The Coronavirus lock-down will have far-reaching and unforeseen effects on many industries but according to one hybrid estate agency, for property it’s going to be the rise of home-working and self-employed staff.Paul Clarke, who with his partner set up estate agency, ‘Mr and Mrs Clarke’, claims this will an inevitable outcome of 50,000 estate agency staff being forced to work from home until June and beyond.The company, which was established four years ago, is now looking for partners to expand its brand, which was the brainchild of the Clarkes after they had a poor experience selling their London home and buying a new one outside the capital.But after perfecting ‘the brand’ the couple realised selling homes is more difficult than it looks.They then hired a former Knight Frank and Modern House sales director to help them refine their service and they are now looking for locally networked local agents to join them.“Our market is agents like Savills, Fine & Country and Knight Frank but also good independents,” says Paul. (pictured, left)“Our customers are people who love their homes and want to show them off when they put them on the market.”Mr and Mrs Clarke is an unusual agency for several other reasons other than its name. The company sounds upmarket, but it is also one of the most innovative users of social media within the industry.Clarke says the company gains 50% of its buyer leads from Instagram while Rightmove and Zoopla supply the rest. In return the company offers its partners 75% of the fees earned form each sale.“There are a couple of agencies like us in London but nothing like us outside the capital,” says Clarke. “The difference is we offer vendors an astounding marketing package including photography, property marketing materials, EPCs and floorplans.” lock-down Mr and Mrs Clarke Paul Clarke March 24, 2020Nigel LewisOne commentAndrew Stanton, CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist 24th March 2020 at 8:11 amEstate Agency or Real Estate like many industries is undergoing seismic changes, the way we work, where we work, and who we work for and how technology is ‘helping’ in that process.One positive thing coming out of this terrible situation (Covid-19) is that many agents who are ‘transactional’ focusing as I used to for 30-years plus on the next deal, can now use their time to reflect and plan on a more ‘modern’ and efficient model of agency.They can take take their eye off the moving parts of their business, and start to think ‘If I started in real estate today how would the business look and operate, ensuring my clients and end users would want to do business with me?’That is a journey I began nearly four years ago, when I began consultancy for agents, I started with ‘management’ issues, how to deal with teams and how to change the mind sets of CEO’s and managers.Then I realised, that this was a tiny part of the problem to make real estate businesses relevant, times had changed and technology as much as people are the two drivers in estate agency. That is why I became an advocate for Property Technology or Proptech for short. The digital transformation of the industry, and not just residential estate agency or Lettings. In time becoming a Proptech Influencer for Unissu, helping both industries I believe in agency and proptech.Forget the buzzwords, it is all about making your processes, the moving parts of your business, quicker, leaner and more profitable, often automating the boring and repetitive bits, giving clients a better service.Lock down is now forcing agents to communicate in a modern way, Zoom, Skype, etc is the way sales teams now communicate, that for some agencies is a quantum leap. My advice let Lock down force you to explore – better more modern ways of doing business.I fully understand that many property professionals do not engage with proptech, I was that agent, too busy to listen to sales people looking to sell me solutions, now I realise that just as other industries have wrestled with change, and modernised, any business that does not engage with proptech (and modern agency as Mr & Mrs Smith) will as I was quoted in the Daily Telegraph become ‘financially wounded dinosaurs’.To help you get your mind into the topic I set out a short article I wrote some time ago, which defines the ‘mind set’ barrier that exists, and which with help and support the industry can overcome.There are many people looking to help, from great advocates like my close friend Valentina Shegoyan from REACH – my mentors James Dearsley, Eddie Holmes and Will Darbyshire from Unissu, all of whom want to make agency easier, better and more profitable.Prop Tech (Proptech) Science Fiction for Estate Agents – Andrew StantonBack in the mid 1980’s, I became an estate agent (broker) and was at that time an avid reader of science fiction. My favourite book was ‘Machines that think’ a compendium of short sci-fi stories, about future worlds, with a forward by the famous author Isaac Asimov.Though it was published in 1984, many of the stories had been written in the 1940’s and 1950’s and described future Utopian or Dystopian worlds full of new technology and the role of artificial intelligence, robots and data.Fast forward to nearly 2020, and I am still in the estate agency or property industry, and many of the advances that the sci-fi writers had predicted 70-plus years ago are now part of this world. And within the property sector there is now Proptech – or as I call it science fiction for agents.Let me explain, Proptech is a vast sprawling vista of different new technologies operating within the sphere of property, it is not just digitization, it is re-imagining and interconnecting all the strands within the sector.It covers property, its design, planning, build, sales, renting, asset management, and the way in which humans interact with property. Where the customer or end user’s experience can be analysed, distilled and digitized into a solution which enhances service levels and the experience of the consumer, hopefully driving a profitable outcome for the owner of the technology.It could be a property with sensors – a talking house or providing seamless systems to replace archaic systems within estate agency, in fact a big problem in Proptech is seeing the wood for the trees and knowing which technology will succeed and which will not.Proptech is many things including; – Deep Learning, Artificial intelligence, Big Data, Intelligence Augmentation, The Internet of things, Machine Learning and Blockchain. The driver is to use data to streamline processes and deliver maximum revenues. (Note that many of these terms would not look out of place in one of Isaac Asimov’s books, I Robot.)Online agents are Proptech, so too is Fixflo in the rental sector, or Offr a new way to buy and sell property quickly and transparently in the residential property sector, Yourkeys getting property exchanged in 7-days, OpenBrix, Coadjute, Moovshack, Vaboo, PropertyHeads, Stitch-ai,Leadoo the arena is vast but it is not too important to try to define Proptech, better to see the financial advantages that it is bringing.a salesperson using [1990s Proptech] was worth two ‘pen and paper’ salespeopleJust as Fin Tech exploded onto the scene in the past 15-years, where massive amounts of money were invested into Financial technology, Proptech is now starting to have the same levels of investment, in both the UK and the rest of the world.The big problem is that many UK estate agents see Proptech or the sub-division of Proptech that applies to them as Sci-fi.Agents are very conservative, and slow moving to make changes to their businesses, they fear change. (I always did) – Why change things if your business makes money?They feel bamboozled by the terminology and the complexities of Proptech, with many agents say it all sounds a bit costly, and it is not too certain which bit of Proptech works and produces a profit.Which is a shame because many property agents, residential and lettings, would benefit from automating the dull boring administrative type parts of their businesses, their property management systems.In the mid-1990’s, I was an advocate of early Proptech using ‘Estate-Craft’, a bespoke software package which was the forerunner of many operating systems now.I realised that a salesperson using the system was worth two ‘pen and paper’ salespeople, because a lot of the repetitive work was taken out, and databases allowed quick matching of buyers to properties, and speed in commerce is always vital.Proptech…is not just digitisation, it is re-imagining and interconnecting all the strands within the sector.For me, the Proptech revolution which spans much more than the annual £6.5 billion residential sales market in the UK, is on the move. Offering its hand in partnership to ‘forward thinking’ estate agency companies.Creating a way of trading akin to Amazon where the customer experience is put front and centre. Some companies have fully grasped that outstretched hand, others sit and wait.And I wonder why? As now estate agency can be based on captured data and analytics which provide a clear narrative of what the customer likes and wants.So, a personalised service, with connection across digital platforms and smart phones, plus the important face to face engagement with salespeople can be provided.Another good reason to investigate and adopt ‘Proptech – science fiction for estate agents’, is the rise of the Millennials (born in the late 1980’s and 1990’s) and the rise of Gen-Z the generation born just after the Millennials.These will soon be the volume property industry clients, and they form the digital technology generation, which Wikipedia ominously states are ‘comfortable with Internet and Social media.’That I feel is an understatement, and whilst Gen-Z may seem a great name for a sci-fi novel, it might be prudent to start connecting with industry giants like James Dearsley, or Eddie Holmes to get ahead of the Proptech game. And of course if you want some advice from an agent’s perspective but with a Proptech mind set I am always easy to contact.Log in to ReplyWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » Lock-down will make agents ‘reassess home working and self-employment’ previous nextAgencies & PeopleLock-down will make agents ‘reassess home working and self-employment’Government decision last night to lock-down Britain will change both how people are employed and their attitudes to branch working, it is claimed.Nigel Lewis24th March 20201 Comment6,409 Views
View post tag: USS Bonhomme Richard Photo: Family members welcome the sailors of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as it arrives in San Diego on May 8, 2018. Photo: US Navy Share this article US Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) arrived at its new homeport in San Diego on May 8, concluding a homeport change from Sasebo, Japan.Bonhomme Richard departed San Diego in April 2012 for Sasebo, Japan, to replace USS Essex (LHD 2) as the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship and flagship of the Amphibious Force 7th Fleet’s expeditionary strike group.During the six years serving forward deployed, the ship participated in exercises, such as the bi-annual exercise Talisman Sabre with the Royal Australian Navy, worked side-by-side with Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and participated in exchanges with regional partners, such as Japan, Singapore, and Thailand.Bonhomme Richard demonstrated its humanitarian and disaster relief response capabilities during search and rescue efforts following the 2014 capsize of Korean ferry MV Sewol, and assisted with relief efforts following the Kumamoto earthquake in 2016.“Bonhomme Richard was forward deployed to Japan during the past six years,” said Capt. Larry McCullen, Bonhomme Richard’s commanding officer. “This crew and every other crew that has served on the ship during that time can be justifiably proud of their accomplishments while executing our nation’s business in the challenging FDNF environment. The ship performed at a high level of excellence during exercises and in response to real-world events. We are honored to be part of this moment in the ship’s history and the crew is excited to have San Diego as our new homeport. We accomplished much while serving in the 7th Fleet and I am happy to report that Bonhomme Richard stands ready to complete any tasking and any mission in support of 3rd Fleet.”In addition to completing training and exercises, the sailors and marines participated in cultural exchanges, and took part in community service projects in Japan at nearly every port the ship visited in the Pacific. The crew also helped those in need in the Sasebo community through food drives, holiday gift giving, feeding the homeless, and helping at local schools.USS Wasp (LHD 1) recently took over duties from Bonhomme Richard in Sasebo as the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship.While homeported in San Diego, Bonhomme Richard will stand ready to conduct operational tasking in the US 3rd Fleet area of responsibility before entering an extended maintenance availability, including upgrades and modernization to operate the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. View post tag: US Navy
Job no: 228228-ASWork type: Faculty Full or Part Time, Faculty-Full Time,Faculty-Part TimeDepartment: SMPHPEDIATRICSNEONATOLocation: MadisonCategories: Health Care, Medical, Social Services The University of Wisconsin is an Equal Opportunity andAffirmative Action Employer. We promote excellence throughdiversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply.If you need to request an accommodation because of a disability,you can find information about how to make a request at thefollowing website: https://employeedisabilities.wisc.edu/disability-accommodation-information-for-applicants/ PROFESSOR (CHS)(D01NN) or ASSOC PROFESSOR (CHS)(D02NN) or ASSTPROFESSOR (CHS)(D03NN) WI medical licensure; BC/BE in pediatrics required Department(s): Salary: Provide patient clinical care.Teach to a variety of learners, including medical students,residents and fellows. Teaching can occur within the classroom,small groups and lectures, as well as in the delivery of clinicalcare.Carry out independent research/scholarly activity in an area ofinterest to the candidate and the division. These pursuits can takemany forms and will often be executed in conjunction with clinicalactivities, but are not limited to that venue. Minimum Years and Type of Relevant Work Experience: Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation forUW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respectthe profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience,status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. Wecommit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching,research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linkedgoals.The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission bycreating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from everybackground – people who as students, faculty, and staff serveWisconsin and the world.For more information on diversity and inclusion on campus, pleasevisit: Diversity andInclusion NegotiableANNUAL (12 months) Provide patient care, teaching to a variety of learners, andexecution of research/scholarly activities.The School of Medicine and Public Health has a deep and profoundcommitment to diversity both as an end in itself but, also as avaluable means for eliminating health disparities. As such, westrongly encourage applications from candidates who foster andpromote the values of diversity and inclusion. Completion of US pediatric residency and fellowship programs.Interest in academic medicine, involving teaching to a variety oflearners is essential. Experience in an academic medical settingpreferred. 228228-AS To begin the application process, please click on the “” button.You will be asked to upload a CV and statement of interest withinthe application process.The deadline for assuring full consideration is February 20, 2021,however, the position will remain open and applications may beconsidered until the position is filled. MAY 01, 2021 Work Type: Academic Staff-Renewable Appointment Type, Duration: Instructions to Applicants: The University of Wisconsin-Madison is engaged in a Title and TotalCompensation (TTC) Project to redesign job titles and compensationstructures. As a result of the TTC project, official job titles oncurrent job postings may change in Fall 2020. Job duties andresponsibilities will remain the same. For more information pleasevisit: https://hr.wisc.edu/title-and-total-compensation-study/.Employment will require a criminal background check. It will alsorequire you and your references to answer questions regardingsexual violence and sexual harassment.The University of Wisconsin System will not reveal the identitiesof applicants who request confidentiality in writing, except thatthe identity of the successful candidate will be released. See Wis.Stat. sec. 19.36(7).The Annual Security and FireSafety Report contains current campus safety and disciplinarypolicies, crime statistics for the previous 3 calendar years, andon-campus student housing fire safety policies and fire statisticsfor the previous 3 calendar years. UW-Madison will provide a papercopy upon request; please contact the University of Wisconsin PoliceDepartment . Employment Class: Job Number: Kelsey [email protected] Access (WTRS): 7-1-1 (out-of-state: TTY: 800.947.3529, STS:800.833.7637) and above Phone number (See RELAY_SERVICE for furtherinformation. ) Official Title: Applications Open: Jan 19 2021 Central Standard TimeApplications Close: Contact: MD or equivalent, completion of US pediatric residency and relevantfellowship A536757-MEDICAL SCHOOL/PEDIATRICS/NEONATO Principal Duties: Degree and Area of Specialization: Institutional Statement on Diversity: Ongoing/Renewable Full or Part Time: 50% – 100% License or Certificate: Position Summary: Anticipated Begin Date:
The Cornish Pasty Association (CPA) is a step closer to attaining protected geographic indication (PGI) status for Cornish pasties after DEFRA confirmed that it is backing its application and will be sending it to the European Commission for final approval.The CPA said DEFRA’s ministerial support is a “significant landmark” in the CPA’s application process. The CPA hopes for a ruling that will limit the use of the Cornish Pasty label to Cornish producers making pasties using a traditional method and recipe.The Cornish Pasty Association (CPA) is a step closer to attaining protected geographic indication (PGI) status for Cornish pasties after DEFRA confirmed that it is backing its application and will be sending it to the European Commission for final approval.The CPA said DEFRA’s ministerial support is a “significant landmark” in the CPA’s application process. The CPA hopes for a ruling that will limit the use of the Cornish Pasty label to Cornish producers making pasties using a traditional method and recipe.The Association exists to protect the quality and the reputation of the Cornish pasty and to stop consumers being “misled by pasty makers who trade off the value of the name without producing a genuine product”.Angie Coombs of the CPA Committee believes that protection of regional food products like the Cornish pasty is important both for consumers and the rural economies and explains. She said: “This application is a genuine attempt to protect the consumer and encourage investment in local economies. We believe it is not unreasonable to ask companies to honestly label their products so that the consumer is guaranteed a level of quality, recipe and origin when they purchase them.”
(Check against delivery)Thank you for that introduction, and for inviting me to join you here today.The Law Society, one of our oldest and most distinguished professional bodies, has often been a loud voice for fairness and reform.So it is a fitting venue to be here talking about the power of blockchain, a technology which is set to have a monumental impact on our lives.I have been interested in blockchain technology for many years. In 2016, I wrote in a Government Office for Science report that this technology would lead to exceptional levels of innovation across the world.That has been borne out by events. We began with Bitcoin, a system for transferring and storing value.And we now have a newer generation of blockchain allowing the transfer of a wider array of assets and the encoding of more complex rules and programmes. And there is no sign of this pace of innovation slowing.It is wonderful to see everyone coming together today to explore the potential of blockchain and look at how it can be adopted even more quickly.This is something I care about very strongly and you can be sure that the Government will be supporting you.Today I’d like to talk about three vast areas of our public life where blockchain has huge potential. Our financial sector, our Government services and our laws and regulation.Financial sectorFirst, our financial sector. The UK has already been reaping the benefits that fintech can bring. It employs 61,000 people in the UK, more than the combined Fintech workforce of Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.In June 2017, the UK’s top ten publicly-traded fintech businesses crossed the 100 billion dollar market capitalisation mark for the first time, a value of 71 billion pounds.And our financial regulators are leading the world in encouraging innovation.The Financial Conduct Authority’s Sandbox, which lets firms test products and services in a live market environment but with appropriate safeguards, is being copied by like-minded countries around the world.And across the first two cohorts of companies it supported, the most popular technology employed was blockchain.The government’s Fintech Strategy, published just last month, sets out how we will build on that success.This includes developing machine-readable rules for financial regulation, and undertaking work with major banks to develop shared standards for fintech partnerships.Following the colossal growth in interest in new cryptoassets like Bitcoin, the Government has established a Cryptoassets Taskforce, consisting of the Treasury, Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority.This Taskforce will be reporting in the Summer. It will set out an approach that balances the need to encourage innovation and growth, whilst managing the risks.Government servicesWhile FinTech may have taken an early lead on blockchain, there is no reason the technology should be restricted to one sphere. And although it gets a lot of the headlines, there is much more to blockchain than simply bitcoin and crypto assets.My second point is that blockchain technology holds real potential to make Government services more efficient. Its multi-faceted nature means we all stand to benefit.This technology could help us solve some of the great global social challenges of our time.The World Food Programme is running a pilot in a Jordanian refugee camp, where over 10,000 Syrian refugees can buy food from local shops with merely a scan of their eye.There is no need for cash, credit cards or paper; the transactions are instead recorded on the blockchain.And blockchain-based cryptoassets are now being developed to reward solar electricity generation, to support the provision of clean water, and to provide innovative models of charitable giving.So the benefits are clear and we want to see them here in the UK.In the Government’s Digital Strategy, published in March last year, we set out how we want to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business and to trial new technologies like blockchain.Digitising Government services here in the UK has already saved billions for tax payers.And governments who embrace emerging technologies, such as blockchain, are the ones who will thrive in the decades ahead.There is wide interest across Government in deploying blockchain to tackle a wide range of issues, including from Defra, the Ministry of Justice, DFID, HMRC, and BEIS.The Government has already invested around 10 million pounds through Innovate UK and our research councils, to support blockchain projects in areas as diverse as energy, voting systems and maximising value from items donated to charity.And there is a benefit which seems particularly timely given recent events. Blockchain can give users more transparency about their data.There is the opportunity for users of Government services to be able to control access to their personal records and know who has accessed them.Innovation friendly legal and regulatory systemsGiven our setting today, my final point is how we can make sure the legal sector, and regulators, feel the benefits too.Lawtech is another field where blockchain provides real opportunities. There are many potential uses, like creating smart contracts, protecting intellectual property and fighting money laundering.I know the Law Society has carefully considered the legal implications of distributed systems, having published a report on blockchain just last year.If we develop the right frameworks for lawtech, this could lead to reduced legal costs and better ease of access for those wanting to use legal services.This is an area of digital I’m particularly passionate about – how technology can blast open access and make life better for everyone.But as well as thinking of projects, we need to think about frameworks that allow blockchain to develop.Just as the internet is not governed entirely by individual nations or corporations, it is unlikely that there will ever be a uniform governance model for blockchain technology.But I am determined that the UK should play its part in making sure blockchain technology is developed in a way that benefits us all.Where technologies rub up against regulatory barriers, we want our regulators to be alert and responsive and supporting the deployment of new technology where there are obvious benefits.We know the ever-increasing pace of innovation places pressure on regulators to respond faster.I want our regulators to carry out their essential roles – preventing harm, providing certainty to businesses and trust to citizens – without stifling innovation.The Consumer Green paper just published by BEIS is seeking views on how best to achieve this.And the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund, announced in the last Budget, will see 10 million pounds invested to help unlock the potential of emerging technologies.While it’s too early to know if blockchain will be a major beneficiary of this Fund, I am looking forward to seeing which technologies are put forward.ConclusionBlockchain poses real and searching questions for governments, developers and the legal profession.What role do nation states have when setting frameworks for these decentralised, cross-border systems?And how do we address the challenges of smart contracts, when computer coding needs specificity and the law often needs interpretation?These are all complex issues, requiring careful analysis.So I am pleased that the Law Commission has committed to looking at this through their 13th programme of law reform, to see how smart contracts can be used in our legal system and what the implications of blockchain are for data protection.While blockchain has come a long way in a short space of time, it is still very much in its development phase. And I want the Government to play an active part in helping it to develop.Just as I want to hear your ideas about how we can help you drive blockchain forward, be it in lawtech or any other part of our economy.History is marked by the rise of new technologies and the ingenuity and creativity they unlock.That is our challenge and I hope that this room, and indeed this country, will rise to it. Thank you very much.
The Harvard Kennedy School Library, in conjunction with the HKS IT/Media Services office, regularly posts “Virtual Book Tours” that spotlight HKS faculty members with recently published books. The current book tour, “Nicco Mele: The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath,” offers an opportunity for viewers to learn more about Mele and his book.“We find that they are a great way for faculty members to get the word out about their new books. They are generally very receptive to participating, ” said Leslie Donnell, director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Library and Knowledge Services and manager of collections and digital content.Valerie Weis, research and knowledge services librarian—who has coordinated the most recent tours—said she seeks out faculty members who either have just released or are about to release a new book. She then sends a list of questions for the author to answer when he or she is producing the video with staff from media services. Weis, Donnell and Heather McMullen, manager of research, instruction and knowledge services, produce 15 to 20 virtual tours per year. They make every effort to include all faculty members or research fellows who ask to be featured, and Donnell hopes to begin hosting a few “physical” book talks during the next academic year. Read Full Story
Our Lady of Kibeho View Comments Tickets are now on sale for the world premiere of Katori Hall’s Our Lady of Kibeho, starring Starla Benford. Directed by Michael Greif, the production will begin previews off-Broadway on October 28 and run through December 7. Opening night is scheduled for November 16 in The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center. Related Shows The cast will also include Jade Eshete, Danaya Esperanza, Niles Fitch, Kambi Gathesha, Brent Jennings, Joaquina Kalukango, Mandi Masden, Owiso Odera, Nneka Okafor, Stacey Sargeant, T. Ryder Smith, Patrick J. Ssenjovu, Angel Uwamahoro and Bowman Wright. Our Lady of Kibeho is based on real events. Set in 1981, a village girl in Rwanda claims to see the Virgin Mary. Ostracized by her schoolmates and labeled disturbed, everyone refuses to believe, until the impossible starts happening again and again. Skepticism gives way to fear, faith, and fate, causing upheaval in the school community and beyond. Show Closed This production ended its run on Dec. 14, 2014
Star Files Related Shows View Comments Whorl Inside a Loop Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 27, 2015 The complete cast is now set for the previously announced world premiere of Whorl Inside a Loop, starring Sherie Rene Scott. The play, written by Dick Scanlan and Scott, will feature Derrick Baskin as Sunnyside, Nicholas Christopher as Rick, Chris Myers as Jeffrey, Ryan Quinn as Source, Daniel J. Watts as Flex and Donald Webber Jr. as Bey. Off-Broadway performances will begin at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theatre on August 4. Michael Mayer and Scanlan will direct.In Whorl Inside a Loop, a well-regarded actress agrees to teach six inmates how to tell their stories behind the bars of a men’s maximum-security prison. Sharing intimate and sometimes hilarious details of their former lives (while portraying characters of varying age, gender and race), this unlikely group forms a bond—even as the actress’ life outside spins out of control. And when what happens in prison doesn’t stay there, no one is sure whom to trust.Baskin returns to Second Stage after appearing in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which he also starred in on Broadway. His additional credits include Piece of My Heart, Memphis and The Little Mermaid. Christopher’s stage credits include Motown on Broadway and Rent and Hurt Village off-Broadway. Myers recently appeared in Soho Rep’s An Octoroon, for which he received an OBIE award. Quinn’s off-Broadway credits include The Killer, King Lear, Hamlet and Antony and Cleopatra. Watts appeared on Broadway most recently in After Midnight; his additional credits include In the Heights, Memphis and Motown. Webber has been seen on Broadway in Motown and Holler If Ya Hear Me. Derrick Baskin
Photos by Randy GrayOver the course of its 2,178 winding miles, the Appalachian Trail passes only once under a manmade structure: a five-foot long, roofed breezeway belonging to what is now the Mountain Crossings store and hostel.Completed in 1937—the same year Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civil Conservation Corps finished the A.T.—the building originally served as living quarters for corpsman working to reforest the Chattahoochee National Forest.It’s located about 31 miles from the A.T.’s southern terminus, overlooking Georgia’s Neels Gap. From the first adventurous spirit to conquer the A.T.—Earl Shaffer, aka Crazy #1, in 1948—to the nearly 2,000 hikers following in his footsteps every year since, they’ve all passed through the Mountain Crossings breezeway. Serving as the first official mail drop, hostel, supply-station, and, therefore, crisis management center for would-be northbound thru-hikers, with its staff of authentic, 100K-plus-trail-miles-under-their-belt gurus, Mountain Crossings has become not only a thriving boutique retailer, but a haven for an entire subculture.But how, you might ask, was this cult established? Enter Winton Porter, a man whose tiny, miles-from-nowhere store doing over $850,000 in business in 2010, was dubbed by Inc. Magazine: “The smartest businessman on the Appalachian Trail.”The Back StoryBy age 8, whenever the weather was even mildly cooperative, Porter and his father were hitting the woods, weekending in campgrounds all over Georgia. By 9, Porter had trekked the state’s entire 76.4-mile stretch of Appalachian Trail. As a college student, he founded his own business: B. Bumblefoot & Company. “I drove around in my Toyota Tercel,” Porter chuckles, “selling [hand-carved, wooden] hiking sticks out of the back of my car.” Post-graduation, in 1989, Porter finagled a position with outdoor retail behemoth REI, where he commenced to speed-climb the corporate ladder. A decade later found him running an Atlanta-based store for the company that would eventually become Dick’s Sporting Goods.However, despite this resume of success, disillusionment set in.Then something happened: “In 2001 the opportunity train starts riding by and I jumped on,” he said.For Porter, this entailed: 1) a resignation letter stating, “My dream begins now.” And, 2) cashing in the 401k, ravaging the savings, selling the house in Atlanta, packing his wife and daughter into a U-Haul, and buying Mountain Crossings.Then What Happened?In the thirteen years following this mammoth, game-changer of a decision, Porter earned a reputation as a “backpack-purging, tent-selling, hostel-running, first-aid-dispensing, lost-kid finding, argument-settling, romance-fixing, chili-making shopkeeper.” In 2010, he was named Georgia Author of the Year for his memoir, Just Passin’ Thru. And meanwhile, in the process, Mountain Crossings was becoming what Porter describes as a “place to recharge the soul, a place to be understood when other people think that adventures into the woods is madness, insanity.”“It’s a karma-meets-commerce approach,” writes veteran hiker and Backpacker Magazine contributor, Jim Gorman. “Porter runs his business… like an extension of the A.T. community.”To get an idea of how this philosophy translates into practice, consider Mountain Crossings’ signature service: The Shakedown.By the time northbound thru-hikers reach Mountain Crossings, they’ve trekked 30 miles, and, for whatever reason—say, bad shoes and an 80-plus pound pack—many arrive in crisis.“They’ve told their friends they’re going to walk the A.T., and now they’re entertaining the word ‘quit,’” explains Porter.Thus it is that, each year, like a crew of motley superheroes, the Mountain Crossings staff swoops in, sifting through hundreds of backpacks, helping hikers cut 9,000 pounds of unnecessary weight. The sessions typically net about 12.5 pounds in trimmed excess, and require 1-4 hours to complete.“Spend that much time with a customer and you’d get reprimanded or fired at most stores,” says Porter. “For us, it creates tremendous loyalty.”With something like 200 photos of former customers poised atop Katahdin scotch-taped to the walls, it’s a point well made.Eulogies and the Newest ChapterIn 2009, like many somewhat recent college graduates, Georganna Morton and Logan Seamon found themselves putting in time at jobs they couldn’t stand.“We had to do something different,” Morton says, “but we didn’t know what exactly.”So they sold everything they owned and hit the A.T. And, like every other northbound thru-hiker, they passed through Mountain Crossings, where they first met Winton Porter, got the shakedown, crashed at the hostel, and moved along.Months later, after conquering Katahdin, the duo found themselves once more in limbo, faced with the question of “What now?” It was at this point Georganna more-or-less randomly attended an outdoor trade show with her father. While at the show, once again, she happened to run into Porter. After listening to a somewhat somber description of the couple’s search for a place to land, Winton offered Georganna, Logan, and their dog positions at Mountain Crossings.“I said ‘I’ll have to think about it,’” recalls Georganna, laughing. “To which Winton replied, ‘No, you’ll be there on Friday.’ It was Tuesday. So I thought about it a second. Then I said, ‘But where will we live?’ Winton grinned: ‘We’ve got room at the store.’”Four years later, in December of 2013, engaged, George and Logan offered to buy the store.“There’d been other offers,” says Georganna, “but when we came to him, it was like family, it was a different matter entirely.”In a YouTube farewell video, Porter explains the one move he never thought he’d make: “My time has come to walk on, to start a new chapter. In Georganna and Logan, the trail angels could not have brought a better team to carry on the essence and the flavor that makes this place so incredibly special to the thousands of those that pass through.”So maybe it’s like Lumpy, a long-term Mountain Crossings employee, says: “It’s a cosmic force that draws people here. It just feels like all the cosmic tumblers come into place.”And Porter? Well, there are rumors of the Caribbean, a second book. Regardless, like The Dude, undoubtedly, he will abide.
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