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Archives for: August 2004

The Unruly Power Grid
Lester Lave, the Harry B. and James H. Higgins Professor of Economics and University Professor; and Jay Apt, executive director of Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center; are quoted in this article about surviving and managing future electricity blackouts. Apt asks not how can we prevent unpredictable blackouts but, “What are the cost-effective things you can do to minimize the consequences?" His answer is: "A lot more than we're doing." Apt and Lave suggest taking measures to prevent injuries during power outages such as designing elevators to automatically open at the nearest floor and using traffic lights with “energy-efficient light-emitting diodes backed up by batteries.”

THE BALTIMORE SUN (This article also ran in THE LEDGER (FL), the RECORD-SEARCHLIGHT (CA) and the CONCORD MONITOR (NH) on 9/17/2004), 8/2/2004
Flexible work schedules pay off for workers and their employers
Robert Kelley, adjunct professor of organizational behavior and theory, was interviewed for this article about the increasingly popular perks that enable work-life balance and aid in retention and productivity. "Companies increasingly are saying to employees: 'Here's the work that needs to be done, and you know how you work best so figure out how to do it,'" said Kelley.

Can't Find Capital? How to Squeeze Cash from the Business
In this twenty-eighth article in a series by Frank Demmler, associate teaching professor of entrepreneurship, he explains how entrepreneurs can generate money from inside the company. In Demmler’s final words, he gives the following advice: “Gross margins are good. High gross margins are better,” “Don’t accept the status quo. Try to get modified terms and conditions from your vendors and customers. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.” and “Within finite limits, you can squeeze short term cash by slowing down your payments.”

Blackouts inevitable, scientists say
Lester Lave, the Harry B. and James H. Higgins Professor of Economics and University Professor, comments about the inevitability of blackouts. Along with his colleagues at the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center, Lave cites the fact there were 533 significant power failures between 1984 and 2000 as a proof that we need to be better prepared for blackouts.

Non-Investor Sources of Funding from Outside the Company - Loans and Grants; What It Takes to Get Them
Associate Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship Frank Demmler details how to secure outside funding through loans for new businesses. Among other advice, Demmler suggests that entrepreneurs research their possibilities and meet with mentors who have successfully found funding from the same sources.

Blackouts Are Inevitable: Coping, Not Prevention, Should be the Primary Goal
“As we approach the first anniversary of the Blackout of '03, we're reminded of the many times that officials, from New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller in 1977 to Gov. George Pataki now -- along with a host of senators and representatives -- have assured us that they will take steps to prevent future blackouts. Yet roughly every four months, the United States experiences a blackout large enough to darken a half-million homes. Now the pressure is on Congress to enact an energy bill that will protect us from the lights going out. There's just one problem: It can't be done,” begins the op-ed by Jap Apt, executive director of the Carnegie Mellon Industry Center, and Lester Lave, the Harry B. and James H. Higgins Professor of Economics and University Professor. Since blackouts are inevitable, they say that the focus should be on developing plans to cope during these outages. Among other solutions, Apt and Lave suggest using funds to develop subways and trains that slowly continue to the next stop, traffic lights that operate correctly without power and elevators that open at the nearest floor.

BLOOMBERG, UK , 8/11/2004
Bush, Unlike Father, May Welcome Fed Rate Increases
Allan Meltzer, the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy said, ``I never met a president who liked higher interest rates, but I'm sure the current White House will spin any increase in rates as proof the Fed is as confident as them that the economy is starting to recover.” During this election year, the economy is a hot issue for President Bush and Senator Kerry. Since interest rates are on the increase, political analysts predict that President Bush will point to it as proof the economy is improving.

M.B.A. Programs Switch to Big-Picture Approach
John Mather, executive director of MBA Programs, is quoted in this article about how b-schools are rethinking the way they teach MBA students. Mather explains the new Tracks Curriculum which allows students to specialize in a specific areas of business by taking interdisciplinary courses. “You need to respect what other people in the organization do and how it relates to your work. And to do that, you have to understand what they do,” said Mather about the benefits of this approach.

No real outlet for reform year after blackout
Lester Lave, University Professor and co-director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center, is quoted in this article about politicians’ plans to prevent power outages. “The utilities are caught in a squeeze,” said Lave. Increased demand has put electricity companies millions of dollars in debt. They do not have the billions needed to revamp the grid system.

A more high-tech vision for Poly
Distinguished alumnus Barney J. Wilson (MSIA 1982, BS 1980) prepares to lead Polytechnic Institute, a top performing high school and his alma mater. "Students come here for an exciting education, and we want to give it to them," said Wilson, the school’s first African American principal. Among many reforms, Wilson plans to form partnerships with colleges and universities.

Professor Dismisses Vows to Prevent Future Outages
Lester B. Lave, University Professor and co-director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center, is quoted in this article about blackouts "Those big (outages) are impossible to prevent . . . because of the complexity of the system,” said Lave. Instead, he suggests preparing for the outages. One suggestion Lave has is to replace the bulbs in traffic lights with Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to keep traffic running smoothly for hours.

Power system better, but still vulnerable
Lester Lave, University Professor and co-director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center, is quoted in this article. Lave explains the inadequacy of policies in the public sector for coping during outages, mostly due to high up-front costs. But Lave gives the example of private hospitals as being more prepared because administrators realize the high stakes of losing power in emergency situations.

Remember last year's big blackout? Get ready for another one
Jay Apt, executive director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center, is quoted in this article about power outages on the anniversary of last year’s major blackout. "The prevailing paradigm is based on engineers arguing that they can engineer a system that, by God, will work. I think you can improve the system, but all the improvements in the world won't end blackouts," said Apt.

A year later, power grid still vulnerable
Jay Apt, executive director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center, is quoted in this article. Apt says that there is no way to prevent power outages, despite politicians’ promises to do so. "What we need are tools for the operators to know how close to the edge they are. The tools we have are very accurate, but slow to run. We need instruments that give operators a better overview of the grid much quicker," said Apt.

Forum: Let there be light
Jay Apt, executive director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center, and Lester Lave, University Professor and co-director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center comment on the problems and the future of the electricity industry in this article. Calling for better equipment and more training for electricity personnel, Apt and Lave do not believe that one company was responsible for last year’s blackout. “Our bottom-line message is that power blackouts are too frequent, dangerous and costly to blame operators or individual companies. Deregulation vastly complicates efforts to make the electrical grid more reliable,” they said.

U.S. lacked imagination in predicting terror attacks
This article about how the government reported it needs more imaginative approaches to prevent terrorism quotes Linda Argote, David M. Kirr and Barbara A. Kirr Professor of Organizational Behavior. Although creativity seems like a simple approach, Argote says that it’s not. "It's a fundamental and challenging problem. Even to imagine good things, like new products, can be hard,'' she said.

The Escalating Cost of Success : Where to Access the Necessary Capital
In this 30th article of a series, Frank Demmler, associate teaching professor of entrepreneurship, and guest co-author Tom Canfield, founder of Equity Catalysts, address funding a new business—what and when to investigate. Specifically, Demmler and Canfield detail possible resources during the embryonic first-stage of development through angel investors, government programs, private placements and other options.

Pitt, CMU make the grade in rankings
According to the 2005 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, the Tepper School of Business's undergraduate program was ranked 6th in the nation—up from 7th last year. Among national universities, Carnegie Mellon as a whole is now ranked 22nd, also a place up from last year.

Still a question if casinos were a good bet for Detroit
Alumnus Jacob Miklojcik (BS 1970) is quoted in this article about the debate over whether downtown casinos have been an economy booster or a social blight for Detroit, Michigan. Miklojcik, a consultant for the Greektown Casino, says that the casinos have kept revenue in the state as promised.

How to Kick the Oil Habit
Lester Lave, the Harry B. and James H. Higgins Professor of Economics and co-director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center, is quoted in this article about the rising prices of gasoline. To prepare for a future where we are not as dependent on this fuel, it is important to explore other energy sources. Lave suggests cellulosic ethanol, a fuel made from switchgrass, poplar trees and straw. When mixed with standard gasoline, cellulosic ethanol would require only slight changes to current engines and gas stations. One drawback, though, like other alternate energy sources, it is costly.

Cisco branches into new ventures
Steven Klepper, professor of economics and social science, is quoted in this article about Cisco Systems. A networking company that flourished in Silicon Valley during the 1990s, Cisco is now trying to re-ignite its success by building a “broad line of smaller businesses.” Klepper says that this strategy should result in long-term success for the company.

NEWSWEEK, 8/23/2004
Kaplan/Newsweek College Guide of America’s Hottest Colleges - 2005 America's 25 Hot Schools
Carnegie Mellon University was named the nation’s “Hottest College for Getting a Job.” Since around 70 percent of students have job offers before graduation and another 30 percent are accepted to graduate school, this title is fitting. "We start working with students as freshmen to get them thinking about what's possible in terms of what your education can do," says Michael Steidel, director of admissions.

ABRA, Argentina Meetings Raise Questions About Debt Deal
This article mentions that Adam Lerrick, The Friends of Allan H. Meltzer Chair in Economics and director of the Gailliot Center for Public Policy, attended a meeting about Argentina’s debt restructuring as the head of negotiations for the Argentine Bond Restructuring Agency (ABRA). This conference with the Argentine government is the second one in the last three months, taking a “more conciliatory approach toward the government than are the leaders of the global committee, known as GCAB.” Despite speculation that this difference in approach might lead to the ABRA leaving the GCAB, Lerrick reported that there are no such plans.

'Hybrid tutoring' helps local schools
Apangea Inc., co-founded by Stephan Mueller (MBA 2002, BS 1994, is featured in this article. With computer software program to customize tutoring for children and the aid of a human tutor, Apangea offers a unique approach to learning. Founders project that the “hybrid tutoring” will be in 40 school districts in the next month.

MBA Insider: A Day in the Life Sample: In the Big Leagues Now
Alumnus Keith Law (MSIA 1999), takes BusinessWeek readers through a day in his life working for the Toronto Blue Jays. Along with his responsibilities of statistical evaluation, market analysis, scouting work and contract negotiations, Law has also given an impromptu speech to employees and represented the team at a press conference. "To the best of my knowledge, my broad set of responsibilities and tasks is unique within baseball, and I couldn't have taken on so many projects without the education I received at the Tepper School. Baseball is a business, and very few people understand both the economic and on-field aspects of the game," says Law.

First-years cruise into college
Milton Cofield, executive director of the B.S. in Business Administration Program and associate teaching professor of business management, is quoted in this article about the freshman experience. “We want them [students] to be confident to be able to make life-long decisions for what they want to do,” Cofield said a new student and her family.

ENTERPRISE: Entrepreneur Seeking new perspectives
This article features PowerLink, a non-profit organization that joins women-owned businesses for a year to offer expert advice. Thomas Emerson, David T. and Lindsay J. Morgenthaler Professor of Entrepreneurship and director of the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, notes the importance of experienced advisors: "Mentoring is a key to success here. If [entrepreneurs] have experienced business people who can take a look at the problem and can view it from different angles, often the shortcoming is pretty apparent and the fix is pretty easy ... it's just a matter of being able to see it in a different light."

Greying baby boomers pose demographic conundrum
Allan Meltzer, the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy, is quoted in this article about the growing number of aging Americans. With continual increases in this age group, policy makers must find ways to solve the economic challenges of paying for healthcare and pensions. Meltzer said that although policy approaches are clear, "The problem is governments are elected for 4-5 years and are asked to solve a problem over 20 years or more."

INMAN NEWS , 8/30/2004
The Internet Revolution
Chris Forman, assistant professor in information systems, participated as a lead researcher in the study outlined in this article. Researchers for the Center for the Study of Innovation and Productivity found that rural businesses are more likely to have adopted basic Internet technologies than businesses in mid-sized metropolitan areas; although, large cities have the highest adoption rates. “Specifically, we find that the mix of industries with the highest enhancement adoption rates tends to be in the biggest cities," said researchers.

Protests rage as IMF chief visits Argentina
This article about the tense relationship between the Argentine government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due to the slow progress of debt repayment to lenders quotes Allan Meltzer, the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy. The recent “lightening-short visit” from IMF chief Rodrigo Rato with Argentina’s President Nestor Kirchner, according to Meltzer, "tells us that the Fund and Argentina are not exactly working on the same wave-length."

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