The UNLV College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, establishes the Lee F. Kramer Mechanical Engineering Award

The memorial has been generously funded the amount of $32,000 by family and friends of Kramer as well as vendors and customers of Xtreme Manufacturing and will support students majoring in mechanical engineering.  The award may be used for scholarships and support student design projects including but not limited to design competitions, developmental projects and student based projects.

Jack Aylor, Director of Development at the UNLV, Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering, stated, “This is the first gift mechanical engineering has received for this purpose. The university considers it very important contribution for the department and students.”

The use criteria allows the fund to support the mechanical engineering program for scholarship and student research purposes as determined by the department chair and approved by the Dean on an annual basis. The first award is being used to support a research project, the Baja car, an annual collegiate competition for engineering students.  Students will be able to apply for the scholarship through an application process on the college website. They will be able to use the award for materials, travel and other related expenses.

Kramer was a program advisor to the UNLV College of Engineering and served as a judge for the department of mechanical engineering in the annual Fred and Harriet Cox Senior Design Competition.  He played an integral role in the development of the Las Vegas based Xtreme Manufacturing business serving as president before he passed away on January 2015 at the age of 67.

Lee F. Kramer was born in Waukegan, IL and graduated from University of Illinois in 1970, with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. He earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Lake Forest School of Management in 1983. In 2003, Lee joined forces with Don Ahern to develop the Fresno Engineering Design Group and later the creation of Xtreme Manufacturing, where he served as VP of Engineering.   Lee is survived by his wife of 34 years, Joan Kramer, daughter Jordan and son Justin and wife Kat.

For more information on how to donate to the Lee F. Kramer Mechanical Engineering Award please visit www.unlv.edu/foundation

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Ahern Rentals to Host Las Vegas Job Fair

AHERN logo

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Las Vegas, NV (15 March 2016) ‒ Las Vegas-based Ahern Rentals, Xtreme Manufacturing, Ahern IT and AX Transportation will hold a job fair for more than 35 job openings on Saturday, March 19 from 8 am to 2 pm at 1401 Mineral Avenue, Las Vegas.

Employment opportunities at Ahern Rentals are available in many areas of the business. Rental store positions include counter/customer service, general rental mechanic, yard/wash rack, field service mechanic, general rental mechanic, and truck mechanic. Ahern is also recruiting for a field service tire technician, and tire service technician, for their dedicated tire distribution brand.

Additional opportunities in HR, Payroll, Finance, Purchasing, Customer Service and Security are also available, including credit service representative, commercial finance analyst, talent acquisition / employment coordinator, inside/inbound sales representative, security officer, security technician, customer sales support and a sourcing agent.

Sister company, Xtreme Manufacturing, is recruiting for mechanics, painters, and an assembly line technician for its assembly process, as well as a receptionist, product design engineer, product development designer, parts clerk and re-buyer.

Ahern IT will be recruiting for an AS/400 iSeries programmer, help desk technician, systems engineer, software developer (Ruby, PHP), telecommunications engineer, PC technician and a web developer.

AX transportation is currently recruiting regional OTR drivers.

The sizable number of job openings is due to the continued growth of Ahern Rentals. As the largest independently owned equipment rental company in the country, Ahern Rentals is pleased to be able to offer these employment opportunities to the Las Vegas valley community.  Ahern Rentals currently has 81 locations nationwide, employing more than 2,100 talented professionals, who help serve thousands of contractor, commercial, industrial and residential customers.

As part of the Ahern family of companies, Xtreme Manufacturing produces a line of heavy-duty telehandlers, including the multi-award winning largest capacity telehandler in North America, which are sold to customers around the World. Ahern IT develops innovative rental management software, security systems and other leading technologies to support the Ahern family businesses as well as many external customers in the construction sector and beyond.

At the job fair, managers from the various departments will be conducting interviews and making job offers to qualified candidates. Doors open for registration on Saturday, March 19th at 8 am. Applicants are encouraged to complete applications at www.ahern.com or www.xmfg.com ahead of the event, and bring copies of their résumé with them on Saturday. It is recommended to schedule appointments prior to the job fair.  For more information, call the Human Resources department at 702-851-3701.

We are a drug-free workplace and an equal opportunity employer.

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Vegas with Kids

Las Vegas is a good option when Disneyland gets old and you want to try something you and the kids can enjoy together. The first thing you will need to keep in mind is that you will not be able to do and see some of the adult venues, but you can still have fun.

When choosing some of the tourist venues, be sure to keep the age and tolerance level of your child in mind so that it can be a fun experience for both you and your child. These suggestions will come in handy to help you make Vegas a fun and memorable family vacation!

Where to stay

It’s always best to choose a hotel on the strip. If you book a room off the strip you will have to pay for taxi service to get you back to the room in case the kids (or you) need to rest. This is important to remember especially during the hot summer months in Vegas!

There are many affordable choices on the strip. Book early and you will get the best room at the lowest price, especially if you book a room for a midweek stay. Some popular choices for families are CircusCircus Hotel and Treasure Island Hotel. They are affordable and provide free or cheap entertainment for the kids.

Where to eat

It’s best to pick your kid’s usual favorites. Children can become easily agitated and overwhelmed if you try to introduce too many new things at one time. Denny’s on the strip is a good choice as there are many choices for different diet preferences on the menu. And don’t forget the buffets. These are better than fast food and cheaper than one of the fancy restaurants on the strip. Save fancy dinners for a special night for adults only–that is if you are lucky enough to have a babysitter along!

Where to play

There are many places for kids and grownups to play together. Some of my personal favorites include:

  • Popovich Comedy Pet Theater: Gregory Popovich has rescued these animals from shelters all over the country and has transformed them into Las Vegas stars. A great hit with the kids and parents alike, come see why his Comedy Pet Theater is enjoyable for any and all ages as these animals perform amazing stunts with the perfect combination of humor. http://www.davidsaxe.com/Las_Vegas_Shows.cfm
  • The High Roller. Measuring 520 feet in diameter, the High Roller eclipses both the London Eye and Singapore Flyer.. The ride takes about 30 minutes for a full rotation, so definitely a better option for those with older kids.  http://www.caesars.com/linq/high-roller
  • Circus Circus Adventure Dome: Get a day pass and enjoy all the rides for kids of all ages at a reduced price. www.adventuredome.com
  • Madametussauds Wax Museum. The world famous Madametussauds Wax museum give you and your kids the opportunity to get up close and personal with wax replicas of famous celebrities. You never know who might pop up while visiting this venue! http://www.madametussauds.com/las-vegas/en
  • Circus Circus Hotel: Free circus acts and fun game room for kids of all ages. http://www.circuscircus.com
  • Caesar’s Palace: Fall of Atlantis is a free light and animatronic show. Shows every half hour. http://www.caesars.com/caesars-palace/things-to-do/forum-shops
  • Cirque du Soleil: There are several shows to pick from that are geared towards entertaining the kids. http://www.cirquedusoleil.com
  • Paris Hotel: Take a ride up the Eiffel Tower replica to get an awesome view of the Las Vegas Strip. http://www.caesars.com/paris-las-vegas/things-to-do/eiffel-tower

These suggestions will come in handy to help you make Vegas a fun and memorable family vacation. And always shop around for discount tickets online before attending any of these attractions. Enjoy your visit to Las Vegas!

Seven Tips to Find the Best Writer for Your Project

dreamstimefree_192239Finding the best writer for your project is not always easy. In fact, as a professional copywriter one of the most frequent questions I get asked by clients is, “How do I find a good writer?” My response is that they should be asking is, “How do I find the best writer for my project?”

There are many good writers out there, but not all are suited to do the best job for you. Following is a list of topics to consider when looking for best writer for your project:

  1. Expectations
  2. Experience
  3. Skill
  4. Portfolio
  5. References
  6. Budget
  7. Working chemistry

It is important to keep these in mind when contacting a writer. A professional writer will be more than happy to spend some time to go over these topics with you. Having this list handy will help you quickly find the most qualified writer for your project.

For more information about hiring a skilled writer visit www.sabrinassiracusa.com

Expectations     

The first step in your search for the perfect writer, is knowing what final results you want from your writing project. For example, do you need a press release to help promote a new service or product or do you need to advertise it on your website. This will make a difference in the type of writer you are looking for. A press release will not require Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that website content requires. Once you are clear on your goal then you can start the search for the appropriate writer. It’s important to know what the goal is because it will help you make your expectations clear to the writer regarding your writing project.

The second step is to have a mutually clear understanding with the writer on what you expect. It’s best to have a written agreement so that you and the writer have a clear understanding of content needed, deadline and pay. The agreement can also include a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This is important if your writing project involves sensitive material or information you want to retain rights to. This is a very common request by clients so most writers are fine with signing them. From time to time you may also encounter a writer who may want you to sign an agreement on their end. Most of the time these agreements involve privacy issues regarding pen names and royalty concerns. If you have any questions about an agreement, contact an attorney before signing.[i]

Experience

When speaking of experience I am not only referring to any specific length of time but also the type of writing the writer has experience working on. Obviously, the more experience the writer has, the better. But that is assuming the writer you are considering is a strong writer. It’s better to hire a strong writer with less experience than a mediocre writer who boasts a lengthy experience in writing. After all, this is where skill comes into play.

Skill

It’s important to understand what your expectations are when it comes to your project. Are you looking to increase your sales? Then you will need the services of a skilled copywriter. Do you need a grant? Then your best option is to find grant writer that has written a grant that was approved. Looking to update your law firm’s website? Then hire a legal copywriter who has written the content, newsletters or Ebooks for a lawyer or a law firm.

For more information on legal copywriting see www.writergirl.biz/index.php?p=1_7_Legal-Copywriting              As you can see, every writing project has specific needs to be handled by a certain type of writer. Be wary of writers who claim to be able to write grants and can write fiction as both require two very different writing skills.

Portfolio

Most professional writers have website. At the very least their website should include a summary of their skills, education and experience. These websites are a great way to get an idea of the writer’s voice and writing expertise. The writing should flow and not have any spelling errors. After all, if the writer did not take the time to carefully write their own website, then you can expect the same for your writing project.

A good example of what a writer’s website should look like is www.sabrinassiracusa.com

It should contain the information in an easy to read format and provide plenty of writing samples so you can get a feel for the writer’s voice and style.

References

References are fine if you can get them. References are not always available especially if the writer takes on mostly ghostwriting projects due to NDAs. It is advisable to place more emphasis on the quality of the writing and working chemistry between you and the writer. Any writer worth his salt will have a website where you can view writing samples and learn about their

background. If you still have doubts after viewing the website and speaking or exchanging emails with the writer, then I suggest you keep looking. Sometimes it just comes down to a gut feeling.

Budget

The main concern here is quality over quantity. Do you want to pay little and get little in return? While it is understandable to have clear and reasonable budget in mind, you need to consider that the quality of the copywriting will make a direct difference in the bottom line In other words, hire cheap and most likely get poor results. Things to avoid regardless of your budget are:

  • Outsourcing foreign writers. The main problem with hiring a writer who is not a native English speaker is that most don’t have a firm grasp of the proper grammar, idioms, slang and the culture of English language. You will end spending many hours editing poor language skills.
  • People who think they can write. Many people think they can write. Unfortunately, most are wrong. Writing is a skill that some are born with while others have to work extra hard to attain. Either way, not everyone can write. The best way to avoid these people is to always ask to see recent writing samples.
  • Poor writers. I am referring to the quality of their work regardless of how long they have been writing. Again, the best way to avoid these people is to always ask to see recent writing samples.
  • Cheap writers. There are many good writers out there that underprice their services for one reason or another. But many writers who charge a small fee do so because they are cut and paste artists. They will cut and paste content from various sources and present it as original writing. Not only will you end up with stale material but also with useless content as you will not be able to use due to plagiarism and copyright issues. Buyer beware!

Working Chemistry

As a former Human Resources employee for over 16 years, I learned that one of the main reasons people get fired is not the inability to do the job, but rather poor communication skills

and personality conflicts with managers and co-workers. This is the same for writers and clients. Many times lack of clear communication or clashing personalities halts a project or ends up producing less than satisfactory results for the client. The key here is for the client to have clear expectations with the writer. See the section

Expectations for a review of the importance of having a mutual understanding between you and the writer you choose for your project.

I highly recommend a brief interchange between you and the writer on the phone or through a few emails. With the ease of Skype and the Internet this should be very easy to accomplish regardless of where you live. I have clients all over the world thanks to the Internet.

Although the contact may be minimal at first, it will give you an idea of the writer’s customer service skills and interest in your project. You want a writer who takes the time to listen to you and seems genuinely interested in your project. It is important to establish clear communication from the get go with the writer working on your project.

And last but not least, when contacting the writers be respectful of their time. Please remember that until you hire that writer or are willing to pay for consultations, you are keeping them from working for paying clients. Most writers only get paid when they complete a project.

A Final Note

While there are many considerations, keeping in mind expectations, experience, skill, portfolio, references, budget and working chemistry will help you manage your writing project.

There are many good writers out there, but only one great writer for your writing project!

About The Author

Sabrina S. Siracusa has worked as a professional copywriter since 2007. She has created content for digital and print media for a variety of clients. Her portfolio is available for viewing at www.writergirlbizportfolio.wordpress.com

Contact her for projects and consultation at writergirlbiz@yahoo.com

[i] Please note that the information provided in this Ebook is not intended to replace legal advice. If you have any questions regarding NDAs and other legal issues regarding a contract, contact an attorney specializing in contract law.

 Texas Prenups/Marital Agreements & Cohabitation Agreements

People who are wealthy or entering into a high net worth marriages can benefit from marital agreements. In Texas, premarital agreements, prenuptials or “prenups” are the most well-known and accepted marital agreements. Premarital agreements are created to determine who keeps what and can also be used to set boundaries around many other specific agreements in a marriage.

Premarital agreements can set up boundaries regarding wills and trusts, dividing retirement and employee benefits and control of property during the marriage and penalties for adultery. A premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.

Some couples also take the option to have a post-marital agreement that can protect one spouse’s assets from the other person’s debts. It can also protect assets from the risk associated with a spouse’s business venture.

Considering that about half of marriages in Texas end up in divorce, it’s a wise step to have some form of marital agreement in place to protect both persons in a marriage. Our family law attorneys can assess your situation and determine if a marital agreement would be appropriate for your unique situation. Call us today at 972-200-3756 to schedule a free consultation.

Texas Cohabitation Agreement

Common law marriages are recognized in the State of Texas. If you are living or have lived with your partner for a certain number of years, they may be entitled to part of your property or assets.

Some couples choose to live together but want to avoid a common law marriage. A cohabitation agreement will disavow a common marriage and will clarify any financial arrangements or commitments.   It can also prevent financial turmoil on top of the emotional difficulty after a breakup.

In Texas, a cohabitation agreement needs to state that both parties agree that they are not married and that it has been entered into voluntarily. A cohabitation agreement can offer asset protection for the partner that has significantly higher net worth or annual earnings than the other. Without a cohabitation agreement, couples that live together in the Plano, Texas could risk that their relationship be considered a common law marriage. Should this happen, the wealthier partner could lose considerable assets.

Similar to premarital agreements, cohabitation agreements can cover couples who want to protect assets, avoid costly litigation and clarify other wishes upfront. This is especially important for the party who has a greater income or has entered the relationship with pre-existing wealth.

Our Plano family law attorneys can help write a cohabitation agreement that will reduce your risk of loss of assets and will be upheld in the Texas courts.

Cohabitation Agreement Benefits

A cohabitation agreement in Plano, Texas agreement disavows a common law marriage and may also list certain expectations. Among them are a monthly expense budget, scheduled time commitments and clarification of financial arrangements during the relationship.

Having your own separate family law attorney represent you is the best way to ensure that you protect your rights and that the agreement is ruled as fair to both persons in the relationship and more likely to hold up in court. Contact us today to represent you and protect your property and assets.

Texas Cohabitation Agreements for Same-Sex Couples

Texas only recognizes a marriage as being between a man and a woman. Same-sex couples do have the option to enter into cohabitation agreements in Texas. Like a prenuptial agreement, cohabitation agreements outline the division of property if the couple decides to separate Couples who choose to live together, or who have valuable assets or property, should learn more about the process of cohabitation agreements. We can explain how cohabitation agreements work and the steps necessary to help ensure the cohabitation agreement is enforceable in Plano, Texas.

Call us with your questions about premarital agreement laws at 972-200-3756. We have helped clients in Denton County, City of Allen, Highland Village, McKinney, Argyle and Frisco. We look forward to providing you with expert legal advice regarding a premarital or cohabitation agreement.

You Got a WARN Notice. Now What?

In the current economy, it’s not unheard of companies shutting down. According to a report from USA Today, the companies that closed the most stores in 2013 include major retail stores such as Best Buy, Sears, J.C. Penney, Radio Shack, Barnes & Noble, Gamestop and Office Max.

When large organizations are involved in massive layoffs, they must give their employees a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice. This gives employees that are laid off the opportunity to look for work and receive severance packages.

What is a WARN notice?

A WARN notice protects your rights as a worker in the event your employer has a massive layoff. Under the WARN Act, an employer must give written notice 60 days before the date of a mass layoff or plant closing to all eligible employees.

If your employer does not give you the required notice, you may be able to seek damages for back pay and benefits for up to 60 days. Additionally, your employer may agree to additional severance pay and continued health benefits in the event of a mass layoff.

Why did I get a WARN notice?

As an eligible employee, you received a WARN notice because your employer file for bankruptcy, needs to reduce the workforce or is selling the business.

Who is covered under a WARN notice?

Typically, an employee is covered under WARN if their employ has over 100 full-time employees and are planning a plant closure or massive layoff. It will include the following information:

  • An explanation of whether the layoff or closing is permanent or temporary of 6 months or less.
  • The date of layoff or closing and the date of your separation (Your employer has some leeway in predicting the dates on which workers will be separated.

When does a WARN notice become effective?

The clock starts ticking the moment you are handed the WARN notice. But keep in mind that a verbal announcement at an all-employees’ meeting does not meet the WARN Act requirements. Also, preprinted notices regularly included in each employee’s paycheck or press releases to the media do not meet the requirements.

Can I waive my right to a WARN notice?

You cannot be required to waive your right to advance notice under WARN. Usually what happens when an employer closes a facility or has a layoff, is that it will ask its employees to sign a document waiving their right to file a lawsuit against the employer.

Waiving the right to make claims against your employer means that you agree to not to sue the employer for additional financial compensation or any other benefit because of your job loss.

In most cases employees sign away their rights to sue because they are offered additional severance pay or extended health benefits. By signing the waiver voluntarily and knowingly, you may have waived any claims you have under WARN or other employment-related laws.

Where do I go for information about my WARN notice?

When WARN notices are handed out, the Human Resources department will usually handle all severance packages and questions by employees. If you are not satisfied with the answers, you can also contact an attorney specializing in labor and employment law.

The US Department of Labor can also be a resource where displaced workers can get information on job training and get more information on how the WARN Act works. More information on the WARN Act can be found at http://www.dol.gov

What You Need to Know Before You Accept a Job

Sometimes you will be forced for financial reasons to take any job you can get. But as most workers know, there is a reason that those types of jobs don’t last very long. The most obvious reason is that a job taken out of desperation is not usually your dream job. In order to get your dream job, you will need to become outwardly and inwardly observant to land the job that brings you professional and personal satisfaction.

You will need to ask questions of your prospective employer and of yourself. Some of the questions you should be asking include:

Who will you report to?

It’s never a good idea to accept a job where you will be reporting to someone who seems difficult to work with or has a reputation of being unreasonable. Be sure it is clear whom you will be reporting to and whom you will receive direct orders from.

Does the job excite you?

Considering that you will spend at least 40 hours at the office, not to mention, the hours spent commuting, the job should excite you. Most people are excited by work due to good pay and a chance to use their talent on a daily basis. But what excites different people is, well as different as each of us. Make sure the job excites you, not what excites your family or friends.

What is your vibe of the organization and of its culture?

Turn the tables on your employer in a subtle way. Use your interview as the opportunity to interview the employer. Try to find out what the company is doing to ensure it will be a viable and profitable organization 5, 10 or even 15 years from now.

An equally important question is to ask how the job and department fit into the organization as a whole. You want to make sure the department you are being recruited for is planned to stay in the organization for the long run and not just a temporary division that will disappear when a project is completed.

Be sure to ask about working relationships with other departments in the company. Ask about what projects different departments have worked on together. This will help you get a sense of the atmosphere of the organization. Is it friendly and are employees helpful towards each other?

Some employers will ask what a supervisor or co-worker from a previous job may say about you. This is an excellent opportunity to ask the interviewer how current employees feel about their jobs and the company. For example, has the organization won any awards for best place to work?

This information can also be researched online and on social networks. Some ex-employees are willing to talk freely about their experience at any organization. Listen carefully, especially for several comments that have the same issue or issues come up. That can be a red flag about an employer.

Are you going to be compensated fairly?

Some say that it is not appropriate to ask what the salary is during an interview. But this is the best time to ask what type of salary structure and the benefits plan are available. Each person knows how much they need to support their lifestyle and should know what their worth is. If you are unsure how much you are worth, you should do a quick Internet search for salary calculators. You should have a good idea of your worth before you start negotiating your salary and benefits.

Is there opportunity for growth?

When a candidate asks this question, the typical response is that the organization likes to hire from within. But a savvy job seeker will dig for a more specific answer. You want to know how the company is committed to the career development and training of its employees. An employer that is truly committed will have a training plan set up and will be able to discuss in detail how and when an employee qualifies for additional training to move up the company ladder. For example, they should be able to tell you the percentage of top managers that were promoted from inside the organization.

What is being expected of you?

A job description can usually give you a good idea of what is expected of you. But it’s also a good idea to ask about other duties that may not be listed on the job posting you applied to. While most employers cannot every single thing that you will need to do, you should know of any major duties not listed that may be needed in the position.

Before accepting a job offer you need to understand your day-to-day tasks and who you will be working with. You should also be clear on the expected work hours, start date, work locations, travel required, dress code and relocation opportunities.

Do you think you will “fit in”, feel comfortable and succeed in this organization?

After getting some or most of your questions answered think about your gut feeling. Do you feel that the energy is right for you? The best jobs are usually the one you had a feeling things would work out and that you are happy with the compensation, work hours, etc.

You need to ask yourself if the position a good match for my skills, interests, aptitudes, values and long-term goals. If you are not 100% “feeling it”, then you should dig further into the company and within yourself. If you still feel something holding you back, evaluate whether it’s just cold feet or something that you cannot accept or live with.

As you can see, finding the perfect job takes time, some homework and being inquisitive. Believe it or not, employers appreciate candidates who are interested in asking questions of them. It demonstrates a sincere interest in the organization and someone who is looking for more than a paycheck.