Friday, June 20, 2008

Odds and (week)ends

Just a few tidbits to close out the week as the calendar turns to summer:

* Engineering News-Record released its first-ever Top Green Design Firms survey earlier this week. According to the magazine, the Top 100 Green Designers generated design revenue of $1.74 billion from green projects in 2007. Green design accounted for 7.4% of the Top 100's total design revenue. But in the general building market, where green standards are more commonplace, green projects accounted for $1.56 billion in revenue out of a total of $8.68 billion, or 18%, for the Top 100. Clearly, as the headline suggests, green building is no longer a fad, but is now part of the mainstream.

* KBR, the global engineering, construction and services company, is under fire again, according to The Washington Post. The Pentagon's inspector general reported in an audit released earlier this week that KBR performed shoddy and substandard work in repairing hurricane-damaged Navy facilities while one technical advisor alleged that the federal government paid double for KBR projects due to design and workmanship deficiencies. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command gave KBR, then known as Kellogg, Brown and Root, three repair contracts worth $229 million over five years in July 2004, according to the report. At the time, KBR was a subsidiary of Halliburton, the Texas energy company whose former chief executive is Vice President Cheney. KBR does not agree with many of the conclusions contained in the report, according to a company spokeswoman, who added that KBR is working with the Navy to resolve problems with the contracts. KBR and Halliburton have been lightning rods for media scrutiny since the war in Iraq started in 2002.

* Read the Advertising Age article sent to me earlier this week in response to my posting "The sustainability of sustainability" and it contains some interesting points. The author of the article, Greg Andersen, writes about the foolishness of companies like Pizza Hut having pages on the social networking site Facebook. "Why? I mean, who wants to be friends with a pizza?" He later writes, "There are examples across the marketing universe where brands and their agencies have jumped into trendy environments to do trendy things. ... We're all guilty of it. Everyone wants to do the next new nontraditional thingy, including me. ... But the way we're doing it in many instances is not so great. 'Because everyone else is' is an unacceptable answer." The article appears in the June 2 issue of the magazine. For any marketer or firm leader who wants to "follow the trends," it is a good read.

* This one's for the CEOs and anyone else who travels regularly...Continental and United are planning a joint venture that they claim will expand flights and destinations, and improve our ability to earn miles and elite status in Mileage Plus. What they don't talk about is this: Consolidation will inevitably lead to higher prices. When combined with the effects of rising fuel costs and overall sluggishness within the airline industry, this is more bad news for frequent flyers.

Have a good weekend, everyone!


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