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AOL Exec takes top tech job at First Data

BY CSA STAFF

Michael Manos has joined payments security provider First Data as chief technology officer after holding a similar role at AOL.

In his new role, Manos will be responsible for First Data’s global technology infrastructure and reports to company president Guy Chiarello.

“Mike is a key addition to our world-class leadership team and his knowledge and expertise enhances our ability to provide our clients with cutting-edge technology,” said Chiarello. “He is a seasoned technology management executive with a proven track record of successful revenue generation. Mike’s leadership will be invaluable as we continue to improve our financial position and seek to grow First Data’s business as the global leader and most trusted, reliable and secure network.”

Manos most recently served as chief technology officer at AOL but prior to that he was a vp at Nokia responsible for global operations, consolidation and restructuring of service operations for commercial-facing products and services. Before that, he was SVP for technical services at Digital Realty Trust where he oversaw the design, engineering, construction, and long-term operation for the company’s data center operations. He has also held leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Microsoft, Walt Disney and Nuclio Corporation.

“First Data is the biggest player in the payments industry yet it also has an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. In my role as chief technology officer, I will help First Data maintain and grow its market-leading position as a technology company, a payments company, a security company and a solutions provider,” Manos said.

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Dell lends support to digital disaster recovery

BY CSA STAFF

The American Red Cross has enhanced its ability to respond to disasterswith support from Dell to open a new digital operations center in north Texas.

The Red Cross embraced social media in a big way in 2012 when it became apparent that Twitter, Facebook and other digital communication methods were the first place people turn when disasters strike. The relief organization opened the Red Cross Digital Operations Center roughly two years ago in Washington, D.C. with support from Dell and now the two are working together to open the north Texas location.

Dell’s donation will provide the Red Cross with computer equipment, funds and professional expertise to create the new Digital Operations Center and expand its Digital Volunteer Program. This donation follows Dell’s grant to build and launch the national Digital Operations Center. Dell is also partnering with the Red Cross to provide real-time social-analytics software to aid the organization’s health and safety preparedness efforts.

"We are grateful for Dell’s donation to expand our local and national social media program. Recent disasters have shown us that having a better view of the social conversation can help the Red Cross anticipate needs and connect more people with help," said T.D. Smyers, CEO, American Red Cross North Texas Region. "The new listening center will also allow us to build a center of expertise through our digital volunteers who help provide social data for regional responses."

The American Red Cross North Texas Region was the first local chapter to use digital volunteers to assist its community during emergencies like the West, Texas explosion and tornadoes in Granbury and Cleburne. For more than a year, digital volunteers have focused on providing weather, preparedness and response information during emergencies of all sizes.

"Social listening and data solutions help our customers respond faster to their needs," said Trisa Thompson vp of corporate responsibility for Dell. "We are thrilled to expand our partnership with the American Red Cross and use our solutions and innovation services to help accelerate its humanitarian relief efforts across North Texas, also home to many of our Dell team members."

The national Digital Operations Center, powered by Dell, has enabled the Red Cross to connect more people with critical safety tips, relief information and emotional support during disasters. For example, before Superstorm Sandy made landfall, the Red Cross social team distributed information from the Digital Operations Center urging people to download the free Red Cross Hurricane app. The effort helped drive more than 400,000 downloads of the app.

After Sandy made landfall, the Red Cross used the Digital Operations Center in Washington, D.C. to collect more than two million public social media posts for analysis. For two months , more than 30 digital volunteers responded to thousands of individual posts through Facebook and Twitter. In nearly 90 cases, the Red Cross adjusted its services based on information gained through social data and the Digital Operations Center.

The latest grant from Dell is also helping the Red Cross expand its Digital Volunteer Program to train more people who will engage online with the public during emergencies. Digital volunteers are specially trained to use social media to engage with people who need help or emotional support and provide the Red Cross with real-time situational awareness. In the past 24 months, more than 160 people have been trained nationwide and have started working as digital volunteers.
The new Dell grant will enable the Red Cross to add an online, self-paced version of the digital volunteer training and expand the program to 10 Red Cross chapters across the nation. The Red Cross aims to add 200 additional digital volunteers by 2015.

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Mobile marketing with a smoky flavor

BY CSA STAFF

The Johnsonville Big Taste Grill has embarked on a nationwide tour that gives new meaning to the phrase, “mobile marketing.”

The Johnsonville Big Taste Grill is actually a 65 foot long tractor and trailer rig emblazoned with the Johnsoville logo and lots of flame graphics on the cab and trailer that functions as a rolling billboard and brand engagement vehicle. The giant grill allows 12 grillmasters to simultaneously cook 750 bratwurst at one time and is entirely self-sufficient with hot and cold running water, electricity, sound system, a prep station, and a refrigeration unit.

"For Johnsonville, The Big Taste Grill tour is an annual tradition that combines our love of grilling with our passion for local activism," said Ron Schroder, senior brand manager. "The tour not only brings Johnsonville sausage to grilling enthusiasts around the country, it also helps them support the charities that matter in their communities."

To date, the Big Taste Grill program has raised more than $3.5 million for a variety of charities nationwide, many of them local community organizations. In 2013 alone, the Johnsonville Big Taste Grill raised more than $130,000 for different organizations nationwide and served 121,325 brats during its 9-month tour.

Some of the key locations where the Grill will be making an appearance in the coming months include:

Cooper River Bridge Run – April 5 in Charleston, S.C.
Sandfest – April 11-13 in Port Aransas, TX
Sweetwater Fest – April 18-20 in Atlanta, GA
Rivers & Spires Festival – April 24-16 in Clarksville, TN
RiverFest – May 23-25 in Little Rock, Ark.
Safeway BBQ Battle – June 21-22 in Washington, D.C.

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