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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.




June 20, 2019

Summer is off to a great start. The entrepreneurs that came in both have roots in Kansas City and encouraged safety and support to our local communities. More information on these companies can be found below:

City Year

City Year is a national company that has been serving communities for over 31 years. They formed the local Kansas City branch a little over four years ago. The program provides extra support to struggling students and teachers. Mentors, ranging from ages 18 – 25, assist teachers with tutoring, attendance, behavior, and more to help supplement their existing academic plan. . In 2020, City Year plans on expanding to seven schools and adding 44 americorp members. Find out more about City Year here.

Zohr

Tires are not at the top of mind for everyone. Checking to see if they need to be replaced or if they are safe to drive on once you have popped one can be time consuming. Zohr makes tire changes easy. They bring their tire changing vans to you, wherever you are. When Zohr visited our KC office, they created a live demonstration to teach our employees tire safety and just how easy their services are to use. Find out more about Zohr 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 Kaylee Christenson at kcevents@cbiz.com.




May 7, 2019

A Road Map for Innovation: 3 Elements of Design Thinking

In the second quarter CBIZ Executive Advantage Series, Jon Cook, Global CEO of VMLY&R, shared a key element to the advertising agency’s record of success and innovation, design thinking. The concept of design thinking transcends the advertising world and has broader applications wherever there are people delivering products, services, and experiences. Jon distilled the complex philosophy down to a method that is both repeatable and unrestricting.

Jon distilled design thinking down to three basic elements: perspective, exploration and solution.

1. Perspective

There is no single correct perspective, but beware of limiting your focus to a single overriding principle. Jon used the example of efficiency, which can lead to a culture of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This kind of environment stifles innovation and is unlikely to produce products or experiences that exceed expectations.

2. Exploration

Exploration could also be called the research phase. Jon warns against getting caught up in competitor research, although it can be a necessary evil at times. Focusing on competitors limits your research to your own industry, full of people answering the same questions as you with the same basic tools and strategies. Instead, try looking to thought leaders, successful campaigns across all industries, and universal everyday experiences.

3. Solution

When design thinking is used successfully, the solution will do more than answer the immediate question. The solution will change the question. For example, design thinking led VMLY&R to stop asking how to influence their audience to engage with their ads and start asking if ads were the best way to reach their audience. This simple shift led to the social phenomenon that engaged Wendy’s core audience of 18-24 year old men by live streaming a Wendy’s character playing their favorite video game. Click here to learn more about Wendy’s Story.

Jon also cautioned that there is no step-by-step approach to design thinking. The path from perspective to solution is not a linear one, but circular and continuous. By focusing on reframing the question, we can begin to reshape how innovative solutions can effectively address the needs of consumers.

To register for the next CBIZ Executive Advantage Series event, please email kcevents@CBIZ.com.




May 6, 2019

This month’s showcase feature entrepreneurs that are all about making our lives easier with technology. The entrepreneurs that came in both offered resources through their software platforms to make back office tasks a thing of the past. More information on these companies can be found below:

Risk Genius

Risk Genius is a software platform that automatically reviews insurance policies. The problem most business owners face is that they have no idea what is in their policies or what to do during an emergency. This technology is working with AI to better find the policy clauses needed within the uploaded policy database system. Another cool feature of their software of the ability to go through policies with a side by side comparison and checklist of compliance requirements. Find out more about Risk Genius here.

Site 1001

Site 1001 is a software platform for building managers and owners to have a single source of data for  optimal building and operations performance. Many buildings have one system or process that handles work orders, heating, cooling, preventative maintenance, etc.. The Site 1001 software works with Carl, your virtual assistant, to determine building specs, increase the heat, and alert the user of any dated maintenance needs to keep the building in tip top shape for the tenants. In addition, Site 1001 works directly with the general contractor, owner, property manager, and third party services to house the information all in one place. Find out more about Site 1001 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 Kaylee Christenson at kcevents@cbiz.com.




April 4, 2019

This month the entrepreneurial showcases featured services that offer just what businesses need to be successful. One of the entrepreneurs that came in was Bic Media. They offered insight into different media outlets that start-ups should be taking advantage of to gain new business and interact with followers. Another entrepreneur that came in was On Point. They offered opportunities to help manage backend business. More information on these companies can be found below:

Bic Media

Bic Media is a small marketing agency in the Crossroads that specializes in video production. They want their customers to see that making videos is easy. Bic Media offers customers a wide array of formats such as animation, 3-D, and virtual reality that can be paired with original music. Their videos can be displayed by streaming via television or social media. They help take an idea and create it into reality with video. Bic Media is there for every part of the experience from the initial idea to the final product. Find out more about Bic Media here.

On Point

On Point is an outsourced back office business. They are the modern back office and look at more than just typical back office tasks. On Point are the experts in outsourced operations. On point is for businesses needing to mitigate liability and have a cost effective solution to their back office. They help organize the daily stresses burdening employers and are proactive to help continue to mitigate those stresses. Find out more about On Point 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 Kaylee Christenson at kcevents@cbiz.com.




March 6, 2019

This month’s showcase has been tasty and techy. City Barrel Brewing came to visit the CBIZ office this month and brought along a tasty treat for the audience. RPI Creative also visited CBIZ this month and brought along someone to help him record the showcase. More information on these companies can be found below:

City Barrel Brewing

City Barrel Brewing is a new local KC brewery found in the Crossroad’s District. They specialize in sour, hoppy and wild beers with a twist, incorporating fruit and other adjunct flavors to differentiate their beers from their top competitors. City Barrel has a variety of foods that pair well with their craft beers from their full restaurant. Community and giving back is important to the brewery and its owners. To help give back to the community where they live and work, City Barrel partners with local charities to create a special beer where a portion of the proceeds are gifted to the charity.

Find out more about City Barrel Brewery here.

RPI Creative

RPI Creative is a marketing firm that specializes in social media platform management. They help build a personal brand for business and individuals to maximize their reach and bring a voice to their business. To do this RPI creates relatable content that people want to see and share. Likes, views, shares, and comments increases engagement and attract more potential customers or followers to the businesses social media pages. RPI Creative is not your average marketing firm, in addition to social media management, they offer a wide range of marketing services from podcasts to video creation. The more collaboration between them and the business or individual, the more authentic the content feels to the audience. Find out more about RPI Creative 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 Kaylee Christenson at kcevents@cbiz.com.




February 4, 2019

There were quite a few small start-ups that came through our office this windy and chilly January. Some of which were Idle Smart and Venture360. More information on each of these companies can be found below:

 

Idle Smart

Idle Smart is the ideal technology for trucks and soon to be other vehicles. They insert a wireless mechanism into the vehicle’s engine that can automatically turn on or off the idle vehicles once they reach their customized temperature or battery level. Idle Smart has been able to help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions and was recognized as a recommended product by the EPA. This technology is saving firms thousands of dollars year after year. Within the next year, they plan on expanding to ambulances and school busses. Find out more about Idle Smart here.

 

Venture360

Venture360 is a software that helps manage major investments for private firms. The software creates a digital representation of company’s financial transactions for investors and owners to see easily. They help to connect investors with start-ups on a user-friendly and access controlled platform. Within the next year they hope to release Liquifi. The next instalment of investment management that allows individuals to trade their stocks in private firms. Find out more about Venture360 here.

 

Check out 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 Kaylee Christenson at kcevents@cbiz.com.

 




December 10, 2018

In the fourth quarter CBIZ Executive Advantage Series, Russell Welsh from Polsinelli and Gayle Packer from Terracon dove into succession planning, and leading through transition within a company. As Mr. Welsh retires as Chair of the AM 100 law firm and Ms. Packer steps into the role of CEO, they provided key insights on managing clients, employees, and the organization with a smooth transition process.

  1. “Make a commitment to be in their space, in their offices.”

Gayle said she realized early on that most employees were not too concerned with who the CEO of their company was. They were much more concerned with their direct supervisors, and any initiatives that would affect their day-to-day ability to effectively complete their jobs. To make herself accessible, she began traveling to all the local offices, spending time where the employees were doing their daily work.

  1. “Work to retain the talent that didn’t get the job.”

Russell said that one thing they did before they even began extensive interviews was ensure they could retain the candidates that were passed up for the opportunity. While they may have decided on someone else, the other candidates were invaluable to the firm and needed to know they were crucial components for Polsinelli’s continued success. Russell stressed the importance of making sure this was an intentional process.

  1.  “Find the dysfunction that suits you best and run with it!”

Every team and every leader has their own dysfunction. Gayle’s advice was to accept this fact, find which dysfunction is best for your organization, and embrace it. She encouraged people entering new roles to avoid trying to mimic everything their predecessor might have done; they are going to do some things differently, and while this may be uncomfortable at first, will be better in the long run.

  1. “Bypass your ego – change is not an attack on you or what you’ve done.”

Many times during transition, the retiring or exiting leader can begin to feel like new initiatives or changes within the organization due to new leadership is a personal attack. Russell said the best advice he could give to those who were leaving an organization is to let go of their ego and recognize change is necessary, rather than seeing it as a personal affront to their legacy.

To register for the next two CBIZ Executive Advantage Series events, please email kcevents@CBIZ.com for more information.




September 4, 2018

The third quarter CBIZ Executive Advantage Series featured the success stories of Neal Sharma, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at DEG and Tyler Nottberg, Chairman & CEO at U.S. Engineering. The two leaders spoke about their entrepreneurial journeys, and how they remain successful and competitive in a market that is constantly morphing to meet the demands of the consumer. If you missed their inspiring testimonials, here are four key points to motivate you for the rest of the week:

  1. Reduction of overall cost is extremely valuable to the consumer.

Tyler Nottberg admitted that being an entrepreneur in mechanical contracting is not a walk in the park. Like many industries, there are set ways of doing things that are extremely difficult to change or challenge. In his current role, Tyler has made it his mission to change the mindset of his associates, peers, and clients by finding ways to effectively reduce the total cost of a project, while maintaining the highest quality. He aims to accomplish this by providing education on the holistic value of investing in systems and products that may be more expensive initially but will save money in one year, five years, and beyond. This big picture approach can be applied to many industries and projects and helps prospective and current clients understand that the lowest bid is often synonymous with the lowest value. Thus making the strategic investment towards a larger bid, can provide a greater long-term value. 

  1. “The fish rots from the head down.”

While Neal admits this is an old saying and not his own, he used it to drive the importance of strong leadership in an organization. When people ask him how to create an engaging and positive company culture, he emphasizes the importance of an organizational commitment to create an environment where you bring your best self to work and encourage ongoing change. In order to make people feel valued and fulfilled at their job, personal investment is key; as he puts it, “The best way I can build a better company is to be a better man.”

  1. A company doesn’t exist without the community, and the community doesn’t survive without the company.

Tyler emphasized that there is always a partnership that exists between the community and its companies. One cannot exist without the other. A well-functioning society fosters this dynamic so that both are invested in the other for mutual growth and success. In order to keep moving forward, it is imperative that people see that relationship not as a burden, but as a life source to help foster the collective community.

  1. Our community sees Kansas City as a major league city.

Both Tyler and Neal spoke very highly of Kansas City and the strong community that has been cultivated here. When asked about the growth trajectory and what Kansas City needs in order to thrive, they said it began when Salvador Perez’s hit happened in the fifth game of the World Series. “We began to see ourselves as a major league city,” Neal said. Since then, growth has been exponential, but the ability to level off is coming. “We have not yet been asked by our leaders for an ounce of sacrifice for the sake of our communities.” They encouraged current community leaders and aspiring leaders to avoid the civic vacuum, wherein they participate in programs and then disappear for 20 years. Instead, they encourage these leaders to stay involved and encourage more participation and engagement and be personally connected to the communities they serve.




May 24, 2018

At the most recent CBIZ Executive Advantage Series, leaders from across the city gathered to learn from local experts who were charged with answering the question: What to Expect in Kansas City in Five Years.  

The panelists were purposefully selected to provide diverse opinions based on their respective areas of expertise and covered a broad spectrum of areas. The panel featured moderator David Warm, Executive Director of the Mid-America Regional Council, Dr. Kim Beatty, Chancellor of Metropolitan Community College; Dianne Cleaver, Executive Director of the Urban Neighborhood Initiative; and Troy Schulte, the City Manager of Kansas City, Missouri.

The panelists each shared commons goals for the future of Kansas City and challenged the audience to consider continuous innovation to keep KC on the map. With an aging infrastructure, a population that is geographically spread out and culturally diverse, and a broad range of economic levels from the inner city to the suburbs, there are certainly some challenges to consider. Below are the top five key points discussed during the panel.

1. COMPETITION FOR INNOVATION

All the panelists noted that incredible things are happening in the community. David Warm started the discussion by giving statistics about the future of Kansas City. Of note, Kansas City is growing and expanding in population, diversity, job opportunities, and in educated citizens. Within the next five years, Kansas City will surpass Cincinnati, Ohio as the 30th largest metropolitan area in the United States. With that, however, comes the natural growing pains of a city.

Troy Schulte reminded the audience that most innovative ideas do not come from city hall; they come from the vision of the community. He weighed the need for entrepreneurs and dedicated business leaders to continue to push the needle for generating ideas in Kansas City, which will ultimately enhance the City’s competitiveness on a national scale.

2. TRANSPORTATION

Every major city continues to struggle for how to connect their population with the most efficient and effective public transportation. This key discussion point stemmed from a question David Warm positioned to the group; namely, how do these community leaders address the difficulties that arise from the intersection of people and places? As Kansas City continues to add people into the community, there are natural challenges that surface. Troy Schulte recognized this has highlighted a need for better public transportation across the area, and how he hopes that the next five years will see the completion of a streetcar to the plaza, the opening of the new KCI, and more expansive bus routes. Dianne Cleaver agreed on the necessity of this, adding that many people she works with in the inner city neighborhoods struggle to find and maintain jobs because of the inefficiency of our current transportation system.

3. EDUCATION AND SKILLED WORKFORCE

Dr. Kim Beatty went into detail about the initiatives at Metropolitan Community College to better equip high schoolers and adults with skills that will provide a livable paycheck with or without a four year college degree. Like many cities across the United States, there is a growing lack of qualified trade workers within the metropolitan area, and she emphasized the need for internships and apprenticeships to be supported by the larger community businesses.

4. ECONOMIC EQUITY

 David Warm asked each panelist to end with action items for attendees of the seminar, so that people would leave with a sense of responsibility to their community. Dianne Cleaver encouraged the business community to continue their philanthropic efforts, supporting initiatives like her own that aim to eliminate barriers to equity in Kansas City. We must be committed to achieving equity and justice in a manner that honors the unique identity of the communities and citizens in those communities. 

5. MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER

Dr. Beatty’s final thoughts posed a task to the audience to think outside the box. Ask the courageous questions; sometimes, the difficult issues are neglected or put on a backburner because people are scared to confront topics that make others uncomfortable. However, it is in these difficult questions that we address pain points and can then work together to eliminate them moving forward.

Troy Schulte pressed for collaboration within Kansas City. Increased collaboration between the business community, political community, education community, and the residents of the city are vital to keep Kansas City moving forward.




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