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Rob Romero on SIVAD Radio!

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Rob Romero

A thrill to welcome Rob Romero to SIVAD Radio. You can find Rob online here. [From Rob:]

“Early in my architectural career, I had the opportunity to work in a world-renowned architect’s office, Antoine Predock, on a wide range of projects from very high end residences to massive conventions centers in Morocco to museums in California and Wyoming to the Disney Mediterranean Hotel in Orlando. Since then, I have worked for several other design-oriented architectural firms until stepping out on my own.

In 2000, I started working for myself under the name Romero Architecture and now ROMERAMA which is a hybrid of my last name + the first letters of my interests – Architecture + Music + Art. I have pursued all scales of projects from retail/commercial to residential/renovation. From 2000 to 2009, I completed projects in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, North Carolina and West Virginia for total estimated construction costs of $7,580,000. As with each project, I always feel that site analysis is vital and I make an effort to experience each location as part of my duty as an architect and responsible designer in the world.

One of the most rewarding aspects of designing a project is getting to know the clients and, in some cases, I have had the opportunity to create art that is specifically commissioned for their building. The combination of art and architecture has been part of my ethos from the beginning.”

On today’s show, we discussed the following topics:

1. Rob’s firm, Romero Design; and what inspired him to launch his own firm.

2. How he, and his industry, are making it through the economy; and some discussion of ways to survive and thrive…

3. Business, industry and economic trends for the next five years.

4. The future and inspiration of the entrepreneurial spirit.

5. The opportunities in global markets.

Nancy Golson on SIVAD Radio!

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Dr. Nancy Golson

A real pleasure to be joined by Nancy Golson on today’s show. Nancy has been in education for over 40 years, serving as teacher, principal and Director of Special Education and now as education concultant with Red Crayon Associates.

Dr. Golson has worked in Charlote Mecklenburg School System in Charlottte North Carolina and Auburn City Schools in Auburn, Alabama. She has worked as a consultant for many schools systems in special education, school improvement, and accreditation.

On today’s show, we discussed the following topics:

1. The challenges faced by school administrators when trying to offer the best possible education to special needs students.

2. The impacts federal programs, such as No Child Left Behind, have on the impact of special needs students.

3. The process of evaluating students for special education via Response to Intervention, how it works, and the strain all this has on serving special needs students.

4. The increased role technology will play in helping and serving special needs students, including that of interactive technologies such as smart boards, projectors, etc.

Voter Registrars Association of Georgia Conference

Last week I attended the annual conference for the Voter Registrars Association of Georgia. This is the group of government officials who ensure that you get every chance to vote and that your vote counts. They are dedicated officials from 159 counties who spend their time trying to provide a better voting experience, striving to meet the ever changing voting laws, dealing with demanding candidates, dealing with razor thin budgets from county commissioners, complying to state elections regulations, dealing with special interest groups concerned about voter fraud, and of course dealing with the ever friendly voting public. Some think that those in the elections office only work during an election. I am here to tell you that they never stop working.

This year’s big topics included redistricting in the counties and preparing for next year’s presidential election. Everyone agreed that next year’s elections will be a challenge. They all believe that the voter turnout will increase over past presidential elections. The challenge for most will be how to handle this increased voter turnout with a decreased budget and less resources. With fewer resources, funding to pay the temporary workers needed to process early voting and absentee voting becomes harder to find. This fact has elections officials taking a serious look at how technology could help streamline and quicken the steps to process voters.

One particular solution at the conference that drew high interest was a way to speed up the early voting process. The product, called EasyVote, is used to speed up the application process for early voting. When a voter in Georgia wants to vote early they must fill out an application before they are issued their ballot card. This is traditionally an area that bogs down the process with a voter needing help to fill out the application or the poll worker not being able to read the voters handwriting. EasyVote speeds up the process by having the voter give their drivers license to the poll worker to run through a hand held scanner that reads the information off the license and automatically fills out the information on the application for the voter. All the voter needs to do is sign it. This removes the hassle from the voter and since the application is electronically filled out, the poll worker has no issue in reading it. The result is a happier voter, a less frustrated poll worker, and a voting line that moves quicker. For the election director there are also reporting capabilities built into EasyVote that enables them to quickly produce information for candidates or the state election office.

With technology products like EasyVote and others, what was traditionally very manual and people oriented in elections, is now moving towards automation and experiencing what the benefits of integrating technology into their work processes can do. This is Sivad’s mission, finding the manual bottlenecks that slow the work process, decrease employee productivity and become very costly and offer the technology solutions to fix them. I will still be the first to say that technology cannot replace people, but technology can be strategically placed to assist people in better performing their jobs. Especially in today’s budget strapped economy we all need ways to better perform our jobs. We might lose people to layoffs, attrition and other reasons, but we never lose the volume of work. We still have to find ways to offer the service our customers expect.

I encourage any industry or job function that has not looked at how technology can assist them, to see if there are solutions out there that can save time and money. While technology cannot solve every problem, I have seen enough times to know that it can make a difference. The key is to understand how your business runs and where it falls short. This is your starting place to see if the right technology can make a difference. Good luck!

Photo by Sarae via Flickr

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