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Government widens business rates reliefs but leaves out estate agency branches


first_imgThe government has specifically omitted estate agents from a list of high street premises to be included within its widened range of business rates relief measures announced late yesterday in response to the Coronavirus threat.Hundreds of thousands of high street premises will be given extra help to pay their rates with an expanded retail discount of up to 100%.This will be made possible through central government funding of the extra reliefs which are to be agreed locally by councils for their high street businesses, rather than via changes to business rates legislation.But estate agents hoping the government might understand the pressures their businesses are under will be disappointed.Almost every type of high street premises is included within the scheme from bakers to supermarket and even second hand car lots, caravan showrooms, tanning shops and, somewhat perversely, holiday homes.ExcludedBut the details of the guidance reveal that the government is specifically excluding estate agents from the rates relief programme, including lettings agents.The property industry is lumped in with banks, building societies, medical services such as vets and dentists, solicitors, accountants, post offices and casinos.The omission comes despite a plea on Tuesday during Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s economic update to parliament.During the lively debate, Conservative MP for Witney, Robert Courts, said: “Will the Chancellor please… look at A2 properties, which do not currently receive business rates relief, and see whether some of those businesses—such as estate agents on the high streets – can be helped?”.Read more about the business rates programme.Read the business rates relief document in full.coronavirus Rishi Sunak business rates March 19, 2020Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » Government widens business rates reliefs but leaves out estate agency branches previous nextRegulation & LawGovernment widens business rates reliefs but leaves out estate agency branchesDespite pleas from one MP on Tuesday to include estate agents within the proposed Coronavirus relief programme, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has decided to leave the industry in the cold.Nigel Lewis19th March 202002,708 Viewslast_img read more


Delegations Discuss Counter-Piracy Efforts


first_img View post tag: Naval Back to overview,Home naval-today Delegations Discuss Counter-Piracy Efforts View post tag: Delegations Delegations Discuss Counter-Piracy Efforts On 21 of January, the Force Commander of the EU Naval Force, Rear Admiral Guido Rando, hosted on board his flagship, ITS Andrea Doria, the Commander of the Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151), Rear Admiral Wanich Pakorn.Rear Admiral Pakorn was accompanied by his Public Affairs Officer, Commander Komol Kongboonrak, and the First Secretary of the Royal Thai Embassy in Muscat, Manasawee Tonyoopaiboon.In conjunction with the EU Naval Force, NATO and independently deployed naval units, CTF 151 helps to patrol the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf Aden in order to disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea. CTF 151 also engages with regional and other partners to build capacity in order to protect global maritime commerce and secure freedom of navigation.The two delegations exchanged their views and discussed how to further improve cooperation and coordination in the counter-piracy effort. The Thai delegation was briefed by Captain Luca Ceccobelli, the Chief of Staff, regarding Operation Atalanta’s current and future plans; this focused on the World Food Program (WFP) and Local Maritime Capacity Building activity as part of the EU comprehensive approach to the Horn of Africa.On behalf of CTF 151, Commander Kongboonrak illustrated both the lessons learned during CTF 151 activities and future challenges regarding support for capacity building with Somali authorities. At the end of the meeting, the Thai delegation had the opportunity to tour the ITS Andrea Doria, visiting its main weapons and engines systems.Rear Admiral Rando and Rear Admiral Pakorn agreed that the sharing of both information and experience is paramount to effectively counter maritime piracy and to guarantee freedom of navigation.[mappress mapid=”14941″]Press release, Image: EUNAVFOR View post tag: ITS Andrea Doria View post tag: Navy Authorities View post tag: Effortscenter_img View post tag: africa Share this article View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Counter January 22, 2015 View post tag: piracy View post tag: discusslast_img read more


CAE to develop naval training center for UAE Navy


first_img CAE to develop naval training center for UAE Navy Authorities Back to overview,Home naval-today CAE to develop naval training center for UAE Navy View post tag: Training View post tag: UAE Navy View post tag: CAE The General Headquarters (GHQ) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces has selected Canadian simulation and training technology provider CAE to develop a comprehensive Naval Training Center (NTC) for the UAE Navy.The order is part of wider contract signed between the two sides valued at CAD$145 million.According to CAE, the purpose-built NTC facility will feature a range of integrated ship simulation-based training suites as well as maritime aircraft sensor stations that will be used to deliver training for individuals, command teams, and whole ship crews.In addition, the overall naval training system for the UAE Navy is being designed for networking and interoperability to enable distributed multi-platform and joint mission training.The UAE NTC will include whole ship simulation suites for the bridge, combat information center (CIC), and machinery control room (MCR). Naval tactical mission trainers (TMTs) will be reconfigurable for different vessel types, and used to deliver individual training across a range of ship systems and subsystems, including Combat Management Systems, sensor, and weapons systems.With potential phases, the UAE NTC program could be worth approximately C$450 million over the next 15 years, the Canadian company said.The UAE Naval Training Center will be located in Taweelah with connectivity to several other naval and air bases throughout the UAE. It is expected to be complete and ready for training by early 2019.CAE has also established CAE Maritime Middle East LLC to serve as the prime contractor and program management company in Abu Dhabi, UAE. June 16, 2016 Share this articlelast_img read more


LONGING FOR THE COMPORTS OF HOME THIS THANKSGIVING


first_imgLONGING FOR THE COMPORTS OF HOME THIS THANKSGIVINGCRISTINE FLOWERS, NOVEMBER 18,2018In 1981, I spent my junior year in Paris. It should have been a magnificent time, something that people with English majors and literary aspirations would have called “halcyon.”There I was, 19 years old, single, and earnest in the City of Lights. I should have been Leslie Caron dancing along the banks of the Seine with Gene Kelly, or Audrey Hepburn dancing in front of the Arc de Triomphe with Fred Astaire.Instead, I was living alone, thousands of miles away from my Philadelphia home, and my father was dying of cancer.The thought of dancing never even entered my mind.It wasn’t supposed to be this way.My “Junior Year In Paris” had been planned ever since I took Frenchin fourth grade at Merion Mercy.My first real memory is of twirling around in our Logan living room on Wingohocking Street to Jacques Offenbach’s “GaeB.te CopyrightParisienne” like one of the dancers at the Moulin Rouge. So when the opportunity presented itself, I applied for the year-abroad program, was accepted, and paid the fees. One month later, Daddy was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer at the age of 42.Of course, I begged to stay home.When the begging failed to move my parents, who saw the trip as a way to protect me from watching my father fade away, I became belligerent and vowed not to go. My father kicked that belligerence right out of me by saying, “If you stay here, you are basically saying you want to watch me die.If you do what we planned, you are telling me that you expect to come back and spend many more years with your father.”Damn him, for always winning these skirmishes.The day I left, it poured in typically melodramatic Hollywood fashion. Actually, since we’re talking Paris, it was more like one of those maudlin moments from a FraneB’ois Truffaut film where everyone looks depressed and all of the men are wearing scarves even though it’s 75 degrees outside. The pretense of “I’ll see you in a little while, pop,” was shattered by the vise-like hug I gave him.If he didn’t have any broken ribs it wasn’t for lack of effort on my part.And so my Parisian adventure started out on a sour note, Amer for this American. But my youth and my innate optimism (or possibly narcissism) helped me appreciate the surroundings, and while my heart longed to hear my father’s voice in these precell phone days, my stomach was comforted with chocolate, baguettes slathered in butter, chocolate, apple tarts, and more chocolate.Until Thanksgiving rolled around.Regardless of how delicious French cuisine might be, our Gallic friends cannot do Thanksgiving. Even their translation for the holiday is so awkward that it demonstrates how much of an afterthought it is: Le Jour de l’Action de Donner Grace or literally, the Day of the Act of Giving Thanks. By the time you finish saying it, the turkey is already cold.The week leading up to the holiday left me incredibly depressed, remembering the type of Thanksgiving food we would have at home: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts with bacon, corn, beets, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and lasagna (my Italian mother’s inevitable addition to the meal).As I grieved for my father, who was becoming increasingly weaker, I mourned the meal that reminded me of our happier times.I felt like Emily in Our Town, walking ghost-like through the streets of Paris, looking for something that would carry the echoes of home.Then I saw it.Perched in the window of a patisserie was a small tart, the size of my palm, with maple leaves cut into the pastry and a tiny marzipan turkey perched on the edge. Through tears, I paid for the treasure, snatched it up, then walked to school where I could make a very expensive transatlantic call home.It was the last time my father would recognize my voice.Not knowing that then, but feeling quite blessed, I gave thanks.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more


Clark, Gallelli-Keyes, James Win School Board Seats; LoBiondo Tops Ocean City Native Hughes


first_imgVoters returned Ocean City Board of Education President Joe Clark and appointed incumbent Cecelia Gallelli-Keyes to office and elected Michael James in the election on Tuesday.The race for three three-year seats on the school board was the only local contest in the election. Ocean City’s municipal elections are held in the spring.Clark topped the polls and the unofficial election night totals reported by the Cape May County Clerk’s Office are as follows:Joseph S. Clark Jr. (2,179)Cecelia Gallelli-Keyes (2,145)Michael Allan James (2,060)Dale F. Braun Jr. (1,731)“I thank the electorate that put me in office tonight,” Clark said on Tuesday night from DiOrio’s Cafe in Somers Point, where he was celebrating with Gallelli-Keyes. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work on future contracts and on advancing the district. And Mike (James) is going to be a great asset.”“I’m very excited,” Gallelli-Keyes said. “I’m glad the voters see how much I love our kids and our town.”She said she looks forward to working with parents, school staff and taxpayers in her first full term.Clark was elected to his third term. The city’s purchasing manager, Clark has been instrumental in negotiating contracts between the Board of Education and the Ocean City Education Association (teachers’ union). (See full profile.)Gallelli-Keyes, a former president of the Ocean City Parent Teacher Association, was appointed to the board in December to complete the final year of Greg Donahue’s term. This was her first election. (See full profile.)James is a first-time candidate with extensive experience as a financial manager in his career. (See full profile.)James said he’s excited and thankful to the community for placing their faith in him.“The board is made up of a lot of great people, and I’m looking forward to working with them,” he said.The election also saw New Jersey voters return Democrat Cory Booker to the U.S. Senate. But Cape May County voters sided with Republican Jeff Bell, giving him 57.36 percent of their vote, to Booker’s 41.10 percent.In the most interesting race outside Ocean City, incumbent Republican Frank LoBiondo won his 11th term representing the 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives.LoBiondo defeated Democrat Bill Hughes Jr., an Ocean City native whose father held the same seat for two decades before LoBiondo did. LoBiondo took 67.15 percent of the vote in Cape May County, to Hughes’ 31.92 percent. Within Ocean City, LoBiondo had 2,754 votes to Hughes’ 1,525.Voter turnout was 48.45 percent in the county.In uncontested races, Gary G. Schaffer (Republican) was re-elected as Cape May County Sheriff, and Republicans Kristine Gabor and Will Morey were returned to the Board of Chosen Freeholders.__________Sign up for OCNJ Daily’s free newsletter and breaking news alerts“Like” us on Facebook Ocean City Board of Education winners (from left) Cecelia Gallelli-Keyes, Michael James and Joseph Clark.last_img read more


Speech: PM statement in Denmark: 9 April 2018


first_imgThank you, Prime Minister, for your warm welcome today and I am delighted to be back in Denmark.Your country is a natural partner for the UK, and – as we have discussed today – a likeminded friend and ally on a broad range of issues.This afternoon we have, as you have just heard, talked about the attack in Salisbury and the international response to Russia’s aggression, wider European and global security issues, our bilateral relationship, and Brexit.First, let me say a word on the reports this weekend of a barbaric chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, targeting innocent civilians – many of them children.The UK utterly condemns the use of chemical weapons in any circumstances. And we must urgently establish what happened on Saturday.If confirmed, this is yet another example of the Assad regime’s brutality and brazen disregard for its own people and for its legal obligations not to use these weapons. If they are found to be responsible, the regime and its backers – including Russia – must be held to account.The events in Douma fit into a troubling wider pattern of acts of aggression and abuse of longstanding international norms on counter-proliferation and the use of chemical weapons.In recent years, Russia’s repeated vetoes at the UN have enabled these rules to be broken, and removed mechanisms that allow us to investigate and hold to account chemical weapons attacks in Syria. This must stop.We will work closely with our allies – including at the UN Security Council later today – to ensure the international community strengthens its resolve to deal with those who are responsible for carrying out these barbaric attacks, and who allow global norms to be breached in such an appalling way.We saw a similar recklessness last month with the use of chemical weapons on the streets of Salisbury.I want to extend Britain’s gratitude for your swift and decisive action in response to this horrific attack, and in support of our shared national security.The UK’s case for holding Russia responsible for the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal is clear.Based on our world-leading experts at Porton Down positively identifying the chemical agent as a Novichok; our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and retains the capability to do so; Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations; our assessment that they view some defectors as legitimate targets for assassination, and our information indicating that they have investigated ways of delivering nerve agents, probably for assassination, and as part of this programme have produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks, the government has concluded there is no plausible explanation other than that Russia was responsible.No other country has a combination of the capability, the intent and the motive to carry out such an act.Denmark’s solidarity, along with many countries across the international community, has been invaluable in sending a strong signal to Russia that its illegal and destabilising activity will not be tolerated.And the response from Denmark and our allies in recent weeks has shown a clear acknowledgement of the shared threat Russia poses to our security on a range of fronts. This increasingly hostile behaviour has involved a sustained campaign of cyber espionage, and disruption including against Denmark.We will continue to stand up for the fundamental values that underpin our way of life. And we agreed today on the need to do more – alongside our allies – to counter the growing challenge from Russia to international security.I welcome Denmark’s leadership in co-hosting the next Ukraine Reform Conference in June. This is an important moment in consolidating international support for reform efforts and in helping Ukraine build its stability and resilience to Russian interference.The UK and Denmark continue to cooperate closely on security and defence, as we work to tackle shared challenges on our continent and beyond the borders of Europe.Nowhere is our shared commitment to Europe’s collective security more evident than in the hundreds of British and Danish troops standing shoulder to shoulder in Estonia as part of a UK-led NATO battlegroup.Our armed forces are also taking on Daesh in Iraq and Syria, working to bring long-term stability to Afghanistan, and collaborating through the Joint Expeditionary Force to respond to crises around the world.Our economic cooperation – and shared commitment to free trade – is vital to our countries’ prosperity, with our growing trading relationship worth £11 billion a year.And on Brexit, we talked today about the progress made at the March European Council on the negotiations, and about the key questions that remain to be resolved.We have also taken the opportunity to discuss what we want our future economic and security partnership to look like once Britain has left the EU.As I have said before, I am ambitious for the scale and scope of this relationship, and I want to ensure we maintain the closest possible links with our European allies.I understand that future arrangements for Denmark’s fishing industry are of particular interest to you. As an independent coastal state, we’ll want to ensure fair and reciprocal access to waters.The alliance between Britain and Denmark is rooted deeply in our shared values and a mutual desire to work together for the security and prosperity of our people.And so I look forward to working with you to make sure our close and productive ties endure long after Britain has left the EU.Thank you.last_img read more


News story: Webinar 16 August – Sell to the Home Office


first_imgJoin this webinar with Lucy Moody, Commercial Manager at Home Office, to discover the types of products and services this large central government department is looking to buy, and how you, as a small business, can stand out and be noticed to become a supplier.Lucy is SME Champion at Home Office and works to support government’s ambition that £1 in every £3 is spent with SMEs by 2022. Home Office is committed to strengthening links with, and sales from, small firms. Find out more in this 30 minute presentation and conversation.Click here to register.last_img


Subway franchisees take pasty tax fight to Europe


first_imgA group of franchisees at high street sandwich giant Subway are expected to take their fight over the pasty tax to the European Court.The US-owned food chain, which has 1,500 outlets in the UK, lost its case at the Court of Appeal last week. It is fighting the pasty tax on a belief that its toasted sandwiches do not fill the criteria of ‘hot food’ and should be exempt from the tax. However, HMRC says toasted items are also liable to VAT.The group was granted leave to appeal a ruling last year that toasted sandwiches should attract the 20% tax.If Subway is successful in its fight, it is thought that up to £1bn in tax revenues could be at stake.In October 2012 British Baker reported that a tribunal had ruled against the move to exempt the food-to-go sandwich firm’s ‘toasted’ sandwiches and similar products sold by bakery retailers from the 20% tax.last_img read more


Welch says Vermont dairy industry “on the brink of collapse”


first_imgTestifying before a House Agriculture subcommittee Tuesday morning, Rep. Peter Welch sounded the alarm that Vermont s dairy industry is on the brink of collapse. Welch called on the subcommittee to take immediate action to save Vermont s family farms while working on a long-term solution to the persistent problem of severe price volatility.Welch was invited to testify before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry about the growing dairy crisis in Vermont. Welch spoke about the hardship facing Vermonters in the industry including family farmers Bob and Beth Kennett of Rochester and feed dealer Art Whitman of North Bennington.In the face of severe fluctuations in the price of milk and the ever-rising cost of production, Vermont has lost over 250 dairy farms during the past five years 32 this year alone. Welch warned that without immediate action, the severity of the crisis is likely to increase and could result in a major blow to the state s agricultural infrastructure. The depth of this crisis cannot be understated. Vermont s farmers, government leaders and agricultural experts agree: Our state s dairy industry is on the brink of collapse, Welch told the subcommittee. With dairy representing 70 percent of Vermont s agricultural economy, we could very well see a wholesale failure of our agricultural infrastructure forcing out of business feed dealers, equipment suppliers, processing plants, farm creditors and many more.Vermont Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee applauded the testimony given today by Congressman Welch to the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture about the crisis our dairy farmers are facing. The situation our dairy farmers are facing in Vermont and across the nation is dire and calls for immediate action. This crisis in dairy pricing has serious impact far beyond the dairy industry, said Allbee. I greatly appreciate Congressman Welch s acknowledgment of the seriousness of the situation and his commitment to working to find meaningful solutions. The sentiments he expressed in his testimony today reflect those of me and my fellow commissioners of agriculture in the Northeast. It is a critical time not only for Vermont farmers and the dairy industry, but our rural communities, economy and working landscapes. Once a dairy farm ceases operation our landscape is forever changed.A survey conducted by the Council on Rural Development showed that a working landscape is important to 97 percent of Vermonters and dairy farms play a major role in Vermont s working landscape.Last week Welch introduced the Dairy Fairness Act of 2009 (H.R. 3166), which would index to inflation Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) Program payments to farmers. He also fought to amend the agriculture appropriations bill to significantly increase MILC payments in the short term.Click here for video of Welch testifying before the Agriculture subcommittee. Welch s testimony, as prepared for delivery, is copied below:Good morning. Thank you, Chairman Peterson, Chairman Scott, and Ranking Members Lucas and Neugebauer for inviting me to testify before the Committee today and for recognizing the great peril facing the dairy industry and farmers who sustain it.  Throughout Vermont s history, dairy has played a vital role in shaping our state s economy, infrastructure, culture and landscape. For just as long, Vermont dairy farmers have labored in a challenging industry with great economic risk and uncertain reward. Though volatility in milk prices has long plagued our farmers, today we face a crisis like we ve never seen before. Prices have fallen to record lows even as the cost of production continues to rise pushing scores of farms out of business. In the past five years alone, Vermont has lost over 250 dairy farms, leaving us with only 1,046 today. Thirty-two of those farms have been shuttered since the start of this year alone.The depth of this crisis cannot be understated. Vermont s farmers, government leaders and agricultural experts agree: Our state s dairy industry is on the brink of collapse. With dairy representing 70 percent of Vermont s agricultural economy, we could very well see a wholesale failure of our agricultural infrastructure forcing out of business feed dealers, equipment suppliers, processing plants, farm creditors and many more.The human cost of this economic tragedy can be seen in cases like that of Bob and Beth Kennett, who, like many Vermonters, have labored all their lives only to find an uncertain future in the field they have chosen. Since they purchased Liberty Hill Farm in Rochester, Vermont, 30 years ago, they have watched as neighbor after neighbor shuttered their farms and sold off their herds. Though 50 farms populated the Kennett s Upper White River Valley community in 1960, just 11 remained in 1979. Today, the Kennetts are the only family left still in business.Like many Vermont families, Bob and Beth Kennett had hoped to pass their farm on to their children, Tom and David, who were raised on Liberty Hill and who both earned college degrees in agriculture before moving back to Rochester to raise their own families on the farm. Together the Kennetts expanded their operation from 50 to 120 cows and pursued innovative strategies like opening an agri-tourism guest lodge. But despite their efforts and their hard work, the family now finds itself saddled with loans and losing money with every passing day. Like so many Vermonters, they just don t know how much longer they can afford to keep their doors open.Vermont is awash in stories like the Kennett s and as farmers cope with mounting losses, the psychological impact is beginning to show. Earlier this year two California dairymen took their own lives as milk prices plummeted and financial ruin appeared imminent. To prevent similar tragedies from occurring in Vermont, the state Department of Agriculture and the University of Vermont have established a farm help line to provide psychological aid as the price crisis continues. Beyond the tremendous suffering born by farmers themselves, the impact of a closing farm on its surrounding community and local economy is significant. Vermont businesses with a stake in dairy reported $426 million in sales in 2001 and employed 7,800 workers. According to the Vermont Department of Agriculture, 96 percent of supplies used on dairy farms are purchased locally.Among the many businesses supported by dairy including veterinarians, fertilizer suppliers and hardware stores feed dealers have been among the hardest hit. Art Whitman, a feed dealer from North Bennington, Vermont, has found himself lending more and more of his product to customers who have been unable to pay their bills, turning him into an ad-hoc lender. As Art s own creditors have grown impatient, he faces the difficult choice of demanding payment from nearly-bankrupt farmers and risking his own livelihood.Saving Vermont s and New England s dairy industry will require both immediate action and long-term reforms. The most immediate assistance we can provide dairy farmers to survive the current crisis is an increase in Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) payments. While MILC has helped ward off full-scale disaster so far, the disparity between the price of milk and the cost of production warrants a reevaluation of its payment formula. With farmers spending nearly $19 and earning back less than $12 for every hundredweight they produce, MILC payments between 2 and 3 dollars are simply not enough to keep them afloat.I and several of my colleagues have been advocating for an increase in MILC payments since this crisis began.  The Northeast Association of State Departments of Agriculture wrote to Congress in April asking that we raise the MILC payment rate from 45 percent to 79 percent and revisit the current cap of 2.95 billion pounds of annual production.  I support this proposal as a short term solution to help put money back in the pockets of producers until prices recover.  I realize there is a reluctance to re-open the 2008 Farm Bill, but I would urge the Chairman and the Committee to recognize the extreme nature of this crisis and to make an exception in this case.As we treat the short-term symptoms price volatility, we must not lose sight of the need to develop a long-term solution to the problem. In 2006 the average price paid to farmers for milk in Vermont was $12.60; just a year later the price rebounded to $18.84.  Last year producers were paid an average of $18.09; this year, the average price is down to $11.66.  These constant price swings make dairy farming a challenging enterprise.  Most of the producers I have spoken with have candidly told me they would rather make less during the boom years in exchange for price stability.   This current price crisis is impacting every dairy-producing region from the Northeast to the Upper Midwest and the West.  If we don t act now to bring about long-term reform, we will be forced to revisit the same problem the next time dairy prices crash that is, assuming our farms survive the present crisis.  Several different plans are being discussed by producers, processors and industry groups, and I strongly encourage the Committee to consider all of them. Once again, I thank the Committee for holding this hearing and thank you for inviting me to testify today.last_img read more


Consumer insights from the ‘Director of Smiles’


first_imgWith a robust travel and social schedule built around spending quality time with family, George Blankenship’s third attempt at retiring appears to be the charm.Ironically, the self-appointed title he now proudly displays on his LinkedIn profile page—Director of Smiles—sums up his primary goal throughout a remarkable customer-focused career that included “comeback” stints at two revolutionary companies, Apple and Tesla Motors.Working hand-in-hand with visionary leaders Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, Blankenship served as architect of Apple’s brand-building retail methodology and then redefined the car-buying experience.Previously, he spent two decades developing real estate strategies at Gap Inc., which under former CEO Mickey Drexler became one of the world’s most successful retail clothiers through Gap and offshoots such as Banana Republic and Old Navy.“The commonality is a complete focus on customers,” explains Blankenship, who also spent a year as a consultant on Microsoft’s retail strategy. continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more