be allowed to run a company again.”

#2 Leadership
But what is a “leader,” anyway? What does a “leader” do?

“… As we go forward [in business], let’s stop enabling all these tin-pot “leaders” by pretending that they’re doing anything other than grandstanding. Let’s value the real managers, who actually do the hard (and largely thankless) work of making other people productive.”

#3: “Human Resources”
“When you talk to people who work in “Human Resources”, they pretend that they’re all about helping people to become more successful. But the truth is that the entire concept of HR is really just a way to make sure that employees don’t act uppity…. What better way to let people know that they’re expendable commodities than calling them “resources”?

So, as we go forward [in business] let’s stop talking about “human resources” and start calling people what they are: people. People who have real lives and real ideas and real emotions and who, frankly, are doing work that’s often more important than that of the top executives.

#4: “Empowerment”
“it’s abundantly clear that technology isn’t empowering employees; it’s empowering management to spy upon employees. And technology isn’t empowering small organizations; it’s making it easier for large organizations to drive the smaller ones out of business.

So, as we go forward [in business], let’s stop talking about technology as “empowerment” and start talking about what really counts: human creativity freed from the limitations imposed by bonehead “leaders” who think they’re managing “human resources”.

#5: “Business Warfare”
“A glance at the titles of popular business books-Marketing Warfare, Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, Guerrilla PR-offer ample testimony for this widely held viewpoint. We’re told that we must imitate generals and warlords if we want to be successful managers…….So, going forward [in business], let’s deep-six the militaristic jingoism and start talking about business in terms of relationships, agreements and profitability. Then we’ll all be better off.