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New West Daily Roundup for Oct. 13, 2016

Today in New West news: EventBoard rebrands as Teem, Molson Coors becomes third largest beer company in world, human-caused warming and Western wildfires, and spending the $12M Yellowstone River oil spill settlement.

Salt Lake City-based EventBoard, which “[uses] data to optimize meeting room management,” after raising $20.5 million in August, is rebranding itself as Teem and releasing its Workplace Productivity Analytics Index to help companies gauge the effectiveness of meetings as it relates to “overall workplace collaboration and productivity,” according to a Teem press release:

“As a company rooted in data and focused on collaboration, it is important that we continue to offer our teams, and our clients’ teams, innovative solutions that help them work better together,” said Shaun Ritchie, Teem CEO and co-founder. “We’ve always seen the future of work as people, places and technology working seamlessly together, our new name, Teem, embodies the coming together of these elements with energy and efficiency. The Index and recent integration with core systems such as JIRA and Insights API help bring data to life by introducing collaborative and frictionless digital solutions to maximize employee engagement, happiness and productivity.”

Teem’s Workplace Productivity Analytics Index will provide real-time trend benchmarking via an aggregated analysis of meeting room data from over 2,000 customers worldwide. Available for to view to everyone and at anytime, the Index will be updated on a monthly basis so people can view evolving trends in workplace culture and collaboration across nine metrics, including the average number of meeting attendees, average length of meetings and how many meetings are scheduled last minute versus planned.

[…]

In addition to the Index, Teem recently released a range of product updates and core system integrations including JIRA integration, Webhooks and Insights API, all helping employees work more easily and efficiently.

Thanks to its innovative conference room display and analytics, Teem has transformed the way companies plan, coordinate and conduct meetings. Teem currently serves a diverse customer base of thousands of companies, ranging from finance to technology, with partners from small businesses to larger corporations including Uber, Twitter, Dropbox, GE, Viacom, National Instruments, and more.

Among the Index’s findings: large meetings have the potential to “drain productivity,” a significant share of meetings are either “ghost” (comprised of no-shows) or “zombie” (regularly scheduled meetings where no one shows up) meetings.

Over in Colorado, according to the Denver Post, Denver-based Molson Coors Brewing Company has acquired the rest of MillerCoors, doubling Coors’ size and making it the third largest beer company in the world and the second largest publically traded company in Colorado:

“It is a heck of a story, when you stand back and look at what has been engineered here,” said Mark Hunter, CEO of Molson Coors. “I have never seen Pete Coors with such a big smile on his face.”

Pete Coors is the great-grandson of Adolph and a former chairman of Coors Brewing, which survived prohibition and numerous challenges over the years to remain one of the state’s signature companies.

After a 17 percent gain in its stock price this year, Molson Coors has a market value of $23.4 billion, putting it just behind Dish Network as the state’s largest public company, a title it regularly held in decades past. Molson Coors shares closed at $109.94, up a penny, on Tuesday, a day in which the S&P 500 lost 1.24 percent.

“We have the world’s third-largest brewer headquartered here. That is significant,” Hunter said. “A big business has become a bigger and stronger business.”

The $12 billion acquisition will boost Molson Coors’ headcount to 18,000 employees, up from 9,000. Sales will double, the company said, and the deal is expected to generate $200 million in cost savings over the next four years.

But the company will need to sell more heavily into global markets if it wants to continue growing, something Hunter said he plans to do.

Looking at the region as a whole, a new study from the University of Idaho and Columbia University has confirmed something Western residents have known for quite a while: human-caused climate change is enhancing and prolonging wildfires. According to the Idaho Business Review, the study concludes climate change caused an additional 16,000 square miles to burn between 1984 and 2015:

Researchers said the 16,000 square miles represented half of the forest areas that burned over the last three decades.

“We’re no longer waiting for human-caused climate change to leave its fingerprint on wildfire across the western U.S.,” John Abatzoglou, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of geography at the University of Idaho, said in a statement. “It’s already here.”

The authors of the study, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said it’s the first to try to quantify how much human-caused climate change has increased wildfires in Western forests. Some other factors that had to be considered as contributing to the increase, the report said, included a legacy of fire suppression in the West, natural climate variability, and human settlement.

The study found that longer and hotter dry spells are causing Western forests to dry out and become more susceptible to wildfires.

Specifically, researchers said, spring and summer temperatures have warmed by 2 to 2.5 degrees since 1950. Researchers said that warming accounts for 55 percent of what they call “fuel aridity” from 1979 to 2015. The study attributed the other 45 percent to natural climate variations.

The study found that since 2000 there’s been a 75 percent increase in forested lands with elevated aridity and nine more days each year with dry forests especially susceptible to wildfires.

“Anthropogenic climate change has emerged as a driver of increased forest fire activity,” the report said.

Park Williams of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and a co-author of the study, said the report provides a better understanding of the effects human-caused global warming has on Western forests.

“This knowledge will allow us to make more educated fire and land management decisions,” he said.

Finally, over in Montana, we previously reported ExxonMobil had agreed to pay $12 million to the state over an oil spill on the Yellowstone River in 2011, and now Montana and several agencies must decide how to best spend the money. According to the Billings Gazette, Montana citizens are weighing in on the settlement—where they think it should go and whether they think it’s enough:

Five years after the ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. spilled an estimated 63,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River near Laurel, the Bonogofsky family’s former hay field next to the stream is still “basically weeds.”

“We couldn’t get anything to grow the first year,” said Alexis Bonogofsky, a writer, photographer and conservation activist. “Now at least things are growing, but it will take another year to get it back to where it was.”

Bonogofsky was one of about 30 people who attended a meeting in Billings on Wednesday night where the public could offer comments on how a $12 million damage settlement agreed to by ExxonMobil should be spent.

A draft restoration plan has already allocated percentages of the settlement to “preferred restoration types,” including: $3.56 million for terrestrial and riparian habitat; $2.09 million for large woody debris piles; $2.64 for aquatic habitat; $400,000 for American white pelicans; and $2.41 million for public recreation. The next step is identifying specific projects to fill those categories.

“First of all, I’m disappointed by the amount,” Bonogofsky testified at the meeting. “Exxon was making $5 million every hour in 2011.”

“It is a negotiation, like buying a car,” explained Doug Martin, of the state’s Natural Resource Damage Program, which hosted the meeting.

Specialists were brought in to assess the damage and come up with an amount, he added. How the money can be spent is spelled out in documents like the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

“When we first came (to negotiations) with a number, ExxonMobil came back with zero,” Martin said.

“It is a fair number, I believe,” he said of the $12 million.

Other residents have said they want to see the funds concentrated on areas most directly affected by the spill, citing an estimated 266 acres of shoreline that experienced moderate to heavy damage from the spill.

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