Monday, April 14, 2014

Luncheon to focus on politcal advertising

Michelle Ziel-Dingman and Dayne Dingman, the team behind Artcore Visual Studio, will be the guests next Thursday at the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation's monthly Lunch 'n' Learn.

Artcore was integral in the election last fall of Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Caper, and political advertising will be the subject of the talk. Do basic marketing principles apply? The presentation will focus on the subtleties in the carefully crafted messages of political candidates that can be applied with advantage to any type of advertising or marketing campaign.

The lunch will start at 11:30 a.m. at Dixie's Diner, on Channing Way. RSVP Lisa if you plan to attend. Tickets can be bought in advance here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Quizzes, aggregation, etc.: What's an old print dog to do?

A metaphor for life, perhaps?
I recently filled out one of those Facebook quizzes, one asking "Are you a journalist?" I passed. :)

This is probably because I know how to use the word "affect," e.g., "The publisher affected an air of haughty condescension." I also know the difference between e.g. and i.e. How 'bout that?

With the results duly posted, I wrote, "I feel like a polar bear standing on ice that's melting out from underneath him." On reflection, that's probably true of my whole life. When it comes to my career, I made my bed a long time ago.

Anyway, I picked this Vanity Fair article by Michael Kinsley off my Twitter feed Thursday morning and as a former newspaper person I found it interesting, so I'm sharing it. If this is what's called aggregation, a dirty word at a lot of newspapers today, I plead guilty.

One passage caught my attention, should you choose not to open the link: "(Most) newspapers aren’t very good and wouldn’t be missed by anybody who could get The New York Times or USA Today and some bloggy source of local news." I don't want to go near that one.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Eagle-based developer eyes land near Pancheri overpass

An Boise-area developer is looking to bring commercial development to 25 acres south of Pancheri Drive to the west of Interstate 15, but it will require an amendment to the city's comprehensive plan before anything moves forward.

At the moment, the land there that is in city limits is mapped out for high density residential development. Zoke LLC, an Eagle company, is seeking to have it rezoned to HC-1 (Highway Commercial). The first step will be a May 6 public hearing by the Idaho Falls Planning and Zoning Commission.

Paul Hilbig, Zoke's site acquisition manager, said he is reluctant to disclose any details this early. But on his LinkedIn profile, Zoke's mission is described this way: "We help growing franchisees and companies find the perfect 'next location.' Franchisees are excellent at running their companies, but when it comes time to expand, things get daunting. We are able to use our decades of real estate experience to find the perfect location, design the perfect site plan and get all the necessary government approvals. We then construct the building and sign a long-term lease with the franchisee or company. We do all this at no charge to the expanding business."

Monday, April 7, 2014

What's not to love about Human Resources?

Someone asked me recently, “You look so young, yet you come with so much experience. How did you get into HR?”

Without giving you my whole resume, here's what happened. I found a job in college that was flexible with scheduling, with an international HR outsourcing corporation called Workscape.  After college, I went to Manpower Staffing, then, after moving from Boise to Idaho Falls, to Advantage Employer Solutions. Finally, I made the big decision to start my own business.

Over 14 years, I've worked with everyone from IBM, GM, Nokia and Whole Foods down to small businesses with one or two employees. From almost the beginning, I recognized I loved HR because I loved working with people. I loved helping people who hadn't received their insurance ID cards and helping people get hired after searching for months. Designing policies and procedures to help streamline business operations -- maybe that wasn’t my favorite part, but I have had the opportunity to do it a lot. HR is a vast array of disciplines and knowledge all centered around a company’s greatest and most valuable resources, its employees.

Because it covers so much, HR can be misunderstood and often hated by both employers and employees. I’ve spoken to a number of business people who loathe anything employment related. In their minds, it’s best to maintain simple HR management. I've also dealt with employees who view the HR department as the company’s KGB for “handling employees.”

The funny thing is, both sides are insanely wrong and could do themselves a big favor by changing their mindset about HR.

Businesses do not have to seek out and hire a true HR professional to maintain great HR management practices. I have seen HR management conducted successfully by office managers, supervisors and business owners. I will say, however, that in order for HR management to be successfully integrated into a business it is important that the person in charge of HR has proper training, experience, knowledge and a steady commitment keep up on the latest developments. There are numerous HR training programs, blogs, newsletters, webinars, organizations, professionals and consultants, all available at the click of a button.

No matter how small, it’s increasingly important for every business to integrate HR management into its organization.  HR management has become the front line for business against potential legal liabilities, but also helps businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively. If you don’t integrate HR management into your organization, I can promise you will continue to have long-term issues that go far beyond losing your last unemployment claim appeals hearing.

For employees, HR professionals are not always the “bad guys.” Ideally, their job is to manage all employment related issues in a fair, impartial and streamlined manner. I understand this doesn’t always happen, but keep in mind most of the time there are probably about 50 things that go into a situation that you will never have any idea of, and a lot of them have to do with employment and labor law compliance. I just ask you to be more open-minded in knowing that their job is to be impartial and fair.

In simple terms for both sides, HR is an advocate of both the business and the worker. While every business may not have a dedicated HR professional in them, those responsible for HR management should in theory be this advocate for both sides of the employment relationship. If that’s the case, what’s not to love about HR?

Monica Bitrick is a human resources consultant based in Idaho Falls. She writes a weekly column on HR issues for BizMojo Idaho.

Friday, April 4, 2014

City plans public workshop Wednesday on trails, bike paths

The City of Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Division is holding an open house Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. to review the Connecting Our Community draft plan. The meeting will be held at the Marriott Residence Inn.

The purpose of the Connecting Our Community plan is to make improvements in the pedestrian and bicycle trails and paths in the Idaho Falls area. Working with information received through a mail-in survey and open house workshops, the planning will include the examination of funding options for improvements in trails and roadway crossings and the expansion of on- and off-road paths that will allow bicyclists and pedestrians to get around the city better.

There will be a short presentation by Joe Gilpin of Alta Planning and Design, followed by an opportunity for members of the public to review and comment on the draft plans, including a conceptual plan for a proposed mountain bike park.   

In October 2013, Idaho Falls residents received a two-page, 21-question survey inside their utility bills. The survey was distributed in Ammon, Iona and Ucon in community newsletters. In the 1,115 surveys that came back, respondents identified three plan priorities: more connections to the greenbelt; safe routes to schools; and new and improved trails overall and along canals.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Site plan filed for Home2 Suites at Snake River Landing

A drawing of a Home2 Suites hotel, from the Hilton Worldwide Web site.
It looks like a new extended-stay hotel is in the works for Idaho Falls, a Hotel2 Suites by Hilton at Snake River Landing.

Horrocks Engineers filed a site plan March 25 at the Idaho Falls City Annex. This is the first step toward getting a project up and running, with engineers from all city departments looking at the plans and suggesting revisions.

What is being proposed is a project at the southwest corner of Snake River Parkway and Whitewater Drive covering 94,425 square feet, with parking for 112 vehicles.

Home2 Suites was launched in 2009, the first new brand introduced by Hilton Worldwide in 20 years. Since then, 21 hotels have opened, 21 are under construction and more than 80 properties are scheduled for development. The development focus has been on the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The design concept for suites is one of a "working wall," incorporating kitchen and flexible working space by connecting separate living and bedroom zones. Meanwhile, an "Oasis" features more than 4,000 square feet of space for guest work or play.

The footprint is typically under two acres, and the 107-suite prototype features four-story wood-frame construction. Properties are designed to be built in under one year.

Snake River Landing's parent company, Ball Ventures, already has a relationship with Hilton Worldwide, having developed the Idaho Falls Hilton Garden Inn nearly 10 years ago.
An interior view, offering a look at the kind of style Hilton is going for with Home2 Suites.

EIRMC names new chief operating officer

Jeff Sollis
Jeff Sollis has been named as chief operations officer at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical, according to a hospital news release.

Sollis has been with EIRMC's parent company, Hospital Corporation of America for seven years. Sollis he comes from Timpanogos Regional Hospital, a 122-bed hospital in Orem, Utah, where he served as COO. Before that, he worked at North Suburban Medical Center in Denver, Colo., and at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kan.

As COO, he will lead several departments, including medical imaging, pharmacy, laboratory, therapy services, plant operations, nutrition services, environmental services and EIRMC's Behavioral Health Center.

He holds a bachelor of arts degree in behavioral health from the University of Utah and a master's degree in health administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.