Benjamin “Ben” Pike is a New York City (NYC) professional who undertakes portfolio company management assignments that span the analysis, structuring, and origination of new fund investments. Ben Pike has an extensive knowledge of the city in which he lives.
One ongoing NYC Department of Transportation DOT program that spans New York’s boroughs is Open Streets, which transforms streets into public spaces that all residents and visitors can enjoy. An example is Fifth Avenue for All, which transforms 5th Avenue between 47th and 57th Streets into a pedestrian-only zone each Sunday throughout December.
In 2022, for the first time, this experience was extended a full 10 blocks, with the Manhattan borough president describing the experience as one that uniquely does not involve “dodging cars or trucks” along an iconic and historic stretch of Manhattan. Residents were encouraged to “grab a warm drink” and “spend money,” as the event also works to bolster in-store shopping and the local retail economy. This is particularly important as the city moves toward a pre-pandemic level of tourism, rivaling 2019’s 60 million-plus visitors for the year.
S&P Global is a company that provides ratings and analytics on energy and commodities to the global commodity and capital markets. The company had its beginnings in 1909, when Warren C. Platt started publishing the National Petroleum News magazine in Cleveland, Ohio. The name S&P Global came about after Platt’s company became part of the McGraw-Hill group in 1953.
S&P Global is mainly responsible for benchmark price assessments in physical commodity markets. While it originally focused on the oil industry, the company went on to assess metals, agriculture, shipping, and all energy-related markets. These include natural gas, coal, electricity, nuclear power, and renewable energy sources.
Each year since 1999, the company has sponsored the Platts Global Energy Awards. The annual awards ceremony recognizes leaders in various areas of the energy sector and provides excellent networking opportunities for business owners and staff.
In 2021, S&P Global gave 22 awards to companies and individuals. For companies, some of the top awards include Energy Company of the Year, Deal of the Year, and various awards of excellence. Individual awards such as Chief Executive of the Year and Trailblazer of the Year go to top owners and CEOs of the most innovative and successful companies. Rising Star Awards can go to both companies and individuals who are new to the energy industry and already making a positive impact.
To receive an award, a company or individual must be nominated on the S&P Global website. Most companies self-nominate for individuals in the company or for the business itself. Companies may send in up to four nominations.
Nominations are assessed by an impartial panel of judges with experience in the energy industry. Each category has specific criteria for judges to consider. One of the most important categories considers challenges the company had to face during the year. This could include financing a project or strategically navigating local regulations.
Many awards additionally assess the financial results of a specific initiative or group of projects. Innovation and strategic vision are also important criteria for companies looking to create new energy technologies and infrastructure plans. Other categories assess a company’s net job growth and economic impact.
S&P Global accepts nominations for each category from June through August, and finalists are announced in September each year. Finalists then attend the Platts Global Energy Awards ceremony, which in 2022 will take place on December 8 at Cipriani Wall Street, in New York.
In addition to the award finalists, others in the energy industry can attend the ceremony. Companies can choose various sponsorships that allow them to participate in the ceremony at various levels. Many energy companies find this extremely valuable, as the ceremony has the top 1 percent of energy executives in attendance each year.
The top level is Principal Sponsor, which gives the company the opportunity to have its top executive give opening remarks at the start of the ceremony. It also allows the company to bring 20 attendees, which could include top clients the company wants to impress. At all sponsorship levels, companies have access to tiered advertising through an integrated marketing package displaying their logo in various locations.
Private equity is an investment outside the established financial markets. It gives investors a share of ownership in private companies. Private equity invests in established firms in conventional sectors for equity or ownership.
Private equity is an alternative asset that allows authorized individuals and institutional investment firms to diversify their portfolios and take on greater risk in exchange for potentially better returns than investing in public corporations. Accredited investors have a net worth of over $1 million or an average annual income of $200,000 in the past two years. Institutional investors include pension funds, university endowments, insurance firms, and wealthy and high-net-worth individuals. It is not uncommon for traditional private equity firms to have very high investment minimums, anywhere from a few hundred thousand to several million dollars.
How does private equity work? Let’s say you have $2 million to invest. You must work through a private equity firm to invest directly in private equity. These companies will have their investment minimums, areas of expertise, fundraising schedules, and plans for when to leave the market. The private equity business would combine your money with other investors’ money and invest in buyouts or venture capital.
A private equity company is an investing firm. When it invests in a business, it often acquires a majority stake, such as 50 percent or more ownership. Private equity firms often hold controlling stakes in many companies simultaneously.
Investors in a private equity fund pay private equity companies management and performance fees. Certain companies impose a management fee of 2 percent per year on the assets they manage and demand a 20 percent profit share on the sale of a business.
There are many kinds of private equity investment, but some more common ones include leveraged buyouts, distressed funding, and real estate private equity. Distressed finance invests in failing corporations with underperforming business divisions or assets. The goal is to turn them around by making necessary changes to their management and operations or selling their assets for a profit. For example, assets such as patents could include real estate and intellectual property.
Private equity commonly invests in commercial real estate and real estate investment trusts (REITs). Due to the type of investment needed, real estate funds demand more money than other private equity categories, and the money is typically tied up for at least several years. It was not until the 2008 financial crisis decimated property values that private equity for real estate surged.
The most prevalent type of private equity finance is leveraged buyouts, a type of acquisition that uses large amounts of borrowed capital to make up for the acquisition cost. Most of the time, firms use a mix of debt and equity to pay for a transaction. Ninety percent of the cash may be debt finance, which is moved to the purchased company’s balance sheet for tax advantages. Private equity firms use many tactics to turn a business around, from reducing headcount to changing whole management teams.
The long-term nature of private equity funds makes them difficult to invest in, and the time it takes to see a return on a private equity fund investment may be considerable. Most private equity funds restrict the amount of money investors may take out of the company. Private equity investment may only make up a small part of an institutional investor’s diversified investment portfolio.
Skiing is a winter sport that is both competitive and recreational. It is technical, requires specific skills, and involves much concentration. Short turns are some of the technical parts of skiing.
To ski through short turns, you must consider body position. The fast nature of short turns increases the possibility of body positions that cannot be attempted and are difficult to think of on other slopes. Because of this, the body position is somewhat down the hill and has to make lots of twists and movements that the skier cannot hold for long periods.
Speed control aims to start and end a turn with the same pace, or two things happen; if the skier is slower out of turn, they would not have enough speed to get past the corner. With too much speed, the skier would only have to increase their speed as they go longer, making them tire quickly. Skiers are kept to the same rate when they go down the slope to have a good rhythm and feel. Proper speed control requires training as only in the long run would a beginner get their timing right and understand the correct movement.
The timing of the movement towards the hill is essential. Expert skiers always know when to correctly time turns before they can complete a short ski turn. As soon as the upper body’s weight is in the air, skiers cannot start the next turn until they come down.
When skis come across the slope, bodyweight is still upward from the last corner. As the upper body’s weight falls, there is sufficient downward energy to push down the slope and catch the upper body weight driving the skis in the snow harder. The upper body weight initially adds more power to the skis before leaving after a few turns, making the upper body’s weight leave again, and the skier gains it down the slope again and powers the skis again.
Most skiers often forget to consider the track layout and tempo when skiing short turns. This factor is essential as it helps skiers ascertain the various corners they have to go through in the short turns and how fast or slow they will have to generate speed up and down the mountain. A short track with a relatively higher tempo is both demanding and exciting as skiers have to concentrate in short turns and easily up their pace fully.
Also, in skiing short turns, adjusting to turns and the amount of pressure on the outside of the ski is crucial. The adjustment method determines how the skier enters the next turn and the upper body’s movement in reaction to it. Skiers want to adjust as best as they can going into short turns; they want to get the best possible traction out of the skis with good balance and a reduced risk of going face down in the snow. While moving side to side in the snow, skiers often need to consider the pressure they apply on the skis, especially when going through short turns. Too much pressure makes it easy to lose control of the skis; too little, and there is not enough grip.