SPECIALIZING IN YOU
Real American Heroes
THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO PUT EVERYTHING ON THE LINE
off-duty firefighters and first responders. Just before the second tower collapsed, many of the firefighters inside failed to receive evacuation orders due to malfunctioning radio systems and other technical difficulties. Both the NYPD and FDNY launched massive search and rescue operations, extracting 20 survivors from the rubble. There’s no telling how many more would have died without the combined efforts of these hundreds of professionals fulfilling their duty to the American people. The impact of 9/11 cannot be overstated, but the work done by police officers, firefighters, and first responders is far from limited to such dramatic crises — these people make similar sacrifices every day of the week. Take the tragic events of last summer in Baton Rouge, for example, when three Louisiana officers were specifically targeted and killed in the line of duty. And no one can claim that any of these individuals are doing it for the money or the fame, because neither of these things truly come with the job. When everybody is running away from a dangerous criminal or a blazing fire, these are the people that are heading toward the danger, solely out of a sense of duty to protect their fellow Americans.
Two months ago, I wrote an article commending the brave men and women of the armed forces who risk it all each and every day so that the rest of us don’t have to. It felt more important than ever for me to recognize these American heroes for all they do, sacrificing their time, their resources, and sometimes their very lives to keep us safe. But as September approaches and the harrowing events of 9/11 begin to re-enter the public consciousness — assuming they ever truly leave it — I realized that I left out so many other heroes frommy outpouring of gratitude. I’m speaking, of course, of the thousands of police officers, firefighters, and first responders who sacrifice for the rest of us on a daily basis, putting themselves in harm’s way to protect us from danger and strife. Four-hundred and twelve New York City emergency workers, acting quickly to rescue the hordes of innocent civilians and extinguish the raging flames, were killed after the twin towers fell, causing the largest loss of emergency personnel in American history. This included the lives of 343 firefighters, as half the entire New York City Fire Department rushed to the scene, supplemented by dozens of
When everybody is running away from a
I said it before, and I’ll say it again. America is made great through the immense sacrifices made by the small number of heroes who have chosen to potentially sacrifice everything for the rest of us. I know I can do more to recognize and support these noble individuals and thank them for everything they’ve done and continue to do for each and every citizen of our cities, our states and our country. dangerous criminal or a blazing fire, these are the people that are heading toward the danger, solely out of a sense of duty to protect their fellow Americans.
– Brad Johnson
President, Risk Services of AR Specialized Insurance Programs For Specialized Industries. • www.insurica.com • 1
‘THE PRODUCTIVITY PROJECT’
WHICH PERKS DO EMPLOYEES DESIRE MOST?
Startup companies are leading the benefits revolution in America. Netflix gives their employees a year of paid maternity leave. Google offers bottomless gourmet food and allows pets. And Airbnb gives employees $2,000 a year for travel. Those perks really jump off the page, don’t they? Well, they’re designed to. Major companies need to add a little sparkle to their benefits to attract the best talent. But which perks does the average employee desire most? When you study the most successful benefits packages, you notice some trends. In a 2016 study, employee review platform Glassdoor found the most desired benefits are: 1. Health care insurance (including dental) It comes as no surprise to see health care at the top. It’s a basic human need. After that, one of the biggest draws seems to be how easy the company makes it to not come to work. Take Lendio, a business funding corporation that was named by Forbes as the best place to work in Utah. They offer their employees unlimited PTO. No wonder they got the top slot. Another burgeoning trend in the benefits revolution is an increased focus on employees’ families. Google is famous for their sleep pods, gourmet cooking, and access to fitness clubs. However, you might not know that if an employee passes away, their stock vests immediately and their spouse gets half the Googler’s salary for the next 10 years, as well as an additional $1,000 per month for each child. One employee reported that when he told his wife this, she cried. Campbell Soup Company offers on-site daycare and a full kindergarten program. Walt Disney Company offers free admission for their employees’ families, and Facebook dishes out a $4,000 bonus to employees with newborns. The overall trend is this: If you want to attract the best employees, offer incentives that touch their hearts, not blow their minds. Invest in health care, family support, and personal development for your employees before you offer them break room snacks. 2. Vacation/paid time off 3. Performance bonuses 4. Paid sick days 5. 401(k), retirement plans, and/or pensions
An Exercise in Reaching New Heights of Productivity
We all strive to be more productive. We are surrounded by advice, apps, and devices purported to boost our productivity, yet we don’t seem to be any better off. This challenge to achieve greater productivity is explored in “The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy” by Chris Bailey. The author has a passion for productivity that most of us only dream of; he spent a full year attempting to be more productive. During that year, Bailey’s goal was to get more out of life by being more productive and working smarter, not harder. “The Productivity Project” takes that idea to the extreme. Much of the book recounts Bailey’s productivity experiments and what he learned along the way. Plus, he gives the reader tools and insights so they, too, can apply what he learned. One by one, Bailey works his way through a number of tasks to understand productivity and ultimately master it. He prepared by reading about the successes and failures of others with similar goals. He experimented with meditation, a modified sleep schedule, an altered diet, and even strategized his coffee consumption, among many other modifications — all with the goal of living and working better. Through these productivity experiments, there is one thing Bailey didn’t want to do: waste your time. Every chapter begins with a takeaway. Bailey tells you what you’ll get out of the chapter and how long the chapter will take to read. But Bailey challenges the reader, as well. Most chapters include a challenge for you to try. It’s all about relevancy to your life, personal and professional. At its core, “The Productivity Project” is a trove of ideas. When you want to master your productivity and live and work better, this book serves as a worthwhile starting point.
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Disaster Preparedness Tips
for Your Business
As a business owner, it’s impossible to predict the future of your company. Even harder to predict are unforeseeable disasters, events that come out of nowhere and do irreparable damage to your business. The good news is, you don’t need to predict anything. You need to prepare. Emergency preparedness planning can make the difference between a rapid recovery of your company, and everything you’ve built going down the drain. Here are a few tips to be ready for anything: The absolute best way to prepare for a disaster is prevent it from happening . Make sure you conduct regular audits and check to ensure your fire and safety systems are fully operational. Consider the risks or impacts a disaster could have on your business, and do everything you can to make sure they never become an issue. You also need to make an evacuation plan . Ensure the plan contains designated primary and secondary evacuation routes for your employees and that these routes are well-lit, clearly marked, and easily accessible. Have a specific meeting place outside the building where everyone will gather in the event of an emergency. Take those individuals that will need extra assistance in the plan, as well. Have some free time now that the kids are back at school? Take a few seconds to check out these fun school facts. • Speaking of back to school, how’s your wallet? After all, back-to-school shopping accounts for $27 billion in sales, the second biggest shopping season every year. • Is your kid a little antsy about returning to class? Maybe they have didaskaleinophobia, the fear of going to school. Internationally, 2.7 percent of school-aged children have it! • In the Color Census of 2000, blue was (maybe unsurprisingly) voted the favorite crayon color. Three tied for last in the poll: tan, tumbleweed, and spring green. • On that first day of school, approximately 79 million students are lugging backpacks to class, and over 92 percent of these kids haul over 10–22 percent of their total body weight. • The average No. 2 pencil can write about 45,000 words before getting worn down to a stump—or, if you’re ambitious, a 35-mile-long line! This Month’s Fun Facts DID YOU KNOW?
An up-to-date list of emergency contact numbers can go a long way when crisis hits. A list of fire, hospital, ambulance, police, and disaster relief agencies is crucial, but you should also include information for your customers, suppliers, and distributors. But, when worst comes to worst, it’s insurance that will be there to help you out. Review your policy with your agent, making sure that you fully understand your deductibles, limits, and the type of coverage you receive. Especially consider purchasing business interruption insurance, which will greatly minimize the financial burden in the event of a disaster.
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INSIDE This Issue
Real American Heroes page 1
Book Review: ‘The Productivity Project’ Which Perks Do Employees Desire Most? page 2 Disaster Preparedness Tips for Your Business Did You Know? Back-to-School Edition Sudoku page 3
Marvel Comics’ Heroic Comeback page 4
From Bankruptcy to Billions
MARVEL COMICS’ HEROIC COMEBACK
With a star-spangled shield, a thunderous hammer, and an iron suit, Marvel Comics built franchises recognized across the globe. Of the 10 biggest box-office successes in history — not adjusting for inflation — three of them are fromMarvel Studios: “The Avengers,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and “Iron Man 3.” With Marvel’s beloved heroes dominating the entertainment world, it’s easy to forget that just two decades ago, Marvel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 1993, Marvel was more powerful than a teenager after a radioactive spider bite. Unfortunately, few people realized their success was built on collectors buying several copies of the same issue, hoping the comics would be worth a fortune in the future. The comic market was a bubble, and when it burst, Marvel sales plummeted a devastating 70 percent. By 1996, Marvel stocks had fallen 93 percent, forcing the company to file for bankruptcy. To survive, Marvel merged with toy company ToyBiz and sold the rights of their biggest names — including Spider-Man, X-Men, and The Fantastic Four — to movie studios. Marvel struggled to stay afloat for 10 years, and then turned it around with a crazy gamble. In 2005, an unexpected deal withWall Street firmMerrill Lynch
gave Marvel the opportunity to make movies under their own banner. When Marvel Studios first announced plans for films about characters who were relatively unknown to the public at the time, like Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, one newspaper mockingly declared, “Marvel Rolls Out the B-Team.” A post-credits scene at the end of 2008’s “Iron Man” revealed Marvel’s endgame: a series of crossover films, the likes of which moviegoers and comic fans had never seen. Fans went wild for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Iron Man” raked in five times its budget at the box office. The Marvel brand showed so much promise, Disney shelled out $4 billion to buy the company in 2009. When “The Avengers,” the company’s first big crossover, hit theaters, it became — and remains — the highest-grossing superhero movie in history. Today, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought in over $11 billion worldwide, with additional movies planned for well past 2020. On their comic home turf, Marvel still enjoys popularity and profit. Their “Black Panther” and “The Mighty Thor” titles were bestsellers across the industry in 2016. It’s a comeback story you usually only find in the pages of a comic.
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