US Navy Carries Out First Ever Autonomous Aerial Refeuling

first_img View post tag: Autonomous View post tag: Aerial View post tag: US Navy April 23, 2015 The X-47B successfully conducted the first ever Autonomous Aerial Refeuling (AAR) of an unmanned aircraft April 22, completing the final test objective under the US Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System demonstration program.While flying off the coast of Maryland and Virginia, the X-47B connected to an Omega K-707 tanker aircraft and received over 4,000 pounds of fuel using the Navy’s probe-and-drogue method.Capt. Beau Duarte, the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager, said:What we accomplished today demonstrates a significant, groundbreaking step forward for the Navy. The ability to autonomously transfer and receive fuel in flight will increase the range and flexibility of future unmanned aircraft platforms, ultimately extending carrier power projection.During the test, the X-47B exchanged refueling messages with a government-designed Refueling Interface System (RIS) aboard the tanker. The aircraft autonomously maneuvered its fixed refueling probe into the tanker’s drogue, also known as the basket, the same way a Navy pilot would refuel a manned aircraft.This testing helps solidify the concept that future unmanned aircraft can perform standard missions like aerial refueling and operate seamlessly with manned aircraft as part of the Carrier Air Wing.[mappress mapid=”15748″]Image: US Navy View post tag: AAR View post tag: americas View post tag: Navycenter_img US Navy Carries Out First Ever Autonomous Aerial Refeuling View post tag: News by topic Back to overview,Home naval-today US Navy Carries Out First Ever Autonomous Aerial Refeuling View post tag: Refeuling Share this article Authoritieslast_img read more

Coffee Republic goes into administration

first_imgUK coffee chain Coffee Republic (UK) Limited has gone into administration alongside Coffee Republic Franchising and Goodbean Ltd, following the suspension of its shares yesterday. Richard Hill and David Crawshaw of KPMG Restructuring have been appointed joint administrators of the coffee bar and deli chains. The company’s shares were then temporarily suspended on Monday 6 July, after the board of Coffee Republic requested their suspension pending clarification of the financial position of certain subsidiaries, including Coffee Republic (UK). The holding company, Coffee Republic plc, is not in administration.“Coffee Republic has a strong brand and I expect considerable interest in the profitable parts of the business. We will be doing whatever we can to find a buyer for the residual business as a going concern as quickly as possible, so interested parties will have to be prepared to move fast,” commented Hill.Coffee Republic was founded in 1995 and currently employs 153 staff. It operates a total of 187 coffee bars in the UK and 10 international locations, including Ireland, Turkey and Romania. Twenty of these outlets are owned by Coffee Republic (UK) and 70 are franchised through Coffee Republic Franchising. A further 97 concessions operate within cinemas, retail outlets and hotels throughout the UK.The administrators are currently assessing the outlets on a case-by-case basis, and are expecting inevitable job losses through the closure of loss-making stores.Coffee Republic plc has seen year-on-year growth and signed its first franchising agreement in 2005. It also made a number of acquisitions, including the Goodbean chain.last_img read more

The String Cheese Incident Adds Multi-Night Runs In Four Cities

first_imgAs they continue to celebrate their 25th anniversary, The String Cheese Incident has announced the latest round of 25th Anniversary Incidents.On Monday, SCI announced that they will return to Dillon, CO’s recently-renovated Dillon Amphitheater for two nights on July 16th and 17th before making their way to Morrison, CO’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre for three previously announced shows on July 19th-21st.The String Cheese Incident also unveiled their first fall tour dates of 2019, beginning with a three-night run at Eugene, OR’s Cuthbert Amphitheater on September 27th-29th. The sextet will then head south for their triumphant return to the Bay Area for a four-night crosstown shuffle. The String Cheese Incident will offer up two performances at San Francisco, CA’s Fillmore on October 2nd and 3rd, followed by two shows at Oakland, CA’s Fox Theatre on October 4th and 5th.The String Cheese Incident’s 25th-anniversary schedule continues this weekend with a two-night stand at The Fox Theatre in St. Louis, MO on April 19th and 20th. From there, the band will head down to the Big Easy during the second weekend of New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for a trio of special performances including a show at The Orpheum on May 2nd and a pair of performances at Mardi Gras World with support from Pigeons Playing Ping Pong on May 3rd and 4th.The band will continue with a performance at Cumberland, MD’s DelFest on May 24th, followed by a three-night run at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY on May 25th, 26th, and 27th. SCI will then offer up back to back two-night runs over 4th of July weekend, with performances at Louisville, KY’s Iroquois Amphitheater on July 3rd and 4th, followed by a pair of shows at Atlanta, GA’s Fox Theatre on July 5th and 6th. SCI will also make summer festival appearances at Electric Forest, The Peach Music Festival, and FloydFest.A special SCI pre-sale for all newly announced Incidents begins this Wednesday, April 17th at 11 a.m. (MST) here (no codes will be required). Public on-sales will take place this Friday, April 19th through venue outlets.For ticketing information and a full list of The String Cheese Incident’s upcoming tour dates, head to the band’s website.last_img read more

Climate coverage difficult, but journalists shouldn’t opt out

first_imgNot so long ago it appeared that a U.S. cap-and-trade bill was well on its way to becoming reality. But then came the “Climategate” emails and increased political opposition, particularly in the Senate, to taking action. While public worries over the impacts of climate change had once been climbing, they’ve since fallen to levels lower than they were 20 years ago.This was the context of “Climate Policy and Politics: Covering Conflict in the Capital, Copenhagen and Beyond,” a discussion panel featuring Eric Pooley, a former Shorenstein Fellow and current deputy editor of Bloomberg.com‘s BusinessWeek and Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post. Other participants included Cristine Russell and Henry Lee of the Belfer Center‘s Environment and Natural Resources Program and Alex S. Jones of the Shorenstein Center.To read morelast_img read more

All the right moves

first_img With twisting and floating movements, Harvard Gaga dance course teaches students and community members to listen to their bodies Dancers and choreographers find camaraderie while stretching their creativity at Harvard Ballet Company Harvard archive shines an academic light on the social, poetic, and musical complexities of hip-hop GAZETTE: Have you grappled with any internal tension around embracing hip-hop culture as a practicing Muslim?SACKETT: There are some aspects of popular hip-hop culture that don’t go hand in hand with my faith, but the area of hip-hop culture that I have always participated in is the hip-hop that operates at the community level, teaching in Boys & Girls Clubs and after-school programs. I did that throughout my early career, and I saw the way that hip-hop culture and expression through dance helps kids get through tough times and deal with difficult emotions and hardships. I don’t think it conflicts with my Muslim identity. I just have to be very choosy about what I participate in and what’s OK for me, according to my beliefs. There are many ways to participate in hip-hop culture.GAZETTE: What role does education play in your creative practice?,SACKETT: Teaching is a way of learning, which is why I enjoy it so much. It’s also a way for me to honor my mentors and teachers and to share my love of dance. I had a couple of students that I taught at an arts high school in St. Paul, Minn., and they sent me a video of themselves doing the steps they learned in my class, five years later! I have former students who are teaching their own classes, and I was their first contact with dance, and to see them grow is the greatest reward. I travel and teach a lot as well, and it is so interesting to see the way that hip-hop draws in similar kinds of people across borders and languages. And it’s part of black culture, which I am very clear about when I’m teaching the history of hip-hop. We can’t divorce the dance from the people who created it. It’s important for people to know that they’re participating in something that was created by black Americans, and that the struggle of black and brown people in the Bronx is the legacy that they are carrying on when they dance. I feel that in participating, you have to give respect to your elders. There’s no room for someone to participate in hip-hop culture but hate the people who created it.GAZETTE: You are also an activist and work to counter Islamophobia. How does creativity and activism intersect for you?SACKETT: Being visibly Muslim, wearing hijab, and doing something as powerful as dance and representing it in this strong way — I think that that image is the complete opposite of what most people who don’t have a lot of contact with Muslims might see. Across the country, I’ve noticed that when I’m able to bridge that gap with dance and art, when I talk about misconceptions about Muslims and our religion, people are more likely to respond to me differently and ask questions they might not ask in a different situation. I think that’s crucial in America, to have the conversations that are uncomfortable and being open to those questions. For me, these kinds of conversations and finding what unifies us is the strongest weapon right now. I don’t want us to be divided; I want us to be unified. Related Flowing together Passing the barre Nas next to Mozart? Why not? Amirah Sackett uses dance to challenge conceptions of Muslim womanhood. The Chicago dancer, choreographer, educator, and activist combines hip-hop with Islamic themes to explore her identity and invites viewers to expand their understanding of movement as a mode of self-expression. During her visit to campus this week, Sackett met with undergraduate students at an ArtsBites session on Wednesday, sponsored by the Office for the Arts. And on Thursday she planned to teach a hip-hop dance master class at the Harvard Dance Center. That session will be free and open to the public. The Gazette spoke to Sackett about the importance of education in the arts, her activism, and love of poetry.Q&AAmirah SackettGAZETTE: When did you fall in love with dance?SACKETT: I was a kid who couldn’t sit still. When I heard music, I would just get up and start moving, and from about the age of 7 I was obsessed with learning steps. I have a background in contemporary dance and in classical ballet, and the way that I came to hip-hop was probably first through rap music and the way that it told a story. I loved the way that rap communicated things so efficiently in a short amount of time. I loved, and still love, the music of Rakim, A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def, Nas. When I started dancing, especially with hip-hop, it was more about mastering skills like breaking and popping. It was around 2011 that I started creating pieces that were more about saying something with that movement. The genre we call hip-hop dance has a rich and expressive movement vocabulary. We have so much to say, and now I’m trying to explore how to translate from what we do in a dance cypher — the circle — to a space like a stage.GAZETTE: What are some avenues for achieving that translation?SACKETT: I’ve been fusing Rumi’s poetry with hip-hop and funk beats, and then creating movement with Islamic themes. Rumi has been part of my exploration process in the last few years, and his poetry is popular in the United States, but his Muslim identity is often not discussed here. People are familiar with Rumi as a poet, but they forget that he was also an Islamic scholar. By using Rumi in my work, I’m channeling an artist who is so loved by all and fusing that with hip-hop culture, which I feel is a universal language. I love exploring and growing my skills, but I think it’s very important that I say something with my work. “I feel that in participating, you have to give respect to your elders. There’s no room for someone to participate in hip-hop culture but hate the people who created it.”last_img read more

Cybersecurity Predictions for Tomorrow’s Internet from the the NCSA and Nasdaq Cybersecurity Summit

first_imgThis blog is the second in a three-part series written for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. [previous post and final post]We live in a world centered around 24/7 connectivity, making cybersecurity a 24/7 concern.This is receiving special attention throughout the month of October, as the tech community recognizes National Cybersecurity Awareness Month by spotlighting cybersecurity issues and hosting public discussions about the latest tools, threats and trends affecting consumers and businesses alike.The theme of this year’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is “Our Shared Responsibility,” and true to theme, Dell teamed up with the National Cyber Security Alliance and Nasdaq to sponsor their cybersecurity summit in New York City.Photography by Kelsey Ayres / Nasdaq, Inc.The summit, held at Nasdaq headquarters, brought together some of the most influential leaders in the tech and cybersecurity space to discuss how today’s interconnected world is changing our society and the risks that come along with those changes. Panelists talked about how emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will both drive new vulnerabilities and help solve them. I was happy for the opportunity to be a part of the event.I took part in the panel “Securing Breakthrough Technologies – The Next Five Years.” The panelists and I discussed how refinement of breakthrough technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will play an important role in the advancement of cybersecurity techniques and technologies.The main consensus was that artificial intelligence and machine learning is needed to analyze the billions of security events we receive daily, filter out the noise, identify what’s safe and not safe and provide quality information for security professionals to examine. With the volume of data that’s being produced in organizations, matched by the volume of threats, IT professionals today need this advanced technology to stay ahead.Later in the afternoon, I joined a panel with representatives from Cylance, Nutanix, and PhishMe for a more in-depth discussion on artificial intelligence. The panel, “Artificial Intelligence – Friend or Foe?” further explored how innovation and the proliferation of connected devices is providing new attack vectors and a lucrative market for cybercriminals. On the other hand, the data from these devices can provide a plethora of insight to strengthen machine learning and help humans do their jobs better and more efficiently.In the panel, I highlighted that there isn’t an area of security at Dell that isn’t using some form of artificial intelligence to help them do their jobs better. In the area of advanced threat prevention, AI today can predict the malicious intent of a piece of software, and detect anomalous behavior with more advanced security information and event management (SIEM) products to generate indications of a compromise or attack.Looking ahead, some of the big opportunities with AI lie in further advancements in generating valuable insights from security events, contextual access controls and data classification. Combining the sensitivity of the data itself with context about who is accessing it, where, how and on what device will be key to further protecting data from malicious activity and insider threats. In addition, there is an opportunity to better automate response to threats. Today, we manually address security issues as they happen. The next step is to be able to analyze an event or piece of information, decide on the response and automate that, in order to speed time to resolution and free up IT and security professionals to focus on what’s important.In the realm of cybersecurity, using AI and machine learning is in its infancy and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible. Taking advantage of advanced technology solutions and modernizing our security infrastructure will help us to protect our data and prevent threats while still allowing employees to be productive.last_img read more

Canada judge won’t relax Huawei CFO bail conditions

first_imgVANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — A Canadian judge is declining to ease bail conditions for a senior executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei who was arrested in Canada on a U.S. extradition warrant.  British Columbia Supreme Court Justice William Ehrcke said Friday the current restrictions are the minimum required to ensure Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder and its chief financial officer, does not flee Canada. The judge dismissed Meng’s application for changes to her bail conditions, which would have allowed her to leave her Vancouver mansion outside the hours of her overnight curfew without the presence of security.last_img

BAVO encourages students to volunteer at County’s rape crisis center S-O-S

first_imgSaint Mary’s Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO), is calling on college students to become advocates for the Family Justice Center of St. Joseph’s County and S-O-S, the county’s Rape Crisis Center. Both are non-profit organizations, committed to offering services to victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse, stalking and domestic violence. Classes to become an advocate for the Family Justice Center and S-O-S began Jan. 27. The classes are held 6-9 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday for six weeks.Sexual assault and harassment has been brought into a greater concern and topic of issue in the recent years through new initiatives and forms of modern publicity. It is a topic of controversy and a very difficult topic to discuss for some.“One in four women and one in ten men experiences relationship violence in their lifetime,” BAVO director Connie Adams said. “One in six women and one in 19 men experience stalking in her lifetime. One in six women and one in 33 men have experienced a sexual assault in their lifetime.“These issues significantly impact our communities in America. Due to the impact, response services are critical to the overall health and well-being of communities.”According to Adams, volunteers are crucial to the success of these organizations. Whether they are answering the 24/7 helpline or advocating and supporting victims seeking medical care and forensic examinations at a local hospital, their families and friends. Adams said volunteers also answer phones and complete intakes for clients at the office. They manage social media accounts and help plan, organize and advertise awareness at fundraising events.According to the Family Justice Center website, the organization was established under the administration of George W. Bush as a part of the Family Justice Center Initiative. There are fifteen different centers nationwide including the one in St. Joseph’s County which opened its doors in 2007 to help eradicate all forms of domestic violence. The goal of this initiative is to improve victims access to services.The number of instances of domestic violence and sexual assaults in St. Joseph’s County is significant, Adams said. Local police respond to approximately 8,000 domestic violence calls a year, according to the Family Justice Center website. The Department of Justice speculates that over half of partner violence is not reported to authorities. Overall the Department estimates that there are a total of 16,000 unreported and reported incidents within the county lines each year. According to the Center’s website, victims come from all different social statuses, races and religions. Even so, statistics reveal that most victims are women and most have children.Adams said students will find there are many benefits to volunteering to become an advocate.“It can be a powerful experience contributing to Michiana beyond our campus walls,” Adams said. “For those interested in helping professions, it’s also great exposure to support services.”Tags: BAVO, domestic violence, Family Justice Center, National Stalking Awareness Month, rape, rape crisis center, S-O-S, sexual assault, St. Joseph’s County, Stalkinglast_img read more

Michael C. Hall on Making His London Stage Debut in Lazarus

first_img Michael C. Hall is known for his award-winning work on TV’s Six Feet Under and Dexter but has been returning to the theater with increasing regularity of late, whether as one of Broadway’s Hedwigs or leading the starry ensemble of Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses. He is currently making his London stage debut reprising the iconic part of Thomas Newton in director Ivo van Hove’s production of Lazarus. The David Bowie-scored musical, co-written by Bowie and Enda Walsh, is now previewing prior to a November 8 opening at the King’s Cross Theatre, so Hall was well placed to talk about picking up a part he played to acclaim off-Broadway last season.What is it like returning to the role of the resident alien Thomas Newton after the better part of a year away?This is something I’ve never really done before, and I was very curious as to how it would feel. What I’ve found is that the piece has been recontextualized doing it here in London and also, of course, by our performing it and [the audience] seeing it informed by David [Bowie’s] passing. [Bowie died in January, not long before the end of the off-Broadway run.]Did you expect an onward life for the production, once it finished at New York Theatre Workshop?Yeah, from the time of our opening there was talk of it having a life beyond the Workshop and that was something on all of our radars back then. When we did it for the last time [in New York], I very much had the sense that I wasn’t saying goodbye.How does it feel to have been described in this musical as “Bowie’s representative on earth”?I suppose it makes sense that someone would make that connection. I mean, talk about something beyond your wildest dreams!Has the show itself been changed by Bowie’s too-early passing, at the age of 69?On the surface nothing has changed: we’re still executing the piece that David initiated, and he was very much involved in its development. But inevitably there’s a sense of his presence as it pervades the piece and its message, whether implicit or explicit, is that much more potent now that he’s left us. It’s as if his presence is all the more palpable since he died.Did you have to prep for the role afresh?Well, I certainly made sure that I started singing more regularly and that I got the particular songs back in the groove of my voice, and then we had four weeks’ rehearsal to put it back together. A good amount of time had passed, but not so much time that I wasn’t still very pleased to discover that I had it in my muscle memory.Am I right that you’ve shaved your arms?I have! That’s something I did: nobody requested that. When I look down and see my hairless arms, it looks more like alien flesh to me.Do you agree with those who find the show’s tale of “the man who fell to earth,” to quote the title of the Bowie film that inspired Lazarus, to be “cryptic”?I feel that for Thomas Newton the piece is arguably all happening within the confines of his head and within the confines of his imagination and that he is not in complete control of those faculties, so the unfolding story and action of the piece are surprising and mysterious to him. If that makes [the show] “cryptic” from night to night, then that surely is appropriate. I’ve resisted the temptation to pin anything down so that I can allow what happens every performance to be continually and newly surprising.Has there been any confusion about what the audience thinks it’s coming to see—a David Bowie jukebox musical perhaps?I think there are people who come having no sense of what they’re going to see and inevitably—because this in many cases is known as “the David Bowie musical”—make inferences that are way off base.On a vocal level, how does this part compare, for instance, with the glam-rock challenges of playing Hedwig?It’s different. Hedwig is unique and I think from a physical standpoint was as comprehensively challenging as anything I’ve done: vocally, emotionally, cardiovascularly. This, in turn, requires a different kind of concentration insofar as everything is conjured by my character’s experience. And I do have seven numbers. I definitely need to get my rest.Is it difficult to come down, as it were, after each performance?It’s draining and exhilarating—an exhilarating drain. I step into the shower and wash off my milk—spoiler alert! [laughs]—and that kind of helps re-set everything. I certainly don’t struggle to fall asleep at night.Don’t you feel that David Bowie would have totally got the world of Hedwig?Very much so. I think if you made a list of the people to whom Hedwig owes a debt, Bowie would be first on the list, in terms of the glam sensibility and also the musical sensibility. “The Origin of Love,” which is the seed from which the whole of Hedwig and the Angry Inch grew, sounds like a Bowie song.Did you revisit the 1976 Nicholas Roeg-directed film that gave rise to Lazarus?I watched [The Man Who Fell to Earth] for the first time around 2005 and then again when we were in rehearsals in New York and yet again at the London Film Festival here when they had a new print of it. I was perplexed by the film when I first saw it, but it remains of its time in terms of the way it was shot and the drug-fueled atmosphere of the creatives. If nothing else, it’s such a wonderful chance to get an up-close look at Bowie at the height of his powers.How familiar were you with the London theater?It’s somewhat new to me, though not entirely. The first time I came [to London] was in eighth grade on a school-sponsored trip with my mother. She managed to get us tickets to the hot musical in town, which was Starlight Express. I remember sitting in the top balcony seriously jetlagged and every time I would start to nod off, these roller skaters would come whizzing by.Have you long had a desire to appear here on stage?I always loved the idea of finding a way to work here, and I couldn’t think of a better way to do it than via this sort of posthumous homecoming.Didn’t you make your Broadway debut in a British play?I was the understudy for Christian Camargo in Skylight [the David Hare play, first seen in New York in 1996], but I never went on. I would just call in at the theater each night at 7 30 and watch The Simpsons. That was the job that got me my Equity card and to sit in that theater and watch [leading man] Michael Gambon stalk that stage remains a highlight of my life: it was so incredible. I did later get to do the part in L.A. with Brian Cox and Laila Robins.Are you looking to increase the amount of theater you do now that you’re no longer in a TV series?I never planned to do 13 consecutive seasons of TV, which is what I did with five seasons of Six Feet Under followed by eight of Dexter and I had been acting more or less exclusively onstage before that. It was only when I got the chance to do The Realistic Joneses that I reactivated that love, that appreciation, for the theater and the immediacy of that experience. I certainly like to imagine that there will be further opportunities for me in other mediums, but the theater has always felt like home.How does it feel to be opening your show on Election Day—and away from home?I thought it might be odd, but with the internet, everything is so accessible and all the information is right there. I think, too, that Brexit has made the British perhaps less inclined to be pompous about what’s happening in the US. Besides, whatever happens on Tuesday isn’t the ending of something, it’s only the beginning—though I hope not. Michael C. Hall in ‘Lazarus'(Photo: Jan Versweyveld) View Commentslast_img read more

Lessons from McDonalds

first_img 88SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Denise Wymore Denise started her credit union career over 30 years ago as a Teller for Pacific NW Federal Credit Union in Portland, Oregon. She moved up and around the org. chart … Web: www.nacuso.org Details I have been working in credit unions since June 18, 1980. That was the day I started my career as a teller at Pacific NW Federal Credit Union in Portland, Oregon. It was a Government employees credit union. We were allowed to smoke in the office. The only rule was when a member came to our window, you should put your cigarette down in your ashtray (which had the CU logo and was provided by HR). I’m not kidding. We had computers but there was no screen. If you wanted to get a member’s balance you punched in some code, crammed a card into the top of the typewriter wheel and pressed print. A great many trees were killed back then. This small credit union did not have the luxury of a greeter station or even an MSR position. So new accounts, new CDs, everything but loans were done on the teller line. I remember us having a “Lucky 13” party to celebrate hitting $13 million in assets. About the same time I was promoted to the newly created position of Member Service Rep. I had a desk, a renewed sense of purpose, my own business cards and most importantly a box on the organizational chart. On my first day HR showed me the org. chart. I had never seen such a thing and so asked the obvious question, “Where are the tellers?” She held up the piece of paper and waved her hand below it and said “Down here.” So you can see how excited I was to basically exist. We were growing at a pretty rapid pace and I saw more changes in the structure. Generalists becoming specialists at such important tasks as typing up a certificate of deposit.Three years later I left Pacific NW for greener pastures and a chance to learn more. I went to work for United Grocers FCU. This credit union served independent grocers who pooled their resources to try and compete with the large chains by centralizing their distribution and back-office functions. Pretty slick. The credit union was located across the street from the warehouse in a house. The living room and dining room made up the lobby, complete with one teller window. The President’s office was in the bedroom and our back office was the kitchen. We had one desk where a member could sit for a longer transaction like getting a loan. We were a staff of 4 with $6 million in assets. And other than the accounting (which was mostly done with General Ledger books still and the job of the President) we all knew how to do everything. Teller transactions, open a checking account, take a loan application, close a loan. I made $750.00 a month.Fast forward to today. I heard a friend say that their credit union was working on creating “Universal Employees” in all of their branches. I had not heard this phrase before so I asked her what that meant. She told me that members don’t like it when they get passed around from desk to desk to get things done so they are cross-training all member facing employees to be “generalists” so they can open an account, take a loan application, close a loan…etc.  So what I heard is they are a $600 million credit union that wants to act like a $6 million CU.Bigger is not better. In fact in all my years I have found that the bigger the credit union the more complicated the processes seem to become. Case in point: Back in 1984 we could get a loan out the door the same day using a manual typewriter to type the loan documents (in triplicate with carbon paper – liquid paper anyone?) and a dial-up modem to retrieve a credit report (not a score – there was no such thing) and a Burroughs machine to calculate the monthly payment.Today at many credit unions it takes 24-48 hours to get an auto loan out the door (unless you’re an indirect auto loan which are super speedy because there is built in incentive to do so).With the exception of online banking, and yes, I’ll acknowledge increased regulation, the tasks have not changed much in 37 years. Getting a loan out the door should be crazy fast now, and it’s not rocket science. I will acknowledge that I think many credit unions are stuck in the rut of trying to be all things to all people. They’ll offer 5 different checking accounts, IRAs, HSAs, Trust Accounts, Mortgage Loans, Business Accounts, etc. I see the need for specialists when this is the case. And maybe therein lies the problem and a possible solution. Get back to the basics, what do our members really want?I just saw the movie The Founder. The story of Ray Kroc and McDonald’s. The movie sought to expose the fraud of Ray Kroc – he technically wasn’t the “founder” of McDonald’s but rather he “found” the McDonald’s brothers and their revolutionary model that was the birth place of fast food. Mac and Dick McDonald had a full service restaurant with 37 items on the menu. They saw their business boom and then decline and eventually it flatlined. As Dick was closing the books one month he noticed that 3 items represented 87% of their sales. Burgers, fries and soft drinks. He convinced his brother to shut down the restaurant and retool the entire kitchen to deliver only 3 items in 30 seconds. It was revolutionary. It eliminated dishes, silverware, wait staff. And overnight it was a hit with families who could buy a burger for 15 cents! Nothing fancy, four dots of ketchup, four dots of mustard, a sprinkle of onion and a burger patty on a bun, wrapped in paper.What is our burger, fries and shake?last_img read more