Friday, March 26, 2010

Week in Review: March 22nd - 26th

Greg - President:
Well…. I am still in mourning over the Kansas Jayhawks losing in the second round of the tournament! Anyone that watched the game will know what I am talking about here. I am really frustrated with Bill Self. Read this article.  He doesn’t seem to get it about the pressure issue. If KU came out and put a press on to start the game UNI would have realized why KU was number one and folded as well as tire out. Instead they got a bunch of confidence and got off to a big lead! Ughhh! Oh well, it is just a game as they say. I am excited to see KSU play this weekend as well as Cornell and Butler for Cinderella’s.

On to work, it has been a quiet week here as we are getting prepared to launch the personalized URL program I mention in last week’s post. At this point we are just waiting for the design to get done and beta testing to start. Can’t wait. Even if we can get a 5% response rate each week it would be a huge improvement over our current marketing efforts. We shall see!

Also, we are really excited to start our relationship with a new risk management firm and insurance carrier. More to come on this next week when the change is finalized. One highlight is that our new group has an added value of ½ hour per month with an attorney and ½ hour per month with an HR specialist free of charge. Wow is that helpful for a small business!

As spring rolls in around here we are in full swing for spring cleaning. Please let us know if we can help with Window Washing, Carpet Cleaning, Parking Lot Maintenance, or Landscaping.
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Mitch - Facility Service Manager:
This week is cruising right by! Same thing as last week with energy savings for multiple customers! A lot of time and energy goes into the details of each project because as much as they seem similar, each job is unique one way or another when it comes to how things are installed, wired, etc. One customer is really excited to see the energy savings and total cost of the project and get rolling in April or May if possible.

Friday’s are a great day, we're wrapping up our week, we have a short route in the morning leaving time in the afternoons to catch up on administrative work, or do what I normally do which is meet IC’s at buildings. This Friday I am meeting the delivery folks dropping off my 25 fixtures for the parking garage energy project. Afterwards I am heading just a couple miles down the road to meet an HVAC specialist to look at taking over their quarterly preventative maintenance contract for them. That will be the first one for me up to this point, but I think Greg and Tyler have a couple that they work on in the north end of town so it is not new to City Wide by any means. Hopefully we can help with that and give the office manager one less thing to worry about each quarter!

Weekend life for me…I continue with some wood refinishing projects. This coffee table has been a little by little test my patience process. I am finally ready to take the palm sander out, get it looking great and begin applying finish to it, and then hide it from my roommates so they don’t wreck it, dent it, scratch it before I move out. After I get the coffee table done, its on to the kitchen table and corner booth set for my future basement if my house purchase ever goes through! Short sales are a real annoying process for a home buyer that doesn’t have 9 months to wait, congress passed some legislation that asks banks to deal with all short sales within 10 business days starting April 5th, 2010 so hopefully that works in my favor!

A group of friends from high school are getting together for 9 holes on Saturday afternoon, so I’m hoping for some sunshine to help make it a good time! Next week my future sister-in-law and my friend Peyton fly in from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and I’m really excited to show Peyton around Minnesota.  He’s fascinated by the concept of a sky-way connecting a large portion of a metropolitan city. He’s also fascinated that we have metropolitan here, he thought it was all lakes and fields…

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Shalee - Administration Manager:
Things slowed down a little this week as we're waiting for the new marketing materials to make their way in our office.  (Don't tell my boss, but to be honest, it's been nice to have a break in the craziness that I've been for the past two months.  Whew!  Breathing space for a short time is a good thing.)  I'm looking forward to getting back to the race next week though.  I can do with down time... for a bit.  Now it's time to get busy finding people who could really use our help! 

I'm also really looking forward to working with Kelly starting Monday.  She's such a doll and it will be nice not being the only girl in the office.  I can hold my own, but sometimes it's good knowing that there's someone else who can back me in a female's point of view :-)  I can already tell that we're going to get along just fine as a sales/admin team.  We plan on taking the facilities management world head on and leaving a brilliant mark in the months to come!

Our kids have been away to their grandparents in Nebraska over Spring Break, so Paul and I are going to run away for the weekend and explore a different part of Minnesota.  Our first roadtrip!  We can't wait to see the Northern Shores.  We can only get to Duluth this trip, we have future plans to stay at some bed and breakfasts further up the road over the summer months.  I can't wait to walk the trails and to see the beautiful, untouched scenery that God made!  I get giddy with the thoughts of actually skiing next winter...

In the mean time, while we're in Duluth, we're going to Taste!, a dining fundraiser where area chefs make their specialties and we sample food and wines to our tummy's content.  The next day is our drive up the Hwy 61, to be followed by a 90 minute massage with my name written all over it.  We're leaving Saturday up for grabs, but secretly I hope we go dancing to make use of those dance lessons last year...
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~Your City Wide Team

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hoop-A-Thon 2010

Are you worried about your fill of hoops once March Madness ends?

Fear not!  Hoop-A-Thon 2010 is here to save the day - in more ways than one!

On Sunday, April 18th, come join the founding family, the Viau's, as they help raise money for the Huntington's Disease Society of America, a disease that has affected their family directly.

Hoop-A-Thon is a fun-filled free throw basketball event benefiting HDSA.  Participants shoot as many free throws as thy can for five minutes.  Sponsors, signed up in advance, pledge a specific amount of money for every basket the sponsored shooter sinks.  Flat pledges are welcomed too.  Many shooters are there for the fun and prizes!  While this event started with a free-throw contest, it has now expanded to an entire afternoon of family fun, including special entertainment, carnival games, face painting, refreshments and a silent auction.

Last year, $45,000 was raised.  This year, the family would love to beat that amount!

When:     Sunday, April 18, 2010, 1:00 - 5:00 PM
Where:    Eastview Hight School, Apple Valley, MN
What:      Free-Throw contest
               Silent Auction
               Raffles
               Culver's Cake Walk
               Putt Putt Contest
               Nintendo Wii
               Special Appearances
               Food and refreshments courtesy of sponsors

Come and support a great cause while getting your fill of basketball and fun!  We look forward to seeing you there with us!

P.S.  If you would like to become a sponsor for the Hoop-A-Thon or donate gifts for the silent auction, raffles, prizes, games or if you have a unique idea to sponsor the event, please contact hoopathon@yahoo.com.  Any support will be greatly appreciated!

~Your City Wide Team

Friday, March 19, 2010

Week in Review: March 15th - 19th

Greg - President:
Another exciting week here at City Wide of Minnesota.

First let me say Happy St. Patrick’s day to everyone in Minnesota! The weather on Wednesday was unbelievable and I heard both downtown areas were packed with people. There was a big pub crawl downtown Minneapolis that I heard was a blast. I unfortunately couldn’t partake in any festivities we are super busy here in our office with some changes and transitions that are requiring my attention and couldn’t get off at 12 noon to get downtown St. Paul.

On our marketing front, we are working with a local printing group to re-design our marketing materials to fit our regional needs here a little better. In Minnesota our clients seem to have a stronger need for exterior maintenance needs like snow removal and asphalt parking lot maintenance. So our new materials will highlight those services a little more that our national materials do. The company designing those is also making a strong effort to make a PURL program work us to increase our overall response rate to direct marketing from 1% to a more reasonable number. There are some unique challenges in this as we won’t be able to do blast PURL of 3000 plus which is what they are used to doing. We would have to do a much more controlled program where we are reaching a targeted number of 200 prospects each week, hoping to set up meetings with 8 of those people or so. Wish us luck, this could be a huge win for us if they can get this program functional and affordable for us.

Administration wise we are very busy getting our two new people trained and up to speed here. I am super excited by the small strides we seem to be making here our goal of centralizing all of our administration functions and bidding processes seems to be working. We believe we will get over 100 bids out per month on this program vs. the 50 or so we were producing previously and our sales and ops teams will be able to do what they do best, not be sitting in front of a computer all day. Also, our CRM database will be much more accurate and up to date over time with people specifically focusing on this that are good at it vs. sales people who are always impatient and on the move.

Our operations team has a big challenge ahead of them over the next few weeks. We have uncovered and issue recruiting labor for our clients and we are going to have to put a new process in place to make sure that this isn’t an issue that hinders growth moving forward. Looking forward to working with our ops team and admin team to implement a new procedure for this very important function.

We have also been seeing some success in adding value to our client relationships by being able to offer an awesome upgrade program for high efficiency energy lighting. Anyone in Minnesota needs to take advantage of upgrading warehouse or common area lighting to high efficiency lighting this summer. Of the 25 City Wide locations, Minnesota is the only one with a rebate from our energy provider Xcel Energy.

NCAA Tournament Time!!! Games begin on Thursday and I am pulling for our Jayhawks to win both games this week and advance to the sweet 16 next weekend. Next year we have a plan to do a contest for current customers to participate in a pool contest at no charge that will have a nice price for the winner.

Also, Shalee and I attended a very informative meeting with BOMA MPLS on Thursday at the Metropolitan in Golden Valley. Thank you Shiela with BOMA for making us feel welcome there and to the speaker for the morning. Very important information about branding your building for an overall guest experience.

Thank you again to all of our clients and employees for your patronage and support. I appreciate it and am so excited for what we have accomplished so far!

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Tyler - Facility Service Manager:
We’re growing!! This week I’ve walked through 2 new buildings we will start in mid-April. I am excited to work with and get to know our new customers! This tally’s up to be 12 new starts since the beginning of 2010 for me in the north!

We’ve also extended our scope of work for a customer who has been with City Wide since the beginning! This will give us the ability to keep their facility much cleaning going forward.

How about this weather!? It’s been gorgeous here in the Twin Cities this past week. Spring is right around the corner. I’m an avid motocross fan and racer. There nothing better than the first race in spring!
Everyone enjoy this beautiful weather before it gets too HOT!!

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Mitch - Facility Service Manager:
Wow what a busy week in the world of going green and energy savings! Customers everywhere are throwing money out the window lighting up manufacturing plants, parking garages, parking lots and more. We are here to help put a stop to that. This week I stumbled into two more big projects to retrofit buildings for more efficient lighting to save them money, time and energy. Right now it looks like we could be directly influencing our customers energy bill at the average rate of $12,000 per month!!!

Looking forward to a weekend of a little more R&R. Last couple weekends I was out of town, and next weekend I will be busy as well, never seems to end when people come in and out of town and you’re planning a wedding that is 120 miles away. This weekend should be much more relaxing, stripping and refinishing a coffee table should be complete this week and maybe even get started on my kitchen table.

Driving range is starting to sound like a plausible pass time soon! I know I’m going over Easter weekend to play at the itty bitty Wells, MN municipal course. Already called the owner and told her we were playing weather they were open or not, who needs flags when you’ve played the course 20 times already!?

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Shalee - Administration Manager:
I love weeks where work is busy they just fly!  That's been this week - new appointments, new processes, lots to do to prepare for both.  Being in the office is such a pleasure when time is spent well on hard work and good efforts from everyone involved.

I had the pleasure of attending my first BOMA meeting this Thursday.  It was nice to put faces to names that I've seen in emails!  A huge thanks to the two Davids, Jeff, Blake and Jason who made me feel welcomed to this fantastic group.  They were quick to offer advice and suggestions on how to make BOMA feel more like a safe haven than a task to mark off the list and to share some fun experiences they've had with various groups and committees.  Now I just need to narrow down which committee will make a place for me so that I can really dig my fingers into this associations and start to feel like "one of the gang"!

This week has been gorgeous!  Every day I came home, I was shooing the entire family outdoors! 
I've had quite a few walks with my wonderful husband, enjoying every bit of sunshine that God gave us this week!  (I had to laugh at Tyler's "too hot" remark.  I have a feeling that my "too hot" and his "too hot" are going to turn out to be two very different things!  When you grow up in Tennessee, "too hot" is around 110° in the shade...)

The Great House Hunt is still on for us.  It's nice to see new blood enter the market.  We're bound and determined that this will be our last house for a while, Lord willing, so we're being extra picky about what we want in our place.  Hopefully our dream home will hit the market this week, and we'll be able to settle into a permanent home soon!

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~Your City Wide Team

Friday, March 12, 2010

Week in Review: March 8th - 12th

Greg - President:
Wow! What another crazy week here at City Wide Maintenance of MN.

We have been extremely busy with a small restructuring project with our sales team. We have found that we can better service our current clients and increase our ongoing marketing activities by increasing the overall percentage of administration labor vs. direct sales and marketing labor. Once we had decided to go that route, we started to look for administrative staff and the thought came up to recruit my wife Kelly. I was surprised she was open to the idea but after a few small discussions I am happy to say she is joining our team starting April 1st! It should be a fun challenge to learn how to work together again but know we can make it work.

Kelly’s title will be Business Development and she will be a great addition to our team to help with the overall administrative functions that our FSM’s and sales reps have to pursue new business. Examples include, bidding services, our database maintenance, social media, marketing, etc. Her strong background here and good computer skills will be a great addition to our team. Looks like we will be working nights and weekends again until she is up to speed!

I am personally getting excited for spring here. Also this warmer temps and rain has me thinking about golf, summer, fishing, and a ton of the services that are involved with spring clean up that we can assist our clients with. As I mentioned before March Madness is here. I will be watching the KU Jayhawks play in the big 12 tournament this weekend and hopefully be a 1 seed in the big tournament starting next week.
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Mitch - Facility Service Manager:
Just got confirmation yesterday afternoon that we are going to be completing an energy saving retro fit project that comes with a huge rebate and savings from Xcel Energy. Working today and tomorrow on scheduling up product delivery and the electricians to make the changeover in a condominium parking garage I manage in the south. Working on a much bigger energy savings project in Lakeville in a large manufacturing warehouse for one of our oldest customers, hopefully we can get some solid data collected tomorrow and ready to present next week. You have to love going green and saving green at the same time, talk about win win.

Heading up to Plummer, MN this weekend (close to Thief River Falls) to visit some friends and go to a housewarming party. It’s pretty mushy up there with the melt off so there won’t be much outdoor activity, not that there is much to do in the area anyway! Should be good times with my hunting buddies either way.

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Tyler - Facility Service Manager:
Business is picking up!! Since the beginning of the year, I’ve had at least 8 new accounts start. It’s been very hectic but we have a solid grasp on all those accounts. We have 2 new accounts starting within the next month as well.

We are also very close to finishing a large floor work project for a major medical customer in the north metro!! My floor contractor does a great job with all his work and following up on any issues that may arise. A special thanks goes out to the crew!

I am also anxious to see who the Vikes pick up here in the off season (who will the back up RB be?!)
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Mark - Night Manager:
It's fun working with so many different contractors. So many businesses expect so much out of their cleaners. It's hard to find cleaners with thick enough skin to endure all the criticism. I am blessed to work with so many professional intelligent cleaning crews. Thank you for all you do!

On the personal side. I am getting amped up for baseball season. Not only because it means summer is near, but I just signed my 3 year up for tee ball! Should be fun!

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Shalee - Administration Manager:
I like it when work is hopping so much that there's barely time to breath.  It's a good thing that I can work in that sort of atmosphere because that's what this week has been like!  Proposals, training and assistance to everyone in the office takes up a lot of work time...  I'd rather have it extremely busy and challenging than boring and counting the minutes until quitting time anyday!

I'm so excited that Kelly is joining our team!  It will be nice to have another friendly face who is sharing the workload  :-)

On a personal side, my family sold our former home, so now we have all the joy of looking for a new home to call our own.  We're hoping for beautiful weather and lots of choices, preferably ones that don't have a split-entry.  What is it with Minnesota and split entries?  It's almost as if I can't escape them...  That's okay.  We're just going to bid our time until the perfect house comes on the market.  It's really nice not to be in a rush.

So if you hear of a great bargain in the Eagan area, just let me know!  We don't mind putting some elbow grease into making it our own...

uuuuummmmmm....   but maybe not that much.

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~Your City Wide Team

Friday, March 5, 2010

Week in Review: March 1st - 5th

Greg - President:
Wow!! Has the weather been unbelievable this past week or what? Since I spend the majority of my time out in the field driving around, it sure makes life easier when there is sun and no snow to affect traffic. For our snow removal customers, beware! There is usually a large snow event in later March as the weather is turning.

We have been out and about starting to talk to both current clients and prospects about their spring cleaning projects. A lot of people are looking at parking lot maintenance, striping, window washing, and carpet cleaning. Also, it is that time of year again to look at your exterior maintenance and your lawn mowing/landscaping projects coming up. That should keep us very busy over the next couple months.

Personally I had a blast Wednesday night watching the #2 Kansas Jayhawks beat #5 Kansas State in college basketball. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!! Can’t wait for March Madness and the bracket madness that ensues.

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Mitch - Facility Service Manager:
This weekend we are prepping one of our customers for a big wig visit next week! Carpet cleaning in main areas, and floor wax in their few different kitchens. Tomorrow night and Monday night Eric will be out with the crew getting the place in top shape for Tuesday when the visitors arrive.

Lots of spring cleanup planning right now. Getting customers thinking about and scheduling carpet cleans, window washing, and parking lot sweeping as soon as possible to avoid the rush of late April and early May.

This weekend I head down to the tiny town of Wells, MN where my future in laws are giving us an engagement party. Dinner, drinks, dessert, and lots of chit chat will fill up my Saturday evening! The fun part is actually in the afternoon when we celebrate a few birthdays for the younger kids turning 3 and 5 in the last couple weeks! Looking forward to the end of the month here when some friends fly in from Baton Rouge, Louisiana!

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Mark - Night Manager:
We just finished our 4th night on a new start. It is a very unique historic building, the original home of the Northern Pump Company. They were big players in the production was WWII machinery for the Military. The building has 11 sets on bathroom and lots of dust, but not for long! We will have that building shining in no time.



On a personal note I am very excited for my Chicago Bears free agent signings today. This should be fun!

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Shalee - Administration Manager:
Oh my lands... it has been busy in the office this week!  Proposals seem to be flying out of the office of late.  The Sales team has been out and enjoying every bit of this glorious sunshine and have gotten some great results for their efforts.

That just helps to make my job all the more fun around here!

This weekend, the family and I are going to the Mall of America to see Danny Gokey from last season's American Idol.  My girl is going to flip about it!  Danny was our favorite from the first day and we were so bummed when he was voted off from the show, leaving the show to only two contestants.

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~Your City Wide Team

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Help HDSA Fight Huntington's Disease!

The best defense is a good offense.  The more we know about our enemies, the easier it is to win.  You know their weaknesses and their advantages, which in turn helps you prepare for the next volley.

HDSA is asking for us all to join in the fight against Huntington's Disease through means of education and awareness.  Louis Vetter of the MN HDSA Chapter is making a personal plea, asking those with HD in their families to help with the clinic trials here in Minnesota.

This is a very exciting time for the HD community. Today there are four Phase III Clinical Trials and one Phase IIB clinical trial  in progress to study potential treatments for HD.   There are also two very important observational studies underway as well to identify biomarkers and improve understanding of the progression of the disease.

To date, recruitment for current clinical trials of potential therapies for Huntington’s disease has been slow. This is concerning. A delay in recruitment means a delay of a potential therapy being approved by the FDA. Additionally, there is a possibility that companies will opt to test potential therapies in Europe, where historically recruitment has taken less time.

I know that participating in clinical research is a commitment and a very personal decision. Each clinical study has different parameters that determine if someone is eligible to participate, including their stage of HD and medicines being taken. Many require multiple doctor visits which take considerable time. However, imagine if more life-changing drugs were approved in Europe, and not available in the United States?
If you have Huntington's Disease, please consider participating in the trial studies. 

MINNESOTA CLINICAL TRIAL SITES

2CARE (CoQ10 Phase 3)

Golden Valley, Minnesota
Struthers Parkinsons's Center
Sarah Lenarz
952-993-5903

COHORT (Observational)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
HDSA Center of Excellence at
Hennepin County Medical Center
Dawn Radtke
612-873-2943

CREST-E (Creatine Phase 3)
Golden Valley, Minnesota
Struthers Parkinsons's Center
Sarah Lenarz
952-993-5903

HART (ACR16/Huntexil Phase 2B)
Golden Valley, Minnesota
Struthers Parkinsons's Center
Pat Ede
952-993-2245

HORIZON (Dimebon Phase 3)
Golden Valley, Minnesota
Struthers Parkinsons's Center
Judy Hamerlinck
952-993-6589

PREDICT (Observational)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
HDSA Center of Excellence at
Hennepin County Medical Center
Dawn Radtke
612-873-2943

The hope of many in the near future rest on the actions of a few right now.

~Your City Wide Team

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Run to Rid Huntington's

Do you know what Huntington's Disease is?

I didn't either.
Huntington's disease is a progressive, degenerative disease that causes certain nerve cells in your brain to waste away. As a result, you may experience uncontrolled movements, emotional disturbances and mental deterioration.


Huntington's disease is an inherited disease. Signs and symptoms usually develop in middle age. Younger people with Huntington's disease often have a more severe case, and their symptoms may progress more quickly. Rarely, children may develop Huntington's disease.  - Mayo Clinic

What are the chances of someone having it?  In the United States alone, about 30,000 people have Huntington's disease; estimates of its prevalence are about 1 in every 10,000 people. (citing)  It's not widely known, but it can be highly inhibiting to those with the disorder.
 
Greg and Kelly Mansfield have hit the lottery when it comes to HD; they each have a grandparent who have lately discovered that they have it.  That's like a 1 in a million chance.
 
In an effort to stop Huntington's Disease in its tracks, they have put on their running shoes to raise funds to be used to study and to find a cure for it fast.  The Minnesota chapter's Run to Rid Huntington's 5K was held in Hidden Falls Park in St. Paul, MN on September 12, 2009.  Greg and Kelly raised $500 during this run for research and prevention.

The Minnesota chapter was named national chapter of the year in 2009 in the effort to rid the world of Huntington’s.

To learn more about how you can join in the fight against Huntington's Disease, visit Huntington's Disease Society of America.

~Your City Wide Team