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Japanese Officials Visit EPB in Chattanooga
EPB recently played host to a group of Japanese representatives of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corporation East. The company is Japan’s premier provider of phone, television and Internet services.
The delegation met with EPB’s team that led the design and construction of our Smart Grid. As NTT-East continues rebuilding it’s legacy and fiber optic networks following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, engineers wanted to see first-hand how the Chattanooga community took advantage of the latest fiber optic technologies.
The magnitude 9 earthquake and resulting tsunami of March 11, 2011 was the worst natural disaster to strike a developed country in modern history. More than 15,000 lives were lost and more than 100,000 buildings were destroyed. Electric power distribution and communication systems in northeastern Japan were left in ruins.
But the resiliency of the Japanese people was amazing. Most services were restored within 50 days. As Japan continues rebuilding it’s communities and core infrastructure engineers with NTT-East want to ensure their systems will be compatible with future demands and technologies.
While learning how EPB’s team integrated multiple platforms of communication with a fiber optic Smart Grid, the Japanese delegation said they were most impressed with EPB’s management style, which is “horizontally” structured. That means boundaries between EPB’s departments and managers are erased as people work together to achieve common goals.
“It’s an all-hands on deck approach,” EPB President and CEO Harold DePriest said. “You can’t solve problems just with automation, you need people in work groups who are collaborative and work as a team with boundaries removed.”
The Japanese delegation’s visit included time spent at EPB’s new operations center to see first-hand how EPB technicians work to install fiber optic services in homes and businesses. They said they were truly impressed with EPB’s commitment to customer service and satisfaction. Equally impressive was to see how EPB Fiber Optics can deliver one-gigabit Internet service to all of it’s more than 170,000 customers in it’s 600 square mile service area.
The NTT-East team included Mr. Gaku Yamda, Manager of Core Network Center, Network Business HQ; Mr. Junichi Kagesawa, Assistant Manager of Service Management and Network Technology Core Network Center; and Ms. Sayaka Sekiya, Assistant Manager of Service Management and Network Operation Core Network Center.
The NTT-East delegation will make its presentation on what it learned from EPB to senior management in Japan in March.
The NTT-East team is the latest international group to visit Chattanooga and EPB. The growing list includes representatives from Ireland, Israel, Denmark and Columbia.
More Business News
Last Update on August 21, 2014 07:34 GMT
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Asian stock markets were dampened by a weak China manufacturing survey Thursday. But Japan gained on the prospect of a stronger dollar after Fed minutes showed policymakers are leaning toward their first rate hike since the 2008 financial crisis.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.8 percent to 15,575.82 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2 percent to 5,645.70. South Korea's Kospi sank 1.2 percent to 2,047.77 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.9 percent to 24,948.59. China's Shanghai Composite was down 0.7 percent to 2,225.44.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Labor Department today will report on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. In the previous week, more people applied for benefits, though the figure remained near pre-recession levels.
The Conference Board will issue its index of leading economic indicators for July. In June, the index, which is designed to predict the economy's future health, increased for a fifth straight month.
The National Association of Realtors will report on existing-home sales in July. In June, sales rose for a third straight month, lifting the figure to the highest level in eight months.
Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates for this week. Last week, the average for the 30-year loan slipped to 4.12 percent from 4.14 percent the previous week.
Also today, two big retailers report their quarterly financial results. Sears reports before the market opens. Gap reports after the closing bell.
HONG KONG (AP) -- A survey says Chinese factory activity expanded in August at a slower rate, suggesting the recovery in the world's No. 2 economy is losing momentum.
The HSBC preliminary purchasing managers' index fell to a three-month low of 50.3 from 51.7 in July.
The index is based on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 indicate contraction.
China's economy had been showing signs of revival after a slowdown, with growth edging higher to 7.5 percent in the April-June quarter. But the report on the country's vast manufacturing industry shows the recovery is uneven.
Communist leaders in Beijing have already unveiled small-scale stimulus to bolster growth. HSBC economists said "more policy support is needed to consolidate the recovery."
The final version of the survey is due Sep. 1.
BANK OF AMERICA-SETTLEMENT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Officials directly familiar with intense private negotiations have told The Associated Press that Bank of America has reached a record settlement of nearly $17 billion with the government. The aim is to resolve a federal investigation into the bank's role in the sale of mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis.
One of the officials, who spoke with The Associated Press said the bank will pay $9.65 billion in cash and provide consumer relief valued at $7 billion. The official spoke on grounds of anonymity because the settlement was not scheduled to be announced until Thursday at the earliest.
The deal is the largest settlement arising from the economic meltdown in which millions of Americans lost their homes to foreclosure. It follows agreements in the last year with Citigroup for $7 billion and with JPMorgan Chase & Co. for $13 billion.
Like the Bank of America deal, those settlements were a mixture of hard cash and "credits" for various forms of consumer aid that the banks promised to provide in coming years.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Warren Buffett's company has agreed to an $896,000 penalty for failing to give advance notice to l regulators about a December 2013 investment in wallboard maker USG Corp.
The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that Berkshire Hathaway Inc. should have notified the Justice Department before it converted $325 million of senior USG notes it held into 21.4 million shares of the company.
Because Berkshire was already a significant USG shareholder, antitrust laws required it to notify regulators because of the size of the deal. At the end of June, Berkshire held just over 39 million USG shares.
Berkshire did correct its initial filing after the USG investment and clarify that it should have notified officials. But regulators said Berkshire made a similar mistake six months earlier.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina lawmakers have approved legislation they say makes the state the nation's first to address decades of toxic water pollution from residue left behind by coal-burning electricity plants.
The General Assembly on Wednesday approved legislation addressing the problem unmasked six months ago when a coal ash spill from a Duke Energy plant coated 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge. The measure goes to Gov. Pat McCrory before becoming law.
Environmentalists say the legislation improved on earlier efforts, but didn't go far enough.
Lawmakers say the measure would reverse a Superior Court judge's ruling that Duke must take "immediate action" to eliminate groundwater contamination that crosses onto a neighboring property.
Environmental attorney Frank Holleman says that will allow Duke to study the problem indefinitely before starting cleanup.
ATLANTA (AP) -- Some customers of The UPS Store may have had their credit and debit card information exposed by a computer virus found on systems at 51 stores in 24 states.
A spokeswoman for UPS says the information includes names, card numbers and postal and email addresses from about 100,000 transactions between Jan. 20 and Aug. 11.
United Parcel Service Inc. said Wednesday that it was among U.S. retailers who got a Department of Homeland Security bulletin about the malware on July 31. The malware is not identified by current anti-virus software.
Spokeswoman Chelsea Lee says the company isn't aware of any fraud related to the attack.
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