October 2016 Prosperity at Work E-Tip

Economics & Job Creation:

Life Sciences:
“How the performing arts can set the stage for more developed brain pathways”

“‘Atomic sandwiches’ could make computers 100X greener”

“Vaccination, celebration: Remembering $1B Holly Springs vaccine complex”

The Industrials:
“Rocket return journey to Mars closer with engine’s record efficiency”

Human Capital Solutions, Inc. (HCS) www.humancs.com is a Retained Executive Search and Professional Recruiting firm focused in Healthcare, Life Sciences, the Industrials, and Technology. Visit our LinkedIn Company Page to learn more about HCS and receive weekly updates.

HCS has created the Prosperity at Work proposition which focuses on creating prosperous relationships between companies and their employees (associates). HCS assists companies in improving bottom line profitability by efficiently planning, organizing and implementing optimized, practical and value-added business solutions.



Economics & Job Creation:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 in September, and the unemployment rate
was little changed at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment
gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate, at 5.0 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.9 million, changed
little in September. Both measures have shown little movement, on net, since August of last year.
(See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Hispanics increased to 6.4 percent in
September, while the rates for adult men (4.7 percent), adult women (4.4 percent), teenagers
(15.8 percent), Whites (4.4 percent), Blacks (8.3 percent), and Asians (3.9 percent) showed little
or no change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks increased by 284,000 to 2.6 million in September.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at
2.0 million and accounted for 24.9 percent of the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

In September, both the labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent, and the employment-population
ratio, at 59.8 percent, changed little. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary
part-time workers) was little changed in September at 5.9 million. These individuals, who would have
preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because
they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In September, 1.8 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, about unchanged from a
year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force,
wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They
were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the
survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 553,000 discouraged workers in September, little changed from
a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently
looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.3 million persons
marginally attached to the labor force in September had not searched for work for reasons such as school
attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in September. Thus far this year, job growth has
averaged 178,000 per month, compared with an average of 229,000 per month in 2015. In September,
employment gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care. (See table B-1.)

Professional and business services employment rose by 67,000 in September and has risen by 582,000
over the year. Over the month, job gains occurred in management and technical consulting services
(+16,000), and employment continued to trend up in administrative and support services (+35,000).

Health care added 33,000 jobs in September. Ambulatory health care services added 24,000 jobs over
the month, and employment rose by 7,000 in hospitals. Over the past 12 months, health care has added
445,000 jobs.

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in September (+30,000) and has
increased by 300,000 over the year.

Retail trade employment continued to trend up over the month (+22,000). Within the industry, job
gains occurred in clothing and clothing accessories stores (+14,000) and in gasoline stations (+8,000).
Over the year, employment in retail trade has risen by 317,000.

Mining employment was unchanged in September after declining by 220,000 from a peak in September 2014.

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade,
transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, changed
little over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.4
hours in September. In manufacturing, the workweek increased by 0.1 hour to 40.7 hours, while
overtime was unchanged at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory
employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.5 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6
cents to $25.79. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.6 percent. Average hourly
earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $21.68
in September. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised down from +275,000 to +252,000,
and the change for August was revised up from +151,000 to +167,000. With these revisions, employment
gains in July and August combined were 7,000 less than previously reported. Over the past 3 months,
job gains have averaged 192,000 per month.




Life Sciences:


“How the performing arts can set the stage for more developed brain pathways”

Endless hours at the barre. Long afternoons practising scales. All that time you spent in piano lessons and dance classes as a youngster may have seemed like a pain, but new research now confirms what your parents claimed: it’s good for mind and body.

In fact, a recent study published in NeuroImage by a team of researchers from the the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research, proves that dance and music training have even stronger effects on the brain than previously understood — but in markedly different ways.

The researchers used high-tech imaging techniques to compare the effects of dance and music training on the white matter structure of experts in these two disciplines. They then examined the relationship between training-induced brain changes and dance and music abilities.

“We found that dancers and musicians differed in many white matter regions, including sensory and motor pathways, both at the primary and higher cognitive levels of processing,” says Chiara Giacosa, Concordia PhD candidate and the study’s lead author.

In particular, dancers showed broader connections of fibre bundles linking the sensory and motor brain regions themselves, as well as broader fibre bundles connecting the brain’s two hemispheres — in the regions that process sensory and motor information — . In contrast, musicians had stronger and more coherent fibre bundles in those same pathways.

“This suggests that dance and music training affect the brain in opposite directions, increasing global connectivity and crossing of fibres in dance training, and strengthening specific pathways in music training,” Giacosa explains. “Indeed, while dancers train their whole body, which has a broader representation in the neural cortex, musicians focus their training on some specific body parts, such as hands, fingers or the mouth, which have a smaller cortical representation in the brain.”

‘This work has major potential’

Interestingly, dancers and musicians differed more between each other than in comparison to the group of control subjects who had no extensive formal training in either field.

According to Giacosa, this can happen because a range of uncontrolled variables influenced the control subjects in different ways, making them more similar to one group or the other. “Contrary to that, our samples of dancers and musicians were specifically selected to be pure groups of experts, which makes it easier to differentiate between them.”

Virginia Penhune is a professor and chair of Concordia’s Department of Psychology and the study’s senior author. She notes that this research deepens the current knowledge about how regions of the brain are connected in networks, and how these structural networks change with training.

“This work has major potential for being applied to the fields of education and rehabilitation,” Penhune says. “Understanding how dance and music training differently affect brain networks will allow us to selectively use them to enhance their functioning or compensate for difficulties and diseases that involve those specific brain networks.”

Some studies have already shown how music training at a young age can improve various cognitive skills, but dance has yet to be used in a similar way.

“Recent research has started to show some improvements with dance and music therapy in patients affected by Parkinson’s disease and children with autism respectively, but much more can be done with these and other diseases,” says Penhune.






“‘Atomic sandwiches’ could make computers 100X greener”


Researchers have engineered a material that could lead to a new generation of computing devices, packing in more computing power while consuming a fraction of the energy that today’s electronics require.

Known as a magnetoelectric multiferroic material, it combines electrical and magnetic properties at room temperature and relies on a phenomenon called “planar rumpling.”

The new material sandwiches together individual layers of atoms, producing a thin film with magnetic polarity that can be flipped from positive to negative or vice versa with small pulses of electricity. In the future, device-makers could use this property to store digital 0’s and 1’s, the binary backbone that underpins computing devices.

“Before this work, there was only one other room-temperature multiferroic whose magnetic properties could be controlled by electricity,” said John Heron, assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan, who worked on the material with researchers at Cornell University. “That electrical control is what excites electronics makers, so this is a huge step forward.”

Room-temperature multiferroics are a hotly pursued goal in the electronics field because they require much less power to read and write data than today’s semiconductor-based devices. In addition, their data doesn’t vanish when the power is shut off. Those properties could enable devices that require only brief pulses of electricity instead of the constant stream that’s needed for current electronics, using an estimated 100 times less energy.

“Electronics are the fastest-growing consumer of energy worldwide,” said Ramamoorthy Ramesh, associate laboratory director for energy technologies at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “Today, about 5 percent of our total global energy consumption is spent on electronics, and that’s projected to grow to 40-50 percent by 2030 if we continue at the current pace and if there are no major advances in the field that lead to lower energy consumption.”

To create the new material, the researchers started with thin, atomically precise films of hexagonal lutetium iron oxide (LuFeO3), a material known to be a robust ferroelectric, but not strongly magnetic. Lutetium iron oxide consists of alternating monolayers of lutetium oxide and iron oxide. They then used a technique called molecular-beam epitaxy to add one extra monolayer of iron oxide to every 10 atomic repeats of the single-single monolayer pattern.

“We were essentially spray painting individual atoms of iron, lutetium and oxygen to achieve a new atomic structure that exhibits stronger magnetic properties,” said Darrell Schlom, a materials science and engineering professor at Cornell and senior author of a study on the work recently published in Nature.

The result was a new material that combines a phenomenon in lutetium oxide called “planar rumpling” with the magnetic properties of iron oxide to achieve multiferroic properties at room temperature.

Heron explains that the lutetium exhibits atomic-level displacements called rumples. Visible under an electron microscope, the rumples enhance the magnetism in the material, allowing it to persist at room temperature. The rumples can be moved by applying an electric field, and are enough to nudge the magnetic field in the neighboring layer of iron oxide from positive to negative or vice versa, creating a material whose magnetic properties can be controlled with electricity–a “magnetoelectric multiferroic.”

While Heron believes a viable multiferroic device is likely several years off, the work puts the field closer to its goal of devices that continue the computing industry’s speed improvements while consuming less power. This is essential if the electronics industry is to continue to advance according to Moore’s law, which predicts that the power of integrated circuits will double every year. This has proven true since the 1960s, but experts predict that current silicon-based technology may be approaching its limits.





“Vaccination, celebration: Remembering $1B Holly Springs vaccine complex”

Back in 2003, economic developer Bill Bullock of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center paid a visit to Chiron, a California-based vaccine maker. He wanted the company to be aware of a new workforce-training consortium in North Carolina that was preparing people for jobs in biopharmaceutical manufacturing.

A Chiron representative said casually, “We might be building something someday,” Bullock recalled.

That hint led to follow-up calls and visits by North Carolina recruiters until Chiron announced it would build a major flu vaccine production plant. Although the company was soon sold to Novartis, Novartis kept that commitment and in 2006 chose Holly Springs, N.C., over runner-up Athens, Ga., as the site for the vaccine plant.

“The initial hook was talent,” Bullock remembered. “We were doubling down on training new labor. Workforce training was crucial in the end.”

Novartis ultimately built, and later expanded, a $1 billion state-of-the-art vaccine plant in Holly Springs, a 30-minute drive south of the Research Triangle Park. The plant was sold in July 2015 to the vaccines division of CSL Ltd., a century-old Australian biologics company, and the new company was named Seqirus.

Today Seqirus is the world’s second-largest vaccine maker, employing more than 850 people at the Holly Springs campus in seven buildings on 185 acres, producing a variety of vaccines.

On Tuesday, Bullock and some of the many other economic developers who teamed up on the Chiron/Novartis/Seqirus recruitment got a tangible reminder of the fruits of their labor. They rolled up their sleeves for a shot of flu vaccine made at the Holly Springs plant, 13 years after that initial visit to Chiron.

They were among more than 100 people who were vaccinated at the VaccinatioNCelebration, a public event organized by the Biotechnology Center to introduce the made-in-North Carolina vaccine, called Flucelvax Quadrivalent.

Among the vaccinated were John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce, which led the recruitment of the vaccine plant to Holly Springs.

Flucelvax Quadrivalent “is the largest breakthrough in vaccine technology since 1930,” Skvarla said. “Isn’t it wonderful that North Carolina is at the epicenter of that breakthrough? I think innovation is our middle name. It’s what we are and who we are.”

A Next-Generation Vaccine

Flucelvax Quadrivalent, approved by the Food and Drug Administration this year, protects against four strains of influenza that are projected to circulate in the United States this flu season: two influenza A viruses and two B viruses.

Unlike traditional vaccines that are produced in poultry eggs, Flucelvax Quadrivalent is made through a novel process called cell culture. The inactivated vaccine viruses that protect against flu infection are grown, or cultured, in mammalian cells inside sterile, stainless-steel bioreactors.

“It’s a closed system, a more protected environment,” explained Dr. John Anderson, site leader for the Seqirus plant. “Bioreactors can be scaled up quite quickly. They can produce more vaccine faster than you can with eggs. Eggs can be difficult to scale up because you have to have chickens to lay the eggs, and that takes time.”

Chickens are also at risk for contracting avian flu, which can contaminate vaccines. “That’s not a risk with the cell culture manufacturing process,” he said.

Faster scale-up of vaccine production could be critically important in the event of an influenza pandemic or a bioterror attack.

The Seqirus plant could produce up to 200 million doses of pandemic vaccine in six months, Anderson said.

The key to that capacity is having the trained workforce that Bullock emphasized 13 years ago when courting Chiron.

“Clearly this area is strong in that and provides a good microenvironment,” Anderson said. His plant benefits from skilled workers “from plant floor operators through leaders with experience in running facilities, engineers, quality analysts and scientists.”

A Boom to Holly Springs

Holly Springs, a town that had less than 1,000 residents in 1990, today has close to 35,000 inhabitants, and much of that growth is due to the Seqirus plant and the related economic development it has catalyzed.

“We’re very proud of what’s transpired,” said Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears. “It’s been a good relationship.”

The plant has brought high-paying jobs that have helped raise the town’s annual median household income to $92,000, almost double the national average of about $52,000, Sears said.

He recalled hearing a third grader ask at a meeting, “How do I get a job there?”

Since the Novartis announcement in 2006, improvements to roads and infrastructure in the business park where the vaccine plant is located have attracted more businesses.

Fourteen buildings in the park now house 35 to 40 companies, including the latest addition, RoviSys, a process automation services company, said Irena Krstanovic, an economic developer with the Town of Holly Springs.

“They have chosen Holly Springs across from Seqirus because they have a contract with Seqirus,” she said. “We are seeing the impact of Seqirus’presence in Holly Springs even 10 years later. The reason RoviSys is in Holly Springs is because of them.”

The company additions have also helped diversify the town’s tax base, which used to be 90 percent residential and only 10 percent commercial. “Novartis/Seqirus helped change that ratio,” Krstanovic said.

Economic Development ‘A Team Sport’

Holly Springs had a “big, early advantage” in recruiting Novartis/Seqirus to North Carolina, Sears said, because, unlike many small towns, it had its own in-house economic development team and staff attorney.

“Holly Springs did a phenomenal job on the infrastructure,” Bullock said. “The town invested in what it would take to win a project like this. They showed the value of a committed community.”

The town’s agents educated themselves about biotechnology, built relationships and briefed the town council and mayor, he said.

“The town was knowledgeable and ready,” he said. “Holly Springs has been the envy of a lot of people in the state for having prepared themselves for that opportunity.”

The town, the state Commerce Department and the Biotechnology Center were only a few of the many agencies involved in the recruitment, Bullock said. Other partners included NCBioImpact,NCBIO, BioNetwork, BTEC, the state Community College System, BRITE,Wake County Economic Development, and utilities, and design and construction companies.

“This project is very representative of how economic development is done well,” Bullock said. “When economic development is done well it’s a team sport. This one embodies that.

“When site location firms see that, they know they can get a deal done. They want the path of least resistance for their clients.”

At the vaccination event, Bullock found himself inevitably talking with other economic developers about the next Novartis/Seqirus recruitment.

“How do we do the next one?” he said. “How do we have an event like this for a company that makes a product in 10 years so the cycle continues?”

Skvarla, the Commerce secretary, said, “Our recruiting pipeline is full with hundreds of companies. It’s robust. We in North Carolina should be very proud of that.

“It says volumes about North Carolina – our workforce, our lifestyle. We really are on everybody’s list to be one of the best places to live and do business in the United States.”





The Industrials:


“Rocket return journey to Mars closer with engine’s record efficiency”

Return trips to Mars without refuelling could be a step closer, the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico heard today — because of research from the University of Sydney and the entrepreneurialism of a former student now set to test his invention in space.

The announcement comes weeks after research reporting a world record specific impulse — a measure of thrust efficiency, like miles per gallon — was published by a graduate and two professors at the University of Sydney.

The rocket engine is being commercially developed by Neumann Space, the company set up by Dr Patrick Neumann after the completion of his PhD. Dr Neumann, who was part of an international announcement by Airbus Defence & Space today at the congress taking place in Guadalajara, Mexico, sent a statement about the invention.

“Our modelling suggests that our pricing would be competitive with other ion drives currently on the market, as our system can be built from current, commercially available components and does not require expensive alloys or finely constructed fuel tanks,” Dr Neumann said.

“We also believe that our system can solve many issues in space propulsion, allowing small space vehicles to do more with less.”

Dr Neumann said he had been inspired as a child by science-fiction as well as astronomy texts. “I’ve known for years that what exists in space can be used to help humanity extend its reach to the stars, while helping people on Earth with weather prediction, communications, mapping, agricultural observations, tracking wildfires and other problems,” he said.

The new paper about the unique thruster technology, co-authored by Professors Marcela Bilek and David McKenzie is published in the American Institute of Physics’ Applied Physics Letters.

Professor Bilek, whose laboratory Dr Neumann continues to visit for testing in his honorary position in the University of Sydney’s School of Physics, said the project was a success in the academic sense with the scientific credentials established in August by peer review and hopefully new success in the market place would follow.

“Even as an undergraduate, Paddy was passionate about aerospace — and thrusters in particular — having completed relevant subjects in the University’s engineering faculty,” Professor Bilek said.

“Patrick came to our lab as an honours student with the idea of using our cathodic arc system, originally constructed for the deposition of nanostructured materials, as a thruster.”

Professor of Materials Physics David McKenzie said the project resulted from student-led entrepreneurial activity in liaison with himself and Professor Bilek, who assigned their rights as co-inventors of the technology to Dr Neumann to enable him to work on bringing this technology towards commercialisation.

“In laboratory tests, the system developed at the University of Sydney has demonstrated more than 11000 seconds of specific impulse — with this level of efficiency, it is possible to send missions to Mars, have them perform experiments in Mars orbit, and then bring the spacecraft back to Earth orbit without needing to refuel the spacecraft,” Professor McKenzie said.

Airbus Defence & Space announced today from Mexico that it had signed a contract with Neumann Space to fly Dr Neumann’s payload for long-term testing on the International Space Station.

“The testing of Neumann’s thruster technology needs to be prepared through the established processes to qualify a payload for flight to the ISS and for its operation on-board the ISS,” Airbus Defence & Space said in a statement ahead of the official announcement in Mexico.

“This is currently in preparation and all parties are confident that we will be able to operate the Neumann propulsion system on-board the ISS. The final confirmation for this will be, however, given by Airbus Defence and Space partners ESA and NASA.”

About the rocket engine technology:

The thruster works by accelerating ions from an intensely hot, very small plasma ball.
The record high thrust was obtained by using a magnetic nozzle that further accelerates the ions to give them extremely high velocity.
Research has not only demonstrated proof-of-concept record efficiencies but also suggested that magnesium, used commonly as a light and strong alloy for space materials and prevalent in space junk orbiting the Earth, could be re-used to fuel the engine in space.




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