Source: Ulma Packaging UKUlma Packaging UK is targeting small and medium-sized bakery businesses with a new automatic packaging line.Described as a compact, entry-level system, the line is designed to improve packaging speed and saved floor space while reducing the need for manual handling.It features a receiving conveyor – to automatically sort bakery products ready for even and continuous row distribution – as well as a drop-down transfer moving belt and can be integrated into existing lines, the packaging machinery provider said.Products can be accumulated to allow for short breaks in production with automatic re-feed or can be rejected for various product fault conditions, Ulma added.The belts are also described as easy changeable to help optimise cleaning and maintenance time.“The benefits of automation have long been known, but for many SMEs in the bakery sector who are still unsure of whether automation is a possibility, especially for smaller packaging lines, it was important for us to show this market the possibilities,” said Steve Craddock, business manager for Automation Projects at Ulma.“When combined with Ulma’s FR 200 horizontal flow wrapper the benefits continue with even more flexibility and ability to cope with packaging a variety of different products, alongside its sustainability credentials and compatibility with easy to recycle films.”
Bill Collins (right) with former Chorleywood colleagues Mike Overton (left) and Jim Brown (centre) at the BSB annual meeting in 2011Bill Collins, co-inventor of the Chorleywood Bread Process, has passed away.Here, Baketran director Stan Cauvain talks about how his former colleague and friend revolutionised the baking industry.Mention the name Thomas Hylton Collins to bakers around the world and you will get a puzzled look; change that to Bill Collins and you get instant recognition, not least because of his association with the invention of the Chorleywood Bread Process (CBP). Yet there was much more to Bill’s career than the invention of the CBP, and his detailed knowledge of the manufacture of bread and fermented goods covered all aspects of breadmaking.Bill was born in Liverpool and set out to be a baker from school. As a full-time bakery student, he gained his City and Guilds Diplomas. National Service in the UK army was followed by a managerial career in plant baking. However, in 1956 Bill joined the British Baking Industries Research Association (BBIRA) based in Chorleywood and as they say, the rest is history.The defining moments in Bill’s career began in 1958 when he was asked to undertake long-term research into the fundamentals of breadmaking; he seized the moment with a passion that never diminished. Studies on continuous dough mixing using pre-ferments laid the foundations for a deeper understanding of dough development using mechanical energy. From that study, combined with inputs from Dr Norman Chamberlain and the leadership of Dr George Elton (director-general of BBIRA at the time), the CBP was born and launched in 1961. A Queen’s Award to industry followed in 1966 for BBIRA.Bill retired from the Flour Milling and Baking Research Association (the successor of the BBIRA at Chorleywood) in 1993 after 37 years. For much of that time he was the head of the bread section, a role that he relished and had no wish to change. Throughout those years his enthusiasm for new ideas never dimmed and his teams were constantly adding new dimensions to our understanding of bread baking through work on wheats, ingredients and processes.Always polite, Bill was never afraid to challenge perceived wisdom and would often disarm learned disagreements with the phrase, “Well I am only a baker but…” That he was, and he ably combined the technical and practical skills that are needed in bread production. He was a quiet and inspirational team leader and mentor to many, including this writer.With an unassuming character, Bill was always uncomfortable with, and shunned, popular recognition of his association with the CBP. In part that was because he contributed so much more to the world of baking and cereal science. His treatise on the Creation and Control of Bread Crumb Structure remains a critical text for all bakers and gained him the Insignia Award in Technology of the City and Guilds London Institute, and an honorary Doctorate from the home of the National Bakery School, the London South Bank University. So typical of Bill, it was a title he never used and equally readers may be surprised to read that he received a Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 1978.Family lifeBill was a strong family man, and he and his first wife Joyce devoted much energy to raising their four children. In retirement, Bill’s considerable woodworking skills were put to use making furniture and toys for the grandchildren. Sadly, not long into Bill’s retirement, Joyce passed away.Sometime later, Bill was to meet and marry Marjorie. They discovered that they had grown up a few streets apart in Liverpool but only met when they attended the same church not far from their respective homes in South Buckinghamshire.In the resume of Bill’s career and achievements published in the Chorleywood Digest when he retired, the text included the words “…an era has come to an end at Chorleywood”. Indeed, it had and while we might say the same of his passing, I would politely dispute that. His legacy is more than the sum of his achievements; it is also about what he inspired others to achieve and to do in baking. Listening to this peroration Bill would be embarrassed and uncomfortable, and so in keeping with his character, on behalf of the baking industry worldwide I will simply say “thank you, Bill”.A personal memory from Stan CauvainThe photo above was taken in the year when the CBP became 50. I persuaded Bill to join the event but in his usual modest form, he declined the opportunity to be part of the presentation. So, it was with some trepidation that I had the task of telling the story to the man who lived it. It was typical of Bill that he would create opportunities for members of ‘his team’ and I was honoured that it fell to me to be the appropriate presenter of the watershed moment that he, Norman Chamberlain and George Elton created for baking 50 years before.
Monday night brought sit-ins from Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy) and Jon Batiste, bandmate of Louis Cato and frontman for Jon Batiste’s Stay Human. Cory joined Nigel on the keys for a song or two and was given some solo time to tickle the ivory and take over on vocals. When Jon Batiste jumped onstage to get on the keys, Cory moved to the center of the stage next to Nigel to play the harpejji (electric stringed instrument that bridges the gap in sound between the guitar, bass guitar, and piano). Cory Henry is super talented and can really crush on most instruments. The six-piece played a rocking cover of the Buddy Miles classic “Them Changes” that brought the house down. The crowd was moving and head-bopping in their seats the entire show. Tuesday night’s show drew a much larger crowd and had some great musicians in the audience as well as on the stage. Questlove was the announced special guest for the night, so the audience was ready for a night of killer drum playing. The show opened with some of the same songs from the prior night, but they had a different feel to them—tonight was Kraz’s night! He was wailing on his guitar from the opening chords, and he never let up. Cory Henry joined the band on stage once again in a funky cover of The Beatles’ “Get Back.” Then Questlove was called to the stage, along with Maurice “MoBetta” Brown on the trumpet and Cochemea Gastelum (Dap Kings) on the saxophone. The band launched into the soulful funky Isley Brothers tune “Layaway”, and Nigel’s vocals stood out during this funky tribute. The night ended with Nigel letting us know that he is a “firm believer that if everyone got up in the morning and listened to one song, the world would be a better place.” Wednesday saw the city get hit with the fourth nor’easter in as many weeks, but that didn’t slow down Eric Krasno and Friends. Robert Randolph was the billed special guest for the night, so anticipation was high. James Casey, saxophonist for Trey Anastasio Band, was called for a sit-in, as the band performed a song that had originally been written for Trombone Shorty. Nigel and crew were having fun telling stories and delighting the crowd with good ole funk. Robert Randolph had the crowd raging, as they performed covers of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Hey Joe” and the Grateful Dead ballad “Sugaree.” Krasno never disappoints, and this week proved that in spades. From his boys in Chapter 2 to the special guests that came out to play with them, it was an exceptional week of funk and jazz. Hopefully, this will become an annual tradition, and we hope to hear from Chapter 2 ten years down the line. When the hardest-working guitar player in the jam scene announces a three-night, six-show run with some of the best musicians and special guests at one of New York’s oldest and best-known jazz clubs, you know you’re in for a funky week! The “house band” was an outfit formerly known as Chapter 2, made up of Chris Loftlin (Brian McKnight) on bass, Louis Cato (Jon Batiste’s Stay Human) on drums, Nigel Hall (Lettuce) on keys and vocals, and, of course, the ultra-talented host of the shows, Eric Krasno (Eric Krasno Band, Lettuce, Soulive) on guitar. Nigel mentioned at the start of each show, Krasno was the “curator” of bringing together this special group of musicians almost ten years ago, and they were “happy to be playing with their friends, for their friends.” And we were happy to have them playing for us all week! Whenever you bring a supergroup of musicians together, particularly with a number of guest sit-ins, it can be interesting to see how they mesh together, what songs they might choose to cover, or how everyone will fit in. When Eric Krasno brings his friends together to play, he never feels the need to take the spotlight. He seems just as comfortable playing in the background as he does when it’s his time to shine. This week was no exception, as Krasno allowed the other musicians to really take the lead and stand out. But he can still shred, as he proved time and again this week.From the first song of the late set on Monday night through the final song of the late set on Wednesday night, one thing that became abundantly clear is that Chris Loftlin is an absolute beast on the bass! Between his ability to get the audience involved by clapping, his dance moves, and his outrageous faces, Chris was certainly a standout performer of the week. Nigel Hall claimed to be the “least talented musician on the stage” every night, but that could not have been further from the truth. Nigel is such a great keyboard player and has such a soulful voice that it almost feels like being in church every time you see him perform. And Louis Cato can hammer the drums with the best of them.
On the global summit social calendar, the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is the glittering, invitation-only confab where titans of industry and political figures, such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Secretary of State John Kerry, strategize with academic leaders and celebrity A-listers, such as Harvard President Drew Faust and activist musician Bono.During a “debriefing” on Friday at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), some local superstars who attended the event on Jan. 22–25 gave students and other attendees an inside peek at the issues on the international agenda and an idea of what it was like to be there. HKS maintains close ties with Klaus Schwab, M.P.A. ’67, the founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum.Rakesh Khurana, the Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at Harvard Business School (HBS) and co-master of Cabot House, said he looked at Davos through the lens of his training as an organizational sociologist.“What was so fascinating to me was that you had these people trudging their bags behind their backs through the snow to this little town that’s actually not easy to get to, and yet feeling the important pull of locality, of place — that somehow there was a compulsion among business elites, political elites, [and] academics to see each other physically face-to-face,” said Khurana.“In a highly secular world, I think, for global elites, it represents a type of moment for communion, of seeing similar others … when people feel less and less affiliation or connection to their own national or regional identities,” he said. Noting that even as technology has made it easy to share ideas long-distance, Davos still draws the powerful into its orbit, he said, “The reason is that it’s not about content, it’s about these connections.”Faust took the opportunity of a Harvard reception at Davos to announce Khurana’s appointment as the next dean of Harvard College, prompting a hearty round of cheers, said David Gergen, Public Service Professor of Public Leadership and director of the Center for Public Leadership at HKS. “Here was this really exciting appointment that got us all galvanized.”Gergen is a Davos veteran, going back to his days as a journalist in the 1980s.“I’ve always found it extraordinarily demanding, physically demanding as an undertaking, but also something really worth doing because it gets you out of your comfort zone. Intellectually, you’re exposed to all sorts of different views on different things you haven’t thought very much about. And it’s a way to get the global zeitgeist, to understand where the world is in its thinking,” he said. “It lifts your game, and that’s very, very valuable.”The panel, which also included Felipe Calderón, the former president of Mexico and currently an Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow at HKS, and Joshua R. Sanes, the Jeff C. Tarr Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Paul J. Finnegan Family Director of the Center for Brain Science, said they sensed some optimism, albeit cautious, at this year’s meeting following the recent European debt crisis. They said the big issues were the impact that new technology will have on employment, the growth of income inequality, China’s role as a world economic leader, climate change, and the precariousness of the U.S. economic recovery.“The United States is more and more marginalized there in terms of conversations. People are much more interested in knowing what’s the future of China, what’s the future of India,” said Gergen. “There’s a very pervasive sense that the United States is leaving the stage as a world leader, and others are coming onto the stage.”But besides big ideas and changing the world, for some attendees, the unspoken allure of Davos is the camaraderie, where access to intimate private gatherings with the rich, powerful, and famous is the ultimate mark of a global pecking order.“Once you get there, I’ve got to tell you, it’s like surreal,” Khurana said. “I don’t know if F. Scott Fitzgerald was completely right about the rich being different than you and me, but they definitely have better parties.”Binta Niambi Brown, a senior fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, attended her first Davos as part of the forum’s Young Global Leaders program. While she agreed with Khurana that social stratification was certainly evident, she thought it was clearer in some venues than in others.“Once you see Lloyd Blankfein or Jamie Dimon or Dominic Barton on the dance floor, you realize that we are all inherently equal,” Brown quipped, before adding, “which would explain why it was so easy to walk up to any of them and to discuss ideas with them, and perhaps even why they take you seriously in that environment.“Listening to our secretary of state in a global setting, you start to hear what we as Americans sound like in a very different way when you’re hearing it amongst other global leaders and global participants,” Brown said of one standout moment for her.“This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to participate in these global institutions … because you start to grow and change in ways that you don’t if you just spend all of your time here caring about the rest of the world. You have to get out, and you have to engage with other folks.”
A professor in the department of epidemiology and population health at the American University of Beirut, Huda Zurayk has spent years trying to promote health in the Arab world. She will deliver the Rama S. Mehta Lecture at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study on Thursday at 4 p.m. The annual lecture, established by the late Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith and his wife, Catherine, brings to campus a distinguished woman in public affairs or the sciences who possesses a deep understanding of the problems faced by women in developing countries. Zurayk will discuss her research and how Arab women are managing to cope with their lives, their health, and the survival of their families in the midst of uncertainty and conflict. She spoke with the Gazette prior to her talk.GAZETTE: Do you think the Arab world has been overlooked in terms of public health? If so, why?ZURAYK: I do not think the Arab world has been overlooked in terms of public health. Rather, public health as a discipline has not been strong in the Arab world. Public health has been mainly taught as a specialization within faculties of medicine, and most public health positions in government ministries of health are occupied by physicians regardless of their specialization. So public health has been viewed from a biomedical perspective as control and prevention of disease rather than as a holistic field that also involves health promotion, environmental health, and addresses the social determinants of health.Our Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut (AUB) [was] the first school of public health set up in the Arab world in 1954. It was followed closely in 1956 by the establishment of the High Institute of Public Health at the University of Alexandria in Egypt. In 1978, the Institute of Community and Public Health was set up at Birzeit University in the occupied Palestinian territory. In the past couple of years several other schools were established, and we are all preparing public health professionals to take up leadership positions in public health in countries of the region. The Faculty of Health Sciences at AUB is a leading and very active school of public health. GAZETTE: What are some of the key public health issues facing Arab countries? What are the issues facing women in particular?ZURAYK: The non-communicable conditions are a significant part of the disease burden in the Arab world currently. Mental health conditions are also prevalent, particularly among women. They result from the difficult social and economic conditions that face Arab women and men, and also from the situations of conflict and war that are spreading in the region. Lifestyle and behavioral factors influencing ill health should also be given more attention … Environmental factors, particularly lack of water resources, and pollution in the big cities, are worrying factors for public health.GAZETTE: Can you speak to the status of women’s reproductive health? How do things like poverty and cultural customs affect women’s health?ZURAYK: The key reproductive health indicator used by the Millennium Development Goals is the maternal mortality ratio. This is decreasing in most Arab countries. It still has a high value for low-income countries in the region, like Sudan, where it is still at 730 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Other issues of reproductive health relate to the low age of marriage for females. This is worsening because of the deterioration of economic and social conditions. Also, the stress of the economic and social context as well as the war conditions lead to intensified stress and the increase of domestic violence.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of what many view as the first “personal computer” and over the decades, it’s become an integral part of our personal and professional lives…it’s how we get work done, how we share and how we stay connected. Dell has been committed to the PC business since day one and our global customers recognize it – as reported by IDC, we recently celebrated year-over-year worldwide PC share growth for more than 24 consecutive quarters.The mighty PC has empowered and connected people and communities, providing a portal to education and work. PCs make it possible to set up and scale businesses, create new experiences in entertainment, inspire new innovation for a safer, smarter world, and deliver major breakthroughs in science and healthcare.The PC is still evolving and how we use these devices in the future will change. We believe that the PCs of the future will support new ways to collaborate – delivering more immersive experiences and becoming even more intelligent, providing personalized experiences that adapt to our needs in the moment.So as personal devices become increasingly collaborative, immersive and intelligent, how do we design for the future? At Dell, we believe in an agile approach to innovation that leverages the brightest and most creative minds across our strategy, technology, business, research and design teams. Innovation, agility, creativity and velocity are core to the Experience Innovation Group I lead within Dell. The next generation of PCs requires experience-led innovation and we have built an entirely new, rapid prototyping process to iteratively develop concepts beyond the next generation of products. These multi-disciplinary teams are collaborating to envision and build the products and solutions that will fuel human progress.Innovation is born from new ideas that iterate in fast sprints. This is the fun stuff – no holds barred technology design and development that is focused on the devices and applications of the future. We’re talking about devices and solutions for the next 5-10 years ahead. We have our failures, of course – but we fail fast, learn what we can, and build stronger concepts and products designed to change the game.We believe in trying new ideas early and digging deeper quickly. At any given time in our various labs, we may have multiple new concept devices and solutions in progress.Dual screens and foldables have been in Dell’s design and innovation pipeline for the last few years, however, as with all concepts, the same thing always grounds – and excites – us; we want to deliver high-quality products that deliver the best, most complete experiences for our customers. That means spending time with customers, seeing how they work, forecasting future industry trends and asking tough questions along the way – will it make customers more productive? Is it intuitive and enjoyable to use? Does it serve a purpose now or could it help prevent future problems our customers may have?The PC experience goes far beyond form factors… it’s also about the innovation and technology on the inside that can be incredibly transformative. For example, our teams brought to fruition Dell ExpressSign-in to speed up the log in process, Dell’s ProSupport Suite using machine learning to predict system issues and engage proactive customer service, and the Dell Precision Optimizer Premium which uses AI to learn about the way you use applications on your workstation to optimize your system’s performance.Innovation is in the DNA of Dell Technologies, but Michael Dell wasn’t innovating for innovation’s sake – his vision 35 years ago was to help customers access powerful technology tailored to their needs. Since then, Dell Technologies has grown to serve customers across 180 countries, but our core values and mission remain the same – the customer experience is what matters. It’s an exciting time to be at Dell and we’re looking forward to sharing more of our design and engineering journey with you.
In his song, “Trying to Find My Way Home,” musician and Iraq War veteran Jason Moon sings, “It’s hard to fight an enemy that lives inside of your head.” The College Democrats of Notre Dame sponsored a combination concert and movie showing in the LaFortune Student Center on Sunday to raise awareness about veterans suffering from that “enemy:” post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The event featured live music from Moon and excerpts from the documentary “On the Bridge,” a film directed by professor Olivier Morel that features the stories of Moon and other veterans with PTSD. College Democrats co-president Camille Suarez said she initially conceived the idea for the event after attending a January screening of the film at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. “After I saw the movie, I was so emotionally moved that I wanted to spread the word,” Suarez said. “Like Jason said, people need to just listen. Hopefully after seeing the movie, more people will listen.” At the event, Moon played three songs from his album and answered questions about veterans with PTSD. Moon said the public’s instinctive response of asking veterans about their experiences and trying to relate to them can cause more harm than good, and the best thing those who want to help veterans can do is simply to listen. Moon said Notre Dame can work to become recognized as a school that is veteran-friendly by taking steps to improve resources for returned soldiers, like providing a safe space for them to reach out to each other in dealing with veteran-specific issues like PTSD. “Notre Dame has a history of helping veterans through chaplaincy. Let’s extend that to the whole campus,” Moon said. Moon was deployed as a combat engineer through the Wisconsin Army National Guard in Iraq from March 2003 through April 2004. After returning from his tour of duty, Moon began traveling nationwide to play concerts for veteran and civilian audiences. In addition to local shows around Wisconsin, Moon travels around the country once a month to perform. He also founded a non-profit organization that works to help veterans suffering from PTSD. Moon said participating in the documentary was a challenging experience, but it ultimately led him to use his musical talent to help his fellow veterans. “At the time [making the film] was very difficult, and caused about six months of severe PTSD,” Moon said. “Originally, I agreed to do it because I thought it would be the last time I would have to tell my story, but then the music and the CD came out of it, and now that’s all I do. My plan kind of backfired.” Morel said he was inspired to make the film after hearing a National Public Radio piece about veteran suicide rates and PTSD. “On the Bridge” features the stories of six veterans and their experiences with PTSD. One of the six veterans, Jeff Lucey, committed suicide shortly after returning from Iraq, so his family tells his story in the film, Morel said. “He had trouble dealing with the morality of the things he had to do while in Iraq,” Morel said. “I think Jeff’s story is emblematic of what happens to many veterans when they come home.” In making the film, Morel said he aimed to raise awareness about PTSD and to show how veterans are working to educate the public about those who suffer from the disorder. “I made the film to try and make a difference. My angle was not to have them talk about the war or even necessarily about PTSD, but about the translation of trauma into public expression,” Morel said. “Many veterans are musicians, artists and writers depicting the war in a powerful way. One day we’re going to be aware of a cultural change that comes from the Iraq War veterans’ testimonials and creative expression.” Morel shared the story of a veteran who contacted him through the film’s website after viewing the movie’s trailer. The man said he had served with Ryan Endicott, one of the veterans featured in the film, and wanted to get in contact with Endicott. Morel said he sent the man’s contact information to Endicott, who was able to talk to the man that afternoon. After the conversation, Endicott called Morel to tell him the film had just helped to save a man’s life. “On the Bridge” has been screened at several film festivals around the United States, and won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at Detroit’s Uptown Film Festival. Morel said his favorite part of the filmmaking experience was forging relationships with the people involved. “The best thing was the wonderful friendships. The wonderful people I met are now part of my family,” Morel said. “I was not making the film about them, but with them.” More information about Moon, his music and his efforts to help fellow veterans can be found at www.jasonmoon.org. For more information about “On the Bridge,” visit www.onthebridgethemovie.org.
Charlottesville, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, provides ample space for bikers to take to the trails. The Charlottesville Area Mountain Biking Club (CAMBC) is one of the region’s premier organizations for creating and maintaining these trails, while also organizing different events throughout the year. Sam Lindblom, CAMBC President, is no stranger to the mountain biking scene. We were recently able to catch up with Sam, covering everything from scrambled eggs to singletrack.BRO: How did you get into mountain biking?SL: I’ve been riding bikes since childhood. Combine my love of the outdoors with a love of bicycles and there you have it. I’ve been mountain biking since about 1985. My first legit mountain bike was a 1988 Cannondale Red Shred. I miss that bike…BRO: When did you start working with the CAMBC?SL: I got involved about 2009 by helping out on trail work days. I joined the board on 2012, and became the board President in 2014. Being the President means that I am the primary cat herder (but far from alone!). I am the primary spokesperson, preside over board meetings, and communicate with our members (over 400) and our partners (governments, other non-profits) about trail issues, opportunities, and events. CAMBC is everything I love about Charlottesville; people doing great fun things together, outside, while making our community a better place to live.BRO: Do you have a favorite trail to ride?SL: I have way too many favorite places to ride around Cville! But specifically, I love riding in the George Washington National Forest up on Shenandoah Mountain; and you can never get bored on our Rivanna Trail (who else has 20+ miles of singletrack in the city limits?).BRO: Favorite pre-ride meal?SL: Without scrambled eggs and PB&J, I’d be bonked on the side of some mountain somewhere.BRO: Most embarrassing spill?SL: Once in college, I tried to bunny-hop a curb in front of my recent ex-girlfriend. I blew the jump, went over the bars, and left a lot of skin and blood on the sidewalk. Smooth.BRO: If you could meet anyone, past or present, who would it be?SL: That’s tough, but I’ve always been completely fascinated by Teddy Roosevelt, who, among other things, set aside 150 million acres of public land and worked with Gifford Pinchot and John Muir, two of the most incredible conservationists of all time.BRO: What is one book you think everyone should read at least once? Why?SL: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Well, it’s about my hometown, but more importantly, it teaches the most important life lessons of tolerance and understanding of differences.BRO: How have the outdoors affected your life?SL: It permeates essentially all aspects of my life. There is nothing like being in the outdoors to help you gain perspective, and reflect on the beauty of this world we’ve been given. You see some of the most amazing things on backcountry mountain bike rides—things like black bears and cubs, timber rattlesnakes, and amazing wildflowers are common, but nonetheless impressive and never get old.BRO: What’s your greatest achievement?SL: I married Paige 20 years ago, and we have two of the most amazing, outdoor loving boys, Caden and Carter. I’m pretty proud of that one…BRO: Do you have advice to offer to aspiring mountain bikers?SL: Go slow, learn skills, be patient. Don’t worry about the best gear, but you definitely need a decent rig and a good fitting helmet. More than anything have fun. The skills come quickly and the fun and health benefits never stop!For more information about trails and upcoming events in Charlottesville, check out cambc.org.Gordon Knapp is one of our 2015-2016 college ambassadors. Learn more about Gordon, and our other interns, here.
PGGM, AXA Investment Managers, Legal & General Investment ManagementPGGM – Erik van de Brake has been appointed as head of infrastructure. He will be responsible for 22 staff managing more than €7.5bn in assets and succeeds Frank Roeters van Lennep, who in September was appointed as CIO of private markets at the €200bn asset manager. Roeters van Lennep had succeeded Ruulke Bagijn, who left PGGM in May to become global head of real asset private equity at AXA Investment Managers-Real Assets.AXA Investment Managers – Marion Le Morhedec has been appointed head of business development for AXA IM Fixed Income after more than 10 years as a portfolio manager. She is stepping down from her role as head of the inflation-linked bond team, with Jonathan Baltora taking over. For the remainder of 2016, Le Morhedec will spend at least 50% of her time working with the global inflation team to ensure a smooth transition, AXA said. Baltora, who joined AXA in 2010, will become the lead portfolio manager on its global inflation strategies.Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) – Aaron Meder has been appointed chief executive at LGIM America, while Anton Eser has been appointed CIO. Meder will transition into the role over the next few months, moving from London to Chicago. Eser, co-head of LGIM’s Global Fixed Income business, will succeed Meder when he takes up his new role in Chicago. Colin Reedie, head of Euro Credit, will replace Eser as co-head of Global Fixed Income, alongside John Bender, also CIO of US Fixed Income.
A UK pension scheme has for the first time been lifted out of an assessment period with the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) in a deal that secures members’ benefits in full. CovPress, a UK manufacturer that went into administration last September and whose pension scheme has been in a PPF assessment period, has been acquired by industrial group Liberty House in a deal reached overnight.The CovPress pension scheme is being transferred as part of the sale.Joint administrator of the deal, Eddie Williams of Grant Thornton, said: “This has avoided the scheme’s passing into the Pension Protection Fund through an ongoing employer, which we understand has never been previously achieved for a business in administration. This has been pivotal to the outcome of the administration.” Lane Clark & Peacock advised Liberty, and Timothy Sharples, partner at the pension specialists, said “the members of the pension scheme can now look forward to receiving their benefits in full rather than reduced benefits from the Pension Protection Fund”.A spokeswoman for the PPF said: “In this instance, we were not needed, as the purchaser of the Covpress business voluntarily agreed to take on responsibility for the pension scheme. This has achieved a better result for the scheme members and the PPF.”The PPF acts as a rescue fund for pension schemes whose sponsoring employers have gone into administration and do not have sufficient assets to pay benefits matching or exceeded PPF levels of compensation.Schemes go through an assessment period before entering the fund.There have been instances of other deals being struck to prevent UK pension schemes from falling into the PPF, such as that of the Uniq scheme in 2011 and MIRA Retirement Benefits Scheme in 2015, but these have been buyout deals with insurers and involved a reduction in member benefits, while still exceeding PPF compensation levels.Alex Waite, partner at LCP, told IPE these deals were sometimes referred to as “PPF plus” deals but that the CovPress case was unique because it constituted a full rescue. “This is unique because it is as if the scheme had never gone into the PPF assessment in the first place,” he said. “It doesn’t reduce member benefits, which has never been done before.”In other news, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Pension Scheme has completed a £90m (€104m) buy-in deal with the Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) in a second de-risking step.The CAA scheme provides defined benefits to the employees of the National Air Traffic Services and the CAA, and had assets of £2.2bn as at 31 March 2016.The deal with PIC, announced today, is the second de-risking transaction for the scheme, after it completed a £1.6bn bulk annuity with Rothesay Life in 2015.Aon Hewitt and Reed Smith advised the scheme.Paul Belok, partner in the former’s risk settlement group, highlighted the agreement of a price lock during an exclusivity period with PIC as a “particularly positive” feature of the transaction, as this meant the terms of the deal were not affected adversely by market movements during the relatively volatile period before the risk was transferred.Just Retirement today announced that it has completed a £36m medically underwritten bulk annuity deal covering the liabilities of fewer than 50 members of the defined benefit pension scheme of Aliaxis, an industrial company that makes products such as electrical ducts and conduits, and draining systems.Meanwhile, providers of stewardship advisory services have been selected for a new National Framework Agreement available for use by administering authorities of UK local authority pension schemes and other public sector pension bodies.Norfolk County Council ran an EU procurement process on behalf of several local government pension schemes (LGPS) for a multi-provider framework that covers services split into five “lots”, mainly covering voting and engagement but also “stewardship research and data services” and “stewardship-related project services”.The providers that made the cut for various services were: BMO Global Asset Management, FTSE Russell, GES International, Glass Lewis Europe, Hermes EOS, Manifest information Services, Mercer, MSCI ESG Research, oekom research, Pension & Investment Research Consultants, Robeco Institutional Asset Management, Sustainalytics UK and Vigeo Eiris.Only with respect to one service category, for combined voting and engagement services, was no cut made; five offers were received, and five providers awarded a contract.Depending on the type of service they require, pension scheme administering authorities will either have to run a further competition between the providers named to the National Framework Agreement, or they are free to choose from the list based on a “supplier catalogue”.