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Archive: April, 2009

POSTED: Friday, April 24, 2009, 2:30 AM
Filed Under: Health-care Services | People

Write enough columns and you’ll find that readers often aren’t sponges but mirrors.

The same column can provoke feedback from just as many readers who agree with your argument as those who think you’re off your rocker.

So I was taken aback when a recent column provoked an overwhelmingly negative reaction. E-mails, typed letters, voice-mail messages - people registered their strong disagreement with what I thought was my point.

POSTED: Thursday, April 23, 2009, 2:30 AM
Filed Under: Economic Development

It doesn’t take a college degree to understand that the high dropout rate in Philadelphia’s schools is bad for the city’s economic competitiveness.

Employers constantly complain that job applicants they see don’t have the skills they need. That includes high school and college graduates. Dropouts? Forget it.

As well-intentioned as it sounds, simply telling students “stay in school” isn’t cutting it.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 22, 2009, 2:30 AM

There’s nothing shy and retiring about the Association of BellTel Retirees.

The nonprofit group advocates loudly, and apparently effectively, on behalf of the pensions and benefits of Verizon retirees.

It has sponsored 28 shareholder resolutions on nine different subjects on proxy statements over the last 11 years, said C. William Jones, president of the group that has 100,000 members.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 21, 2009, 2:30 AM
Filed Under: Small Business | Technology

If it’s spring, it must be time for business-plan competitions on area college campuses.

And that means get ready for some gee-whiz ideas.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Weiss Tech House just finished its fifth annual PennVention competition. This student-run organization teaches student inventors how to turn their ideas into commercial products. It also gives prize money for the best ideas.

POSTED: Monday, April 20, 2009, 2:30 AM
Filed Under: Economic Development

More and more, you can feel the change in the tone of the guessing game over whether the economy is still weakening or beginning to strengthen.

Much of the economic data continues to be bad, but what encourages some experts is that rate of deterioration has slowed. The U.S. economy is still wounded, but perhaps some healing has started.

Locally, that means it’s time to ponder if the Philadelphia region will follow its typical pattern of sliding slowly into recession and climbing out slowly while other areas charge ahead into recovery.

POSTED: Friday, April 17, 2009, 9:28 AM

Plenty of people have dreamed of starting a company in their garage. But how many asked their dads if it would be OK while they were in high school?

Stephen Voudouris and his younger brother, Andrew, did just that when they and Christopher Francy started Xoxide Inc. in 2001.

They started by selling computer and auto parts out of the Voudouris’ home in Marple Township. They got so good that the company took over the basement, closets, backyard, and most of the rest of the house.

POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2009, 2:30 AM
Filed Under: Health-care Services | People

The trouncing the stock market gave us over the last year has changed how we react to what were once boring corporate dividend announcements.

Where its regular dividend increases once were greeted with yawns, Procter & Gamble Co. hears “wow” for managing to raise its dividend annually for the last 53 years. On Tuesday, the maker of Tide laundry detergent boosted it by 10 percent to 44 cents a share.

One local company also has managed to turned dirty laundry into steady dividend payments.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 15, 2009, 1:10 PM

Procter & Gamble Co. will get well-deserved attention for increasing its dividend by 10 percent. The consumer products company has done so for 53 years in a row. That's a remarkable run.

And it comes at a time when many companies are trimming or eliminating dividends.

But it's one thing for a blue-chip company to boost its dividend in a weak economy, and quite another for a small company like Healthcare Services Group Inc. to do so.

About this blog
Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at marmstrong@phillynews.com.

Mike Armstrong Inquirer Columnist
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