Tag Archives: Japan

Soaring College Cost and Financial Planning

Synergis Education Secures $5 Million in Financing

Synergis Education announced the successful completion of a $5 million Series A2 financing round with Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc. (hereafter “Mitsui USA”) a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan, one of the most diversified and comprehensive trading, investment and service enterprises in the world. Mitsui USA joins the largest investor University Ventures Fund I, L.P. and affiliated entities, along with its limited partners including Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, which is also a direct investor in the company.

“To bring in new investment capital and strategic thought leadership from another strong, global organization is a true testament to our overall strategy,” said Synergis CEO and co-founder Norm Allgood. “The passion that Mitsui has for education and their overall commitment to service align nicely with Synergis and our unique focus to assist traditional colleges and universities in extending their reach to the 21st century student through programs offered both online and onground. In short, the Synergis approach allows for better learning outcomes and broader access to an ever evolving student base.”

“We are very excited about our investment in Synergis, a leading provider of services to adult learners from Universities across the US,” said Amit Avnet, Director, Consumer Service Business Division of Mitsui USA. “We believe there is a strong fit between Synergis’s mission and our strategy, which is focused on improving working adults’ employment prospects and quality of life in various industries, especially the Healthcare industry. We look forward to working closely with Norm and the rest of Synergis’s first rate management team as they expand the company’s onground, online and hybrid degree programs to additional geographies and high-demand market verticals.”

Synergis Education is working with nine universities to fund, establish and grow higher education programs for non-traditional adult learners: Cornerstone University, Gwynedd Mercy University, Cardinal Stritch University, Warner Pacific College, Averett University, University of Southern California and Samuel Merritt University, Gratz College and Harrisburg University. Synergis plans to use the proceeds from the financing to add and expand programs at these partner universities, with a strong emphasis on healthcare programs, as well as to add new partner institutions.

“Our focus on an open, trust-based relationship built on the highest quality service has drawn substantial interest from university partners. Synergis is the single fastest growing School-as-a-Service provider. Driving this growth is University Ventures’ ‘innovation from within higher education’ approach, which means appreciating the respective roles of service providers and our institutional partners,” said David Figuli, Managing Director of University Ventures.

With the investment, Amit Avnet, Director, Consumer Service Business Division of Mitsui USA. joins the Synergis Board of Directors.

Mr. Hitoshi Tatsuno, Vice President of Operation Management Dept. & Purchasing Dept., Nidec Corporation, receives the 12 billionth PIC® Microcontroller trophy from Joe Krawczyk, Vice President, Sales, Asia Pacific, Microchip Technology Inc.

Microchip Delivers 12 Billionth Microcontroller

Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, today announced the shipment of its 12 billionth PIC® microcontroller (MCU) to the Nidec Corporation—a preeminent global supplier of precision motors, based in Japan.  Microchip delivered this 12 billionth MCU approximately 10 months after delivering its 11 billionth.
Today’s announcement demonstrates the industry’s continued acceptance of Microchip’s 8, 16 and 32-bit PIC microcontrollers as the high-performance, low-power, cost-effective solution for embedded-control designs.

“The time between each of our 1 billionth shipments continues to accelerate, in the face of Microchip’s increasing MCU market share, and shipping our 12 billionth to a long-term customer like Nidec makes this achievement particularly gratifying,” said Microchip’s president and CEO Steve Sanghi.  “Motor control has always been one of our strengths, and the fact that such an esteemed global leader in motor manufacturing has continued using our PIC MCUs for so long is a testament to that strength.”

“We have reached this milestone because of the high quality of our PIC microcontroller portfolio and MPLAB® development systems, along with the outstanding support provided by our direct-sales team and sales-channel partners,” Sanghi continued.

A customer for more than 10 years, Nidec makes extensive use of Microchip’s 8-bit and 16-bit PIC MCUs and dsPIC® digital signal controllers with advanced motor-control peripherals.  Additionally, Nidec uses Microchip’s comprehensive platform of scalable motor-control development tools and free motor-control software, application notes and tuning guides to achieve rapid prototyping and shorten development cycles.

“Our longstanding relationship with Microchip Technology has been beneficial to both parties, and we have always valued the outstanding quality of their motor-control devices,” said Hitoshi Tatsuno, Nidec’s vice president of operation management department and purchasing department.  “We are honored to be the recipient of Microchip’s 12 billionth PIC microcontroller.”

Microchip serves more than 70,000 customers in over 65 countries, has shipped more than 1.4 million development tools to date, and partners with more than 130 global third-party tool manufacturers.  Additionally, Microchip has a broad portfolio of more than 1,000 8-, 16- and 32-bit PIC microcontrollers, and is the only company to support all of its microcontrollers and digital signal controllers under a single integrated development environment—the free MPLAB X IDE, which is open source and enables cross-platform development using the Linux, Mac OS® and Windows® operating systems.

Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix

A Stroll Through The Japanese Friendship Garden

Looking for a place to relax and de-stress? Then the Japanese Friendship Garden is the perfect place for you.

As you stroll down the path of this 3.5-acre Japanese garden, you’ll see a 12-foot waterfall, a koi pond with more than 300 colorful and friendly koi fish that you can feed, flowing streams, a stepping stone path, a tea house and more than 50 varieties of plants — including two types of bamboo. Once you’re inside this beautiful garden, it’s hard to believe you’re still in the center of Phoenix’s bustling downtown.

My trip to the Japanese Friendship Garden took place in January on First Friday; the entrance fee is free on the first Friday of every month. However, on any other day the entrance fee is $5 for adults and $4 for students, military, seniors and children over 6 years old; children under 6 years are admitted free of charge.

Once there, the atmosphere made me forget all my worries. The scenery of the sunset against the picturesque tree tops and the sound of the cascading waterfall transported me to another world. The garden path took about 15 minutes to complete, unless you’re like me and stop to “ooh” and “aah” at every flower, stone and tree, then it will probably take you half an hour.

Feeding the koi fish was an experience like no other. The fish were very amicable and would swim up to the surface with open mouths, waiting to be fed. They were certainly not afraid of people; instead, they greeted them excitedly.

In addition to taking a stroll along the garden’s path, you can also take part of the Japanese Friendship Garden’s public and private tea ceremonies. Public tea ceremonies take place the second Saturday of the month at $22 per person, admission included. Private tea ceremonies require a minimum of 10 guests, and the cost is $25 per person, which includes admission and a guided tour. Reservations are required for both public and private tea ceremonies.

The Japanese Garden took several years to complete. More than 50 landscape architects from Himeji, Japan designed the Japanese Friendship Garden. The plants were brought from Himeji, a Phoenix sister city, while many of the rocks in the garden were found locally.

Although all plants species were chosen by designers to withstand the desert environment, the garden closes from May to October, during the hottest months of the year, to protect the plants.

The garden is not only a beautiful place, but it is also one that expresses the cultural acceptance and shared view of Himeji and Phoenix. This makes the Japanese name for the garden — Ro Ho En — an appropriate one. Ro Ho En is a combination of three words: Ro means Heron; Ho means Phoenix, the mythical bird; and En means garden.

I left Ro Ho En feeling refreshed and tranquil, and I find myself wanting to go back whenever I need a break from everyday life.

Japanese Friendship Garden
1125 N. 3rd Avenue
(602) 256-3204

Japan Disaster

The Japan Disaster Points Out The Need For Business Continuity Plans

I have fond memories of Japan. I have visited the country four times, spent one memorable night sleeping on the floor of a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, and several months studying at Sophia University in Tokyo. In the summer of 1981, I felt an earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale. As I stood at the train station in Chiba Prefecture, pausing to look around to see if it was appropriate to rush for cover, I witnessed firsthand what the news media has been praising the Japanese people for: discipline, orderliness, relative calm.

The recent devastation in Japan is a grim and frightening reminder of the need for disaster preparedness. For organizations, that means business continuity and disaster recovery plans critical to managing a work force during a disruptive crisis.

The following are a few basic reminders:

Educate Employees

Education may be an employers’ most powerful tool in managing the risks associated with a disaster. Ensure that employees have a basic understanding of what they should do in a possible disaster. Here is a tip health authorities have recommended should a nuclear explosion or fallout occur:

During nuclear fallout, stay indoors. If you’re in an office building when a blast occurs, run to an interior room, preferably one without windows. If you’re in a multi-story building, the safest floors will be the middle floors or underground areas. Do not get in your car and leave. Stay indoors for at least four to eight hours until you receive the all-clear from authorities.

Conduct a Benefits Review

Consider conducting a review of information about insurance, leave policies, working from home, issues related to possible income loss, and when not to come to work.

Establish Telework Programs and Policies

If you don’t have a telework program in place, establish one now before disaster strikes. Decide which jobs can be done remotely and give those employees the tools they need to continue operating.

Establish a Phone Tree

Create a single document that lists all employees’ contact information: home and cell phone numbers, emergency contacts, personal email addresses, perhaps a central voice mailbox or social network for employees to inform their employers of their status.

No one ever knows when disaster — whether nuclear, health-related or natural — will strike. Good business practices require that risks be managed to mitigate the effect of any kind of interruption. That is the essence of business continuity planning:  Ensuring an organization has contingencies in place that allow it to keep running and quickly (and calmly) recover from a disaster.