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October 1, 2019

This year’s Country Club Plaza Art Fair was full of life and color this past week! Our neighbors, the Country Club Plaza hosts their annual Art Fair the third weekend after Labor Day and every year guests come and enjoy local musicians, craft food and drinks, and contemporary art for everyone young and old!

 

 

CBIZ & MHM alongside EFL Associates were thrilled to host our annual Art Fair Social at our offices on the Plaza before the Art Fair began. We welcomed over 150 guests who enjoyed tasty treats provided by Plaza staple, Capital Grille and enjoyed the musical talents of Calvin Arsenia —a well-known local musician .

 

 

To round out the night we were pleased to offer guests a chance to win an exclusive 2019 Plaza Art Fair Banner (designed by local artists) and a record of Calvin Arsenia’s newest album.

 

 

As always, we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of welcoming each of our guests to our annual art fair social and thank each of you who were able to make it and hope to see everyone again next year at our Plaza Art Fair Social!

 




September 16, 2019

As summer cools down, our fall lineup of entrepreneurs are warming up started. Satisfying consumers unique needs are what both of these organizations pride themselves on by offering their clients a high quality product that it sure to deliver. More information on these companies can be found below:

ProAthlete

ProAthlete is an online B2C retailer that sells baseball bats and gloves since 1987. They weren’t always an online retailer, they started with brick and mortar stores in Parkville, MO (just up north over the river) and switched to an online based company shortly after they realized that they can reach far more customers than their brick and mortar store could. ProAthlete has a single tiered organizational structure (everybody is a manger), reduced their employee count to no more than 48 employees, has been named a heathiest employer in KC for six straight years, and offers their employees flexible work arrangements and many amenities on site as well. Their focus is solely on baseball bats and gloves, however, their competitive advantage is their shipping and customization services. Find out more about ProAthlete here.

Swappa

Swappa is a B2C used technology online reseller that opened in 2010. The firm started when the owner had a bad experience with purchasing a used cell phone. Their policy is that no junk is allowed and all listings go through an in-depth review process before buyers are allowed to view the product. With having majority of their employees working from home, it has allowed them to expand their platform to include “local swap spots” that make selling products much faster than waiting for it to be shipped. Swappa is a platform for more than just cellphones; they also sell screen protectors, camera, laptops, and other small electronic devices too. Find out more about Swappa here.

Read about our other Entrepreneurial Showcases in our local office blogs. If you are an entrepreneur interested in sharing your story during one of our lunch-n-learns, please email kcevents@cbiz.com.




July 24, 2019
Play Hard, Play Safe

As adults, nothing draws us back to our childhood more than spending time on a playground, a swimming pool or ball fields. We are reminded of the 12’ metal slide and the ladder leading to the launch position, or the massive concrete hole filled with water, boasting two diving boards; a 3’ low dive and a 12’ high dive and a filtration system providing suspect water quality. Most memorable in my mind are the different athletic fields/courts containing miles of chain-link fencing, uneven playing surfaces, and lack of lighting. In my youth, each was constructed and operated predominantly by municipalities or school districts with some private enterprise.

Recreational societal evolution has changed. Municipalities and school districts remain primary operators, but over time there has been an insurgence of private enterprise adding these amenities to their properties and marketing efforts. With the increase in these facilities has come a spotlight that shines directly on the owner to ensure—whatever the facility is—be managed to control the overwhelming exposure that this equipment creates. To borrow General Motors marketing slogan; “This is not your Father’s Buick”.

The objective of this series is to raise awareness of exposures associated with recreational equipment and some best practices that can be implemented to mitigate the exposure, increase safety, and reduce litigation. This week, we take a look at pool safety and how we can minimize risks and avoid injury. Please note, this article is not intended to be a catch all of all dangers, exposures, and controls.

Aquatic Activities

Swimming pools and aquatic centers are beacons of fun, with children and adults alike logging plenty of splash time during hot summer and cold winter months. Outdoor municipal pools have given way to aquatic centers – both indoor and outdoor, splash parks, and HOA operated swimming pools. At one time, operators only had to concern themselves with the possible risks of diving boards and slides. Now, that risk has expanded with new equipment features such as tubes, open spiral slides, and zip lines, climbing structures, and even heightened water quality.

In many respects, pools are safer today then of years past. Awareness has been substantially heightened and the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) has been established. Guidelines have been developed and implemented. Having noted this, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that from 2005–2014, there were on average 3,536 drowning deaths per year. And the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports 4,900 people received emergency care for injuries suffered in a swimming pool or spa in each of 2011, 2012, and 2013.

It is worth noting that no pool or spa should be operated that is not in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, also referred to P&SS Act. The P&SS was enacted by Congress and became law effective December 19, 2008. A PDF of the act can be found here. This law is designed to prevent the tragic and hidden hazards of drain entrapment and eviscerations in pools and spas.

Pool equipment exposures can be managed following a few key best practice methods:

  • Develop an inspection schedule of the facility noting surface irregularities, damaged attractions, and appropriate lighting. Attractions taken out of service, as needed to correct deficiencies.
  • Establish water quality testing protocol for both pools and spas that requires water to be tested every four hours, and hourly for heavier use. Chlorine levels should be maintained between 1-3 parts per million and pH levels kept between 7.2-7.8. Record and store all test results.
  • Establish a policy and procedure to respond to fecal and vomit incidents. Document and store testing data and response efforts.
  • Post rules and regulations at the pool entrance with appropriate phone number to report deficiencies. Pools with different attractions should have rules posted pursuant to specific equipment. An Age limit requirement must be established to enter facility without adult supervision.
  •  Swimming pools with no Life Guard supervision should have signage indicating so, and age limits established requiring adult supervision.
  • Swimming pools with Life Guard supervision should have certification process in place and credentialing done by the American Red Cross or other reputable organizations. A Policy should be in place and enforced that prohibits Life Guards from having personal cell phones or any other personal communication device or music player on their person while in the chair supervising swimmers.
  • Water depth markings should be prominently displayed on the pool deck and no diving enforced.
  • A life ring and shepherd hook should be available and located in close proximity to the pool or spa.
  • An Emergency Action Plan in place and practiced to respond to inclement weather or a water borne lifesaving event.

Swimming pools, aquatic centers, and splash parks can be great fun for all ages; safely enjoyed with adult supervision. In this extremely litigious culture we find ourselves, just remember, “This is not your Father’s Buick”. Play Hard, play safe!

In our next issue, we’ll look at the safety and liabilities of playgrounds, skate parks, and athletic fields.




July 19, 2019

Not Just a Game: KC Sports Reduce Crime & Drive Economic Growth

On Thursday, June 27th CBIZ hosted its third quarter Executive Advantage Series, The Business of Sports: Innovations for Future Generations. The event took place in the historical 18th & Vine District at the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy.

The Academy project was announced in the summer of 2013 and opened its doors to local youths in 2017. The Academy promotes training, education, and character development through the practice of baseball and softball. Interestingly, Kansas City, Missouri leaders were eager to support the Academy for a reason that surprised the project’s manager, Kansas City Royals Senior Director of Baseball Operations, Kyle Vena.

“I did not envision reducing crime or the economic impact behind this,” Vena explained at the Q3 EAS event, “but what the City got behind immediately was having activity going on in the summer during the evening. When there is a city event going on, giving kids places to be productive and to enjoy themselves, crime drops 21%.”

This, according to Vena, was why the city invested so heavily in the Urban Youth Academy, and why the Academy is a Kansas City Parks & Recreation facility.

Kathy Nelson, President and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission, spoke to the EAS audience about other ways that sports have been good to our city. Nelson successfully led the initiative to make Kansas City a host of the NFL Draft, which will be coming to our city in 2023. Next, she has set her sights on the World Cup for 2026.

“If we were to host matches,” Nelson told the crowd, “it could be the equivalent of $620M coming into the city, comparable to six Super Bowls in one month. It will change Kansas City.”

Jake Reid, CEO of Sporting KC, spoke about homegrown soccer. “In the academy system if you come up through the academy you don’t have to do a draft. You just get signed. The entire youth soccer program is based out of Swope Soccer Village. At some point in the next 5-7 years we would love six to eight players who are homegrown.”

Tyler Epp, VP of Business Development for the Kansas City Chiefs, was persuaded to talk just briefly about record-breaking quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who recently decided to buy a house and settle down in Kansas City permanently. “Before he bought the house I was with him and he said that he hoped the community would appreciate the fact that he loves living here. He said, ‘I love living here, I want to live here, this is my kind of place.’”

The ways in which Kansas City sports are improving the city are too many to cover in a single evening’s presentation. However, other topics covered were sports camps that foster STEM learning, sports betting, the evolution of sports technology, and major league sports’ continued effort to expand internationally.

Don't miss out on the next Executive Advantage Series event on October 10, 2019. More details to come for the topic, when, and where. Please email kcevents@CBIZ.com for any additional questions.




August 2, 2018

For the past two years, around twenty CBIZ employees from all different business lines have volunteered an hour each week to visit two local Kansas City Public Schools, Troost Elementary and King Elementary. CBIZ Lead to Read volunteers read with a designated 2nd-grade student on the same day each week over their lunch hour. It is an opportunity that everyone, volunteer and student alike, look forward to all week. Colby Cooper, Audit Associate at CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann, reflected that while the reading is fun, that isn’t his favorite part of being a reader. “The best part about being a reader is the interaction and happiness that you see on the kids face when you walk in the classroom - it puts a huge smile on my face when I see that happiness.”

The City of Kansas City has been focused on improving third-grade literacy since 2011, when Mayor Sly James began promoting the importance of literacy in lifelong education. In 2011, the mayor founded an initiative called Turn the Page, which has served as the voice box for literacy. That same year, Lead to Read KC began placing volunteers in classrooms and quickly became the boots on the ground for improving literacy in the schools.

Last year, Lead to Read KC provided 1,100 volunteer reading mentors to students in Kansas City. The volunteers start in September and visit the classroom throughout the school year. The program ends for the summer in May with an ice cream social, when each volunteer gives their student a book.

Children spend the first three years of elementary school learning to read. From that point onward, they read to learn. That’s why literacy is crucial from an early age, and it’s why CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann recruiting coordinator Kasey Haverkamp believes so strongly in the mission of the program. “I enjoyed getting to see my buddy grow in her reading skills over the year. Having consistent weekly interaction with the same child makes it clear that the 30 minutes a week actually does make a difference over the course of the program.”

In 2017, test scores show third grade reading proficiency in Kansas City is 55 percent, up from 33 percent in 2011 when Lead to Read KC started. With help from volunteers like the ones from CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann, that figure is expected to continue increasing. Together, CBIZ is helping to create a community of readers, one lunch hour at a time.

In addition to the traditional Lead to Read program, the CBIZ Employee Benefits division in Kansas City has participated in many other ways to help young readers in our community. Around 15 volunteers signed up to assist at a field day at Gordan Parks Elementary on their last day of school, and the division hosted a book drive for Lead to Read in the early summer. CBIZ is lucky to have leaders willing to support the participation of their employees and employees willing to donate their time to helping others.

 

Additional Quotes from the volunteers:

“It was her [my reader’s] first week in school, and she didn’t know her ABCs or her numbers. She was 9 years old. She had never been to school, and she was put into 2nd grade. I could not get her out of my mind, and so I go three times a week now. This girl is just amazing. School has changed her life. I still work with her. She can write her name, knows her ABCs, and all of this came about in 12 weeks.

On the last day of school, one of my readers said: “I’m gonna get you a mansion!”

--Marty Albright National IT Asset Manager & KC Area Manager, CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann

“Your presence as a reader becomes incredibly important to the student.  Your full, one-on-one attention to them is something they look forward to, so you naturally feel a great responsibility for their progress throughout the year.  Well worth committing an hour of your day to this effort.”

-Todd Scott, Associate Vice President, EFL Associates

“What I enjoyed most about the program was the way each child lit up when they spotted their reader. The program is important to me because literacy is crucial for surviving and thriving and is something many of us take for granted.  In order for these kids (or anyone for that matter) to have a real shot at life, they need to be able to read at a young age.  This will help them learn and grow for the rest of their lives. For that 30 minutes each week, I was able to connect with a child and could see the positive impact I was making on her as she progressed not only in her reading, but also her social skills.”

--Sarah Cathey, Retirement Plan Consultant, CBIZ Retirement Plan Services

“LTR is important for the children to have one on one reading time with an adult who encourages them and cares for them. I have seen the kids I read with gain confidence in themselves, and all the kids faces light up when we come into their classroom.”

--Megan Lasche, Senior Executive Assistant, CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann

“The best part about being a reader is the interaction and happiness that you see on the kids face when you walk in the classroom and it puts a huge smile on my face when I see that happiness.”

-Colby Cooper, Audit Associate, CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C.

“It was encouraging to see the improvement from my student over the semester. I also loved the interaction with the children – they were very excited to see us every week.  I feel the program provides some stability in their lives of someone showing up every week to read and interact with them. I love to read, and I love to volunteer – it was the perfect setting!”

--Laura Weeks, Senior Account Manager, CBIZ, Inc.

“What I enjoyed most about the program was the excitement and joy I received from my reading partner. She was truly happy to see me each time and it was infectious.  I thought I was the one giving, but I received much more in return.”

    --Ann Swarts, CPA, Managing Director, CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C.

“Hands down, Lead to Read is one of the most rewarding volunteer opportunities I’ve ever taken part in. I had no idea it was possible to bond so much with a child by just seeing them for 30 minutes each week. However, by the end of each semester, I was truly invested in my reader’s success and so proud to see their reading level improve. This program makes it so easy to make an impact in our community!”

--Molly Flood, CPA, Tax Senior Associate, CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C.

To join, go to LeadtoReadkc.org and click the “Become a Reader” tab. When completing the online form, under “Business Affiliation,” include (CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann).




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