Category Archives: Economy

Fund Managers to Follow

Certainly, it is human nature to feel more comfortable with people who put their money where their mouth is. A fund manager, for instance, who invests in the funds that he supports professionally is showing that he trusts the work he’s doing and that he stands by it. To this end, the M&M Investment Company have identified management teams that do just this; they have the largest personal holdings in the funds they manage. Here are three of them:

Christopher Mills is the chief executive and investment manager of North Atlantic Smaller Companies Investment Trust plc and chief investment officer of Harwood Capital LLP. He founded Harwood Capital Management in 2011 and he is a non-executive director of several companies.

Simon Borrows of the 3i Group is another executive on the list. He was appointed as the chief executive in May of 2012, after joining 3i in October of 2011 as the Chief Investment Officer. He spent 13 years with Greenhill & Co. before joining 3i and he founded the European business of Greenhill and was co-president of the group on its floatation on the NYSE in 2004.

Finally, Reade Griffith is a founding partner of Polygon and a Principal of Tetragon Financial Management LP. He is on the Tetragon board of directors. Prior to being the founder of Polygon, he founded and was the CEO of the European office of Citadel Investment Group.

 

Three Women of Many from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University

It’s no surprise to the people at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University that their alumni are making it in the news and in political discourse around the world. Maxwell is one of the 12 schools and colleges of Syracuse University and is home to interdisciplinary teaching and research in the social sciences, public policy, public administration and international relations. They have undergraduate programs, master’s programs and PhD programs. Here, we feature three such alumni and the work that they are doing.

Emily Newman, with a MPA from Maxwell, was recently named to City and State magazine’s “40 Under 40 Rising Stars” for the work that she is doing as first deputy commissioner in the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. This is an award given to individuals who work in NYC government, advocacy, media and related areas of expertise.
Sonya Reines-Djivanides, who works in Brussels, Belgium, received a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Today, she is the executive director of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO). This is an independent platform of NGOs and think tanks that work to prevent violent conflicts. Prior to this, she was the chair of the EPLO’s steering committee and the director of the Brussels Headquarters of Search for Common Ground.
Another woman, Sheridan Marfil, graduated from the Maxwell School with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations. She is now the director of digital outreach at Subject Matter. This is a public relations and communications company based out of Washington D.C. They have a particular focus in public affairs and they pair legislative and policy expertise with their advertising, digital, content and media abilities. She manages the digital strategies and conducts the digital outreach efforts.
These are three of the hundreds of examples of Maxwell alumni who are making great strides in the world of public policy, public administration and beyond.

Rocco Basile & The Passive Home Model : Succeeding in Up-Scale New York Housing

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has presented New Yorkers with an ambitious challenge for the next few decades: to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses the city emits by an enormous 80 percent before the year 2015 rolls around.

Rocco Basile
Rocco Basile

This daunting challenge has not deterred Big Apple denizens, but rather has inspired them to swing into action. In New York City about 71 percent of carbon emissions are produced by the city’s buildings, therefore a good place to look to reduce the city’s carbon footprint is in building construction. Through the retrofitting of older buildings, and the building of new structures with energy savings in mind, it has become possible to achieve de Blasio’s goal.

At the forefront of the energy savings revolution are what is known as passive housing. Brooklyn is at the forefront of passive home construction, with several projects already completed or under construction. One of the several builders engaged in retrofitting older homes and/or constructing passive homes is Rocco Basile of AVO Construction. Basile and AVO are currently involved in a project in Brooklyn’s exclusive Boerum Hill neighborhood in which sustainable design has enhanced the residence’s high quality-of-living standards. Located at 210 Pacific Street, some of the building’s many amenities include: enclosed parking with electric vehicle car charging capability, private terraces, rooftop cabanas, a fitness room and a common recreation space.

Basile, a Brooklyn native, is completely on board with New York’s long-term plans to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. “Having grown up in the city, it’s great to know that we are contributing to the future growth of residential properties and with as little environmental impact as possible,” says Basile.

The Boerum Hill project proves that a beautiful, high-end property can incorporate the passive home, sustainability model, and create a unique, desirable dwelling whose inhabitants can feel good about and comfortable in.

Passive homes maintain comfortable environments minimally influenced by outdoor temperatures without using active cooling and heating systems such as air conditioners or heaters, which need electricity to function. The passive model relies on many modalities to maintain comfortable temperatures, such as insulation, triple-glazed windows and more to create an airtight building envelope; plus an energy recovery ventilator, which extracts energy by exchanging interior and exterior air. In more temperate climates no active heating system is needed whatsoever, but in New York, where the weather is harsh, passive homes still rely on smaller heating and cooling units, which are only used when the weather turns extreme.

This new way of constructing dwellings can save homeowners in the vicinity of 75 to 80 percent on their energy bills, while at the same time drastically reducing the carbon footprint left behind by their home. One owner of a 3,140-square-foot passive house in Brooklyn Heights now pays $323 per year to heat his home with a gas boiler. The average cost of heating a similar-sized active house is about $2,500 per year.

Although it only adds between 1 and 6 percent to the cost of constructing a new home, many up-scale home builders are choosing to build passive homes for their well-to-do clients. The reason is not only that passive homes are good for the environment: passive homes also happen to be quieter, and generally more comfortable. The insulation not only keeps out heat and cold, it also keeps out street noise, which in New York can be a huge issue. Passive homes also eliminate or drastically reduce the use of noisy air-conditioners and boilers.

Eighteen More Oil Rigs Bodes Well for Oil Economy

U.S. offshore natural gas production wells in the Gulf of Mexico and Southern California.

With the addition of two new oil rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico 16 new ones across the US, there are now a total of 653 drilling for oil and gas.

It is good news for the oil industry, but those numbers are far below the number of rigs operating in 2014 and 2015. According to numbers released last week by the Houston-based oilfield-services company Baker-Hughes, this year’s number is lower by 47 since last year, and is still 65 percent lower than the 1,882 which were pumping out oil and gas at the end of 2014.

Of the 653 rigs working today, 129 are looking for natural gas and the remainder, 523, are bringing out oil.

The oil industry has been suffering as an oil glut continues to keep prices of oil low. Caused by a growing trend of drilling in US shale fields, combined with increased oil production by OPEC, the oil glut brought oil prices to half, and lower, than their mid-2014 high of $115 per barrel.

Lower oil prices froze exploration for new sources of oil and natural gas, and many people in the industry were laid off. The fact that the US rig count has been growing and now is higher than its been since January, could be a harbinger of better times for the industry.

Businesses: Reduce Energy Costs

How can the hospitality industry in the US reduce energy costs without negatively impacting the service they provide? Is it possible for hotels, motels and others to provide heat, air-conditioning, spa services, WiFi, etc., all while reducing their operating expenses?

Diversegy, a subsidiary of Genie Energy, works with clients of all shapes and sizes in this industry by providing the tools, services and training to its energy professionals to help these businesses reduce energy overhead costs.

Diversegy offers the complete package, given its knowledge of all aspects of the energy supply chain.  In addition to being consultants, they have supply-side procurement, solar and efficiency expertise in-house. For all those in the hospitality industry – from small B&Bs to medium-sized hotels and large establishments – Diversegy can offer the most efficient solutions vis-à-vis the purchase of energy.

With the assistance of the expertise of Diversegy staff, hotel managers can spend more time focusing on how to ensure the best service is provided to their guests.  A huge amount of energy is required in such establishments; Diversegy helps to reduce costs in these areas.  Once costs are reduced, profits increase, monies of which can be put toward capital improvements or investments that will ultimately attract more guests.