Panjiva: U.S. imports rise in August
New York – Imports to the U.S. were up in August from July, and there was a measurable year-over-year increase. According to a new report from supply chain research firm Panjiva, imports in August 2014 were 4% higher than imports the same month the prior year.
The numbers of these shipments coming into the U.S. climbed `1% from July 2014 to August 2014. Although the typical annual trend demonstrated by Panjiva data shows that July has the highest level of imports of any month, for 2014 August had a level higher than July. According to Panjiva, this may be a sign that optimistic retailers are aggressively stocking their shelves with the expectation of strong holiday sales.
First Data strengthens senior leadership team
First Data Corporation has bolstered its senior leadership team as part of its ongoing transformation from a payments processor to a collaborative technology company and solutions provider for merchants and financial institutions around the world.
The company promoted two executives to new roles: Barry McCarthy to lead four strategic businesses including the STAR Network and Sanjiv Das to lead First Data’s international business. The company has also brought in two new hires: Andrew Gelb to lead the financial services business and Adam Rosman as general counsel.
“Leadership sets the tone in any organization and these four accomplished executives will help the outstanding team we are assembling to lead First Data’s transformation to a global tech company with an entrepreneurial spirit, deeply rooted in the movement of money around the world,” said chairman and CEO Frank Bisignano. “Barry, Sanjiv, Andrew and Adam each have a proven track record of success in their respective areas and will continue First Data’s rich history of being an industry leader and will help lead the company in the years ahead.”
McCarthy has been tapped to lead four strategic businesses, including First Data’s STAR Network, the leading independent debit network. The company also identified the other businesses he will lead, TeleCheck, Money Network and Prepaid Solutions, as strategic growth opportunities. The debit network market alone generates $4.2 billion in revenue each year representing a significant growth opportunity for STAR. A 10-year First Data veteran, McCarthy led the turnaround of the First Data Financial Services division, and will be building a team to strengthen and grow these businesses into a separate First Data operating unit.
Gelb, the new leader of First Data’s financial services business, has spent nearly two decades at Citi where he most recently led their treasury and trade solutions business in North America. As leader of the financial services business, Gelb will have responsibility for a range of services including credit and debit card issuing solutions, statements, card production, lockbox and online banking. Gelb brings to First Data a distinguished track record of building and growing global businesses and a unique international background which will be helpful as the financial services business expands. Gelb’s diverse experience spans leadership positions throughout Citi’s transaction services businesses in North America, EMEA and Japan.
Das will lead the First Data international business and drive growth around the world. Das joined First Data in 2014 from Citi, where he served most recently as CEO and president of CitiMortgage. He also served on Citi’s operating committee and is broadly regarded as one of the main architects in the turnaround of Citi’s mortgage business in the wake of the financial crisis. Das will now oversee First Data’s international business, which has operations in 35 countries and provides payment technology and processing solutions in nearly 70 countries. He has a successful track record of leading large, complex businesses both within the United States and internationally. Das succeeds John Elkins, who will now serve as chairman of international of First Data.
Rosman will serve as First Data’s new general counsel. He joins First Data from Willis Group Holdings plc, the world’s third largest insurance broker, where he was general counsel and led the company’s worldwide legal, compliance, risk, audit and corporate secretary functions. At First Data Rosman will oversee First Data’s in-house attorneys and outside counsel and be responsible for all legal matters. Previously, Rosman was a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, a Washington D.C.-based law firm and spent five years as an Assistant United States Attorney in Washington D.C. and one year in the White House as deputy assistant to the president and deputy staff secretary for President Clinton. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Union College and has lectured extensively as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. Rosman succeeds Dave Money, who will now serve as vice chairman of First Data prior to his retirement.
Belk launches third annual service learning challenge
Belk, Discovery Education and the International Society for Technology in Education have launched the Belk Service Learning Challenge, a comprehensive standards-aligned program encouraging middle school students to facilitate positive changes in their communities by applying critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity skills to a service-learning project of their choice.
Now in its third year, the Belk Service Learning Challenge invites students in grades 6-8 who reside in one of the 16 states where Belk has a presence — including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia — to work in teams of up to four students with the support and guidance of a teacher or mentor to identify an issue in their local community and design an action plan to implement a solution.
To enter the challenge, teams must submit a one- to two-minute video describing the community issue, a summary of the team's research including who or what led to the problem and what has been done to address it, and an action plan to implement a solution and scale the project to a broader audience. The deadline to submit video entries is Feb. 27, 2015.
"For our project, my team organized a book drive to make libraries for girls who didn't have books," said previous winner Colson Dennis, student at The 4/5 Academy at Fifth Avenue, City Schools of Decatur, Georgia. "I will continue to give back to my community because I see the hope and joy I bring to others, and the difference I can make."
Previous challenge winners include students from Neuse Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina, who worked with Burmese refugees in their community to help them find jobs and improve their English speaking and reading abilities. Students from Hinds County School District's Main Street Restart Center in Mississippi created a plan to fight obesity in their state and community for all ages, which included a new community walking track. Students from Richland County School District One's St. Andrews Middle School in South Carolina performed random acts of kindness to spread cheer including a clothing drive, spa day for young girls in a battered women's shelter and an Easter egg hunt at a local day care facility.
"Being involved in our communities has been a part of Belk's DNA since our founding more than 125 years ago, and it remains a core value today," said Jessica Graham, Belk's VP of communications and community relations. "Through the Belk Service Learning Challenge, we have the opportunity to teach students about the importance of service and giving back. Not only do the students learn about service learning, but they make a difference through their projects."
Created solely to support these students through every step of the Challenge, the dynamic online destination BelkServiceLearningChallenge.com equips 6th to 8th grade educators with free, standards-based service-learning curriculum, including lesson plans and multimedia tools that reinforce the importance of social responsibility and volunteerism to societies and economies.
"We are pleased to continue our work with Belk and Discovery Education on this powerful, service-learning initiative. By giving students options to become more engaged in their learning, they have the ability to impact the world around them," said Craig Thibaudeau, chief external relations officer of ISTE. "Programs like this put students back in the center of learning and help us create a more connected world by linking technology, social responsibility and volunteerism, and 21st century learning."
A panel of judges will review submitted videos based on the following criteria: Community problem identified based on research (30%), action plan (30%), creativity (20%) and overall presentation (20%). Three teams with the highest scores will win a grand prize of up to $10,000.
"We are proud to partner with Belk and ISTE to provide students and their teachers with an opportunity to connect classroom lessons to real-world issues, and make a positive impact in their communities," said Mary Rollins, SVP of Discovery Education. "Through participation in the Challenge, students learn the value of completing a project from start to finish, and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment from giving back to their communities."