Monday, April 13, 2020

Idaho Business for Education launches drive for computers, Internet access

Idaho Business for Education (IBE), a statewide association of more than 230 employers that advocate for and support education in Idaho, has launched two initiatives to help schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. IBE reached out to district administrators about how it might help ensure ongoing learning for students across the state. Two high-priority needs were identified:

• Accumulate technology devices such as laptop computers and tablets that can facilitate continued learning from home.
• Get Internet connectivity for these devices, ultimately within each students’ home. 

Regional IBE steering committees are working directly with their local school districts and communities to achieve these goals. The Eastern Idaho Committee represents roughly 24 districts from Blackfoot, north to Fremont, east to Teton, and west to Challis and Salmon. It is chaired By Aaron Johnson of Bateman-Hall. Committee members include Mike Klingler, Access Computers; Rae Moss and Amy Lientz, Idaho National Laboratory; and Park Price, retired president of Bank of Idaho. Their most pressing need right now is getting students connected to the Internet, especially those in geographically remote areas.

Here is how you can support this effort:

• Donate a device – Functioning laptops, tablets, iPhone and Android phones and wireless hotspots. Devices will be cleaned, hard drives wiped, and set up for student use.
• Volunteer your time – You can help with picking up and distributing devices to school districts. All volunteer activities will be planned with protocols in place for social distancing and personal health safety.
• ­Donate funds – Funds will help build Internet connectivity where it is needed. There will be two options for donating funds. 1. You can donate to IBE’s statewide fund, which will available soon or 2. choose to sponsor specific area projects as needed.

If you are interesting in supporting any of these efforts, please contact Aaron Johnson at aaron.johnson@bateman-hall.com for specific details on how to donate or volunteer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Darci Davis promoted to AmeriTitle state escrow manager

Darci Davis
Darci Davis has been promoted by AmeriTitle Idaho to the position of state escrow manager for AmeriTitle Idaho. In this role, she will work with escrow supervisors and escrow staff throughout the State of Idaho while working closely with the AmeriTitle Idaho's senior leadership team and corporate escrow group.

Davis started in escrow in 2003 and joined the AmeriTitle team in 2008. After a brief hiatus, she rejoined AmeriTitle in 2013 in a leadership role, serving most regional escrow manager for eastern Idaho. “I believe that team is the ultimate key to success," she said. "I have been extremely lucky to be surrounded by the very best in the industry and to have some amazing leaders to guide me.”

“Darci’s passion for developing a strong team and teaching others to be successful in the escrow industry has helped her earn a stellar reputation," said AmeriTitle Idaho VP and State Manager Richard Hajek. "I am excited to see how her passion and energy can help others in our industry across the great State of Idaho, and how she can contribute to AmeriTitle’s continued growth.”

Born and raised in Rexburg, Davis lives in Rigby with her husband, Eric Davis. She has three children and is thoroughly enjoying being a grandmother to a 1-year-old grandchild. She and her family enjoy camping, swimming, traveling, and fishing.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Entertaining the Generations | Kent Lott, Royal Theatres

Kent Lott, owner of Royal Theaters, and his wife, Ingrid
Kent Lott has been in the theater business for nearly three decades and owner of Royal Theaters for nearly two. “I just love it, I have a passion for it,” he says.

He started working when he was 16 and showed a talent for projection, a job that was typically saved for a much more seasoned veteran. “In the old days, the film was flammable and it was very dangerous. In fact, they typically paid the projectionist more than the manager. To have a kid run it was just unheard of,” he said. “I worked seven days a week during high school.”

After serving an LDS mission he worked for the Mann Theater in Idaho Falls and then Salt Lake City. When he was offered a job in Los Angeles, he declined it, and they told him to find another job. That brought him back to Idaho Falls to work at the Paramount Theater. In 1993 the opportunity to purchase the downtown Centre Theater came his way.  “I felt like it was the right thing to do,” he said. Lott tells the story of coming up with the down payment and his crazy plan to make it happen. He was able to pull it off without outside investors. “Huge risk, but I'm a risk-taker,” he said.

When Edwards Cinema came to town around 2000 it decreased Royal Theaters' business by 70%. During that time he had to start a side hustle of business promotional products. It was about two years after the new theater that people started coming back to The Centre. Although he never envisioned having multiple theaters, when had the opportunity to purchase the Paramount Theaters he jumped on it.

A few years ago a representative of the city of Blackfoot reached out to Lott, asking if he'd be interested in coming to Blackfoot. After meeting with the chamber and city representatives they went and looked at the old Blackfoot Motors building. Lott had no expectations walking in but once he saw the building he knew it would be perfect and he went to work on putting together an offer.
One day during this process the realtor called him and warned him that there was another offer coming in from Bingham Memorial Hospital, urging him to act fast. Because Bingham Memorial could close faster, the owners accepted their offer and Lott lost his perfect building. He didn't give up on his dream and approached the hospital with his idea. They saw the benefit it would bring to the Blackfoot community and decided it would be best to sell the building to Lott. Now it's the Blackfoot Movie Mill.

Currently, Lott is updating The Centre and The Paramount. The Center has a new entrance and concession and the Paramount is getting new seating, sound, and other state-of-the-art technology.

Lott's newest concern is how the coronavirus might his business and what the future looks like. “I really think we should call this the kidney stone virus," he said. "It's going to be painful for us all, but it will pass. What's going to happen when we re-open is there won't be enough product to fill all of our screens. I think people are going to be hesitant to come out for a while. I don't see people flocking out to the theaters like what we need.”

The future of Royal Theaters includes Lott's son, Brandon Lott. “He's pretty passionate about it. We are a great combination between the two of us,” he said. “I'm the doorman and Brandon is the technical guy,” he said. Lott feels that it has been a successful family business relationship and hopes it continues in light of all of the upcoming challenges.


For more information on Royal Theaters visit http://royaltheaters.com/. Or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/royal.theaters.9/.

Former INL researcher named to National Academy of Engineering

Dr. Frank Roberto
Dr. Frank Roberto, recently retired from Idaho National Laboratory (INL), has been elected into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), one of the most prestigious distinctions an engineer can receive.

Roberto is currently senior manager for process innovation at Newmont Corporation’s Malozemoff Technical Facility in Englewood, Colorado. He worked at INL from 1988 to 2012, and his affiliation with the lab continued until 2019.
Roberto was nominated to the academy for “advancing biotechnical applications for environmentally responsible mine production.”

The NAE is one of three academies affiliated with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, founded in 1863 to “marshal the energy and intellect of the nation’s critical thinkers to respond to policy challenges with science, engineering and medicine at their core.” Roberto was elected to the academy’s section on Earth Resources, which studies issues relevant to the supply, delivery and associated impacts of hydrocarbon, metallic and nonmetallic mineral resources and mineral and nonmineral energy resource systems.

In the nearly 25 years he spent at INL, Roberto progressed to the rank of Directorate Fellow, managing diverse research projects and technical teams in the biological sciences, specializing in microbiological techniques for metallurgical leaching (biomining). He participated on editorial boards of microbiology-related journals for professional societies, served on state and federal technical and scientific committees, and chaired the U.S. Department of Energy's Biosafety Working Group within the Emergency Management Issues–Special Interest Group (EMI-SIG) Subcommittee on Consequence Assessment and Protective Actions (SCAPA). He also served as DOE's liaison to the American Biological Safety Association. In 2018, he became a registered member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Engineering.

"In the years I worked with Frank, I found him to have extraordinary insights into microbiology and metallurgy," said Dr. Vicki Thompson, a longtime colleague and distinguished staff engineer in INL's Biological and Chemical Processing Department. "I can't think of anyone more deserving of this honor than he is."

Each year, academy members vote on candidates whom they judge to have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practices or education. Nominations are made confidentially by existing members and must include three recommendations. The ballot is set in December and the final vote for membership occurs during January.

In 2020, 87 members and 18 international members were voted into the NAE, bringing total membership to 2,309 and the number of international members to 281. Individuals in the newly elected class will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 4.

Roberto earned his doctorate in biochemistry (plant physiology emphasis) from the University of California, Riverside and performed postdoctoral research in molecular plant pathology with Dr. Tsune Kosuge at the University of California, Davis. He is the second engineer with a longtime INL association to have been voted into the NAE. Kathryn McCarthy, formerly of INL and now vice president for research and development at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, was elected in 2019.

Center for Advanced Energy Studies announces participants in third annual Summer Visiting Faculty Program

The Center for Advanced Energy Studies' 55,000-square-foot building in Idaho Falls
The Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) Leadership team is pleased to announce the selected participants for the 2020 CAES Summer Visiting Faculty Program (CSVFP). In its third year, this collaborative program was created in 2018 to promote one-on-one partnerships and collaboration between university faculty and researchers at Idaho National Laboratory in order to form unified research teams to address critical issues in energy-related science and engineering.

CAES is a research, education, and innovation consortium consisting of Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and the four public research universities of Idaho and Wyoming: Boise State University (BSU), Idaho State University (ISU), University of Idaho (UI), and University of Wyoming (UW). Students and researchers perform collaborative research at locations at all five institutions and at the 55,000-square-foot CAES building in Idaho Falls. CAES harnesses the power of collaboration by leveraging the expertise, capabilities, and facilities among consortium members.

The CAES strategy of one-on-one partnerships builds and sustains a research collaboration ecosystem in seven focus areas: nuclear energy; energy-water nexus; cybersecurity; advanced manufacturing; innovative energy systems; energy policy; and computing, data, and visualization. The CSVFP is one of the tools used to implement that strategy. It generates the mechanism to establish the initial partnerships and requires participants to develop a joint-funded research proposal for submission to DOE or other energy-focused federal and state agencies. If funded, the proposal would sustain the partnership for years.

The program allows faculty members to learn about the inner workings of a national laboratory, its capabilities and expertise, and to build lasting networks. It gives INL researchers the chance to build new academic connections, access diversified funding sources, and connect with students supporting the faculty member. Students are involved throughout the process, thus training a new generation of energy-related scientists and engineers and offering the faculty-researcher connections that build a diverse pipeline for students to transition from university to employment at the national laboratory.

The annual program begins in May, when university faculty spend a week in residence at INL to brainstorm ideas with their INL counterparts and learn about capabilities, then return home and work remotely but collaboratively for two months on proposal writing. (Plans are underway this year to hold the kickoff week online rather than in person due to COVID-19.) Proposals are presented remotely to an internal review panel, then revised over two weeks before faculty return to INL for presentations and networking. The written proposals are submitted to the CAES Executive Board as a program deliverable, with the final proposal to be submitted later in the year in response to an appropriate funding opportunity announcement.

Here are the participants for the 2020 CSVFP: