4/27/2012 More Kudos to WCOE Council of 200 member

More Kudos to
WCOE Council of 200 member

Karen Barbour, President of The Barbour Group, has just received word that she is not only an "Enterprising Woman" award recipient as noted in last week's Turning Point, but she has just been named Maryland's Top 100 Women by The Daily Record. The awards ceremony takes place the evening of May 7th in Baltimore, so Karen will be on an early train up to NYC to give her workshop presentation at WCOE's Regional Conference and then dash back to Baltimore to accept her award. Cancelling her WCOE workshop presentation didn't even cross her mind says Karen.

No wonder she is receiving the awards – if you want something done, just ask a busy woman.

WCOE welcomes a new Connecticut member

A very hearty welcome to new member Susan Chipouras who is President of Vinmas Contracting Corp in Ridgefield, CT. Susan is an engineer but has spent her professional life in construction and has recently opened her own construction firm. She has some great stories to tell about being one of only four women engineering students in college – back in the day – and the first woman allowed to work on a New York subway construction project. Yes, we have come a long way even though there is still a ways to go. Susan, you are now among friends and confidants – we all look forward to seeing you at the New York Regional Conference next week!

You can welcome Susan by calling her at 203.403.2393 or emailing smcconsulting@aol.com.


Time has nearly run out to register for the Regional Conference in New York City. Beginning next Sunday, May 6th, WCOE members will gather at the Sofitel Hotel in mid-town Manhattan for 3 days of information gathering, opportunity research, networking and business building. The agenda is chock-a-block full of interesting and challenging speakers, including new marketing techniques, killer proposal writing, getting a seat on a corporate board, successful verbal encounter control and even outside-the-box-new-york-style design ideas. The full agenda is on the website. (Here’s a little something extra – if you are reading this – use discount code “postcard-postcard” to receive a $100 discount off the registration fee or call 202.276.0646).

Yes, you CAN have a free lunch – in Los Angeles

On Thursday, May 10th, Skanska is hosting a “Professional Women’s Appreciation Luncheon” and WCOE members are invited to attend – free of charge. WCOE Member and Western Region Director, Marian Selvaggio and fellow attorney (and WCOE member) Kathlynn Smith are the guest speakers for the luncheon and will be talking about their very successful Smart Girls network. The location is the Kyoto Grand Hotel & Garden’s Ballroom, 120 South Los Angeles St., Los Angeles, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. If you would like to attend to show your support of Marian and Kathlynn – or just to network – contact Jamie Rachel, Jamie.rachel@skanska.com.


Update on NLRB poster mandate

Last week’s Turning Point reported on a South Carolina Judge’s decision to rule in favor of the US Chamber of Commerce on its position that NLRB had exceeded its statutory authority in requiring all employers to display a poster advising employees of their right to unionize. Left unclear was whether that legal decision affected only South Carolina businesses or all businesses.

This week, the DC Circuit Court enjoined the enforcement of the “final rule” pending appeal. NLRB Chairman has confirmed that all regional offices have been directed to comply with the SC injunction. Oral arguments are set for September – so stay tuned for a final verdict. For now, you do NOT have to display the poster.

Is it a do-nothing Congress or just a do-nothing Senate?

As you know there are two branches to Congress – the House and the Senate. Current legend is that we have a gridlocked, moribund, do-nothing Congress. That may not be totally true. We do however seem to have a gridlocked, moribund, do-nothing Senate.

Consider the House Committee on Small Business (COSB) under the capable leadership of Chair Sam Graves (R-MO) and Ranking Member Mary Landrieu (D-LA). In the past two months, this committee has introduced 11 bills to fix a broken government contracting system and make it more available to small, disadvantaged and women owned businesses. A brief outline of those bills is available on our website and described in detail in previous Turning Point newsletters. Unfortunately, although the bills are expected to pass the House on a bi-partisan vote, they must then go to the Senate where they will likely die a very dusty death.

In last-ditch political maneuvering Congressman Graves is pushing to attach most of the 11 bills to the current National Defense Authorization Act – an Act which cannot be shelved to collect dust and must be voted on by the Senate. If it Congressman Graves is successful in this effort, the Senators will have to go on record as being opposed to helping small businesses in order to get each of the 11 bills removed. At the very least they will see the light of day.

Last week, the House passed a bill that would provide a 20% tax deduction for small business owners and “small” is defined as under 500 employees. Based on the fact that small companies are disproportionately affected by tax compliance and high tax rates than their larger counterparts, the Act is described by its supporters as being simple, fair and gives small businesses access to badly needed capital to invest in their companies. Once again, however, it will now go to the Senate where it may join the dozens if not hundreds of other bills the 112th Congress has pushed along to the Senate and are now occupying a dusty windowless office somewhere on Capitol Hill.

An Important small business hearing

On Thursday, April 19, the House Small Business Committee discussed small business tax issues during a hearing titled “The Tax Outlook for Small Businesses: What’s on the Horizon?” All witnesses testified that the current tax code is burdensome and confusing for small businesses. (Can we all hear a collective “duh!”) The complexity, constant change and continuing are frustrations endured by small business owners. Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) stated that according to SBA, it costs small and medium sized businesses 36% more per employee to comply with regulations than larger businesses.

During the hearing, Rep. Alan West (R-FL) asked what three deductions need to be retained. The witnesses concluded that the charitable donation, mortgage interest, and real estate tax deductions need to stay along with keeping the “death tax” thresholds high. Witnesses also testified that the coming small business health insurance tax, a 2.5% premium increase, would also be another burden for small businesses already facing slim margins.


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