(CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing) – Business people convinced of the possibility of an influenza pandemic agree: Convincing reluctant managers, organizing continuity planning, and educating employees can be challenging.But if getting better prepared for a pandemic is tough, business managers say, keeping prepared is tougher.It’s bad enough, they agree, to have to convince reluctant managers and educate busy employees that a pandemic will be unlike any other hazard a company might face, like earthquakes, hurricanes, or terrorism. Such events are local or regional and occur over minutes to hours. Recovery resources from other areas of the country can be accessed quickly and the recovery process begun–even in the face of physical destruction.But for those responsible for private-sector pandemic preparedness, what remains untested and unclear is how companies and organizations will respond. How stable, for example, will today’s public utilities be? Will companies supplying critical parts or services be able to deliver? How many employees will come to work and over what period? The unknowns can be so confounding as to bring preparedness activities to a halt.Another challenge is finding reliable sources and information to act on for both meaningful planning and for delivering company information campaigns and training.After that, they say, comes the truly hard part: Sustaining the planning effort over the long haul.Experts say that preparing well for a catastrophic event takes time, thought, and repetition–but the more time that elapses, and the more repetitions employees go through, the more likely it is they will develop planning fatigue.Pan flu war games”This is a very serious issue,” said Len Pagano, president and CEO of the SafeAmerica Foundation, a Georgia-based nonprofit organization that has staged pandemic-planning business summits in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. “If you come up with a plan, and then over a year you don’t touch the plan, you won’t only forget key points in the plan–you’ll begin to think the whole issue isn’t very important.”But keeping up awareness of the possible consequences of a pandemic–a global event that could last 8 to 12 weeks in any one location, cause up to 24 months of disruption around the globe, and kill 200,000 to 1.9 million just in the United States, according to the US government–is as essential as it is challenging.Pagano and the SafeAmerica Foundation recently landed on a new idea: They are staging a war game, with flu as the enemy.The exercise will last a week and take place in 2 to 6 plants belonging to a Fortune 100 heavy-industrial company that asked not to be identified for competitive reasons. The company will ask its workers to follow the social-distancing techniques that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends as a first-line defense. SafeAmerica will observe employees to gauge compliance, then report to the company’s management what recommendations were followed or ignored.An actual pandemic, of course, will last months and mean that employees will be subjected to many other stressors (loss of loved ones, trouble finding food or routine drugs for themselves or family members) that will change how employees respond during the real event. But if the experiment is successful, Pagano said, it will deliver what scenario exercises lack: the energy and creativity provoked by a real-time challenge.Keeping plans freshKeeping fresh in pandemic planning is a preoccupation for Steve Bergfeld, vice president of corporate services and administration at Baxter Healthcare Corp. of Illinois, part of Baxter International Inc.Baxter makes a range of medications and medical devices, including home dialysis solutions. The company is in a category the government calls critical infrastructure: 14 business sectors (from food production to energy to banking to information technology) that must keep functioning during a crisis in order for the United States to keep running.”As I go around and talk to my colleagues, everybody is saying the same thing: How do you keep this [planning] as a front-burner issue when we have so many other priorities and so much demanding our time,” Bergfeld said.Bergfeld was brought to Baxter 10 months ago to head a threat-management team of 23 people. The company’s process is arduous: monthly meetings to rank facilities worldwide against a list of “accountabilities”; regional audits that score facilities on 7 aspects of pandemic and disaster planning; on-site inspections; and tabletop exercises. Yet “I am always looking for new tools, new resources . . . the next creative way to keep this in front of people,” Bergfeld said.Mega-retailer Target Corporation, which has 7,000 employees just in its Minneapolis headquarters, formed a 30-person pandemic response team a year ago to work with its existing business continuity experts, who, up to then, had chiefly anticipated store closures due to natural disasters such as hurricanes as well as technology crises such as crashes in the company’s worldwide electronic networks.”What we do for business continuity prepares us for pandemic planning, and pandemic planning becomes a scenario within business continuity that we haven’t addressed in the past,” said Birch Holt, Target’s manager of business continuation.The pandemic team, Holt said, draws broadly from throughout the company, including representatives from crisis management, merchandising, and government affairs in addition to the pre-existing business continuation department.They began meeting in January 2006, starting with face-to-face, twice-monthly gatherings of at least an hour, initially mapping out plans for each major division, using pandemic flu–related information from the CDC (www.cdc.gov) and the World Health Organization (www.who.int) as well as a private risk-information company. With most of Target’s divisional plans now written and under review by senior management, the team has cut back to hour-long, face-to-face meetings once a month.Target will shortly hold its first pandemic tabletop exercise. Participants will represent each company sector that has prepared written plans. The results, Holt said, will expose new vulnerabilities to think through.Holt acknowledges that written documents (no matter how thought-out and granular) are not enough. On a board near his desk, he keeps a saying he attributes to World War II general and President Dwight D. Eisenhower: “In preparing for battle, I have found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
The price guide of this luxury mansion is going up and down like a yoyo.A fourth agent is set to try their hand at securing a buyer for a Coast mega mansion which sets a benchmark in luxury living.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:47Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:47 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. 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This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenAn epic waterfront family home01:47And with a new agent comes a new price tag at an eye-watering figure.A fourth agent is attempting to secure a buyer for 38 Brittanic Cres, Sovereign Islands.It’s a piece of waterfront luxury.The Sovereign Islands property has been on the market since December 2016 when it was listed with a $7.8 million price guide, according to CoreLogic data.That price was then reduced to $7.25 million.Another drop to $5.98 million happened earlier this year, however price expectations were still around $6.5 million.In a renewed push to sell the luxury listing Kollosche Broadbeach director Michael Kollosche has taken over the campaign with a $6.375 million price tag.MORE NEWS: Multimillion-dollar mansion sells amid ‘unusual’ sales surgeMORE NEWS: Where first-home buyers have the upper handThe five-bedroom house now has a $6.375 million price tag.It was designed by Bayden Goddard.Mr Kollosche said after just one week on the market with his agency there had been plenty of local inquiries, with Melbourne and Sydney buyers also likely to show interest down the track.“The feedback I have had from most of the buyers that have inquired is it’s a little bit different to the standard Sovereign Islands home,” he said.“It has a nice modern feel, a timeless design, is really well finished with a good use of space.“It’s a beautiful home that presents really well.”Plenty of room to store your favourite wine.Entertaining is easy with this outdoor kitchen and Japanese Teppanyaki bar.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa11 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoThe five-bedroom, five-bathroom mansion has a seemingly endless list of opulent inclusions from imported marble, a 1200-bottle, temperature-controlled wine cellar and a waterfront alfresco area with a Japanese Teppanyaki bar and outdoor kitchen completed with three fridges and an ice machine.A saltwater pool, sunken firepit with built-in seating and a recreation room offering a wet bar and feature wall made from reclaimed Melbourne brickworks remnants adds to the resort-style inclusions.The home’s recreation room.Cocktail anyone?The main bedroom is suited to a five-star hotel with polished parquetry floors, water views, a kitchenette with a bar fridge and zip tap, concealed TV, marble ensuite, steam room and a dressing room.Owners Ben and Nicole Westaway bought the home in 2007 and breathed new life into it with an extensive renovation three years ago.“We completely rebuilt it,” Mr Westaway told the Bulletin in February.“I wanted to redesign the property to maximise the aspect.”What a view to wake up to each morning.The lavish main bedroom’s ensuite.Renowned Gold Coast architect and friend Bayden Goddard redesigned the house from its bare bones and interior designer Romaine Alwill styled it.“The roof and one wall were basically the basis of what hung around,” Mr Westaway said.“We just took a lot of time with the detail.”“I think the black and white themes and soft natural stone rather than the usual beige have really popped.”Mr Goddard said he aimed to maximise the location and lifestyle, while making a house suitable to a range of buyers.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:58Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:58 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD576p576p360p360p216p216pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. 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Share Submit Triennial cut impacts Inspired performance March 12, 2020 Novomatic sells Casinos Austria stake to Czech SAZKA December 10, 2019 Harald Neumann ends tenure as Novomatic CEO March 2, 2020 Related Articles Share StumbleUpon Following the confirmation that Vice President of Global Sales, Lawrence Levy is set to take charge of Australian subsidiary Ainsworth Game Technology, Novomatic AG has moved to restructure its global commercial leadership remit.Issuing a corporate statement, Novomatic Group Chief Executive Harald Neumann confirms that Levy’s Global Sales leadership responsibilities will be split.Moving forward, Novomatic commercial development and client portfolio for Europe and the Americas will be led by VP of Sales Strategy Jens Einhaus.Einhaus has formerly served as Novomatic Sales Director since 1999, securing the gambling technology group a number of key contracts.“As a gaming technology group that operates across the globe, NOVOMATIC has an excellent reputation within the industry. The job is going to be very interesting. In Europe as well as in the Americas, it will be all about expanding our market shares.” Einhaus detailed in Novomatic’s update.Supporting global sales initiatives, Novomatic confirms that Head of Sales for Emerging Markets, Sonya Nikolova, has been promoted to VP of Sales for Africa and Asia.A twenty-year gambling executive, Nikolova has formerly led Novomatic commercial development for CEE region markets.“The industry dynamics in Asia and the emerging markets of Africa will definitely shape the future of the global gaming map. These are giant opportunities for expansion and NOVOMATIC is ready to explore them having an extensive portfolio of premier products and innovative solutions.
AMES — Iowa’s weather may be in for a big change in the coming months as indications show a possible shift toward a La Nina pattern, which means hotter, drier weather.Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U.S.D.A.’s Midwest Climate Hub — based in Ames, says Pacific Ocean climate factors have been steady for the past couple of years but there are hints that may be changing. “We have been neutral to maybe hedging close to an El Nino,” Todey says. “We didn’t quite reach the category but we were close towards that side. It’s really interesting now, as you look ahead into the summertime, there are a few models that took us rapidly toward La Nina territory by the end of the growing season.”Todey says there is an indication from computerized weather forecasting models of changes later this year. “The chances for La Nina start popping up in the fall, so it’s after the main part of the growing season here,” Todey says. “We do have to watch in case things would shift more quickly to La Nina than we’d expect, but right now the expectation is that we don’t get to La Nina territory during the growing season enough to be an issue.”Todey says sea surface temperature changes have an impact on the weather in Iowa and across much of North America. “La Nina, during the growing season for us, does increase our risk of heat and dryness but right now, we don’t expect that to happen,” Todey says. “My main concern with the growing season right now is how quickly can we get things moving, how quickly can we get soils dried out and things in the ground so we don’t get delays again.”A warming ocean surface produces an El Nino pattern which can also have strong effects, including wetter weather in the Midwest.