News Article | January 6, 2016
Two years ago, Nathaniel Koloc, cofounder and then-CEO of ReWork, a recruiting firm that matches people looking for meaningful jobs with companies doing good in the world, was showing his friend how to use Twitter as a networking tool. His friend loved politics, and it was right after President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, so Koloc tweeted the campaign’s COO, Ann Marie Habershaw, and asked how they hired their staff. "Political campaigns have to hire so many people so quickly, and there is so much at stake," Koloc said, so surely she would have tips that could help his friend. It took two minutes for her to tweet back, and one day to hop on the phone with the then 27-year-old, who had no experience in politics. What she told Koloc, who today is the director of talent acquisition and development for Hillary for America, shocked him: Political campaigns typically don’t have anyone dedicated to hiring. Department heads individually bring people on as needed, and usually those people come from their inner circles. "The thing about politics is that it is really a word-of-mouth game," says James Hohmann, national political correspondent for the Washington Post, who has rubbed shoulders with countless staffers in the three presidential elections he's covered. "A lot of times people get put in important positions because they happened to show up or they know a friend . . . there is a really ad hoc nature to how it works." The problem with inner circles, of course, is that they tend to look like the (white male) people at their centers, potentially perpetuating the lack of diversity—an acknowledged problem in the tech space and elsewhere. That was vastly different from how Koloc approached hiring. A company is only as good as its talent, he figured, so hiring should be approached with the same vigor as categories like marketing or sales. Since starting his company after college, he had created a list of best practices for companies to follow to get the exact people they want and need. Nothing was left to chance; everything from where to look for new hires to how to write a job description was done intentionally. Koloc forgot all about his conversation with Habershaw until this February, when he received a call while walking home from work. It was from David Levine, the deputy COO for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, who had gotten a tip from Habershaw about him. Levine wanted to know if Koloc would consider serving, should Clinton run, as her director of talent acquisition and development, a role no one I spoke to can recall a major political campaign ever having—and one that has transformed the demographics of the people working on Clinton's campaign. "It was wild," says Koloc. "I was so excited to figure this out." Clinton’s campaign headquarters are located in Brooklyn Heights, a tony New York City neighborhood close to Brooklyn Bridge. The scene inside resembles a somewhat jumbled WeWork office, with slews of eager, diverse, busy people working intensely on bean bag chairs or cobbled-together standing desks, pausing occasionally for karaoke night or a round of air hockey. If Koloc’s goal was to fill the campaign with a racially, ethnically, and gender-diverse staff, at first glance it appears he has achieved it. Each department boasts steals from impressive firms including IBM, General Assembly, Etsy, Yelp, Google, Gawker, Facebook, Kiva, and DreamWorks. The digital team has talent from the New York Times and the analytics team from New York University’s formidable think tank on housing policy. The number of people from within politics is striking—for being so low. Less than half of the analytics team and almost none of the tech team ever held a campaign position. "It’s the most diverse and capable team I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve worked with some amazing engineers," says Deepa Subramaniam, a 33-year-old who serves as director of product, a role she held previously at Charity Water, where she built an online fundraising platform to raise money ($27.9 million in 2014) to deliver clean water to the developing world. Before that she was at Adobe, where she tackled projects like the Creative Cloud and the open web platform. "We have people from public sector, private sector, media companies, big startups, and much smaller startups," says Koloc. "We have folks from all different angles coming in, many of them taking pay cuts to work much longer hours." The campaign’s diversity extends far beyond career history. Over 50% of the campaign is female. Of the campaign’s more than 500 staffers nationwide, more than one-third are people of color; nearly 40% of Hillary for America's senior staff are people of color. Regional press secretary Tyrone Gayle points out that these numbers roughly reflect national demographics. Hillary for America is hardly the only political campaign to attract capable people from varied industries. Bernie Sanders has been making headlines for the slew of programmers coming his way. And President Obama led the way in luring top players from America's white-hot tech industry to spend a few years helping Washington "fix things" (starting with its initially botched launch of Healthcare.gov). Obama also appointed the first, second, and third U.S. CTOs, as well as its first chief data scientist. Now, Clinton is taking a methodical approach to hiring a high-achieving team that also reflects America's demographics. "From the earliest days of our campaign, Hillary for America has adopted a state-of-the-art approach to hiring, allowing us to hire a talented and dedicated staff," says Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. "We’re always on the lookout for new talent—whether they come from the private or public sector, media, tech, or are a veteran of the political world." Everything Koloc practices originates from his experience founding ReWork in 2011 in Boulder, Colo., at age 25, after he completed graduate school in Sweden at the Blekinge Institute of Technology. Koloc (whose undergraduate degree is from the University of Vermont) noticed his friends were either accepting jobs they didn’t find stimulating, or not settling and remaining unemployed. At the same time, there was an uptick in industries like sustainability, organic food, wellness, and social enterprise. ReWork was founded to match people looking for meaningful, stimulating jobs they actually believed in, with the growing number of positions available in those industries. Koloc and his ReWork colleagues honed techniques for getting the right people in the right jobs, though he is mum on how exactly he does this within the Hillary campaign. "The little things add up," he says. For example, wording a job description so it highlights an individual’s opportunity to leave a legacy can go a long way in attracting ambitious people who want to make an impact. Another approach is to give job candidates sample work to complete during the interview process. That allows the company to see if this person can actually do the work, and allows the person to see if they will enjoy doing it. He looks for talent outside of the circle of current employees, perhaps in other industries that draw on similar skills. He sees who is talking about issues important to the campaign on Twitter. At Hillary for America, Koloc serves as more of a resource for senior staff than a line recruiter, imparting his acquired knowledge and letting them implement it. Max Weselcouch, director of analytics communications, came to the campaign from NYU, where she directed the Moelis Institute for Affordable Housing Policy at NYU’s Furman Center. As she's staffed up, she's successfully used the sample-work approach recommended by Koloc to weed out unfit candidates. "We will get excuses 10 minutes after someone received the test," Weselcouch says. "They say, ‘Oh, I actually just accepted a job.’" Marlon Marshall, Clinton's director of state campaigns and political engagement, who directs the field operations, says Koloc has helped him find volunteers and staff in places he never would have looked. "I think what happens on a lot of campaigns is you reach out to networks of people you know, so who has done a campaign before, or here is my social network," he says. "Nat has thought of ways to get nontraditional people involved. Also, how do we make sure to reach out to communities of color to talk about the different opportunities we have?" Attracting the right staff leads to the campaign tackling problems in new and different ways. While the campaign won’t reveal most of what they are working on, they gave a few hints. Mina Markham, a 30-year-old software engineer who came to the campaign from IBM, where she was a product designer and front-end architect, says she is using her skills and experience to streamline the process of how code gets written. If she can crack this problem, the tech team will be able to build products—like ones that tell field organizers about potential donors on the ground, or micro-websites that target specific demographics of voters—much more nimbly. Weselcouch, meanwhile, is drawing heavily on her background in analytics. "One of the things we look at is our field organizers and what they are doing every day. How many people are they calling? How many doors are they knocking on? Then we aggregate that data and present it in tiny little nuggets that senior staff can look at on their phone and understand in 10 seconds." It’s not easy to recruit for political campaigns, says Sasha Issenberg, the author of The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns. Campaigns grow quickly when the need arises or when the money comes in. It’s also hard to convince good people to leave stable, well-paying jobs for a gig with an expiration date. For this reason, he says, "Campaigns have never done a consistently good job at hiring people from outside the world of politics." The Clinton campaign is hardly the first to try to overcome the challenges. Both Obama campaigns, for example, experimented with different kinds of recruitment in certain departments. Teddy Goff, who led the famed digital campaign team, drew from unusual sources of talent, says Jonathan Alter, who wrote about it in his book The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies. "He had two professional poker players, a nuclear physicist, and several other people with varied backgrounds who worked in ‘The Cave,’" he says. "They ended up doing an amazing job." Meanwhile, Dan Wagner, Obama's head of analytics, only hired people who could complete his complex problem sets. But no campaign has tried to tackle the problem with a tailored, top-down approach until this one. Koloc has a few things going for him. First, unlike some campaigns, Clinton has the money and staying power to recruit talented staff. "She knows she’s going to win [the primary]," says Hohmann. "She is going to raise a lot of money and set fundraising records, so she has the luxury." Clinton is also benefitting from excellent timing. Obama made campaigns sexy again, opening up the path for her to recruit the young and upwardly mobile. "That’s an enduring post-Obama change," says Issenberg. "I do not think 12 years ago that people thought working on John Kerry’s or Al Gore's campaign was cool or interesting. I think the innovation culture around the Obama campaign—which has gotten tons of media attention—[amplified] the idea that the things that happen in political campaigns are innovative and potentially at the cutting edge of fields unrelated to politics." Subramaniam agrees. "The campaign is dealing with the hard problems that whet every product manager, designer, and engineer’s appetite," she says. The analytics team is working with massive data sets to mine for useful insights. The communications team is trying to get a message across to millions of people about a candidate they will never meet in person. The products team is trying to build websites that appeal to the public and educate them. But even with these advantages, Koloc still has his work cut out for him. He has to reach a new type of candidate, some of whom don’t even realize the campaign needs their skills. Markham said she didn’t even realize political campaigns hired staff engineers. "I didn’t even know that was on the radar; I’ve never been in politics before, so it wasn’t in my realm of experience," she says. "When they contacted me, I was shocked, and then really, really excited . . . something like this doesn’t happen very often, the chance to be part of something potentially historic. This is the job you dream of having; you can make such a big impact."
Imagine that a recently discovered pollutant prevented trees from forming leaves. Every April, buds would spring from the branches, and kids on their way to school would point to the tiny shoots of green and pink. But as the leaves fleshed out further and began to photosynthesize, an invisible vapor would choke and corrode them. The tree would eventually just wear away, its bark falling off in chunks. It is not an exaggeration to say that something similar is happening right now—yet in Earth’s oceans, and so outside of most Americans’ daily view. A fundamental chemical change in the oceans has made marine waters less hospitable to any animal that builds a hard shell or a skeleton. In some places, hatcheries report that oyster larvae are dying by the billions, corroded away before they can grow. The chemistry is already affecting corals, clams, and the zooplankton that form the basis of the marine food chain. Recommended: The Audacious Plan to Save This Man’s Life by Transplanting His Head The phenomenon is ocean acidification, and it is caused by the same carbon dioxide that is forcing the planet to warm via the greenhouse effect. Though it much less understood, ocean acidification may cause as much harm as global warming, as it’s a recognized threat to the nation’s (and the planet’s) fisheries, marine ecology, and economic health. Yet no government in the United States—not the federal Environmental Protection Agency, none of the 50 states—regulates ocean acidification like they would another water pollutant. The Center for Biological Diversity, a major American climate advocacy group, has been trying to force the U.S. to more aggressively track and test for the phenomenon almost a decade. Last Thursday, the nonprofit sued the federal government to force the EPA to regulate ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act. This might sound a little funny: Why is an outside group suing the Obama administration’s EPA to get it to take action on climate change? In part, it’s because we only began to understand the phenomenon recently. Climate scientists only grasped ocean acidification as a crisis in the past two decades. Ocean acidification as a term was only coined in 2003; by contrast, the greenhouse effect has been generally understood among scientists since the 1980s. And the bulk of the science around the issue is even more recent: According to a West Coast scientific task force, 75 percent of all peer-reviewed science about ocean acidification was published in the last five years. Recommended: When Donald Meets Hillary: Who Will Win the Debates? The Center for Biological Diversity began pushing the EPA to regulate ocean acidification in 2007. The Center’s attorneys believe that acidification should count as a pollutant under the Clean Water Act, a law that gives the agency broad administrative power to preserve the “chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters.” Specifically, the Center wants the agency to release a water-quality standard for ocean acidification—a move that will force all 50 states to adopted either the EPA’s standard or a more stringent one. This is more than idle rule making. A water-quality standard would let the state agencies that monitor water quality decide which bodies of water are “impaired” by ocean acidification—a legal term that permits the state or the federal government to take more muscular action to restrict pollution. But any attempt to get there will face two problems. The first is a doozy: No one’s quite sure how to measure ocean acidification yet. The Center and other researchers who study the problem say that the EPA’s current method doesn’t work—that is, you can’t just measure a bay’s pH level to know if it is harmed. “pH is the current criteria relevant to ocean acidification, and it’s really difficult to get an impaired listing under pH,” says Emily Jeffers, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The federal criteria says [waters] must remain within .2 of natural variation. But the pH of water has a natural variability, and we don’t have good data on that baseline.” Recommended: Why Do So Many Rich People Work So Much? In the past century, the pH of ocean water has generally declined by .1, she said. The current EPA standard will not be triggered until global oceanic pH falls to .2 below baseline. But this represents more change than it sounds like, because the pH scale is logarithmic. “Few coastal states have done the necessary scientific research to be able to say what ‘normal’ pH levels in their coasts waters should be,” says Robin Craig, a law professor at the University of Utah who has written extensively about the Center for Biological Diversity’s litigation. “Very few coastal states actively or reliably monitor ocean water quality at all—let alone take the necessary measurements to know whether coastal pH values are changing,” she added in an email. Oceanographers and biologists are now debating other ways to measure acidification. But the second obstacle to regulating ocean acidification is also tricky. Most ocean acidification is caused by dissolved carbon dioxide from industrial sources. Carbonic acid and carbonium ions then circulate throughout the seas. If the EPA declares that certain bodies of water are impaired, how will it be able to improve them, given that ocean acidification is a global problem—and that it’s caused by air pollution? “Even if the EPA and the states can use the Clean Water Act to assess ocean acidification problems, the Clean Water Act does not allow anyone to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and other large sources of such emissions,” says Craig. But researchers have some ideas. They focus on reducing local sources of carbon in the water. Algae blooms tend to increase CO₂ over time, so water-quality managers might try to reduce nutrient runoff. And by planting kelp and seaweed, they might sop up some local carbon. “Carbon doesn’t care where it came from. Any carbon that comes from runoff, versus carbon that comes from someone burning oil 50 years ago—it will still acidify the water in the same way,” says Francis Chan, a professor of biology at Oregon State University. “The more carbon molecules you can take out of the game, the better you’re likely to be.” He paraphrased a colleague, Burke Hales, who has said that local sources of carbon dioxide don’t cause ocean acidification, but it can make a bad day worse. This is especially true in sheltered coastal waters, like bays and estuaries. But this is all moot until the EPA takes steps to regulate acidification. The Center for Biological Diversity’s legal campaign has run on almost a decade in trying to get the agency to take a more active role. By comparison, the last successful fight of this type—the battle to get the EPA to consider greenhouse gases an air pollutant under the Clean Air Act, which ended up in front of the Supreme Court—took only four. Read more from The Atlantic: The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet Why Democrats in Western Pennsylvania Are Voting Trump This article was originally published on The Atlantic.
Materials specialist Morgan Advanced Materials plans to create a Carbon Science Center of Excellence at Pennsylvania State University, USA, aimed at driving global developments in the field of carbon research. According to Mike Murray, CTO at Morgan Advanced Materials, the new Center of Excellence would be located in Innovation Park at Penn State. Over the course of three years, Morgan is expected to make a multi-million-pound investment in the center, which could create a range of research posts over the next few years. The Center of Excellence will be the third of its kind for Morgan globally and the first in North America. ‘For us, the decision to work with Penn State was a natural one,’ said Murray. ‘As a world leader in carbon-related research, Penn State has an unrivalled reputation for innovation in its field, which we believe will add real value for our customers. The partnership will help accelerate our development of new products and capabilities, enabling us to continue to meet the future needs of our customers more quickly, efficiently and comprehensively.’ ‘Our commitment to developing new methodologies and making further scientific discoveries in carbon science is closely aligned with Morgan's company vision, mission and commitment to the markets it serves,’ said Neil Sharkey, vice president of research for Penn State University. ‘Morgan's expertise and commercial insights will provide our researchers with a solid foundation to deliver commercially viable solutions that distinguish both Penn State and Morgan in a fiercely competitive marketplace, while contributing to job creation and economic development in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth.’ This story is reprinted from material from Morgan, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.
News Article | April 4, 2016
An environmental education center off U.S East Coast is set to be certified as one of the first structures in the mainland U.S. to achieve the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment: a “Living Building.” That honor is to be conferred upon the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s “Brock Environmental Center” by the International Living Future Institute. As a Living Building, the Center, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is be permitted to supply all of the water and energy it needs while composting all of its building and human waste. The Center is an encore investment of the Foundation’s Philip Merrill Environmental Center headquarters environmental center in Annapolis, Maryland. That structure was the first to achieve “LEED Platinum” certification in the world in 2001. So this extends an impressive pedigree. Living Buildings are how architects and other design and building professionals are raising the ‘bar’ on structures that actually enhance human health along with the local habitat and ecology. Joan and Macon Brock, as well as many other donors, took aim at the Living Building certification when they contributed $11 million to pay for the Brock center. While precious few organizations can afford, much less justify, these types of investments, the Foundation and their donors consider it an investment in the future of civil society. “Thus far, the Center has generated 80% more power than it’s used,” said Gregory A. Mella, the leader of SmithGroup JJR architects who designed both structures for the Foundation and shared up-to-date energy and water data at the first-ever Resilient Virginia Conference in Richmond last month. That data can be monitored in real-time on the Center’s dashboard here. See the accompanying snapshot for the solar energy produced up to the Noon hour on March 30, 2016. Because the City of Virginia Beach requires all buildings to be connected to the grid for water, sewer and electric, the center is tied to the grid. But, as Foundation Vice President Mary Tod Winchester asserted, “we rarely use it.” “We do use the grid for our power storage as the building is designed to use all of its own energy first,” said Chris Gorri, the4 Center’s on-site manager. “However, we generate more energy than we need and send our excess to the grid which powers the homes and businesses around us.” That said, its typical electricity bill is $17.19 – just for fees. The Center is the first commercial building in the U.S. to receive a precedent-setting permit which allows the center to capture and treat rainwater for all uses at the facility, including drinking water. Cisterns can collect and hold 3,000 gallons of water. After treatment it meets all the relevant standards set by the EPA’s Safe Water Drinking Act and permitted by water and public health agencies in Virginia. One hundred and sixty-eight rooftop solar panels and two wind turbines power the entire facility. The orientation of the 10,500 square-foot structure maximizes natural light throughout the year and enables ambient wind currents (see schematic) along with the shaded porch to provide most of the natural cooling needed during Virginia’s hot and humid summer months. Composting toilets process all waste which is turned into compost and used on site. The urine from the toilets is collected onsite and brought to an offsite treatment plant where it is made into green fertilizer and sold at local nurseries. With the help of the Trust for Public Land, the Foundation took aim at the property, slated for development of 1,110 living units, first by partnering with the City of Virginia Beach to purchase the bankrupted property from Wells Fargo Bank. Rather than allow it to be sold to another developer, Virginia Beach agreed to purchase 108 acres and designate it a “passive” park. The Foundation purchased 10 acres for it’s the Center. And what better (or more challenging) place for such a demonstration project than one of the most risk-prone, flood-plain, coastal environments on any U.S. coast? It is there, amid the marshes dotting the Virginia Beach region, where the sea level is projected to rise at least one meter by 2100. Winchester said its leaders debated whether it made sense to build the Center in midst of the risks. But in a “design charrette” with Jason McLennan, CEO of the International Living Future Institute; and, at the time, the chair of the U.S. Green Building Council, Elizabeth Heider, all of the stakeholders unanimously recommended it pursue the site because of the educational potential of how to deal with those risks – build a model facility and use it as a teaching tool through its education programs. Mella, the lead architect, said to earn the Living Building Challenge certification, the Center would need to perform up to International Living Future Institute’s standards for 12 months. By the 6th month however – last October — heavy rains and massive flooding along the Mid-Atlantic coast spawned by Hurricane Joaquin delivered the test of what was considered a 100-year storm. At its peak, Joaquin was a Category 4 hurricane. As the rains ceased, the water level had risen about six feet above sea level leaving about six inches of standing water at the Center’s base. That was no problem because the main floor was built almost 14 feet above sea level. “We’re getting more 100-year storms than we ever have so we designed and built this to survive a greater than 100 year-storm surge,” Winchester said. The Future Living Institute carefully audited the Center last week to ensure all the criteria were met, while also reviewing all the documentation including the Institute’s “Red List” of prohibited building materials and chemicals designated as harmful to living creatures, including humans, or the environment. The 12-month test period concluded Thursday, March 31. The certification is expected to be awarded in May at the Living Building Conference in Seattle. “The Brock Center illustrates what can be done by committed organizations, working with the public sector, to ensure that energy production, water management, and waste handling not only have less environmental impact but actually give back to the surrounding communities and their ecology,” said Annette Osso, Co-founder and Managing Director of the Resilient Virginia nonprofit. To hear them articulate the living examples set by the Center, go here for a short video of Greg Mella and here for a short video of Mary Tod Winchester. Go here for a video tour of the Brock Center, including an aerial view of the site.
Raju S.,The Center
Seminars in Vascular Surgery | Year: 2015
The importance of the obstructive component in chronic venous disease (CVD) with ulceration has been emphasized recently for a venous condition that has primarily focused on the reflux component. Modern imaging techniques, particularly intravascular ultrasound, have shown the frequency of the obstructive element in both post-thrombotic and nonthrombotic disease. The emergence of iliac vein stent angioplasty and its good results in the treatment of large vein and other diverse CVD subsets has strengthened the role of obstruction. Lower-limb symptom diminution after iliac vein stenting in patients with concomitant reflux has been surprising, and has prompted a better understanding of CVD pathology. The technique of venous stenting differs from arterial in both technique and purpose. Mere restoration of forward flow is not sufficient; adequate decompression of the peripheral veins with reduction in ambulatory venous hypertension must be achieved. This requires implantation of large-diameter stents approximating normal anatomy. Stent recanalization of chronic total occlusions of the iliac-caval segments-even long occlusions involving the entire inferior vena cava (IVC)-can be successfully carried out, supplanting prior difficult open techniques, and this approach is applicable to patients with thrombosed IVC filters. Iliocaval stent angioplasty is safe, with low mortality and morbidity (<1%), and a cumulative patency ranging from 90% to 100% and 74% to 89% for nonthrombotic and post-thrombotic disease, respectively, at 3 to 5 years. Clinical relief of pain ranged from 86% to 94% and relief for swelling ranged from 66% to 89%; and 58% to 89% of venous ulcers healed. Procedural success in recanalization of chronic total occlusion lesions ranged from 83% to 95%, but long-term patency of stents in recanalized chronic total occlusion lesions is 10% to 20% lower than for stenotic lesions. Initial stent treatment does not preclude later open correction of obstruction or reflux in case of stent failure. These features, combined with the minimally invasive nature of the stent technique, have opened this avenue of treatment to a larger portion of the symptomatic CVD population. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. Source