Business Services

Anthony Fokker: Dutch Innovator, Industrialist and Aviation Enthusiast

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By Phineas Upham

Anthony Fokker was destined to be an accomplished auto mechanic. His father sent him to technical school to learn how to repair cars in 1910, but his interest in aircraft led him to transfer. He started schooling at an institute where he could study air maintenance instead.

That same year, he designed and built his first plane. It was called “The Spider,” and it was an open monoplane. It was short-lived however, as his business partner flew it into a tree and demolished it shortly after construction was completed.

Out of the ashes came a new design, which Fokker named “Spin.” It was with “Spin” that he acquired his license to become a pilot. He used his license for a bit of publicity in 1911, when he flew his plane around the Bavokerk Tower in Haarlem.

During World War I, Germany took over operation of Fokker’s company after he demonstrated how he could assemble a plane and take off within minutes. He became chief director and designer for the German Luftstreitkrafte, building over 700 military planes. One of those planes was the infamous tri-plane flown by the Red Baron.

Although, Fokker’s intentions were never with the military for long term. He successfully smuggled hundreds of designs out of Germany after the German surrender. This led him to the United States, where he manufactured the tri-motor aircraft engine that ruled the air during the 1920s. Fokker eventually sold his plans to General Motors, which the company used to create “General Aviation Corp” in 1931.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn page.

Tolhurst and the New Model Army

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By Samuel Phineas Upham

Jeremiah Tolhurst a man of some importance during the 1600s. He’d held seats in the British House of Commons, cut his teeth as a sailor, and made a name for himself a businessman. He also fought in the English Civil War for the New Model Army, a controversial policing unit during the Parliamentary Civil War.

Tolhurst was born in 1615, and his father died by the time he was eight years old. By then, the boy was on his way to apprenticing as a tailor.

In his thirties, England erupted into Civil War. The War boiled down to a conflict between loyalists to the crown, and those who served Parliament. Tolhurst chose Parliament and became a a fairly adept soldier, rising to lieutenant of foot, and then captain in 1644. He joined up with the so called “New Model Army,” a group of highly trained religious zealots, who were responsible for series of police actions during the English Civil War. Tolhurst, being an officer, was not likely to have held such radical viewpoints. Instead, he was made a major and placed in charge of motivated men. During his time there, he became distinguished and either met or gained favor from Oliver Cromwell. After his time serving, he relocated to the north and acquired interests in coal and salt. He used those interests to supply Cromwell throughout the Scottish campaign. The New Model Army would splinter after Cromwell’s death, causing tension that threatened to boil over into conflict. But the army was disbanded when Charles II was coroneted.

For his service, Tolhurst took a seat in Parliament. However, Cromwell’s death led to the restoration of the monarchy and he fled to Jamaica to spend his elder years. He died just two years after serving his last position in the government.

Samuel Phineas Uphamis an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Samual Phineas Upham website or Linkedin page.

Danone: How a European Brand Came to American Markets

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By Samuel Phineas Upham

Danone company, the makers of Dannon yogurt, is a Spanish company founded in 1919. It was created by Isaac Carasso, of Jewish descent, and it consisted of a very small factory for the production of yogurt. It was named after Carasso’s son Daniel, his nickname being “Danon.”

It was quite successful during its first ten years, relocating to France and building an additional factory there. The company was moved briefly to New York during the German occupation of France in World War II, something that likely saved Carasso’s life. This was to avoid prosecution for his German heritage. It was in the US that Daniel met Joe Metzger, and the two decided to change the brand name to “Dannon.” This made the brand sound more American, as opposed to the way Americans had previously called it “Dan One Yogurt.” The move helped cement the brand stateside, where it continues to thrive to this day.

The American side of the business was sold in 1959, after Daniel decided to return to France and Spain in order to manage some family business. He later repurchased the American business, but the company had already merged with Gervais, a leading producer of cheese in France.

Danone is actually a group of companies, yogurt being just one aspect of the business. There is a thriving glass making side called “Boussois-Souchon-Neuvesel,” founded by the family of Antoine Riboud. Although the glassmaker began within that industry, it eventually became transformed into a food company through acquisitions and mergers. In 1973, it merged with Gervais Danone, officially putting glass into yogurt.

Samuel Phineas Uphamis an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Samual Phineas Upham website or Linkedin page.

How to Increase the Efficiency of a Construction Project

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Too often, the word efficiency is equated to speed. There is another definition relevant to construction. Efficiency also relates to the foot print a building will leave on its environment, so new construction projects must consider methods to make their projects more energy efficient. Construction consultants are knowledgeable in the materials and technology required to make a project compliant with today’s energy standards.


The design of your home or commercial project can take advantage of natural elements to improve the efficiency of the building as a whole. One method is to use the sun’s orientation to cool your office at strategic times of day. The natural lighting would also cut down on power bills for the building, which saves the owner money down the road.


Construction & turnaround services have to consider every aspect of the development of a project whe efficiency is at stake. Materials play an important role because they impact the environment before, during and after the project is complete. Windows should be double pane, which can remove up to 25% of energy loss. Insulation is another concern that can heavily influence a building’s energy consumption.

Consultants may also include plans for solar installations, or instructions to order energy efficient bulbs for ceiling lighting. Finding a good lighting plan that minimizes consumption is crucial, as most buildings leave their lights on all day long.


One of the last places to find savings is in the appliances you plan to use in the building. Upgrading the HVAC to a new unit, or using more energy efficient sinks and toilets will cut down on consumption.

Lyle Charles Consulting services are available now for construction mediation and claims preparation. Lyle Charles has more than forty years in the field of commercial construction projects.

What Is Interim Short Term Management?

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Written by Lyle Charles

The construction industry is home to all kinds of different methods and practices designed around getting the job done. Obviously, there are countless materials and other “tricks of the trade” that help build large buildings, keep them standing and make customers happy.

However, what you may not know about is interim short term management. This is the practice in construction where a management team is brought in to take over the build for a very short period of time. Why would you want this? It usually has to do with a very specific problem or challenge that threatens the entire project. So it could be a claim that was filed or delays due to weather. Whatever the case, a short term management team that specializes in this delay will take the project over while you concentrate on other important areas that still need your attention.

The best versions of these management teams can do everything from help settle legal disputes to serve as a construction expert witness to simply suggest a solution they know will work for a very precise problem you may be experiencing. So this is definitely a solution to consider.


Construction projects involve too many moving parts to go at it alone, which is why so many companies in your situation rely on Lyle Charles Consulting. Aside providing construction claim analysis service, Mr. Charles is experienced in all facets of the construction industry and can lend his knowledge to help get yours the results you desire.

Merchant Account Contracts: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Guest post Provided by Payment Solutions, Inc. a company designed to serve small business merchants that accept credit cards online, while providing low cost and flexible options. Visit the website for more information.

When most people hear the word “contract”, be it a cell phone contract or a lease agreement, they shift a little in their seats. Contract sounds like a bad word. Contracts can mean a loss of freedom, and a sneaking suspicion that you’re not the one truly benefitting from it. But there are certain advantages and disadvantages to having a contract with internet merchant accounts.

The Good: Contracts with credit card processing companies do have certain benefits for online merchants. A contract outlines the responsibilities of each party so it is clear and concise.

The Bad: Six month or yearlong contracts are not always in the interest of the merchant. Contracts are made by the merchant service to protect their profits, and rightfully so. But as a merchant you need to make sure that the benefits are in your favor as the merchant if you accept credit cards online.  Be sure if you do choose a contract, to read the fine print, make sure the agent hands you all the pages, and make sure there are no termination fees.

The Ugly: But there are many hassles that come with a contract that you may not want to deal with. For example early termination fees that could come with a contract are a bad sign.  You need flexibility for your merchant services for more freedom and control. You can’t predict everything in the future as a merchant, and sometimes you simply just need to change your mind about how you do your business. Termination fees can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000. Say goodbye to a month’s worth of leasing, or goodbye to that new investment that could really profit your business or even goodbye to that new desk chair. There is always a cost of doing business, but why make sacrifices that don’t need to be made?

Cash Back Credit Cards

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Because of the increasing popularity of credit card use nowadays, a lot of companies are competing with one another in terms of getting more customers. Because of this, a lot of promotions and schemes have been offered by various credit card companies, and one of them is cash back credit cards. These credit cards reimburse the holder for a certain percentage of their purchases. The cash back credit cards usually offer 0.5% up to 2% rebate from purchases. Some of these cards raise the percentage of rebate up to 5%, which attracted more people.

Cash back credit card rebates can be claimed in many ways. First, you can accumulate the rebates you get and use it to pay your annual fees. Second, the credit card company can write a check for the amount of rebate, and finally, the credit card company can deduct the rebates you have earned in you current billing statement.

Some of the benefits that cash back credit card holders can enjoy are the convenience of not having to pay for annual fees ever again. Another advantage is that you can convert these cash back rewards into other rewards like miles conversion or rewards points conversion, which entitles you to exchange the said points for some gifts. Finally, the cash back credit card is the only credit card which is flexible. Unlike other types of cards like the miles card, and other credit cards, you cannot convert them into cash or points. The cash back credit card is an all-in-one card which gives you the flexibility of having all the benefits of other cards into one credit card.

Thrive in Today’s Fast Paced Business Environment

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Your customers are in a hurry, and you should be too.

In this day and age of high-speed internet both at home and on-the-go, people don’t like waiting for things to get done, and you shouldn’t either. Be quick to act and respond to the needs of your customers with the help of an online point-of-sales system. Enable lightning-fast transactions online and on the go with the help of an internet merchant account.

An internet merchant account enables you, and your business, to accept credit cards online. With a fully-featured online point-of-sales that’s enabled with credit card charging facilities, your customers no longer have to wait to have their orders filled and processed. That means no more bank lines, check clearing and holding periods, waiting for bank transfers to get payments through – just a quick online verification and the payments are received, orders are filled. This means both you and your customers get to go on doing important business sooner, instead of later thanks to an effective online payment system. This not only means that you’re customers go home with their products happier, but you also increase ordering speed and efficiency, allowing you to better grow your business instead of worrying about payments.

Step out of the slow lane, and take the expressway to payment convenience. With a well-equipped online payment system, not only will you grow, but you will grow, faster.