Category: Business - Original Written by Donald James
Bartech Group, Inc. (Bartech), a global leader in staffing and management solutions, has experienced tremendous success for more than three decades. The Michigan-based company currently manages more than 26,000 daily work assignments and $2 billion in annualized billings. While many companies would be content to keep the status quo in this business climate and economy, Bartech has continued to grow and expand.
While celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2012, Bartech simultaneously was making major decisions to boldly shape its future. A quantum leap for the company occurred when it received an investment from Sverica International to fund ongoing strategic growth. Sverica, a West Coast-based private equity firm, is a leading entity that has raised more than $425 million of investment capital since its inception in 1993.
In conjunction with the investment, David W. Barfield was promoted to serve as Bartech’s president, CEO, and chairman of the board. No stranger to the company, Barfield has functioned in executive leadership capacities since joining the family-owned business in 1995. He was instrumental in transitioning the company from a traditional staffing agency, to a global leader that provides national and international services in such industries as automotive, life sciences and health care, financial services, energy and telecommunications.
For more than two decades, Bartech has been listed by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the top performing and earning African-American companies in the United States. Yet, the potential to achieve even more continued to present itself.
“Our company was experiencing significant growth over the past five years,” says Barfield. “To remain competitive, however, the family recognized the need to attract outside investments to fund our growth and better help our customers win in the global marketplace. Sverica shared in our long-term vision to better deliver quality service to meet our customers’ increasing demand for talent. Therefore, we are pleased with our partnership with Sverica because it enables Bartech to make the necessary investments that will add significant value to our customers.”
The investment and change in strategy have also made it possible for Bartech to move from Livonia, into new state-of-the-art headquarters in Southfield, create a centralized national recruitment center, and globally expand the company’s Managed Service Provider business unit, which includes a presence in Eastern and Western Europe, as well as Canada.
While Sverica has made an investment and is now part owner of Bartech, Barfield points out that the family is still in the loop.
“The Barfield family has a major equity position in the company,” says Barfield, who holds a bachelor of arts from Georgetown University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. “As far as the direction of the company, overall philosophy, and day-to-day operation, those decisions belong to our Board of Directors, executive leadership team and me.”
In addition to his top leadership role at Bartech, Barfield was recently elected to serve on the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s (NMSDC) Board of Directors. NMSDC is one of the country’s leading corporate membership organizations that advocates increased procurement opportunities for Asians, Blacks, Hispanic, Women and Native American businesses in the global corporate supply chain. Bartech, a NMSDC certified company, has been a member of the national organization for close to 30 years. Additionally, Barfield is a member of Business Leaders for Michigan, a business roundtable that includes the top 80 corporate executives in Michigan.
While on a fast track moving forward, Barfield is proud of Bartech’s achievements and status in the corporate world. The company is one of the country’s 100 largest staffing firms, one of the 20th largest firms that provide engineering talent in the staffing industry and is a Top 10 provider in the Managed Service Provider segment of the industry. According to Barfield, Bartech’s annual revenue is approximately $230 million. “
“Our goal is to continue to grow the value of our company,” says Barfield.
“We will continue to invest in services that we believe to be highly valued by our customers. We want to be one of the most important companies in the human capital industry. Our plans are to double the size of the company in the next three to five years while making investments to reach those goals.”
Regardless of how fast Bartech grows, Barfield says the company will continue to embrace the business philosophies of his father, John W. Barfield, and mother, Betty Barfield, both of whom were African-American pioneers in business.
The couple started Barfield Cleaning Company in 1954, before transitioning it to John Barfield & Associates in 1977 which provided staffing services to the Big Three automakers. In 1984, the company changed its name to The Bartech Group and became one the country’s first minority-owned technical staffing firms.
“What’s important to me as Bartech moves forward is that we stay true to the founding principles established by my parents,” says Barfield.
“The founding principles were providing quality service to our customers, fairness to our employees and being good corporate citizens. While a lot has changed, and is still changing at Bartech, the foundation established by my parents remains.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 02:23
Category: Business - Original Written by Ken Dallafior
We all know productivity requires both energy and control. A manufacturing plant needs power to operate and process controls to ensure efficiency. Your car won’t run without fuel and a driver.
But did you know your brain works the same way?
In other words, if you or your employees are not eating the right foods (energy), your ability to think and maintain self-control (mental productivity) will suffer.
According to research by psychologist Roy Baumeister, some brain and cognitive processes consume substantial amounts of energy, and self-control requires a certain amount of glucose to operate unimpaired.
As Baumeister notes in a Psychology Today article, “the human body is undeniably an energy system. Evolution gave us this new and more complicated way of acting, but it’s expensive in terms of fuel burned.”
If you find yourself running on fumes at work, try munching on foods that are rich in lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. Examples include low-fat yogurt, fresh strawberries or veggies with a hummus dip. According to a nutritionist quoted in the article, such foods are metabolized at a steady rate and lead to stable blood-sugar levels.
Here are some other food suggestions for boosting your energy, brainpower and productivity:
Blueberries: Neuroscientist James A. Joseph of the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University calls these tasty marvels of nature “brainberries.” They not only provide traditional nutrients — carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins C and E and manganese — but also help make your brain cells maximally responsive while impeding the aging process.
Eggs: The yolk of eggs is high in choline, a building block of brain cells that has been shown to enhance memory and minimize fatigue. However, eat only one or two egg products a day, since eggs also are high in cholesterol.
Seeds and nuts: Any kind of nut or seed works well for a snack break, because they all have Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. These acids can help you think more clearly, but also improve your mood since they act as natural antidepressants.
Fish: The original brain food, fish also are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which a recent study shows are important in decelerating brain aging and preventing the loss of memory and thinking capabilities.
A final tip. If you’re about to face a stressful situation, have a healthy snack beforehand — perhaps peanut butter on whole-grain crackers — which could help your blood sugar rise to the occasion
Ken Dallafior is executive vice president, Group Business and Corporate Marketing at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). Dallafior leads BCBSM’s group sales force, oversees corporate marketing and product development, and develops and implements key corporate strategies. He also provides leadership to critical sales operations such as agent relations and commissions, sales incentives and complex issue resolution for group customers and sales agents. In addition to working in the insurance industry for nearly two decades, Dallafior played professional football from 1982 to 1992. He is founder and board member of the Detroit Lions Courage House.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:10
Category: Business - Original Written by Cathy Nedd
-- RLJ Entertainment Launching Channels Under the "Acorn TV" and Urban-Focused "OnCue" brands --
Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and The RLJ Companies, today announced the launch of two paid channels on YouTube under the "Acorn TV" and "OnCue" brands. RLJ Entertainment is a leading creator, owner and distributor of media content across digital, broadcast and physical platforms, which leverages its branding expertise, access to content and direct to consumer skills to optimize the value of its programs for distinct audiences. RLJ Entertainment was formed in October 2012 through the business combination of RLJ Acquisition, Inc., Image Entertainment, Inc. and Acorn Media Group, Inc.
As with RLJ Entertainment's existing Acorn TV digital channel, the YouTube version (www.youtube.com/AcornTV) will provide viewers with access to the best of British TV with a variety of unique, specially-curated content for consumers who have interest in high quality British TV programs. Content will include the ever popular pastoral mystery Midsomer Murders, Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) starring in the new series Jack Taylor, engaging comedy drama Honest with Amanda Redman, David Suchet (Poirot) in the fantasy series Going Postal, the Royal Shakespeare Company's master acting class starring Judi Dench, Patrick Stewart, and Ben Kingsley in Playing Shakespeare, and many others.
OnCueNetwork is RLJ Entertainment's newest digital channel, offering selected urban themed programming, to include original content, that features some of today's most recognized African American and minority talent. OnCueNetwork (www.youtube.com/oncuenetwork) will provide viewers with an alternative to conventional subscription-based channels by showcasing the best digital films and series, in action, drama, romantic comedies, as well as stand-up comedy, documentaries, music and stage plays. Among the programming features will be: 35 & Ticking starring Kevin Hart and Meagan Good, All Things Fall Apart, starring 50 Cent and Lynn Whitfield, The Last Fall featuring Lance Gross, Nicole Beharie, and Vanessa Bell Calloway, and I Ain't Scared of You (stand-up/documentary), featuring the late comedian Bernie Mac.
"We are pleased with today's launch of these two new subscription-based channels, Acorn and OnCue, that will offer exciting British and urban entertainment across this innovative platform," said Robert L. Johnson, Chairman of RLJ Entertainment. "This announcement marks the beginning of RLJE's goal to become a major player in producing targeted digital entertainment to audiences that are underserved by existing outlets. We believe the subscription model presents not only an opportunity to develop original programming but also create further shareholder value," he concluded.
Miguel Penella, RLJ Entertainment Chief Executive Officer commented on the partnership, "We are thrilled to be in an alliance with Google to bring our unique programming to the over one billion unique users that visit YouTube each month. As the demand for our targeted content continues to grow and we build a following among passionate audiences, YouTube offers a way to diversify the manner in which the content is consumed and another new revenue stream for our business."
RLJ Entertainment is focused on driving growth through the development of interest-based lifestyle entertainment services for targeted audiences in niche genres including British drama and mystery, stand-up comedy, fitness, faith and urban by using new technologies to deliver that content to consumers.
Last Updated on Monday, 13 May 2013 20:47
Category: Business - Original Written by Lisa Wilmore, NBPRS
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 01:57
Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
Many would concur that Detroit has had more than its share of obstacles, setbacks and defeats. And for those that are able to look beyond the current status quo, there‘s a glimmer of hope that resonates “you can’t keep a good city down.”
There are good things happening in Detroit, and good people that stand behind a quality product that’s manufactured in the city, all while creating leadership and employment opportunities for its residents.
It takes vision and some “skin in the game” to rebuild, reemerge and reconnect a business to its rightful community. Meet Robert Evangelista, the president of the New Co/Op Optical and WCE LLC, which now owns and operates the eight Co/Op Optical retail locations. On October 12, 2012, WCE LLC acquired all assets from Cooperative Optical Services, Inc, in U.S bankruptcy court.
Within a six-month time frame, the New Co/Op Optical has gained momentum. Its sales have increased by 39 percent; the owner has hired from a talent pool of seasoned optometrists and opticians; company moral has increased — and as a commitment to the 50 men and women that endured the storm with the former company — a promise was made (and kept) by Evangelista to keep the original staff on board and at their original rate of pay — with extensive training and repositioning.
For over a half century, the former company serviced customers for vision health and eyewear at Co/Op Optical locations across the state. But during the 2000s, the company’s financial position began to suffer as a result of questionable moves and internal turmoil. The “Michigan depression” was the final storm that sealed the company’s fate. Recognizing the potential impact on customers in late 2011, the company’s leadership transferred its administrative component of insurance benefits to Davis Vision, an American-based company that shared both values and union roots. This move ensured that regardless of the outcome, the 140,000 members with Co/Op insurance benefits would never be impacted.
The economic collapse could have meant the end of Co/Op Optical stores. However, in a response to adversity, the employees and leadership refused to quit. Like the auto companies that went down a similar path, they were in need of a creative solution, a little compassion and a whole lot of luck.
“Someone has to believe that Detroit still builds the best,” said Evangelista, internationally renowned business consultant. “I was told by many that I should run from the Co-Op deal, that I was crazy for taking the financial risk. Perhaps I was a little crazy in this economy to take a risk. But I saw the bigger picture and a group of people with a spirit that lifted me up. That bigger picture is to rebuild and restore a sense of great customer service, and provide top-of-the-line products in the city of Detroit.”
As with any success stor, it’s typically accomplished by a team of professionals who are forward thinking, resilient and able to manage multiple moving parts. At the New Co-Op Optical, its leadership team is emerging with leading women in the marketplace. The team includes Evangelista’s wife, Susan, who is CFO; Miquel Smith-Coleman, director of Customer Experience; Dr. LaKeisha Parker and Nina Scott, store managers at the 8 Mile/Dequindre location; Tracy Woodward-Hannah, store manager at the Eastpointe location; Sharon Phillips, store manager at the Livonia location; Kelcey Smothers, store manager for the Dearborn location; and Dr. Jennifer Claudio, CMM, Professional Affairs, WCE, LLC.
Each member of the leadership team has been given full reign to plan and execute operational and marketing strategies that best serve their target audience. There’s also the personal touch as each manager knows her customers. For many of the women, who are primarily African American, the leadership roles afford them the opportunity to emerge as stakeholders in the community.
The New Co/Op Optical has underscored a long commitment to the Detroit and African American community. The company is headquartered in Detroit and operates the largest eyeglass manufacturing lab in the city. Their intent is to bring respect and dignity to each customer interaction, beginning with providing the lowest prices on designer brand frames from current 2013 collections.
“People in the community want gorgeous, designer brand frames at affordable prices,” said Smith-Coleman, “and they know the difference between current styles and out-of-date models.”
Smith-Coleman has been in the optics arena for 17 years, and is part of a group recruited from the former D.O.C.
“I may oversee it, but all of us are involved in setting the tone of the store for each customer experience,” she said. “Our whole team is involved in every phase, from the frame selection, to the layout of the store, display merchandising, training and customer service, all to ensure a completely satisfying customer experience.”
Each of the eight Co-Op Optical locations have been stocked with over 1,000 new frames from 2013 collections, including Gucci, Versace, Coach, Polo, Harley Davidson, Guess, Ralph Lauren, Helium, DKNY, Candies, Giorgio Armani, and many more. And the prices are the lowest in Southeast Michigan, and no coupons are needed. All eyeglasses are manufactured in the Detroit lab at 8 Mile in Dequindre, thus heightening visibility as the fasting growing eye lab in the city.
One of Smith-Coleman’s key initiatives includes creating awareness on the importance of an annual eye exam and protecting the health of customer’s eyes.
“Our customers are very brand savvy, but not savvy about vision health. Therefore, it’s imperative that along with helping to select designer frames, we also educate on eye health and optical/preventive health care.”
For more information on the New Co-Op Optical, please visit, http://coopoptical.com.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 21:29
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