BRUSSELS, Belgium — WABCO, the vehicle control systems business of American Standard Companies Inc. has announced that Mike Thompson, WABCO vice president of marketing and strategy, will assume additional responsibility for investor relations. WABCO is now preparing for a spin-off from American Standard and will become an independent, publicly traded company. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement Thompson will continue to report to WABCO president Jacques Esculier. He will work closely with Bruce Fisher, vice president of strategic planning and investor relations for American Standard, leading up to the spin-off. Thompson will continue to be based in Brussels. Thompson has served in his current position for more than two years. Prior to joining WABCO, he was vice president of marketing for Honeywell Aerospace in the U.S., where he was responsible for global marketing for the aerospace product portfolio. He had previously served as Honeywell’s vice president of new business development and strategy for aerospace electronic systems, and also had full profit-and-loss responsibility for the company’s aerospace information services business. Prior to joining Honeywell in 1999, Thompson was an engagement manager with McKinsey & Company, focusing on industrial sector strategy, marketing and operational effectiveness. Thompson earned bachelors degrees in physics and mechanical engineering from Washington and Lee University and a Ph.D. in materials science from Northwestern University. He is also a graduate of McKinsey’s executive MBA program. For more information about WABCO, go to: http://www.wabco-auto.com
NMDOT News:SANTA FE — The Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is required under federal legislation and contains projects located on federal and state highways (roads with I, U.S. or N.M. designations). The STIP is a collaborative state, local, regional and tribal transportation planning effort, developed by NMDOT. Projects included in the STIP are funded with a combination of federal, state and/or local funds.NMDOT strives to keep the public informed and cares about their opinions. The STIP is amended quarterly and always open for viewing on the NMDOT website. The public is welcome to review the list of proposed road and bridge projects and post comments.NMDOT wants to inform the public that the third Amendment to the 2020-2025 STIP is posted at https://estip.dot.state.nm.us. It is open for public comment until Wednesday June 17, 2020. The NMDOT STIP Personnel will take comments via the eSTIP Amendment tab.
St Johns Ship Building of Palatka, Fla. has delivered a new Offshore Support Vessel the ATLANTIC SPIRIT to Inland and Offshore Contractors, Ltd.“ATLANTIC SPIRIT” (Yard No 157) was designed by Entech and Associates Inc. of Houma, Louisiana. The vessel is the third delivery of this design with forth scheduled for delivery in late March early April this year.This ABS +A1 classed DP-1 state-of-the-art OSV measures 496 ITC Gross Tons, 148 Net tons. The vessel has LOA of 157′-6″ (48.01-m), breadth of 38′-0″ (11.58-m), depth of 11′-6″ (3.51-m), design draft 9′-0″ (2.74-m) and maximum draft of 9′-8″ (2.95-m).With boarded deck space of 3000 sqft (278.7-m²), fuel capacity of 62,916 gallons, Rig/Ballast water capacity of 117,792, potable water capacity of 22,510 gallons the vessel is ideally suited for operations in the Caribbean.St. Johns Ship Building, Inc. is a full service ship building facility with over 30 years combined experience, state of the art equipment and a crane capacity of 500 Tons. The shipyard features over 900′ of bulkhead waterfront including a 400′ launch basin, a 1,200 Ton Dry Dock, a 425′ X 75′ fabrication shop as well as complete carpentry, electrical and machine shops.[mappress]St. Johns Ship Building, January 30, 2014
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In March this year, I wrote in this magazine about how the UK could address the issue of its poor productivity in relation to other EU countries through investment in better-quality workplace environments.A huge body of evidence on how the environment affects people’s physical and mental health has created growing awareness within our industry for a “human-centred design” approach, but the connection between the quality of environment and how people perform – their ability to concentrate, be creative or problem solve – has been less tangible. As I wrote in March: “It is time for us to win the economic argument as well as the emotional one.”Atkins commissioned research in March from Imperial College London to undertake a broad review of existing studies and quantify the impact that better-quality environments have on people’s performance and productivity. The university considered a range of individual aspects that affect people’s health and wellbeing and attributed a resultant improvement in performance and productivity against each. While they identified the need for further work to be done to understand the interrelation of these physical and psychological aspects, their conclusions are a powerful indication that our obsession with reducing capital costs – often driving down the quality of the resultant environment – is having a hugely detrimental impact on our economy.In the UK, 75% of workplace activity takes place in an office environment and, according to the research, entitled Thoughtful Design, delivering improvements in office accommodation so that people are more physically comfortable, feel more connected to the external environment and to each other, can improve workplace productivity. The Imperial research shows that an improvement of around 5-8% is attainable and could contribute to GDP by up to £20bn a year.But what of the cost of implementing these new measures? The research shows that the uplift in cost from a standard new-build office space to a more “thoughtful design” would be up to 21%. Consequently, the payback period for investment in improved workplace environments could be as little as two years, in many cases. This is a “eureka!” moment.The research shows that the uplift in cost from a standard new-build office space to a more ‘thoughtful design’ would be up to 21%Those of us interested in creating sustainable environments quite reasonably use the whole life-cycle cost of a building to counter capital cost-driven, short-sighted reductions in quality of design and specification. In this ongoing battle between capital and operating costs, the weight on the side of operating costs has been filled largely by energy bills. But energy costs only account for 1% of most businesses’ operating costs, whereas 90% lies in staff costs.So, alongside capex and opex, we should consider “peoplex”. Reassessing the life-cycle argument to include peoplex overwhelmingly supports smaPll increases in capital investment to support higher-quality environments.I believe that this research unequivocally makes the economic case for design with people’s wellbeing and their needs as a priority. In creating our new offices at Woodcote Grove, for example, Atkins is quite rightly investing in the quality of the workplace to support worker wellbeing. As designers, we want to create healthier, more inspiring places, which underscores our human-centred design approach and makes perfect economic sense.This is fine when the investor is also the occupant, but how do we ensure that our industry acts wisely with developments where the investment in facilities is disconnected from the ultimate occupier?One way might be to give buildings wellbeing or, better still, productivity ratings based on a range of measures. Landlords could then charge a premium for space where the productivity of the staff will be higher. Employees could also choose where to work with an understanding of how that workplace might affect their health and wellbeing.A mandatory productivity performance certificate would drive a different approach to investment that would revolutionise the quality of the workplace; ultimately making a real difference to people’s lives and to the wealth, happiness, and even the coherence of our society. We have a collective responsibility in our industry to help make this happen.I feel that, for the first time in my 25-year career, we have the hard evidence to win the economic argument for investment in better-quality environments; and in a scenario where higher investment results in improved productivity and happier workers, it’s hard to see who loses.Philip Watson is UK design director at Atkins
The agreement provides financing to retire the company’s current indebtedness with HSH Nordbank and ABN AMRO, fund the final payments due for the construction of the 50,000 dwt semi-submersible vessel Forte, and provide for the issuance of performance bonds required for Fairstar’s growing backlog of “Red Box” transportation contracts. The company stated that the loan terms are based on an eight-year amortisation schedule repaid five years from drawdown. The interest rate is set at LIBOR plus 300 basis points. Fairstar has also received an irrevocable agreement with more than two thirds of its bondholders in Fairstar’s NOK300 million (USD53.49 million) unsecured bond to amend the current bond agreement so that Fairstar is not in breach of any bond loan covenants. ABG Sundal Collier, acting on behalf of Fairstar as the company’s financial advisor, delivered written confirmation to Fairstar from Norsk Tillitsmann that two thirds of Fairstar’s bondholders had accepted Fairstar’s proposal to modify the bond agreement. Norsk Tillitsmann, in its capacity as Bond Trustee will issue a summons to all bondholders to formalise the agreement. Philip Adkins, CEO of Fairstar, added the following remarks, “In spite of the turbulent credit environment Fairstar has achieved another significant milestone in the establishment of our company. We have secured a new credit facility that provides the financial resources we need to grow. Fairstar is an energy services company and our future is inextricably linked to the development of energy infrastructure projects. “The Gorgon LNG Project is only the beginning for Fairstar. Australia will become the principal source of stable energy for Asian economic growth for the foreseeable future. Modular construction of the energy infrastructure required to package this energy into transportable bundles, will require a fleet of modern marine heavy transport vessels. The logistical and technical complexity of these multi-billion dollar energy infrastructure projects involves an ongoing interface between the project and the marine heavy transportation sub-contractor. “Fairstar Heavy Transport has invested its resources in the ships as well as the people required to deliver this valuable service to major energy companies like Chevron. Our strategy has been clear and consistent. We are confident that we will add additional high value, multi-voyage, long term, “Red Box” contracts in the months and years to come. We are well aware of our responsibilities to our stakeholders and are determined to continue to establish Fairstar as the genuine leader of our industry.”
Legal services comparison site Wigster is planning a high-profile relaunch following the appointment last week of entrepreneur Matthew Briggs (pictured) as a director. Briggs, who is chief executive of the online claims management business Claims.com, was previously the non-lawyer chief executive of personal injury firm Minster Law and Capita Insurance Services. Briggs told the Gazette that Wigster has secured private backing for a relaunch that aims to make it ‘the go-to legal brand’ following the model used by the insurance sector. A promotional campaign will begin later this year to be run by a new marketing director joining ‘from a household name’, Briggs said. He declined to reveal how much the relaunch would cost. ‘We will fund this to what is required to make a prominent brand, to make it the most recognized legal brand in the UK.’ In June, rival web service CompareLegalCosts.com said it had secured £500,000 in private investment. Wigster, set up in 2010 by solicitor Nick Miller, earns money from a mixture of membership fees and a proportion of fees generated through the site. It claims to have more than 100 firms offering more than 50 categories of legal services for individuals and businesses. Miller said he aims to increase the panel to 500 firms within two years. He told the Gazette that 85% of referrals through the site convert into business.
The government is to exercise its opt-out of 135 European crime and justice measures pre-dating the 2007 Lisbon Treaty – but hopes to rejoin some 30, including the European arrest warrant and the law enforcement agency Europol, the home secretary said today.In a well-trailed statement to the House of Commons, Theresa May (pictured) promised to hold parliamentary debates on the opt-out decision as well as on which measures and institutions the UK would seek to rejoin. She said the government would use UK law to amend the use of the European arrest warrant for minor crimes.Under a provision negotiated by the Labour government, the UK has until 31 May next year to decide whether to withdraw from all European Union police and criminal justice measures that pre-dated the Lisbon treaty. Remaining in would place the relevant competences under the jurisdiction of Court of Justice of the European Union, a step strongly opposed in the Conservative Party.May told parliament that her decision was based on ‘principle, policy and pragmatism’. The opt out comes in to effect from 1 December 2014 and negotiations with the European Commission and other member states on rejoining specific measures would begin immediately, she said.While stressing the importance of the European arrest warrant as ‘a valuable tool in returning offenders to face justice’, May promised to introduce new safeguards under UK law. These include:An amendment to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, currently in committee stage, ‘to ensure that an arrest warrant can be refused for minor crimes’.An amendment to the Extradition Act to ensure that people in the UK can be extradited only when the requesting state has already made a decision to charge and a decision to try, to reduce the risk of lengthy pre-trial detention.Enabling judges to refuse extradition if part of the offence was committed in the UK and was not illegal in the UK.May also said that the UK would apply to rejoin Europol – but not if its powers were extended to direct national governments.‘We believe in operational independence for our police forces in the UK and are not prepared to see Europol mandate police forces in the UK,’ she said.Speaking for the opposition, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said that the home secretary had been forced to admit that the UK needs the European arrest warrant. Criticising the short timetable for a debate, Cooper said: ‘This is the wrong strategy and the wrong way to make policy on crime and justice.’Jago Russell, chief executive of pressure group Fair Trials International, said: ‘It makes complete sense for the UK to work with the rest of Europe to fight serious crime, but countless cases of injustice have shown that the arrest warrant needs to be reformed. The government must now follow-up on its promise to fix the flaws with Europe’s fast-track extradition regime, to stop it being used for minor crimes and to prevent people being shipped off to foreign prisons to be detained for years before their trial.’
THE decision to install ERTMS on TGV Est (p318) is clear evidence of a firm commitment in Europe to pursue the development of ETCS technology, despite the cost. But the goal of attaining levels of reliability acceptable for commercial service remains elusive. Even on TGV Est, due to open in 2007, conventional signalling will be available for non-ETCS fitted trains – and as a back-up. This means that two complete train control systems are being installed, surely a nonsense at a time when railways are striving to cut costs to compete with road and air.In 2002-03 Swiss Federal Railways bravely tested an earlier version of Level 2 in commercial service over the 35 km between Zofingen and Sempach on the Olten – Luzern main line (RG 8.03 p492), but this was dismantled last year with the line reverting to conventional signals on December 1. This pilot project was intended to pave the way for operation of all trains on the 45 km Mattstetten – Rothrist line with Level 2 when it opens on December 12 this year. But the production ETCS differed significantly from that used on the pilot, and SBB subsequently had cold feet. It decided reluctantly to install back-up conventional signalling to ensure that the new line would open on time – tracklaying was completed on April 30 with a ’golden spike’ ceremony at Inkwil prior to the line being handed over by contractors Zschokke Locher to SBB on June 7.The Swiss had made a similar commitment to install Level 2 in the 34·6 km L
Cameroon court drops charges against Biya opposition supporters Tanzanian opposition leaders charged with rebellion against Magufuli government A court in Cameroon on Friday charged opposition leader Maurice Kamto of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) with “rebellion” against the state, according to lawyers of the CRM.Kamto and 35 other members of CRM appeared before the Yaounde Court of First Instance where the charges were read.“Other charges include conspiracy against the republic, complicity and illegal groupings and public disorder,” lead counsel, barrister Emmanuel Sim told Xinhua.Hearing lasted for about an hour and was adjourned to March 15.Kamto has been detained at the Judicial Police in Yaounde since his arrest on Monday.He was arrested alongside 117 party members after they organized protests to denounce what they called “electoral hold up” and “useless war in Anglophone regions.”Cameroon’s Minister of Communication and Government Spokesman Rene Sadi said the demonstration was illegal and was intended to “destabilize Cameroon under the false pretext of an alleged electoral hold up.”Cameroon’s President Paul Biya was declared the winner with 71.28 percent of the vote in the October 7 presidential election, but Kamto claimed that he won the vote, while official results showed he emerged as a distant second with 14.23 percent of the vote.Kamto has since then announced what he called a “national resistance program” to compel Biya to step down.Related Detained Cameroon opposition leader ‘charged with insurrection’