Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Wednesday Morning Good News Blogging

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 12, 2008

Investors are demanding a say on executive pay:

In 2006, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted new executive pay rules that sought to improve disclosure of performance incentives, retirement benefits, severance arrangements, option grants and perks and to reveal the “why” behind pay decisions.

The SEC reviewed 350 proxy statements showing the new disclosure last year and essentially told the companies who drafted them, “Nice try, but try harder.” The SEC’s biggest beefs were that companies were still not clear about why they paid what they paid; that the presentation was too dense and obscured key data, and that some companies failed to disclose details about how performance pay was set and earned.

Key investor groups, such as one led by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees’ (AFCSME) Employee Pension Plan and Walden Asset Management, also are unsatisfied with company disclosure and with pay packages deemed too generous or not sufficiently aligned with company performance. Such activist groups have introduced pay-related shareholder proposals for vote at annual meetings.

Manufacturing jobs pay well and are plentiful, even in this crummy job market (at least in Minnesota):

Manufacturing is far from dead, but too many young people think they’ve already seen the obituary.

That’s the word from Gov. Tim Pawlenty and companies across the state who met late last week at a series of roundtables to brainstorm about how to attract and prepare reluctant young workers to what in many cases remains a high-paying field.

The governor, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and MnSCU hosted roundtables in Rochester, Brainerd and South St. Paul to discuss potential solutions to the widespread problem.

Manufacturers told Pawlenty that they have jobs to offer, but can’t find skilled workers or students interested in training.

Many young adults are passing up career opportunities with extensive training and salaries that begin at $50,000 a year, they said.

Augsburg college kids may wind up saving the world with a new biodiesel process:

Dubbed the “Mcgyan Process,” the technology, inspired by the work of Augsburg undergraduate Brian Krohn, converts most feedstocks into biodiesel fuel without using much water or producing lots of waste.

Ever Cat Fuels, a start-up co-founded by Augsburg alumnus Clayton McNeff, is building a $5 million plant in Isanti that eventually will produce 3 million gallons of biodiesel fuel a year.

Normally, companies make biodiesel fuel by mixing soybean oil with a sodium hydroxide “catalyst” in a tank that’s heated at a high temperature. But this “batch” process takes hours to complete and produces waste. The catalyst itself must be neutralized with either hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, two toxic chemicals.

The Mcgyan method employs a metal oxide catalyst that converts a mixture of alcohol and feedstock oils in a tubelike reactor to biodiesel fuel. This continuous or “flow” process makes it more efficient because it takes seconds to complete and produces little waste, McNeff said. Patents on the process are pending.

One of the feedstock oils can be algae oil, which can be produced in great quantities from wastewater. Xcel Energy Inc. has invested $4.5 million toward algae and other alternative energy work through the University of Minnesota’s Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment.

4 Responses to “Wednesday Morning Good News Blogging”

  1. […] angeliqueve wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptDubbed the “Mcgyan Process,” the technology, inspired by the work of Augsburg undergraduate Brian Krohn, converts most feedstocks into biodiesel fuel without using much water or producing lots of waste. … […]

  2. […] Phoenix Woman wrote a fantastic post today on “Wednesday Morning Good News Blogging”Here’s ONLY a quick extractThe Mcgyan method employs a metal oxide catalyst that converts a mixture of alcohol and feedstock oils in a tubelike reactor to biodiesel fuel. This continuous or “flow” process makes it more efficient because it takes seconds to … […]

  3. Booklvnmama said

    Investors are demanding a say on executive pay: This link is for the next item. Please put up the link…this sounds very interesting?

  4. Booklvnmama said

    Thanks for fixing the link!

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