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Talent : Cincinnati In The News

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Under Armour deals show how much money UC athletics miss by not being in major conference


The New York Times reports on a new equipment/shoe/jersey contract signed by Under Armour with UCLA that breaks the record for the largest college sponsorship deal ever — the fifth time in the past two years the record has been broken.

Under Armour will pay UCLA’s athletic department $280 million in cash and apparel over 15 years, an average of $18.7 million per year. It extends a trend of rapidly escalating contracts as three sportswear companies — Under Armour, Nike and Adidas — seek greater footholds in the lucrative college sports industry.

The Times story explains that the three companies are focusing their big dollars on high-profile sports programs in the so-called Power 5 conferences, including Ohio State ($16.7 million/year), Michigan ($15.8 million/year) and Texas ($16.8 million/year). It also mentions that Under Armour signed an agreement with the University of Cincinnati, not in a Power 5 conference, worth $5 million/year.

The Enquirer has written extensively about UC's efforts to join the Big 12 Conference, one of the Power 5 that's headed by Texas and Oklahoma.

Read the full New York Times story here.
 

Brent Spence Bridge an "infrastructure emergency," now what?


The Hill political newspaper website leads off its take on the top five "infrastructure emergencies" across the U.S. with the Brent Spence Bridge, which it says is responsible for moving 4 percent of gross national product.

"Advocates for investing in the nation's infrastructure are hesitant to single out certain projects as deserving priority over others, arguing that sustained funding and attention is needed equally across the board," the story opens. "But there are some crumbling structures threatening both the economy and public safety that are just too urgent not to point out."

That's not news in Greater Cincinnati, where finding a replacement for the aging, overcrowded highway bridge has been a quixotic journey for corporate, government and community leaders for years. Design concepts were announced in 2010, but Ohio, Kentucky and federal political leaders can't agree on funding sources or methods.
 
"Some transportation planners are calling on officials not only to rehabilitate the bridge but to construct a new one alongside it," The Hill writes. "Every year of delay in the start of construction costs the taxpayers nearly $75 million per year in inflation, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation."

President Obama visited the Brent Spence Bridge in 2011 as part of a broader push for infrastructure investments, saying, "It's in such poor condition, it's functionally obsolete."

Read the full story from The Hill here.
 

Cincinnati and Columbus have recovered recession job losses, Cleveland not so much


Cincinnati and Columbus have regained the jobs each metro area lost during the 2007-09 recession, says a United States Conference of Mayors' report based on Labor Department and other government data. Cleveland won't recover all its recession-era job losses for nearly two more years.

The three metro areas represent Ohio's largest labor markets, each with more than 1 million jobs.

"Though the Cleveland area lags its large metro counterparts in recovering jobs, it will bounce back before some other areas in the state," Olivera Perkins writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer. "For example, the Dayton and Toledo areas aren't projected to recover their lost jobs until after 2021."

Read the full Cleveland Plain Dealer story here.
 

Oyler School a good example of how "community schools" help improve student outcomes


A blog post from the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) says that more and more cities are trying community schools that wrap health, dental, therapeutic and family support services around existing schools to try to mitigate the effects of poverty and thereby improve students’ learning and life prospects.

"This idea is not new," Paul Hill writes. "Its modern incarnation started in Cincinnati in the early 2000s and has now spread to New York City and Philadelphia."

Hill praises Oyler School in Lower Price Hill as "the great community schools exemplar in Cincinnati," saying anyone who visits "is sure to be moved and impressed."

Martin Blank, President of the Institute for Educational Leadership, praised Oyler School last fall on The Huffington Post.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education is a research and policy analysis center at the University of Washington Bothell developing systemwide solutions for K–12 public education.

Read the full CRPE blog post here.
 

Want a bike-friendly city? Get ready to fail until it works, says Wired


Here's a fascinating article from Wired about building a bike-friendly culture in cities. Although it doesn't specifically mention Cincinnati, its findings and recommendations definitely apply to us.

"Building any infrastructure, anywhere, is a pain in the neck," writes Aarian Marshall. "You've got to find exactly the right government agencies, community groups, funding sources and contractors. And then you've got to figure out the logistics of construction and worry about the inevitable delays and cost overruns."

But Marshall then says not to despair, that there's good news for our soon-to-be bicycling-loving cities. "Across the country, usually stodgy governments are trying quick and dirty pilot projects, putting down cheap and temporary bicycle infrastructure and giving it a literal test drive (well, ride) before committing to the big stuff."

Like bike-only lanes along Central Parkway?

"Laying down temporary infrastructure before ginning up anything permanent also provides an opportunity to convince skeptics about the upsides of bike travel," Marshall writes. "Demonstration projects go a long way in terms of alleviating fears. Once residents see bicycle infrastructure in action, he says, they (usually) decide it doesn’t take up too much room or cost too much money. That makes it politically easier to build permanent protected lanes, bike boxes and signals."

Read the full Wired story here.
 

Playhouse featured in New York Times story about marketing provocative shows


The New York Times is taking the temperature of regional theaters across the U.S. to see how they're marketing Sex With Strangers, a popular play about a relationship between a female novelist and a younger male blogger.

“Since it had its premiere in 2011 at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, Sex With Strangers has become one of the most produced plays in the country,” Erik Piepenburg writes, “helped by strong reviews ... a small cast and a provocative title.”

Piepenburg explains that theaters have taken usually one of two routes to promote it: with either a G-rated illustration or an R-leaning photograph, usually of the two actors. He surveys six regional theaters, including Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, to see which direction their marketing took and what response they got. The Playhouse opened its current Shelterhouse season with the show Sept. 26-Oct. 25.

Read the full New York Times story here.
 

20 years later, John Harkes is part of another soccer beginning


Washington Post soccer reporter Steven Goff interviewed FC Cincinnati head coach John Harkes after the local team won its home opener April 9, recalling another Harkes debut 20 years earlier.

"In April 1996, John Harkes stood at midfield before an inaugural soccer match at San Jose's Spartan Stadium, the captain of a new team in a new nationwide league featuring U.S. World Cup players who could finally earn a proper paycheck at home," Goff writes. "Twenty years and three days later, Harkes was again part of something fresh in American soccer, pacing the sideline on a cold Saturday night in Cincinnati as coach of an expansion club making its home debut in the prosperous third flight. D.C. United and MLS then, FC Cincinnati and USL now."

Goff remarks on FC Cincinnati's amazing support from 14,658 fans on a cold night, saying the Nippert Stadium crowd "was larger than MLS matches in Washington and Dallas and considerably bigger than all five games in the second-division North American Soccer League."

FC Cincinnati plays its second home match April 16 against Louisville. Read Soapbox's February interview with FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding here.

Read the full Washington Post story here.
 

Cincinnati's never-used subway is 100 years old this month


"In 1916, the people of Cincinnati voted to fund the construction of a subway that would revolutionize the city’s public transportation system," Scott Rodd writes at the Next City website. "One hundred years later, all that remains is a 2-mile stretch of abandoned tunnels below the declining Rust Belt city."

Rodd goes on to relate the fascinating story of how Cincinnati approved $6 million in bonds to build a subway "loop" centered in downtown only to have a subsequent mayor halt the project mid-stream, leaving abandoned tunnels and tracks under Central Parkway to this day. Foreshadowing, perhaps, for the Cincinnati Streetcar loop, which was almost halted a few years ago by newly-elected Mayor John Cranley? Instead, the streetcar starts public operations later this year.

(Note to Rodd: Cincinnati is a "declining Rust Belt city?" Dude, you need to get a clue from national reports like this, this and this of Cincinnati's renaissance and rejuvenation ...and those are from just the past week.)

The Ohio Department of Transportation eventually built large portions of Interstates 71 and 75 in urban Cincinnati on land the state had originally purchased for the subway loop, saving money by avoiding right-of-way acquisitions and eminent domain but forever destroying rail transit routes.

Read the full Next City story here.
 

Contemporary Arts Center was one of Zaha Hadid's most striking designs, says New York Times


The New York Times offers a tribute to architect Zaha Hadid, who died March 31 at age 65, by highlighting her seven most striking designs, including the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Arts downtown.

The former Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp, one of Hadid’s great champions, famously wrote of the new CAC facility in 2003: "Might as well blurt it out: The Rosenthal Center is the most important American building to be completed since the end of the Cold War."

Read the full New York Times story here.
 

KPMG study shows Cincinnati as most cost-friendly business location among large U.S. cities


Cincinnati is the most cost-friendly city to do business among the 31 largest U.S. metro areas, according to the recently released 2016 Competitive Alternatives study by audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG.

Favorable leasing costs and low property taxes contributed to Cincinnati's first place ranking in the study, which compares 26 key cost components in each market — including costs associated with taxes, labor, facilities, transportation and utilities — as they apply to seven different business-to-business service sector operations and 12 different manufacturing sector operations.

"Many factors go into site selection decisions, and a study such as ours helps businesses, city leaders and economic development teams begin to consider investments that should ultimately be good for the community and good for business," says Ulrich Schmidt, a managing director in KPMG's Global Location and Expansion Services practice, which helps companies that are expanding, relocating or consolidating their facilities.

Read the full KPMG report here.
 

Forbes rates Cincinnati as #15 best U.S. city for recent college grads


College graduates today face better job prospects than those from a few years ago but are typically saddled by student loan debt, Forbes magazine writes, so "they would be wise to consider carefully where to start their careers."

To find out which cities offer the best overall prospects for college-educated workers with five years of experience or less, Forbes has crunched data on job growth, unemployment rates, pay and cost of living in America’s largest 100 metro areas. Its resulting 2016 list of the 20 Best Cities for Young Professionals includes Cincinnati at #15.

The top cities, according to Forbes, are either job-heavy economic powerhouses where the pay is high and the cost of living is too (places like San Francisco at #1 and Silicon Valley at #2) or underrated mid-tier markets where the pay is still decent but the cost of living is a relative bargain.

According to the numbers, Cincinnati's median salary for college grads with 0-5 years experience is $50,800; the population with bachelor's degree is 31.44%; the average yearly job growth (2015-2017) is 1.96%; and the cost of living is 8.17% below the national average.

Two regional cities finished ahead of Cincinnati — Columbus at #7 and Indianapolis at #10.

Read the full Forbes list and methodology here.
 

Chefs around the country share why wood-fire cooking sparks their creativity


Just a few years ago, Kat Kinsman writes on the Tasting Table website, the dining world was poised to drown in a gurgle of futuristic gels, spheres and foams far removed from the sensory experiences most people might associate with food. That disconnect might factor into 80 percent of the 2016 semifinalists for the James Beard Best New Restaurant award featuring dishes containing the words "wood-grilled," "smoked" and "ember" on their current menus.

"Wood-fire cooking is roaring back in a big way," Kinsman says, "and chefs from coast to coast are using this ancient technique to spark some creative thinking in their kitchens."

One of the leading wood-fire experts she profiles is Jared Bennett, executive chef of Metropole in the 21c Museum Hotel downtown who "wants diners to really feel — and taste — the burn."

The article goes on to explore Bennett's menu at length, delighting in his mix of modern techniques "with ripping-hot wood-fired heat to distinctive effect."

Tasting Table describes itself as "a website and newsletter for culinary enthusiasts." Read the full story here.
 

How the smart cities like Cincinnati use Internet of Things to attract young, skilled workforce


Social media expert and management professor Beverly Macy writes in Huffington Post about the coming connectivity explosion through embrace of the Internet of Things, saying there will be 24 billion IoT devices installed globally by 2020 and $6 trillion invested in IoT solutions over the next five years.

As the "great digital transformation of 2016" proceeds in both the private and public sectors around the globe, Macy says, we'll all be affected by the digital innovation in more ways than one.

She says the nation's "smart cities" are attracting a youthful and highly skilled workforce with "livability and connectedness" as key selling points, using Cincinnati as a prime example. As part of the White House’s TechHire Initiative, Cincinnati is looking to retrain displaced workers as application developers who could be hired on in IoT startups popping up or by companies like local manufacturer Mazak Corp.

Read the full Huffington Post story here.
 

UC/Louisville split shows how football's power lurks behind the men's basketball tournament


As the NCAA men's basketball tournament officially opens today, The New York Times delves into the widening revenue/spending chasm between the “Power 5” football conferences and everyone else in Division I. The conclusion: even though UC and UConn remain competitive in the American Athletic Conference and Xavier and Villanova remain high-profile in the basketball-only Big East, the split between college sports' haves and have-nots threatens to destroy the basketball tournament's appeal.

The Times says “an instructive, if imperfect, analogy” of the widening split is illustrated by the University of Cincinnati and the University of Louisville, only 100 miles apart.

“Each has a respected basketball pedigree, and both are former members of the Big East,” Marc Tracy writes. “But when the old Big East broke apart a few years ago, scattering members into new leagues, Cincinnati landed in the American, and its budget indicated that it planned to spend a hair over $6 million on men’s basketball last year. By contrast, Louisville, seen by Southern football powers as an enviable rival, landed in the A.C.C., and it spent more than $12 million on men’s basketball in 2014, the last year for which figures are available.”

“I don’t see how all of that revenue they get for football is neutral for basketball,” Commissioner Amy Huchthausen of the America East Conference is quoted as saying. “It doesn’t all get spent on football. It gets spent on the whole athletics program.”

UC and Xavier both open NCAA Tournament play tomorrow night.

Read the full New York Times story here.
 

Many Ohio cities, including Cincinnati, aren't feeling Gov. Kasich's "miracle"


Ohio Gov. John Kasich is banking on winning tomorrow's Republican Party primary to keep his presidential campaign alive. He's been running radio and TV ads running across the state and elsewhere claiming “Ohio is booming again, and you know he could do the same for America.”

Kasich has repeatedly called Ohio “one of the fastest growing states in the country” and dubbed the transformation the “Ohio Miracle,” holding the state up as a model for Rust Belt recession recovery. But there's one problem with that message, Next City reports.

“According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio has now gone 38 straight months with job growth below the national average,” Daniel McGraw writes. “And a recent report from the entrepreneur-driven Economic Innovation Group ranked three Ohio cities — Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo — in the top 10 of the 'most distressed cities' in America.”

McGraw says the divergence of Kasich's campaign claims vs. the reality of Ohio's urban distress begs the questions economists have long held: Do governors have much impact over their state economies, and should they get credit or blame?

Next City is a nonprofit organization providing daily online coverage of the leaders, policies and innovations driving progress in metropolitan regions across the world.

Read the full Next City story here.
 
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