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Local business owner gets face time with Facebook

Published: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 9:24 AM


            FILE
FILE

Jonah Sandler, co-founder of the Scene 75 indoor entertainment centers in Dayton, Cincinnati, Cleveland — and soon, Pittsburgh, Pa. — recently traveled to Facebook Inc.’s Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters to rub elbows with company executives and fellow entrepreneurs.

His mission: Help Facebook help people like him.

Sandler is a member of a Facebook Small Business Advisory Council, giving Facebook feedback on how Scene 75 uses the social media tool. He views Facebook as a key marketing partner that helped put his centers on the map.

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Facebook flew the approximately 45 member-business owners out to the seminar, Sandler said.

About four and a-half years ago, Sandler was invited to be part of Facebook’s council for small- and medium-sized businesses. In the first year it was created, the council was led by the head of Facebook’s small business division, and Sandler was part of that council’s inaugural formation.

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The council and the seminar show how important such businesses are to the social network — and the importance of Facebook itself to those businesses, Sandler said.

“It has been a very, very powerful tool,” he said.

Every year, Facebook has added a dozen member-businesses to the council. Today, there are some 60 businesses from across the country on the council.

“This was a reunion of sorts,” Sandler said.

He credits Facebook advertising with helping to attract attention to his first Scene 75 entertainment center, off Interstate 75 and Poe Avenue, in 2012 before it even opened.

In Sandler’s first year as a member, Scene 75 had about 23,000 Facebook fans. Today, his Dayton center’s page has more than 82,000 “likes,” and the pages for his other centers easily have more than 50,000 fans.

In Menlo Park, Sandler said, business owners were able to share with the social media giant what they were doing to drive results through the platform.

While there was socializing going on, there was also a good bit of work, he said.

“They did a number of presentations for our group,” Sandler said. “We then had break-out sessions to learn about about different pieces of Facebook, Instagram, etc.”

On the second day, members got a chance to meet Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg himself.

Zuckerberg spoke with the group, took “one or two questions” from the audience, and moved on, Sandler said.

Zuckerberg did not address any of the recent controversies in which the web giant finds itself embroiled. The company has been hounded by criticism and scrutiny in recent months after reports that Russian-backed groups used the network to create chaos before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Just last week, the 33-year-old CEO testified before Congress.

“They didn’t dive into any of that,” Sandler said. “It was more about sharing the vision of a connected world.”

Still, Sandler added, “It just goes to show you the importance of the group to Facebook that he would spend some time with us.”

Sandler will open a Pittsburgh, Pa.-area Scene center this summer. He envisions a time when he will find a partner to help him truly go national, but he has no definite timeline yet for that.

The four Scene centers will have a total of about 500 employees. Sandler would not disclose sales or revenue, but he said attendance has been strong at all of his centers.

“In each market that we’re in, we’re a top five-most visited attraction,” he said. The centers have anywhere from 250,000 to 300,000 visitors a year, per location, he added.

A message seeking comment was sent to Facebook.

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Trump talks up Air Force One design: ‘Top of the line.’

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 11:22 AM

This Air Force VC-25 Presidential aircraft flies practice approaches into Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in May. This aircraft is one of two VC-25s based on the Boeing 747 and is only referred to as Air Force One when the President is onboard. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
This Air Force VC-25 Presidential aircraft flies practice approaches into Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in May. This aircraft is one of two VC-25s based on the Boeing 747 and is only referred to as Air Force One when the President is onboard. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

President Donald Trump is talking up the planned re-design of Air Force One.

Trump told CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor recently that the new model of the presidential plane will be updated, both within and outside.

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“Boeing gave us a good deal. And we were able to take that,” CBS quoted Trump as saying. “But I said, ‘I wonder if we should use the same baby blue colors?’ And we’re not.”

In February this year, the White House and Boeing Co. reached a $3.9 billion informal deal to buy two Boeing 747-8 presidential airlifters.

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That deal was announced more than a year since Trump criticized the cost and threatened to cancel buying a newer version of the Boeing 747.

The program, managed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is led by a two-star general and has about 100 employees in the Presidential Airlift Recapitalization Directorate at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center headquarters.

Trump told CBS that the plane will get more patriotic hues.

“Red, white and blue,” Trump said. “Air Force One is going to be incredible. It’s gonna be the top of the line, the top in the world. And it’s gonna be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate.”

Any plane carrying the president of the United States is referred to as “Air Force One,” but the name has long become a household moniker for the specific planes that are equipped to transport the commander-in-chief.

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Better contracts, ‘auto ID’ tech help CDO find its groove

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 8:19 AM

Al Wofford, founder and president of Riverside IT defense contractor CDO Technologies, says landing the right contracts has spurred the company to new growth. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Thomas Gnau/Staff
Al Wofford, founder and president of Riverside IT defense contractor CDO Technologies, says landing the right contracts has spurred the company to new growth. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Thomas Gnau/Staff)

Over the past 24 months, Dayton defense contractor CDO Technologies has seen significant growth.

The information technology and cyber-security company on Springfield Street has grown both its federal and commercial businesses and that’s a strategy Al Wofford, CDO founder and president, intends to keep pursuing.

CDO has “not quite tripled” its number of employees in the past four years. And it’s waiting on contract announcements that could take it to 400 workers by year’s end.

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“We downsized in 2013 to 2014, but now we’re back to probably 320 people,” Wofford said.

Most CDO employees work outside of Dayton, in 19 states, working on everything from “video walls” for an Army command center in Hawaii, Air Force customers in Rome, N.Y., to IT work for the Dayton Dragons.

CDO manages the IT infrastructure for the Air Force Reserve and others. It provides cloud and cyber-security services to Department of Defense clients, not necessarily at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — which can be easily seen from the window of Wofford’s office — but around the country.

Many of CDO’s employees work for organizations that report back to Wright-Patterson.

CDO’s secret is really no secret. The company is landing more valuable, multiple-job contracts that keep it busier longer.

Contractors have an acronym for these contracts — ID/IQ or “indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity” jobs.

“We’ve developed strategic contracts with the Air Force and the Army,” Wofford said. “And what I mean by ‘strategic contracts’ are those contracts that allow us to execute multiple jobs.”

Land the right ID/IQs — and land enough of them — and you can “secure the growth,” he said.

The company is pursuing the same kinds of contracts with the Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency.

“The policies over the past several years have been small-business friendly,” Wofford said. “I hope the policies going forward stay that way.”

Another big part of the company’s growth: Helping customers keep track of their stuff.

That has meant offering RFID — radio frequency identification — and “auto ID” technology.

“‘Where’s my stuff’ and ‘how do I improve manufacturing’ are the questions answered by these (RFID) products – across all niches, such as manufacturing, services and hospitality,” said Robert Zielinski, CDO director of commercial solutions.

While CDO was born in Riverside in 1995 as a defense contractor, it has stepped into the commercial and education arenas. It has been located on Springfield Street for at least 12 years.

“CDO is helping companies around the world recognize value, and as a native Daytonian it is especially exciting to see greater Miami Valley companies deploy data capture and mobility technologies to improve business,” Zielinski added.

The Dayton area remains a good base for CDO, Wofford said.

“Family, cost of living, convenience to where I want to get to — Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis,” he said. “The region is innovative, and innovation is what drives me.”

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Regional manufacturer plans $4M-plus expansion, 63 new jobs

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 10:36 AM

Crown Equipment Corp.’s New Bremen headquarters. STAFF/TY GREENLEES
Crown Equipment Corp.’s New Bremen headquarters. STAFF/TY GREENLEES

Forklift and equipment manufacturer Crown Equipment Corp. is planning a more than $4 million expansion at its New Knoxville facility, an application for a building permit indicates.

The expansion at 7587 Ohio 219 will cover 57,460 square feet and is valued at $4,061,037, according to a building permit application filed last month. The expansion is for a “new manufacturing addition.”

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The state of Ohio expects the project in Auglaize County expects to create 63 full-time positions by the year 2021, which will generate $2.5 million in new annual payroll.

Late last month, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved for the project a 1.309 percent tax credit for 6 years. The New Knoxville plant was one of two Crown facilities considered for the expansion, with the other site in Indiana.

MOREBetter contracts help this local defense contractor grow 

Based in New Bremen, Ohio, Crown Equipment designs and makes forklifts, material handling equipment and their components.

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Target offering special deals today after Amazon Prime Day

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 7:05 AM

Target Announces Promotions To Compete With Prime Day

Target Corp. wants to offer customers more deals after Prime Day.

Target’s one-day sale is for everybody — no membership required. On Tuesday, July 17 only, consumers can save big on dozens of deals across Target.comGuests who spend $100 or more will receive a free six-month membership for same-day delivery, shopped by Shipt.

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Other deals include:

  • 30 percent off Target-exclusive home brands
  • 25 percent off cookware, small appliances and floorcare
  • 25 percent off beauty and personal care
  • Sale on select top toy brands, including Disney Princess, Little Tikes and NERF
  • Spend $20, save $5 on books
  • 30 percent off Target-exclusive kids’ home brands
  • Up to 30 percent off top Google products, including Google Home, Chromecast and more
  • Up to 30 percent off Graco baby gear
  • Free shipping on next-day Target Restock delivery orders on July 17

The retailer also just expanded its “Drive Up” service to 200 additional stores across the Midwest and select other states. Now more than 800 Target stores in 25 states now offer curbside pickup. Nearly 1,000 Target stores will offer the service by the holidays, the company said.

“Drive Up has quickly become one of Target’s most popular pickup options thanks to its speed and convenience, with everything from home essentials to clothing to electronics orders brought out to cars within two minutes of when a guest pulls into the store parking lot,” the retailer stated.

The expansion to new markets will occur in August, the company said.

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