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Entries from May 2018

Christopher Voss, The Black Swan Group

May 18th, 2018 · Comments

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Chris Voss is CEO of the Black Swan Group and author of the national best-seller "Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It," which was named one of the seven best books on negotiation. A 24-year veteran of the FBI, Chris retired as the lead international kidnapping negotiator. Drawing on his experience in high-stakes negotiations, his company specializes in solving business communication problems using hostage negotiation solutions. Their negotiation methodology focuses on discovering the “Black Swans,” small pieces of information that have a huge effect on an outcome. Chris and his team have helped companies secure and close better deals, save money, and solve internal communication problems. Chris has been featured in TIME, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Inc., Fast Company, Fortune, The Washington Post, SUCCESS Magazine, Squawk Box, CNN, ABC News and more.

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Tom Manzo, Timely

May 12th, 2018 · Comments

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Tom Manzo, President – Timely Prefinished Steel Door Frames, Mr. Manzo was born in Detroit Michigan and raised in the south end of Madison Heights which is a working class city just two miles north of Detroit. He attended Oakland Community College and obtained an Associates Degree and eventually received a Bachelor’s Degree from Walsh College in Business Administration. It took many years to finish college as he always worked full time while attending and paid most of his schooling on his own. Tom never gave up on his commitment or the dream of a four year degree and the will to achieve that goal. He is certified from Stanford in Project Management which there is only a few thousand nationwide. He is authorized to put SCPM on his business cards. Tom has additional training in Executive Education from the University Of Southern California Marshall School Of Business in Strategic Management and Executive Leadership Skills. 

Timely Prefinished Steel Door Frames in Pacoima has almost 200 employees. Tom has been with Timely for over 14 years. Back in Detroit is where he got into sales working with a supplier to the Big Three Automotive Companies offering repair services on components for all of their automation. Eventually, he opened his own company supplying repair services to most Tier one and Tier two suppliers related to the Plastic Injection Molding Industry. The company he started was sold and he consulted a company who made door frames where not only did he meet Timely, he met his wife and she was the reason he came to California. 

At Timely he worked his way up from Product Manager to President and unfortunately many of his promotions came at a time when the economy really took a hit. It took a lot of work to keep things going and turn sales around while going through very difficult times. As he grew with Timely one thing he learned in the position he is in, “It is not about me, it is about the 200 employees we have. My decisions could impact many families so I better make sure I am making some good ones. It is one big family there and I am responsible for all of them."

Co-founder and President of CABIA, a new non-profit organization dedicated to changing the burdensome and unfair labor laws in California. I decided to take action when the company I work for was hit with a private attorney general act (PAGA) lawsuit for ridiculous claims. That suit caused me to realize that the over 1,000 pages of California Labor Law are nothing more than a tool for plaintiffs’ attorneys to use against hardworking businesses. Before taking the leap to create a new organization for this effort, I reached out to other business organizations to see if they were interested in the fight. Unfortunately, many already had full plates, and others simply showed no interest. Some organizations say they represent businesses although, due to politics they support agendas that are actually harmful and others just don’t want to stir the pot. Trying to connect with politicians as an individual or even a company seemed impossible. At that moment I knew California businesses needed a voice.

The goal of CABIA is to support any type of business – manufacturer, restaurant, retailer, service provider, etc. – and be their voice to state legislators, politicians, government employees, and specialized or regional trade organizations. Our platform is simple: change or abolish PAGA laws to protect against frivolous suits and change workers compensation laws so that they make sense for both employees and employers. The reality is this battle will take many years, given the entrenched interests in Sacramento and the path our legislature is on. On average, California passes over 800 new laws a year. Instead of making it easier for businesses to expand and grow the economy, those 800 laws often make it harder. One bill being considered right now, AB 206, would allow day laborers to collect workers comp; can you imagine what a nightmare that would be, or who would pay for it?

In my “day job,” I am the President of Timely, a manufacturing company in Pacoima that has 193 employees. Although a successful and growing business, we are struggling with minimum wage increases and frivolous workers comp cases that ran our MOD rate up. We tried to implement a flexible work schedule that would make our employees happier and more productive. For that, we got hit with a PAGA lawsuit because some employees missed the five-hour lunch window. These experiences are what led me to form CABIA, and there will be powerful stories that we can share as we work to get out our message. That real-world perspective will help CABIA become the leader in reforming these awful laws. If we are successful, CABIA will have helped businesses up and down the coast.

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