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Food and Beverage Manufacturing: 6 Trends to Watch

CRB

by Jason Robertson, Vice President, Food + Beverage & Tony Moses, PhD, Director, Product Innovation Like a powerful locomotive, the food and beverage manufacturing industry has incredible forward momentum, driven by innovative new processes and products. Consumer attitudes continue to evolve and people are more willing than ever to try new products and to embrace the use of science in food production. There’s never been more science involved in food processing and packaging, geared to allay consumer concerns about cost, health and environmental sustainability. A great example is the way consumers have taken to alternative proteins to help feed the growing population in environmentally responsible ways. Here we discuss some of the food and beverage manufacturing trends that make this the most exciting time in food science in decades. 6 Food and Beverage Manufacturing Trends to Watch 1. Innovating process, products, and packaging Food processors are developing and marketing novel processing techniques, products and packaging to appeal to consumer demand. One of the most exciting new food and beverage manufacturing trends is the use of high-pressure processing (HPP). This low-temperature pasteurization technique is gaining traction among food producers for more natural applications, such as naked juice, ice cream and cookie dough. It is ideal as a final surface kill step for any bacterial contamination that may have been picked up during processing. HPP comes with challenges, including the equipment expense, the need for packaging that can withstand intense pressure (80,000+ lbs.) and, because it isn’t as thorough a kill step for all microbes, products may need to be refrigerated. Despite its challenges, expect to see wider adoption as HPP manufacturers and packaging suppliers innovate to improve throughput and therefore reduce processing costs. Pet food production is also undergoing big changes, including the use of refrigeration during processing and packaging to maintain freshness. The desire of some pet owners for raw pet food is also gaining traction and requires special handling to prevent microbial contamination (e.g., HPP) and to preserve freshness (e.g., preservatives or freeze-drying). The development of alternative proteins is one of the reasons that food scientists are so excited about the future of food. The goal of alternative proteins is to make cell-based and plant-based products that have the same or better taste and feel—and cost the same or less—than comparable animal proteins. Plant-based foods can replace such animal products as ice cream, meat, chicken and pet food, while cell-based meat and seafood, including burgers that have the taste and feel of animal protein, are upending our notions of what is possible. There’s even recently been innovation in cell-based fats and blood to complement these spaces and create a more authentic eating experience. These products use novel technologies, including extrusion, that have been scaled up for commercial-scale manufacturing by engineers with experience in the design and construction of plant- and cell-based protein manufacturing facilities and process lines. 2. Growing consumer pressure for sustainable products Consumer pressure continues to grow for the food industry to eliminate its reliance on single-use plastics, reduce waste and produce food in a sustainable way. Reducing packaging waste There is a science to food packaging. Companies must ensure food safety and satisfy consumers, all while carefully balancing product quality, appearance, functionality, cost and environmental impact. Driven by corporate responsibility and consumer demand, producers are taking a proactive approach to prioritize sustainability in their packaging. As examples of companies stepping up to meet consumer preferences, Nestlé, KraftHeinz and Conagra have all committed to using only recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025. These companies recognize sustainability as an issue that provides value to their customers, who are willing to pay a premium for products they believe support environmental sustainability. Retailers are also demanding change. A good way to see the direction that packaging is taking is to walk the aisles of the largest food retailers, like Walmart, which accounts for about one-quarter of Conagra’s net sales. Walmart announced sustainability goals aimed at reducing single-use plastic, making commitments to improve sustainability in its U.S. private brands. Walmart is also encouraging its national brand suppliers to make similar packaging commitments. When large retailers ask for something, suppliers will find a way to provide it. Upcycling Many companies, including numerous startups, are taking advantage of the trend to repurpose food products that would otherwise be wasted. Upcycling is the value-add process of turning food that would have been wasted into products for human consumption. According to the Upcycled Food Association, this has the benefits of: Reducing food waste and greenhouse gas emissions Increasing the value of food that would otherwise be wasted Creating a more sustainable and resilient food system A good example is Unilever’s use of the ice cream that remains in its manufacturing lines when there is a changeover between products. What used to be waste at one of Unilever’s brands is turned into a best-selling flavor that repurposes 160 metric tonnes of waste annually and is beloved by consumers for its sustainable nature. Indoor vertical farming More fruits and vegetables will be grown in greenhouses, allowing them to be produced closer to where they’re consumed and dramatically change the way consumers interact with locally grown food. For example, instead of growing lettuce in California and shipping it thousands of miles, it can be grown in a controlled environment on the East Coast. In addition to the reduction in shipping and the shorter time between harvest and consumption, proponents of this trend to vertical agriculture say it has environmental advantages. For example, AeroFarms grows greens in New Jersey on 1% of the land required by conventional agriculture using 95% less water, no pesticides and less fertilizer. 3. Increasing food manufacturing automation The shortage of labor in the food and beverage industry is an ongoing issue and will speed up the transition to more automated facilities. The supply of raw materials and available land is often most abundant in rural areas where it can be hard to adequately staff production and packaging lines without bussing people in from a distance. COVID-19 has made this worse; even if you can find enough people to staff a plant, physical distancing prevents them from being there all at the same time. Automation allows increased efficiency and flexibility of production, improved management of the supply chain and better record keeping for regulatory purposes. It comes with significant initial and ongoing costs, however, and requires access to skilled operators. Some see it as a way to future-proof a facility in anticipation of cost pressures or labor shortages, such as those we’ve seen during the pandemic. 4. Emphasizing health claims on packaging and in marketing Consumers are more informed about what goes into their food, which has resulted in a push toward clean labels listing fewer and simpler ingredients, including those that come with health claims. Functional ingredients—like pro- and pre-biotics, antioxidants and vitamins—require an intimate awareness of product qualities and the processing conditions they can withstand. This is driving the trend toward minimally processed foods. The use of high temperature to eliminate microbial contamination adversely affects the quality of some specialty products, like a juice containing probiotics. This has led to some processors reconsidering pasteurization in search of gentler processing technologies, such as high-pressure processing (HPP). 5. Rising cost pressures due to supply chain challenges Shortages of raw materials and rapid changes to how consumers shop are affecting the supply chain. There are short-term food and beverage manufacturing trends brought on by the pandemic. For example, some domestic processors of frozen broccoli and cauliflower had difficulty importing enough vegetables to process. The dramatic shift from restaurant eating to cooking at home also meant that some potato producers had excess potatoes normally destined for bulk delivery to restaurant chains and weren’t able to pivot to small packaging to divert them to supermarkets. The industry also sees a shortage of refrigerated and frozen warehouse space. CRBE estimates that demand for cold storage space will rise by 100 million square feet during the next five years. That’s an increase of 47% from the current level of approximately 214 million square feet. A long-term supply chain trend is the move to e-commerce and curbside pickup. The speed with which retailers had to adapt to pandemic shopping restrictions made this expensive, but many retailers have taken advantage of the shift. Target, for example, has seen a significant increase in sales due to curbside pickup. It’s likely that consumer demand for online shopping and curbside pickup is here to stay, meaning that retailers are preparing their stores for more efficient curbside pickup. Retail outlets could pressure producers to package foods in ways that optimize this process. The need for efficiency and speed of transport to support digital ordering and curbside pickup could also have dramatic effects on the trucking industry, distribution centers and the use of automation (e.g., robotics) along the supply chain. For example, automation could allow a robot to pick up a product from a warehouse, send it by truck to a store and have the consumer pick it up, all in one day. 6. Evolving workplace quality of life to attract workers Competition for labor—with companies that provide a more attractive quality of work life—is driving the transformation to improve work environments. Food and beverage manufacturing facilities in rural areas are in direct competition for employees with e-commerce and other newer industries that appeal to younger workers by offering competitive pay in a more relaxed and comfortable setting. It can be a challenge to renovate facilities built in the 1960s or ‘70s that lack natural lighting and may be either too cold or too hot. When designing new or retrofitted plants, the food industry seeks to create better environments by doing things like incorporating better ergonomics, bringing in more daylight and improving break rooms and lounge areas to improve quality of life. View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from CRB on 3blmedia.com

January 04, 2022 11:16 AM Eastern Standard Time

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Altais Finalizes Family Care Specialists Acquisition

Altais

Healthcare services and technology company Altais, has finalized the agreement to acquire Family Care Specialists Medical Corporation (FCS). FCS was founded in 1988 and provides all-age family healthcare to communities in the eastern and northern Los Angeles metropolitan area. It is comprised of a medical group with more than 120 staff, an independent physician association with more than 340 primary care physicians and specialists, and a nationally recognized family-medicine residency program. The deal was announced in October. Altais is a healthcare services company pioneering integrated, scalable technology solutions and business models that are designed to enhance the patient experience, improve health outcomes, reduce cost, and drive professional gratification among physicians. Altais invests directly in physician practices, clinics, and related business models. In 2020, Brown & Toland Physicians, a network of 2,700+ independent physicians in the San Francisco Bay Area, joined the Altais family of companies. Altais also opened two independent primary care clinics serving essential civic employees and educators in the Monterey-Salinas market. FCS was formed by six Latinx physicians who still lead the group. They are all native Angelenos from the East Los Angeles community. Their aims for FCS were to provide high-quality and affordable healthcare and cultivate future generations of physicians for their community. “We founded Family Care Specialists with the goals of giving back to the community, in both healthcare services and medical education,” said Dr. Hector Flores, co-founder and medical director of FCS. “Our residency program continues to be an incubator for independent physicians who are committed to care for families in underserved communities. We believe the new relationship with Altais will provide FCS access to greater resources and technology. Driven by the power of our common cause, we’ll enhance healthcare for the community at large.” "Altais’ mission is to ignite an exceptional healthcare system that cultivates the health and well-being of physicians, patients and the clinical community,” said Altais CEO Dr. Jeff Bailet. “One of our primary goals in the pursuit of that mission is to support physician practices in delivering high-quality patient care and better health outcomes at lower costs. Family Care Specialists has done an outstanding job providing comprehensive healthcare to underserved communities in the Los Angeles area and developing future generations of family-medicine physicians through its residency program. Our organizations’ aligned missions make us a perfect fit for bolstering value-based community healthcare to the residents of Los Angeles.” FCS recently received Advisory Board’s prestigious “Innovation Showcase: Strategies to Advance Diversity” Award. FCS will reinvest the $10,000 award into its extensive healthcare workforce development programs that are designed to advance diversity, ensure placement of residency graduates in underserved areas, and build future leaders in healthcare. * * * About Altais Altais is a healthcare services company that helps physicians and the clinical community maximize the health and well-being of their patients in an affordable and sustainable way. Altais has two divisions. Altais Clinical Services offers a range of affiliation and employment models for physicians, and high-quality, affordable care for patients. Altais Health offers a broad platform of clinical support tools and technology, along with high-touch support. Ultimately, Altais seeks to enhance the vibrancy of physician practice and strengthen the heart of medicine – physicians connecting with patients and providing personalized, high-quality care. For more information about Altais, please visit www.altais.com. About Family Care Specialists The Family Care Specialists (FCS) Medical Corporation, aka FCS Medical Group, and the FCS IPA collectively serve approximately 30,000 beneficiaries comprised of Medi-Cal, Medicare, Commercial and Covered California coverage and 5% who are uninsured. The FCS Medical Group is dedicated to improving the health status of its patients, their families, and the entire community. FCS utilizes culturally and linguistically competent services and deployment of performance standards that reduce or eliminate health disparities. The FCS medical group is also the founding partner of the Adventist Health White Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program. The residency program is nationally recognized for its academic success, placement of more than 70% of graduates in medically underserved areas, and for contributing to diversity in the health professions. More than 65% of its graduates come from groups known to be under-represented in medicine. For more information about Family Care Specialists, please visit www.fcsmg.com. ### Note: In this transaction, Synergy Advisors, LLC, served as exclusive financial advisor to Family Care Specialists Medical Corporation and its principal physicians, and Kaufman Hall served as exclusive financial advisor to Altais and Altais Clinical Services. Editors, please note: Photos and interviews are available by contacting Robin Carr at (415) 971-3991 or Altais@landispr.com. Contact Details Landis Communications Inc. Robin Carr +1 415-971-3991 altais@landispr.com Company Website https://altais.com/

January 04, 2022 08:11 AM Pacific Standard Time

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The Provident Bank Foundation Unveils 2022 Grant Opportunities

Provident Foundation

The Provident Bank Foundation today announced its grant opportunities for 2022. A total of $2 million in funding will be offered to organizations in in Central and Northern New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Queens County New York. Three types of grants will be available in 2022 including Signature Grants, Major Grants and Community Grants. Signature Grants After a hiatus during the height of the pandemic, the Foundation will offer three $100,000 Signature Grants in 2022—one for each of the Foundation’s funding priority areas: Community Enrichment, Education, and Health, Youth and Families. As a new development for this grant program, organizations are now able to choose to use their funding over one to three years to help further support program sustainability. Major Grants Major Grants will provide funding between $5,001 and $25,000 and continue to focus on specific programs and projects. The Foundation will allow for more flexibility on how grant funds are spent, leaving it up to recipients to utilize funding across the term based on the evolving needs of the program or project. Community Grants Nonprofit applications for Community Grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will specifically support general operations and fund day-to-day expenses. Letters of Intent (LOIs) will be available on the Foundation’s website on February 14, 2022, for Signature Grants as well as the Community Grant application. LOIs will be accepted for the first cycle of Major Grants beginning April 1, 2022. All grants will be used to help fund organizations within the Foundation’s three priority areas: · Community Enrichment: Programs that drive economic development, contribute to a more well-rounded community experience, serve those with special needs, and provide increased access to information and culture. · Education: Innovative programming that expands access to, and improves the quality of, well-rounded educational experiences through strong academic support and curriculum development. · Health, Youth & Families: Programs that ensure people of all ages and means have the ability to live healthier, more fulfilling lives, including access to quality healthcare, nutrition and wellness, and mentorship opportunities. “We have made a dedicated effort to make funding more flexible and accessible. As nonprofits continue to face many changes and challenges in this evolving environment, we want to make sure we are meeting their needs,” said Samantha Plotino, Executive Director of The Provident Bank Foundation. “After focusing heavily on organizations directly connected to pandemic-related needs, we will now shift our focus back to areas like mental health and community enrichment, as well as boosting sustainability and bringing stability back into people’s lives.” Application Process Please visit the Foundation’s website for more information on the application process and eligibility criteria for each grant program. Eligible organizations interested in the 2022 Signature Grant are encouraged to contact the Foundation to discuss their proposal prior to submitting a Letter of Intent. About the Provident Bank Foundation The Provident Bank Foundation was established in 2003 by Provident Bank to enhance the quality of life in the region through support of not-for-profit groups, institutions, schools and other 501(c)(3) organizations that provide services in communities served by the Bank. Since inception, the Foundation has granted more than $28 million to not-for-profit organizations and institutions working toward stronger communities. For more information, visit www.theprovidentbankfoundation.org or call (862) 260-3990. Contact Details The Provident Bank Foundation Lauren Stralo lstralo@levlane.com Company Website https://www.theprovidentbankfoundation.org

January 04, 2022 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

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3M Survey Finds Public Concerned With Road Safety

3M

According to the World Health Organization, one person around the world dies in a road collision every 24 seconds—a tragedy totaling 1.3 million people each year. To help combat this, The World Health Organization kicked off the Decade of Action for Road Safety at the end of October, calling on government and partners to act together to end this preventable crisis. The issue of road and transportation safety is not new to 3M. In fact, more than 80 years ago, 3M's Transportation Safety Division invented reflective sheeting and installed the first fully-reflective sign. Since then, 3M technologies have been used to produce high-performance materials that improve reflectivity and visibility across roads and highways, work zones, pedestrian crossings, school zones, and more. As part of its ongoing commitment to road and transportation safety, 3M commissioned third-party independent research in 11 countries to identify the top concerns of adults relative to getting to and from home safely, as well as their views on the current state of transportation safety in their communities. Thirty-three percent of global respondents have a family member or close friend who has died or been seriously injured in a car crash, and 40 percent of those incidents occurred during the pandemic. In addition, 36 percent of 18–34-year-old respondents—more than any other age group—reported having a close family member or friend who was seriously injured or who died in a traffic collision, with almost half of those incidents taking place over the last 18 months. “The results of our global survey reaffirm that improving road and transportation safety around the world must remain a top priority, especially as the number of traffic collisions rises in many countries,” said Dan Chen, President of 3M Transportation Safety Division. “Helping families get home safely has never been more important and we are committed to continuing our work in improving access to safe transportation and developing safety solutions across the globe.” The impact of the pandemic on transportation safety The survey revealed elevated concern about transportation and roadway safety since the start of the global pandemic. In fact, almost 4 out of 10 of Americans say that they are as fearful and concerned about transportation and road safety as they are about getting COVID-19. The survey also revealed that 35 percent of respondents globally believe transportation has become more dangerous due to the pandemic and that 35 percent believe traffic fatalities have increased in 2020. At the same time, 55 percent say they have been driving more carefully since the pandemic started, indicating a disconnect between people self-evaluating their driving and perceptions of others on the road. Safety and visibility concerns Around the world, people are highly concerned about the behaviors of other drivers, visibility issues and road conditions. The top five concerns include: Drivers texting or speaking on the phone while driving (86 percent) Negligence of other drivers (83 percent) Bad weather (77 percent) Night visibility (75 percent) Difficulty seeing signs and road markings (72 percent) Access to safe and reliable transportation Globally, people believe their communities should do more to help people safely access a variety of transportation options. Forty-four percent of global respondents believe transportation access is an issue in their community and nearly 8 out of 10 think their community should do more to allow vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians to co-exist safely on the streets. Today, over half of global respondents report not having reliable or safe access to bike lanes and over half —or 58 percent—feel they do not have reliable and safe access to public transportation. Ranking high among community transportation safety concerns, three-quarters of parents globally are concerned about getting their children to and from school safely. 3M transportation safety solutions 3M reflective sign sheeting, ink, and overlays increase visibility and driver recognition of these signals. Studies have found that where more-visible signs are installed, crash numbers have fallen up to 46 percent within three to six years1. Pavement markings help guide drivers and keep roads safe, but in dark and wet conditions, standard reflective pavement markings can disappear. 3M reflective technology makes road markings visible from longer distances and in wet conditions. In the U.S., 3M continues to collaborate with local organizations and governments to address the most pressing road safety issues across the country, helping to reduce fatalities and injuries and make safer roadway systems a reality. 3M is a current sponsor of the Vision Zero Network, a national non-profit working to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries and to ensure safe, equitable mobility for all. This year, 3M also signed on to support the National Safety Council’s Call on President Biden to Commit to Zero Traffic Deaths, a letter campaign urging the Administration to prioritize safety and commit to the Vision Zero goal. To learn more about 3M’s Transportation Safety Division and the company’s efforts to bring families home safely, click here. Survey Methodology This poll was conducted by Morning Consult between Oct. 9, 2021 and Oct. 26, 2021 among a sample of 22,000 adults in the following 11 countries: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted based on gender, age, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from 3M on 3blmedia.com

January 04, 2022 10:32 AM Eastern Standard Time

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Majority of People Support Carbon Removal Investment to Help Combat Climate Change

Acre

Nearly nine out of 10 people want the UK Government to invest in carbon removal, new statistics show.  A survey of 1,500 respondents was conducted by climate services firm BeZero Carbon and research company Stack Data Strategy following COP26, with 45 per cent of people revealing they want such an investment, even if it impacts business revenue.   The survey was launched to uncover the public’s knowledge, trust and support for carbon offsetting and removals in the UK.  It found that while the majority of respondents are in favour of the investment from the Government and businesses, young people are the least aware of what offsetting is despite their concerns about climate change.   The data shows now is the time for the Government and businesses to accelerate investments into technological removals. So far, the Government has pledged just £100million to Direct Air Capture and other greenhouse gas (GHG) removal technologies, compared to the US Congress which has just unlocked £3.5billion for Direct Air Capture hubs in the Infrastructure Bill.  The survey also shows low-income households are the least supportive of actions required to invest in carbon offsetting, with just 43 per cent thinking that carbon offsetting is either effective or somewhat effective, compared to 63 per cent of highest income households  The voluntary carbon market is expected to rapidly increase over the new few years, having already reached the $1billion mark, and the majority of UK businesses are pledging for a net zero target which indicates the greatest importance of the public understanding what carbon offsets are and how they can form part of a variety of solutions to tackle climate change.  Commentary in the survey said: “We are at a critical point. Offsetting is a crucial part of the UK getting to net zero, but it is poorly understood, so scepticism is understandable. Government and businesses must act boldly and at a pace to build transparency and legitimacy in the market if it is to succeed as a high quality solution to tackling climate change.   “This is our one shot. If poor quality information and poor quality carbon offsets continue to percolate in the ecosystem then our chance to build trust in this vital tool will be missed. Action must be taken right now, or we risk damaging the reputations of companies and government alike and further stagnating climate action in the years to come.”  Jack Porter, Senior Consultant - Professional Services at Acre, said: “Carbon offsetting is a term well known to the public, but the topic of carbon removals is a movement that has gained significant support, and now this survey conducted by BeZero Carbon and Stack Data Strategy confirms the public are seeking action. Off the momentum of COP26 now is the time for the Government and businesses to act and make the change towards a Carbon Removals future." Jack sits in Acre’s Professional Services team. Jack has undertaken a range of assignments with clients ranging from the consulting arms of technology giants and Big 4 advisory through to specialist SMEs helping large corporates transition towards Net Zero Carbon. Jack previously led the Energy and Sustainability consultancy for the Energy and Climate Change Team. About Acre At Acre, we work with the most aspirational businesses with potential to make real change; from those who are just starting out to those who are well on the journey to crafting a legacy. Our 18 years' experience in sustainability recruitment, combined with our extensive global network, enables us to provide talent solutions that are designed to deliver this change. Through our unique behavioural assessment technology, we understand the types of people, skills and behaviours required to create impact. We can develop these qualities within your existing teams too. We find talented people and develop their skills to ensure they make a true impact in ambitious, progressive organisations. Acre. Making companies ready for tomorrow. View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from Acre on 3blmedia.com

January 04, 2022 10:31 AM Eastern Standard Time

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Military Veterans Strengthen SAIC Inside and Out

Science Applications International Corp.

As a premier Fortune 500 technology integrator, SAIC is driving digital transformation across the defense and intelligence sectors, among others, delivering innovative IT, digital and engineering solutions. What is especially meaningful is that our mission, and that of our customers, is supported by our 6,000 veteran employees. Veterans comprise more than 25% of our workforce, and we are grateful for their military service and the sacrifices they’ve made. We also recognize the important work they continue to do at SAIC to ensure our nation is safe and prosperous. Every day, SAIC’s veteran employees are using the mission-critical skills, expertise and insights gained during their military service. They are working with emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence/machine learning and augmented/virtual reality, in high-velocity areas such as advanced analytics and simulation, software, cyber, digital engineering and training. SAIC is committed to advancing the nation's defense and readiness. With Department of Defense customers representing approximately 50% of our business, veterans have an affinity with us as an employer, as they get to work alongside other veterans and men and women in uniform. And, with digital transformation initiatives sweeping across the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and other DOD organizations, our work and mission have never been more aligned with our customers’ needs Dedicated to veterans hiring   “We naturally offer interesting and meaningful work for veterans,” said Amy Butchko, director of talent acquisition solutions. “Each year, the SAIC talent acquisition team attends multiple military-friendly events hosted by a variety of transition assistance programs, military bases and recruiting partners.” In fact, SAIC ranks fifth in Forbes' newly released list of  America's Best Employers for Veterans. Forbes' list features the nation's top 200 companies from across all industries for veterans. SAIC has attended and hosted over 50 veteran recruiting events over the last three years, reaching an average of over 10,000 veteran candidates per year. Over this time, approximately 20% of our employee hires have been former service members, translating to around 900 veterans each year. For transitioning military members, SAIC understands that the change to civilian life is challenging, specifically when it comes to employment. Many SAIC recruiters are also veterans, regularly participating in virtual events with our recruiting partners to provide career advice and helping job-seekers at  career chats and events  throughout the year. In addition to providing  one convenient location  to view jobs, especially for transitioning service members and veterans, our employment opportunities are posted on veteran-specific and transitioning military job sites such as Military Hire, US TechVets, and Corporate Gray. Invested in veterans' well-being As huge contributors to our vision, purpose and mission, veteran employees are an integral part of SAIC’s culture, anchored by our  values. In commemoration of Veterans Day, SAIC has set up a place for veterans to share their stories and photos of their service in the armed forces on our intranet site. Sparking enterprise-wide camaraderie, this hugely popular and informal “roll call” is just one way we recognize our veterans. The Military/Veterans Employee Resource Group (M/VERG) at SAIC is another venue for veterans and their families. It is the second-largest of our seven ERGs, composed of over 700 veteran and non-veteran employees. The M/VERG serves as a regular forum and a resource for voluntary members and their families. In addition to celebrating each other’s contributions to the nation’s defense, M/VERG members provide peer guidance and mentorship opportunities for recently transitioning veterans in our company. “Veterans who have joined M/VERG are actively involved in our group’s mission and goals, participating in many events, including fundraising, talent acquisition, community outreach and mentoring,” said M/VERG co-lead Stefanie Wall, adding, “and some volunteer externally through their own personal connections.” The M/VERG hosts regional on-site meetings, community outreach activities across its chapters, and group-wide socials. The gatherings give members time to relax from their busy schedules and have fun. Other times, the meetings facilitate networking and sharing of knowledge and best practices, professional development and career growth and opportunities to talk with M/VERG members who are in leadership positions in the company for mentoring and guidance. Additionally, the M/VERG has established partnerships with local community groups and national organizations that support the well-being of present and former military personnel. There are always volunteer activities and fundraising work happening with M/VERG members. A good citizen to our communities Local and national outreach with our nonprofit partners to help veterans and military families in need is deeply rooted in SAIC’s mission and values. The company has a proud history of philanthropic efforts, and part of our corporate social responsibility program focuses on enhancing the lives of those that have served in our armed forces. Each year, SAIC sponsors numerous events, such as the Back-to-School Brigade with Operation Homefront, which fills the backpacks of children in military families with donated school supplies; and Project Elf with USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore, which makes the holiday wish lists of military children come true. We also partner with Marine Corps Toys for Tots to donate toys to less fortunate children during the holidays. SAIC is proud to partner with  Building Homes for Heroes, bringing renewed hope to our nation’s disabled veterans and their families. Building Homes for Heroes constructs or modifies homes and gifts them, mortgage-free, while providing support services to enable disabled veterans to lead better and brighter lives. Since 2013, the company has assisted in donating 10 houses to military heroes across the U.S., with our employee volunteers putting the final touches on these homes before welcoming the receiving families. “SAIC has a proud legacy of supporting veterans, and it is an honor to partner with Building Homes for Heroes, USO-Metro, Operation Homefront and all of our other military-focused nonprofit organizations,” said Jennifer Love Bruce, corporate social responsibility manager. Veterans are appreciated Bringing their valuable experiences, skills, determination and discipline, SAIC's veteran employees are engaged and woven into our fabric. “The skills I learned during my time in the Air Force have allowed me to showcase myself at SAIC,” said Tracey Baker, a senior logistician who serves on a human dimension support services program providing advanced training solutions. “In a few months, I will have been with the company for a year. It has been a great experience since retiring from the Air Force, and I’m glad to be part of the SAIC family and starting my new purpose.” Albert Prew, an SAIC cybersecurity operations analyst who served in the Marines and now serves in the Rhode Island Air National Guard, appreciates that the company continues to support his learning of technical and leadership skills and provides a flexible work schedule that allows him to continue his service and deployments. "SAIC is veteran-friendly and a great place to work, and I love that there are so many veterans around to talk to," said Prew. Jim Hunnewell served over two decades with the Navy as an airborne sensor operator and aircrew training manager. He is now applying his aeronautics and aviation safety expertise as a military operations principal at SAIC. "I enjoyed my Navy career but now enjoy being able to apply my knowledge and experience to supporting the Navy with SAIC," he said. “As a new SAIC employee, I look forward to using all of the tools and experience I garnered while in the service and, at the same time, learning new ones," said Belinda Cunningham, another Air Force veteran, who recently joined SAIC as a defense health program analyst. "I am proud to have served, and I thank all of my fellow veterans for their service.”       View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from Science Applications International Corp. on 3blmedia.com

January 04, 2022 10:16 AM Eastern Standard Time

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Company Provides Funds for Local NAACP Scholarship

National Grid

The late Barbara Powell would have been proud. Powell was president of the Incorporated Village of Hempstead branch of the  NAACP  (the oldest on Long Island) from 1970-1996, and a fixture in the community. To honor her memory, the chapter provides a scholarship every year to an outstanding Hempstead High School student who will study at a historically black college or university. National Grid funded this year's $2,500 scholarship, awarded to Cenaiya Dalmida, who will attend  Clark Atlanta University. Presenting the award on June 9 was Rosanne Small-Morgan, our senior consumer advocate, who is also a Hempstead resident and board member of the  Community Development Agency of Hempstead. Brian Sapp, our Nassau County government relations director, was also present at the ceremony. “It was a wonderful honor for me to represent National Grid along with collaborating with the Incorporated Village of Hempstead branch of the NAACP to hand over this scholarship to such a worthy young lady like Cenaiya,” said Rosanne. “I look forward to our company and the Village working together in the future to support the young people and worthy programs which will improve their educational opportunities and future goals.” “The Hempstead branch of the NAACP would like to thank National Grid for being so generous and supporting the education of our Hempstead students, especially our recipient, Cenaiya Dalmida,” added Barbara Powell’s daughter, also named Barbara. “We value our newly formed relationship immensely. As Malcom X said, ‘education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.’ By investing in our students, we are making a tremendous impact on their future and the future success of our community.” National Grid also funded and will present next year’s scholarship winner. About National Grid National Grid (NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million people through our networks in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. National Grid is transforming our electricity and natural gas networks with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As part of our commitment to a clean energy future, National Grid is a Principal Partner for COP26, the UN global climate summit, which will be located in the UK in November 2021. For more information, please visit our  website, follow us on  Twitter, watch us on  YouTube, like us on  Facebook, and find our photos on  Instagram. Media Contacts Wendy Ladd Downstate New York 516-545-5052 View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from National Grid on 3blmedia.com

January 04, 2022 09:11 AM Eastern Standard Time

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Medical Expenses Dampen Holiday Cheer for Many Families

Aflac Incorporated

By Alan Goforth Although the holidays typically are one of the most joyous times of the year, it also can be a time of great stress for some families. Many American households struggle to pay for medical expenses, forcing some to make difficult decisions. These choices include working more, forgoing medical care and cutting back on holiday spending, according to the 2021 Aflac Health Care Issues Survey. Continue reading the full article here View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from Aflac Incorporated on 3blmedia.com

January 04, 2022 09:03 AM Eastern Standard Time

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Fortune and Great Place to Work® Name VTS One of the 2021 Best Workplaces in New York™

VTS

Great Place to Work® as well as Fortune magazine have honored VTS — the commercial real estate industry’s (CRE) leading leasing, marketing, asset management, and tenant experience platform —as one of the 2021 Best Workplaces in New York™. This is VTS’ inaugural appearance on the prestigious list, ranking 19 out of the 60 Best Small and Medium Workplaces, solidifying VTS as one of the best companies to work for in the country. The Best Workplaces in New York award is based on an analysis of survey responses from more than 78,000 current employees in the New York State, tri-state and metro area. In that survey, 95% of VTS employees agree it is a great place to work, which is 4 points higher than the average U.S. company. “We’re incredibly honored to be recognized by Fortune as one of the Best Workplaces within New York,” said Nick Romito, CEO of VTS. “VTS prides itself in fostering an environment of appreciation for our employees and all that they do in making VTS the company that it is today, and we have our employees to thank for receiving this incredible distinction.” The Best Workplaces in New York list is highly competitive. Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture, selected the list using rigorous analytics and confidential employee feedback. Companies were only considered if they are a Great Place to Work-Certified™ organization. Great Place to Work is the only company culture award in America that selects winners based on how fairly employees are treated. Companies are assessed on how well they are creating a great employee experience that cuts across race, gender, age, disability status, or any aspect of who employees are or what their role is. “Earning a spot on the Best Workplaces in New York™ list is an especially significant award this year, as the pace and shape of work has changed dramatically,” said Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work®. “Leaders at these companies have shown exceptional care for their people. And this support resonates with all employee groups. It doesn’t matter what pronoun they use, their experience level or their pay grade, all people have a great experience.” In addition to being named to the Best Workplaces in New York™, VTS’ CEO Nick Romito has also been named as one of Commercial Real Estate’s Best Bosses, according to a recent ranking by Globe St., as well as named to Crain's 2021 list of the Most Notable in Real Estate. This year, the company has also been named to Built In’s Best Places to Work 2021, the Forbes Cloud 100, as well as Glassdoor’s Highest Rated Cloud Companies List. VTS continues to experience rapid growth, and is actively hiring within various roles throughout the organization. Visit vts.com/careers to learn more. About VTS VTS is commercial real estate’s leading leasing, marketing, asset management, and tenant experience platform where the industry comes to make deals happen and real-time data comes to life. The VTS Platform captures the largest first-party data source in the industry, which delivers real-time insights that fuel faster, more informed decision making and connections throughout the deal and asset lifecycle. VTS Data, the industry’s only forward-looking market dataset, and VTS Market and Marketplace, the industry’s first integrated online marketing solution, give landlords, brokers, and tenants unparalleled visibility into real-time market information and the direct connectivity to execute deals with greater speed and intelligence at every point in the planning, marketing, leasing, and asset management cycle. VTS Rise is the industry’s most comprehensive tenant experience solution, offering occupiers, building operators, and visitors an immersive, tech-enabled experience. More than 60% of Class A office space in the US and 12B square feet of office, retail, and industrial real estate globally is managed on the VTS platform. VTS’ user base includes over 45,000 CRE professionals including respected industry leaders like Blackstone, Brookfield Properties, LaSalle Investment Management, Hines, Boston Properties, Oxford Properties, JLL, and CBRE. To learn more about VTS, and to see our open roles, visit www.vts.com. About the Best Workplaces in New York™ Great Place to Work® selected the Best Workplaces in New York™ by gathering and analyzing confidential survey responses from more than 78,000 employees at Great Place to Work-Certified™ organizations. Company rankings are derived from 60 employee experience questions within the Great Place to Work Trust Index™ survey. Read the full methodology. To get on this list next year, start here. About Great Place to Work® Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. Since 1992, they have surveyed more than 100 million employees worldwide and used those deep insights to define what makes a great workplace: trust. Their employee survey platform empowers leaders with the feedback, real-time reporting and insights they need to make data-driven people decisions. Everything they do is driven by the mission to build a better world by helping every organization become a great place to work For All™. Learn more at greatplacetowork.com and on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Contact Details Marino Elise Szwajkowski +1 212-402-3495 eszwajkowski@marinopr.com Company Website https://www.vts.com/

January 04, 2022 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

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