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March 2006
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Rick Born And RBA Consulting

A small update on Rick Born and his venture back into the information technology consulting market here in the Twin Cities. I had this post back in December, Welcome Back Rick Born, linking the Star Tribune story but they do not archive their pages for very long and I did not take any quotes from the story.

   

I hear that there is a billboard out on Hwy 494 in the west suburbs advertising the new consulting firm. The new name is RBA Consulting and this is the web site, RBA Consulting.


ePrecis, A Better Search Engine Than Google?

In the April edition of Twin Cities Business is a story on page 42 titled “The Google Stalker”. Unfortunately Twin Cities Business does not post their content online or I would link it here.

   

This is a story of a Minnesota man named Arnie Schultz and it starts in the 1960’s at the University of Minnesota where he was a student. He got a job at the medical school to “electronically index complex medical abstracts alphabetically and by category.”

   

This was his entry into a lifetime of “assigning numerical weight to every word in the English language in order to perform more useful, contextually correct electronic text searches and summaries.”

   

This work has resulted in a software program and now search engine called ePrecis.

   

The article goes into how the software works but essentially instead of searching for words or phrases words are assigned numerical weight and context. It’s much more complicated than that, I really wish this article were online, as I cannot adequately describe how it works.

   

ePrecis was written about in a post on ZDNet ePrecis - next generation search and at Online Marketing Blog, ePrecis an impressive search tool.

   

A group of Minnesota investors at a local incubator ZH Computer own ePrecis. According to the article ZH Computer is in discussions with Google, Microsoft, IBM, Yahoo, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and West Publishing to work on licensing agreements.

   

I am going to send this post on to my friends at Recruiting.com. I started using this instead of Google last week as I have found long word searches are more reliable than on Google. I am curious what my colleagues think.


Federal Reserve Beige Book Released, Good Employment News

Today the Fed released their latest Beige Book. Last time I did one of these posts I was asked what the Beige Book is. My response was the latest report on local and national economic activity.

   

For a more academic definition, try this:

The Beige Book is released two weeks prior to each FOMC meeting eight times per year. Each Federal Reserve bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its district through reports from bank and branch directors and interviews with key businessmen, economists, market experts, and other sources. The Beige Book summarizes this information by district and sector.

   

From the 9th District-Minneapolis Summary:

The Ninth District economy grew at a solid pace since the last report. Increases in activity were noted in consumer spending, manufacturing, tourism, mining, agriculture, construction, and commercial real estate. Meanwhile, residential real estate softened. Overall employment levels and wages increased modestly. Significant price increases were noted in gasoline and some construction materials.

   

On Employment, Wages and Prices:

Overall employment levels increased modestly since the last report. According to a survey of Minneapolis-St. Paul companies by a temporary staffing agency, 29 percent of respondents expect to increase staffing levels during the second quarter, while 9 percent expect decreases. Montana bank directors reported tight labor market conditions in many areas. March initial claims for unemployment insurance were flat from a year ago in Minnesota.

   

From the National Summary:

Reports from all twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicate that economic activity continued to expand in March and the first half of April. Three Districts--Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco--characterize growth as "solid," while a number of others describe the rate of economic activity as "modest," "moderate," or "steady." Richmond notes a quicker pace of growth, and Dallas indicates that activity continued to strengthen. By contrast, New York says the rate of growth may have slipped a bit since the last report.

   

On Prices and Wages:

District reports from Boston, New York, Richmond, Kansas City, and Dallas say that labor markets are tightening, especially for skilled positions. Philadelphia, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Atlanta indicate that labor markets remain tight in at least some parts of their Districts. Contacts in Atlanta, Richmond, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Dallas state that truck drivers are in short supply. Wages continue to move up, but only a few Districts--New York, Dallas, and Kansas City--mention a pickup in the pace of raises, while Philadelphia cites firms more often paying in the high end of salary ranges. Richmond reports no pickup, but a continuation of "brisk" wage increases in services. Boston says manufacturing wage increases are in the same range as last year, Chicago cites a steady pace of labor cost increases, and Cleveland notes no reports of accumulating wage pressure, while Minneapolis and San Francisco mention moderate overall wage increases.


Happy Equal Pay Day

This may not be a news flash but MN Headhunter, me, I am a dude. I know the picture in the upper left corner of me holding a fish last fall is probably a give away but just in case you are using an RSS feed or are receiving this in some other form.

   

I am not sure that I have ever once worried about my pay in relation to my gender. I am not sure that in my years of being an I.T. Recruiter I have ever seen evidence of a woman making less than a man.

   

Maybe I have been naïve…

   

I was sent this article Now It’s Time For Women To Get Even (Washington Post) from a friend of mines wife who works in a mid-size, family owned company in Minneapolis. Turns out the first line female managers and under have been talking about a potential unfair pay situation based on gender.

   

I have to admit, I know very little on this subject and now knowing feel compelled to look more into it.

   

The article starts with this:

Tuesday marks a very special day: It's Equal Pay Day. Why Tuesday, you ask? Because that's how far into the year the average woman must work to earn as much as a man earned by the end of the previous year.

   

And this just infuriates me, I heard it was less but this much?:

It is 2006, and as has been true for about a decade, women earn only 77 cents for every dollar men make.

   

A response to the reasoning behind it:

So let's just get this straight right now, says Murphy: That 23-cent differential is not because some women take time off to give birth or raise children. The pay-gap figure measures only women and men who work full time, for a full year. It does not include women who took time off during the year or worked part time.

   

The article uses the State of Minnesota as an example of unfair pay in the 1980’s and how it was resolved:

As a result, 8,500 employees received pay equity raises. In 2002, according to Murphy, women who worked for the state earned about 97 cents for every dollar men made.

   

So I hope in some small way I am doing my part. I could care less what race, gender, creed or whatever separates us as people. As long as they do what is expected pay and treat them well.

   

Check out the Wage Project web site for more information.


Time For The Spring Evaluation

Three times a year, December, April and August, I come up for air from the daily grind of the recruiting game and look for an idea, a technique, a thing that I can incorporate into my daily routine.

   

I am going through all of the newsletters I have not fully read and links to web sites I “meant to get to”. I did not come up with any earth shattering ideas yet but I did find the following articles from Net-Temps that have me thinking for one reason or another.

   

Staying On the Phone When You Don't Want To

   

23 Ways a Researcher Will Help You Make More Placements in Less Time

   

All It Takes: Twelve Good Calls a Year

   

Low Cost Marketing Ideas

   

Low Cost Marketing Ideas

   

Recruiter's Nightmare: The Job Description

   

Ten Ways to Attract More Business

   

What Raising a Teenager and Running an Organization Have in Common


Ernst And Young Recognizes Local Entrepreneurs

Ernst & Young has announced the 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year nominees. This is E&Y’s 20th year of recognizing entrepreneurs. The awards dinner for the Minnesota and Dakotas region will be held June 6, 2006 at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center.

   

This years nominees for Minnesota and Dakotas are:

   

Bahram Akradi, Life Time Fitness, Inc.

Albert T. Annexstad, Federated Insurance Companies

J. Hayes Batson, Regency Beauty Institute

Mark Buller, Norcraft Companies, L.L.C.

Dr. James Carlson, PRACS Institute, Ltd.

John Folkestad, SALO, LLC

Ashish Gadnis, Forward Hindsight Inc.

Mark S. Gorder, Intricon Corporation

Tricia Hamrin, UpFront Productions, Inc.

Chris Hamrin, UpFront Productions, Inc.

Ken Johnson, CMS Direct

Jeff Kiesel, Restaurant Technologies, Inc.

Jill Kolling, Forward Hindsight Inc.

Amy Langer, SALO, LLC

Lonnie Moulder, MGI Pharma, Inc.

Paul Plooster, Restaurant Technologies, Inc.

Quintin Rubald, Summit Fire Protection

Erik Saltvold, Erik's Bike Shop

Brett Shockley, Spanlink Communications, Inc.

Aaron Weber, Freeze.com, LLC

Ryan Weber, Freeze.com, LLC

Robert John Weber, Freeze.com, LLC


Minnesota Career Resources

What follows is a list of resources I put together for the 2005-2006 job search and networking seminars for the college students.

   

Most of the sites listed can be used just as well for experienced professionals.

   

General resources:

Quintessential Careers, Email templates, phone scripts, job search tips, networking tools, contact logs

Networking for Professionals, Creating an elevator pitch

Minnesota WorkForce Centers

   

Local trade, networking, association sites:

MBBNet, Biomedical and bioscience

LifeScience Alley, Life sciences

Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association, Web-based marketing, design, publishing, development and promotion

Public Relations Society of America, Minnesota, Public relations

Twin Cities Human Resource Association, Human resources

NetSuds, Technology and venture capital

MedSuds, Med-tech, Bio-tech, life sciences

Ad Fed, Advertising, marketing, public relations

Minnesota Information Professional Society, Information technology

AIGA, American Institute of Graphic Arts Minnesota, Graphic Arts

American Marketing Association, Minnesota, Marketing

Minnesota High Tech Association, Technology

Minnesota Telecommunications Association, Telecommunications

Midwest Direct Marketing Association, Marketing

   

Blogs:

Recruiting.com, job search tips, resume help, find out what hiring managers are thinking

MN Headhunter

   

Non-profits:

United Way Twin Cities

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

   

Job Aggregators:

Fetchster, a Minnesota only site

Indeed

Simply Hired

   

Local Publications, Daily and Weekly:

Star Tribune

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Finance & Commerce

Business Journal, Minneapolis and St. Paul

   

Local Publications, Monthly:

Upsize

Twin Cities Business

Minnesota Business

   

Researching companies:

Business Wire

PR Newswire

PR Web

Hoovers

   

Social Networking Sites:

LinkedIn

Jobster

   

Salaries:

Salary.com

Monster.com, Salary

   

Economic and Employment Statistics:

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)

   

College sites:

St. Thomas University Career Center

Hamline University Career Center

St. Cloud State Career Center

   

College Job Fairs:

Private School Job Fair, 2006

MnSCU Job Fair, 2006

University of Minnesota Job Fair, 2006

   

College Portals:

College Recruiter.com

College Grad

   

U.S. Job Banks:

Americas Job Bank

Monster.com

Hot Jobs

Careerbuilder

Craigs List

   

Minnesota Job Banks:

Minnesota's Job Bank

Minnesota Jobs.com

Job Dig

Minnesota Job Network

Jobs in Minneapolis

Job in St. Paul

Twin Cities Employment Guide


Networking, Give Back and Stay In Touch

Back in March I accepted an invitation to speak to two leadership programs at the University of Minnesota, Tom Burnett Advanced Leadership Program and LeaderQuest.

The first program is named after Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. one of the heroes on United Flight 93. Tom was a graduate of the University of Minnesota. The program is made up mostly of graduating seniors. In this case most of the students are heading to graduate school or have already accepted their first job after graduation.

LeaderQuest is made up of sophomores and juniors.

Our topic was networking with some job search tips sprinkled in. We had about 90 minutes and covered a lot of ground.

Prior to the event I had asked what they wanted to know. I was pleasantly surprised with one of the questions, "How do you show appreciation to someone who has helped you, been a mentor to you".

I had a few responses (these are universal whether you are in college or in the workplace for 20 years):

-A simple thank you always covers it.

-Ask the mentor how you can be of help to what they do professionally. (You may not be able to but ask)

-I have learned that most people who volunteer or mentor do so in multiple places at the same time. Ask if you can volunteer with them or if there is a group they know that can use you.

-When you have the chance, do the same for someone else that was done for you.

-Stay I touch once or twice a year. Send a card, an email, something with an update.

There are others that I had but these are the five that are the most important.

Especially the last two.

One day, give a hand to someone like it was given to you and stay in touch. If a bond was formed it will last well into the future.


BlogBurst Adds MN Headhunter

Pluck Corp. has started a service called BlogBurst which will service newspaper publishers with content from 600+ bloggers. I am happy to say I have received and accepted an invitation from them.

This is exciting for a local/regional blogger like myself. As they add newspapers a little closer to home and technology publications my content will be available to a much wider audience.

So far BlogBurst has signed up the following publishers:

Gannett Co.

Washington Post

San Francisco Chronicle

Austin American-Statesman

San Antonio Express