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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Realogy CEO Richard Smith Participates in Housing Finance Conference

As a global provider of real estate and relocation services, Cartus’ parent company, Realogy, often has the opportunity to join government leaders in discussing future policies that may affect the housing industry. On August 17, Realogy’s chief executive officer, Richard A. Smith, participated in the Conference on the Future of Housing Finance in Washington, D.C. This was an invitation-only event hosted by Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan. Smith was invited to share his insights as part of Breakout Session One: “Key Players in a Reformed System: Role of the Private Sector and of Government.”

Recently, Smith advised government officials on extending the homebuyer tax credit. He is a member of the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies. In April 2009, he was appointed as chair of the Business Roundtable’s Housing Working Group.

Go Green; Rideshare!

One way that Cartus does its part as a global citizen is by promoting ridesharing in its Connecticut office. Besides saving on fuel and wear and tear to participants’ cars (and psyches), ridesharing can be a social event. Co-riders often develop strong friendships, and for many, that aspect of carpooling surpasses the cost-saving benefits. Nevertheless, the cost-saving benefits are considerable! According to Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, from May 2009 through April 2010, Connecticut carpoolers saved an estimated $1.1 million in commute-related expenses. They saved a lot of wear and tear on the environment, too; Cartus ride-sharers reduced their car trips to work during the May-April period by 16,531—a number that earned Cartus a second-place win in the Governor’s statewide “Earth Day Commuter Challenge.”

Cartus is such a mainstay of the “greener commute” initiative that we were recently asked to take part in a videotaped interview that is posted on MetroPool’s Web site, here: http://ctrides.com/index.php?page=testimonials. MetroPool is the commuter services arm of the NY & CT Departments of Transportation, and the video, which features Senior VP of Global HR Amy Meichner and Cartus carpooler Beth Koziy, will be used to share with non-participating companies some of the benefits of ride-sharing from a Cartus perspective. (Participants from UConn Health Center are also featured in the video.) Take a listen to what Beth and Amy have to say. And as proof that we’ve been at this for a while, check out this “Good Morning America” Web site from a couple years ago, when Cartus employees Patrick Lewis and Trevor Macomber (neither of whom were ridesharing at the time) were asked to blog about their experiences commuting together. More than two years later, their musings still bring a smile!

Danbury HQ Wellness Center: Work/Life Balance in Action

In Danbury, our on-site Wellness Center (walk-in clinic) recently celebrated its 7th anniversary. Having a Wellness Center is so much more than a “perk”! The Center’s physician assistant, Drew Morten, sees about 4,300 patients every year, and those visits save our employees an average of $86,000 in annual co-pays. Equally important, the time saved by avoiding the need to leave work for doctors’ visits is incalculable—and invaluable—for a customer service-oriented organization such as Cartus. 

For several years, I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside Drew on Cartus’ Crisis Management Team; last year, we collaborated to create a Pandemic Plan in response to the H1N1 influenza outbreak. In addition to his valuable contributions to the company in that role, he has hosted and/or presented at numerous “Lunch & Learn” sessions on topics such as stress reduction, breast cancer awareness, and nutrition. 

I think just about everyone who works at the Danbury office would agree that the services offered by the Wellness Center—the option to have meds delivered to our site by a local pharmacy; the availability of basic laboratory services, such as blood drawing; tetanus, flu, and other vaccinations; blood pressure and diabetic monitoring; and most of all, the availability of a trained medical professional to oversee (and soothe!) our aches and pains—add up to a prescription for a first-class example of “work/life balance”!

Delays Reported for International Household Goods Shipments Moving Through Indian Ports

Due to an August 7 collision between two vessels in the Transshipment Port – Nhava Sheva (Mumbai) in India, there could be transit delays for the following shipments:

1) Any sea shipment scheduled to go into or out of the port terminals of Mumbai and Nhava Sheva in the next two weeks.

2) Any sea shipment normally scheduled to trans ship through the port terminals of Mumbai and Nhava Sheva during the next two weeks.

In the interim, all shipments may be directed to the Port of Mundra in Gujarat. There will be extra haulage costs for hauling shipments to and from Mundra.

The collision caused at least 250 containers to sink in the main channel of the port. No ships are being allowed to move into or out of Mumbai or Nhava Sheva until the containers have been salvaged. Both port terminals are likely to be shut for traffic for at least another week. Nhava Sheva is India’s busiest port, handling close to 50% of the country’s port traffic.

Cartus’ Supply Chain Management team is presently working with Client Services team members to make them aware of the situation and determine steps for notifying those affected. Clients and customers are encouraged to call their account executives or consultants with any questions.

Get the Critical Real Estate Market Information You Need – Join our eLearning on August 24

It’s hard to get a handle on where the U.S. real estate market is going, but for managers responsible for their companies’ relocation programs, up-to-date knowledge is critical. Presenters Kevin Russell of Cartus Home Loans and Pat DeDonato of Cartus will discuss the state of the market and some of the key factors that can impact your relocation program: interest rates, mortgage trends, foreclosures and short sales, and the potential effects of shadow inventory and man-made disasters.

 If you are interested in attending the eLearning, please email your request to cartusevents@cartus.com.

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