Category Archives: Business

The M&A Market Is Changing, Says Nashville Broker

Beacon Exit Advisors
Major changes are on the horizon in the M&A market. If you are an owner wanting to sell your business or a Nashville buyer looking to get started in Music City, read on. Beacon Exit Advisors joins us for today’s Q&A on how to sell, how to buy a business, and the things you should know before you do either.

Q: Thank you all for taking the time out to sit with us today. We understand that Nashville is a great place to buy a business and there are many income-producing opportunities available.

Beacon Exit: It is not only a great place to call home, but an excellent place to lay down your professional roots.

Q: How strong is the mergers and acquisitions market in the small and midsize business arena?

Beacon Exit: Right now, things are moving quickly. Although many analysts believe a slowdown is on the horizon for 2020. We like to tell people that now is the time to sell your business because, despite Nashville growing every day, things will eventually level out.

Q: How long does it take to sell your business in Nashville?

Beacon Exit: Like selling a house, that depends on many different factors. Realistically, it can take six months or more. That being said, many businesses sell much faster, while others linger a bit longer.

Q: Why is that?

Beacon Exit: Buyers are extremely diligent and want to ensure they are walking into a cash flow situation. Music City commands a premium. If you want to sell your business, buyers looking in the Nashville area likely will not rush to closing. They will review paperwork, visit your location, and ask many questions before even making an offer.

Q: What advice would you give to a potential seller?

Beacon Exit: The first thing is to make sure your financial paperwork is in order. No matter how cool or interesting your business is, buyers want to see numbers. Next, it is prudent to have an exit strategy already in place or at least started. Collect records of all major events in the business’s history, including equipment purchases.

Q: How do you know how much you should pay if you plan to buy a business in Nashville?

Beacon Exit: Work with a broker. They can help you crunch the numbers so that you have a better idea of what you can expect to pay. On the flip side of this, if you want to sell your business, a broker can help you come to a fair and equitable starting price that a buyer will actually pay. Many businesses sit on the market without selling because they are not priced correctly.

Q: When should a seller contact a broker?

Beacon Exit: It is almost always best to reach out to someone before you decide to sell your business. Our Nashville experts can help you formulate a strategy to get the most out of your investment. Most of the time there are things you need to work on in your business before it is ready to sell, and an experienced Exit Advisor can help you identify those areas.

Q: Are negotiations over once a letter of intent is signed?

Beacon Exit: Absolutely not. Keep in mind, however, regardless of which side of the transaction you are on, that the letter of intent is really just a starting point. When you go to sell your business, your buyer may discover issues during the due diligence process. This can change the purchase price or cancel the deal entirely if you are unwilling to make concessions.

Q: Should a buyer assume the business’s debt as part of the deal?

Beacon Exit: Some buyers do. However, an experienced broker will most likely recommend against it. Most transactions are structured as asset purchases, so the seller keeps their own liabilities and the buyer starts with their own clean history.

Q: Once an offer is made and the letter of intent signed, are there issues that could stop the sale?

Beacon Exit: Unfortunately, yes. Not all buyers are considered qualified buyers. Even if someone offers a fair price, there may be issues with financing. For example, the buyer may assume their credit is good enough for a loan, but they failed to take into account debt, such as their house payment, or their credit is not as good as they think. This makes it harder to sell your business. Nashville buyers move on quickly, and the time you waste with an unqualified buyer might have you missing out on someone who is ready, willing, and able.

Q: One final question: Is it possible to sell your business without giving up your ownership rights entirely?

Beacon Exit: Absolutely. Many buyers prefer sole ownership. But there are those who would be willing to allow a seller to keep a minority stake; this might even be preferable for some buyers who need longer-term guidance or if the business is attached to a name and is well known in the community.

Beacon Exit Advisors is Nashville’s leading full-service brokerage. For more information or for a confidential consultation, call 615.570.7087 or email

Hargrove Sealcoating: What is Asphalt Patching?

Hargrove SealcoatingIf you’ve driven down a Nashville interstate lately, anywhere from Franklin to Murfreesboro, you’ve probably seen – and felt – a pothole. Potholes are an unpleasant after-effect of freezing or rainy weather, but they can be repaired. Here, Hargrove Sealcoating offers information on how potholes form and different asphalt patching methods.

Q: How are potholes formed?

Hargrove Sealcoating: Potholes are the result of a weak spot in the road. They usually form after a hard freeze, and especially in areas where salt is used on the roadway. As precipitation touches the ground, it melts and seeps into tiny cracks and fissures in the asphalt. Once this freezes, it expands, which destabilizes the integrity of the road or driveway’s surface. These weak spots are continually exposed to thousands of pounds of pressure with each passing vehicle. They eventually turn into potholes. When salt is introduced to the road, water freezes and thaws more rapidly, which allows for more damage.

Q: What is asphalt patching?

Hargrove Sealcoating: Asphalt patching refers to the process of repairing damaged roadways, commercial parking lots, or residential driveways. There are a few commonly-used asphalt patching techniques. On Nashville roads, a spray injection might be used, especially when repairs are urgent and weather conditions are unfavorable. This is done by a professional and requires specialized equipment. A semi-permanent patch requires a more hands-on approach, and surface preparation is required. During this process, loose gravel, broken asphalt, and other debris are blown from the damaged area. The perimeter of the pothole is extended slightly before a hot or cold asphalt patching mix is poured and compressed.

Q: What is the difference between hot and cold asphalt patching?

Hargrove Sealcoating: Cold patching is a great solution for small potholes or minor cracks. You don’t have to wait for a long stretch of sunny days to use this method. One of the benefits of cold patching is that it can be used immediately, and might help prevent further damage. Hot, or infrared, asphalt patching is commonly used in Nashville, Franklin, and Murfreesboro as it is ideally suited for large areas.

Q: Can a homeowner fix their own driveway?

Hargrove Sealcoating: For small imperfections, yes. In fact, you can get a bucket of cold patch material at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot. Unfortunately, for damage larger than just a few inches in circumference, these DIY repairs may not be as long-lasting as a homeowner would like. Further, if the driveway has multiple areas or requires foundation restoration, simply adding an asphalt emulsion won’t get the job done. Professional asphalt patching is the best solution for a driveway with multiple potholes, cracks, or vegetation growth.

Q: How can sealcoating extend the life of my driveway?

Hargrove Sealcoating: Once your asphalt patching repair is complete, your driveway should be properly sealcoated to help protect the surface from the elements. Sealcoating requires temperatures of at least 50° and dry weather, but it is a crucial step in the process that can extend the life of your driveway. Most asphalt surfaces should be sealcoated once every few years or when it begins to fade and show signs of wear.

For more information about asphalt repairs and service in Franklin, Nashville, or Murfreesboro, call Hargrove Sealcoating at (931) 619-6718.

Hot Water Heater Questions Answered by HomeLife Warranty Protection

There is a lot about home maintenance we non-technically minded people don’t understand. Thankfully, there are companies like HomeLife Warranty Protection to provide information about home repairs and upkeep and offer peace of mind when the unexpected happens.

Today, we talk with HomeLife Warranty Protection about one of the most overlooked system in the home, the hot water heater.

Q: Hello and thank you for joining us today. As you know, we would like to talk about hot water heater maintenance.

HomeLife Warranty Protection: We’d love to. It’s an important piece of equipment that often goes untouched until it breaks.

Q: Why is that?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Mostly because it doesn’t require intervention to operate…the dishwasher, washing machine, and other appliances have to be touched daily.

Q: We don’t even see the hot water heater every day!

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Exactly. But these appliances work around-the-clock, and even have a number of features that few people know about.

Q: Do tell…

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Have you ever heard of a sacrificial anode?

Q: No, what’s that?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Water heaters have what’s called an anode rod inside the tank that acts as a decoy; they are usually made of magnesium, aluminum, or zinc. The anode rod provides an alternative source of electrons, instead of taking them from the steel water tank.

Q: So it essentially sacrifices itself so the tank doesn’t corrode?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Yes and without this rod, the hot water heater might only last half as long.

Q: How long are these rods supposed to last?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Most manufacturers suggest they be replaced every two years.

Q: Why is that?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: This is about the length of time it takes for degradation of the anode rod before it starts eating at the water tank itself.

Q:  What happens if it’s not replaced on time…or at all?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Not performing this replacement causes premature corrosion of the tank and water leaks occur that could cause property damage and cut in half the useful life of the water heater.  Proper anode rod replacement every 2 years should double the life of the water heater.

Q: Is there only one type of anode rod?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: No, actually. Homeowners in soft water areas might want to consider a powered anode, which connects to an outlet and emits a low electrical current into the water.

Q: Do anode rods serve any other purpose?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Odor is a problem in some soft water areas and the powered rods can help with that as well.

Q: Are there any other parts that should be replaced regularly?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Not usually but many homeowners do not know that the tank is supposed to be drained at least once a year.

Q: Oh really?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Yes, and even more often in areas of hard water.

Q: What do you mean when you mention hard and soft water?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: That refers to the amount of dissolved minerals in the water. More minerals equals harder water.

Q: How does hard water affect a hot water heater?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Hard water has calcium and magnesium dispersed throughout it and these minerals can settle at the bottom of the tank, causing reduced water temperatures and increased energy consumption.

Q: Got it. So, change the rods and drain the tank for best performance?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: That’s pretty much all it takes! A little care and a few minutes of maintenance every year really does go a long way.

Morgan Exteriors Is Tampa’s Premier Replacement Window Installer

Morgan Exteriors

Morgan Exteriors is a leading Tampa Bay contractor and one of the area’s most trusted replacement window installers. Read on for more information about ENERGY STAR-rated replacement windows available at Morgan Exteriors.

Windows are one of the most important features of a home, according to the experts at Morgan Exteriors. Not only do they let us see the world outside, they allow natural light to brighten our spirits and warm our hearts and homes. Windows have an important job to do, especially in coastal areas where wind, rain, and hail can be most fierce. However, given time, even the most dependable windows will give in to the elements.

Fortunately, when that happens, there is Morgan Exteriors. As expert window installers, the professionals at Morgan Exteriors can replace cracked frames, shattered panes, or dated wooden windows.

Windows by Morgan Exteriors are more energy efficient than ever before. Replacement windows can improve a home’s appearance, drastically decrease energy consumption, and keep intruders at bay. A full line of ENERGY STAR windows are available.


The ENERGY STAR rating system was developed by the EPA in conjunction with building and efficiency experts across the country. Morgan Exteriors explains that ENERGY STAR-certified windows work day and night to save homeowners 12% or more in utility costs. And, lowering energy consumption shrinks a home’s carbon footprint and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, note the experts at Morgan Exteriors. Homeowners can rest assure that when they see the ENERGY STAR sticker on their replacement windows, they are getting a high quality product that’s not only good for the budget, but good for the environment, as well.

Exclusive values

Every window installed by Morgan Exteriors is backed by a lifetime warranty on labor and material. Additionally, Morgan Exteriors provides at no extra cost gas insulated glass, UV protection, premium extruded vinyl, fusion welded and insulated frames and sashes, Denny clip pivots, triple glazed glass, and streamlined airlocks. These bundled values mean homeowners need not worry about their investment, it’s protected. Customer service agents are always available at Morgan Exteriors and are fully authorized to handle any homeowner concerns.

Big jobs, unusual windows no match for Morgan Exteriors

Throughout the last five generations, the expert craftsman at Morgan Exteriors have seen it all. Whether it’s triple or double hung windows, picture windows or custom basement windows, Morgan Exteriors has the right window for every home. Virtually unlimited color and style combinations ensure Morgan Exteriors has the perfect window for each project, big or small.

Clean and safe guarantee

As a family-owned company, Morgan Exteriors has built its reputation on safety, quality, and respect. Each window installation crew is carefully trained to maintain a safe and clean workspace, guaranteed.

Morgan Exteriors pledges to provide homeowners with clear, concise, and straightforward answers to all of their home remodeling needs. From windows to exterior house painting to bathroom makeovers, Morgan Exteriors can’t be beat. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, visit or call the Tampa office at 813.931.4663

Mark Zokle, Sales Expert on Planning Ahead

Mark Zokle

The New Year has come and gone and we’re heading into the second quarter of 2016, but there’s no better time to look ahead at 2017, says Mark Zokle. Today, we pick the brain of the nationally-lauded sales trainer to find out what steps should be taken now to get the ball rolling for next year.

ZRYLW: Good day, Mr. Zokle, and thank you for talking with us today. Let’s get started with the big question of the day: why should a business start planning now for next year?

Mark Zokle: From a sales standpoint, businesses should always have a plan in place. Otherwise, come December 31st, management will have no idea where to look for January’s revenue.

ZRYLW: That makes sense. But, do you think all businesses need to plan or is this advice primarily for startups?

Mark Zokle: Definitely not just startups. Even established businesses can fail without looking forward.

ZRYLW: How important is strategic planning?

Mark Zokle: Here’s the funny thing about that: it’s vital to success and nearly every business agrees; however, only about a quarter of them actually do so before moving forward with major business decisions.

ZRYLW: That’s scary…

Mark Zokle: It can be for people in sales who rely on the company to know where they are headed.

ZRYLW: Do you have any tips for helping a sales manager get in the right frame of mind to plan correctly?

Mark Zokle: I would say that he or she needs to have a good idea of what the company’s goals are, then figure out how to motivate sales staff to reach them.

ZRYLW: But how is the groundwork for a plan laid?

Mark Zokle: This is done by taking a look at the past. Figure out what worked and what didn’t and adjust accordingly.

ZRYLW: What does “next level” mean for a business?

Mark Zokle: This is a time when a company is transitioning from one playing field to another, so to speak. For instance, when new alliances are formed or a greater market share is achieved.

ZRYLW: Can you explain “SMART” planning?

Mark Zokle: SMART criteria is an easy way to determine if goals are worth the hassle.

ZRYLW: Is it a checklist?

Mark Zokle: Yes! Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-related.

ZRYLW: Aren’t all goals attainable?

Mark Zokle: Not necessarily. It’s one thing to be ambitious, but some objectives just aren’t realistic.

ZRYLW: Can you give us an example?

Mark Zokle: Let’s say you are a farmer with 10 apple trees. You know your trees produce a total of 1,000 apples per week during picking season. You cannot reasonably accept a new contract with an apple pie baker who needs 1,500 apples per week.

ZRYLW: No, that would require more trees.

Mark Zokle: Well, it’s the same in sales. It’s bad business to shoot for those big contracts before the right equipment, manpower, and capabilities to provide the service are in place.

ZRYLW: Thinking about a company’s bottom line. Do small changes have a positive impact?

Mark Zokle: If they are planned well. The farmer wouldn’t want to change to pick his apples a week early if there was a chance they wouldn’t be ripe.

ZRYLW: Do you believe that plans should be micro-detailed?

Mark Zokle: Not at first. It’s a much better idea to create a basic action plan and elaborate on it point-by-point.

ZRYLW: How do you feel is the best way to mark milestones?

Mark Zokle: Start with each key player’s role. Ensure they have specific targets to achieve. If the right people are meeting their goals then chances are, everything else will fall into place.

ZRYLW: Like a domino effect?

Mark Zokle: Right, because it all starts with the good leaders!

ZRYLW: Well stated! We are out of time for today but again appreciate you being with us.

Mark Zokle: My pleasure.

Bath Planet Offers New Options for Old Bathrooms

Bath Planet Palatine, Illinois-based Bath Planet (a BCI Acrylics company) says many homeowners don’t use their bathtubs anymore. Whether for safety reasons or because they just prefer a nice, hot, steamy shower, these customers are flocking to Bath Planet’s tub-to-shower conversions over keeping their unwanted soaker. Here, we talk with a Bath Planet representative about the benefits of this home-enhancing offering.

ZRYLW: Welcome to ZRYLW! Great to have you here today.

Bath Planet: Thank you for the invitation.

ZRYLW: Today we’d like to talk about ways to utilize unused space in the home. Do you have any suggestions?

Bath Planet: One of Bath Planet’s most popular services is our professionally installed tub-to-shower conversions.

ZRYLW: What’s that?

Bath Planet: This is where we remove an old bathtub and replace it with a liked-sized shower floor. The tubs we remove are typically ones that don’t get used.

ZRYLW: Ah, I see. So, turning the space into a shower improves the room’s functionality?

Bath Planet: Exactly. Many people simply don’t enjoy baths. Others opt for the conversion for safety reasons.

ZRYLW: It’s easier to step over a low-profile shower basin than a bathtub…

Bath Planet: That’s right, it’s also easier to keep clean than an old bathtub.

ZRYLW: Now you’ve got my attention.

Bath Planet: Our acrylic shower bases can be cleaned with a soft cloth and warm water.

ZRYLW: No chemicals?

Bath Planet: A deeper clean (which is rarely needed) can be achieved with a simple all-purpose cleaning spray.

ZRYLW: That makes it much easier than scrubbing on hands and knees.

Bath Planet: Absolutely. But that’s just one of the many benefits of converting an existing bath.

ZRYLW: Tell me more…

Bath Planet: Eliminating high sidewalls means more space to stretch out while bathing. And, since the bases are custom built, they are sealed tight to prevent water intrusion.

ZRYLW: Meaning a Bath Planet shower won’t succumb to ugly black mold and mildew?

Bath Planet: Yes!

ZRYLW: Can you tell us the difference between the tub-to-shower conversion and a barrier-free shower? Are they similar?

Bath Planet: In many ways, yes. The primary difference is that the barrier-free showers don’t have the step over. They are geared toward mobility impaired individuals who may have trouble navigating even a small obstacle.

ZRYLW:  Is this a good option for wheelchair-bound older adults?

Bath Planet: Yes, and the barrier-free option can be customized with a seat and grab bars for added safety.

ZRYLW: That’s great to know. But, speaking of accessories, what options would a customer have on the conversion?

Bath Planet: We offer a full line of extras, including shower rods and doors, towel rings, corner caddies, soap dishes, and beautiful fixtures in chrome, nickel, and bronze. We even have shaving stands!

ZRYLW: Now, I suppose the big question is how much does it all cost?

Bath Planet: That’s the best part, in my opinion. Bath Planet takes pride in providing affordable bathroom solutions. We don’t use book pricing, since your bathroom and your personal wants and needs aren’t like anyone else’s. We have a team of expertly trained design consultants who make a personal house call to take measurements, answer questions, and present color and pattern options. Once that’s done, we write a custom estimate.

ZRYLW: How can our readers get started?

Bath Planet: They can go online to or call one of our knowledgeable reps at 800.459.9529.

Bora Bora: Island of All Dreams, Says Fred Wehba

Fred Wehba It’s getting cooler and that means that many of us will start daydreaming about warm weather. Fred Wehba is here to explain why we don’t have to simply dream, we can bask in warmth and sunshine all year long in French Polynesia.

ZRYLW: Good evening and thank you for joining us today.

Fred Wehba: Always a pleasure.

ZRYLW: We understand that travel is one of your passions.

Fred Wehba: It is, indeed. I love seeing God’s beautiful artwork laid out in new landscapes.

ZRYLW: Are there any particular destinations that you hold most dear?

Fred Wehba: There are so many. The world is such a beautiful place. However, I have to say that Bora-Bora is about my favorite destination, especially this time of year when most of the country is preparing for cool weather.

ZRYLW: That is in French Polynesia, right?

Fred Wehba: That’s right. It’s part of the Society Islands.

ZRYLW: Is there anything unique about the island?

Fred Wehba: It is surrounded by a barrier reef and lagoon. The waters are the most perfect blue you’ll ever see. The island itself is home to an ancient pair of volcanoes, Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia.

ZRYLW: We hope they are extinct…

Fred Wehba: They are, yes, but they are still an imposing site!

ZRYLW: It seems like such an out-of-the-way place. Does it have an economy of its own?

Fred Wehba: Actually, Bora-Bora’s economic stability is largely reliant on tourism.

ZRYLW: Are there many resorts?

Fred Wehba: It is not a huge island but there are many accommodation options, ranging from moderate to luxury.

ZRYLW: What would a typical day be like for a visitor to Bora-Bora?

Fred Wehba: For the most part, the tourist attractions are centered on the area’s almost unnaturally blue and temperate waters. You could spend an entire day lounging on the beach and snorkeling the shallow lagoon.

ZRYLW: What about if I’m afraid of sharks?

Fred Wehba: For the most part, it’s a very safe area with water clear enough to see any danger. There are a couple of different island-based dive operators that offer shark and stingray tours.

ZRYLW: Is it an expensive trip?

Fred Wehba: Accommodations on the island range from basic up to very luxurious.

ZRYLW: What’s the best way to explore the lagoon?

Fred Wehba: You can rent a small boat (which I highly recommend) because it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world.

ZRYLW: What is the average temperature?

Fred Wehba: Throughout the year, the temperature hovers in the mid-80s with a low in the mid to upper 70s.

ZRYLW: That sounds like an absolute dream!

Fred Wehba: It is known as the “Island of All Dreams” for a reason. The only caveat is that December through February brings higher rainfall.

ZRYLW: So when is the best time to go?

Fred Wehba: July, August, and September are typically the driest, followed closely by May and June. But really, there isn’t a bad time to take a vacation to Bora-Bora, no matter when you go!

Ford Motor Company Revs Up with New and Improved 2015 Transit


Ford Motor Company is planning to hire at least 12,000 employees by the close of 2015, with nearly half of these employees expected to serve on the assembly team for the 2015 Ford Transit. This marks the first time the Ford Transit has been manufactured and sold in the United States.

Sold regularly as a cargo van, the Ford Transit is also available as a pickup truck, cutaway van chassis, minibus or passenger van. The Transit is a complex vehicle that offers consumers a choice of two wheelbases, three roof heights, three body lengths and diesel or gasoline engines. It is being created with new and improved paint and body shops and assembly lines. Additionally, Ford has invested more than $1.1 billion to increase production of the company’s full-size F-150 pickups and commercial vans.

In 2014, Ford had stated a goal of hiring 5,000 salaried and hourly employees in the United States. Kansas City currently includes nearly 5,000 hourly workers on three separate crews – the last of which was created in the summer of 2013. Extra workers have been hired for plants at Michigan Assembly and Flat Rock, as well as Lima and Louisville, Ohio. Approximately 300 more jobs are expected at the engine plant in Cleveland.Ford recently paid out over $500 million to cover service, recall and warranty costs for vehicles.

By the end of 2015, Ford plans to open two additional manufacturing facilities in Asia and one in South America. The company will sell the stripped chassis and the E-series cutaway and is working with fleet customers to prepare for an upcoming switch from the E-series to the Transit.



GE Pro Elite Team Offers Insight into Emerging Contaminants in Water

In this interview with ZRYLW, the GE Pro Elite team warns U.S. residents about the presence of emerging contaminants in their water supply. A customer service representative with the GE Pro Elite team explains why emerging contaminants may be hazardous to the health of people and the environment as a whole.

ZRYLW: Hello and welcome!

GE Pro Elite Team: Good morning, and thank you for having me. It’s such a great opportunity to be here and share with your readership.

ZRYLW: To describe in further detail, which contaminants are typically considered to be in the category of “emerging contaminants”?

GE Pro Elite Team: Some of the most common contaminants in this day and age include personal care products and pharmaceuticals, as well as endocrine disrupting compounds.

ZRYLW: What other items may be of concern?

GE Pro Elite: Fragrances, cosmetics and soaps may also be present in the water supply.

ZRYLW: Why are these particular contaminants a major problem in today’s world?

GE Pro Elite Team: In many cases, they are undetectable.

ZRYLW: Who is providing regulatory oversight of these issues?

GE Pro Elite Team: The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, is working diligently to improve its comprehension of a number of different contaminants.

ZRYLW: Can  you give me some examples?

GE Pro Elite Team: Absolutely! These targeted contaminants include EDCs, PCPs, pharmaceuticals and perchlorate.

ZRYLW: Are there any other organizations taking up this cause?

GE Pro Elite Team: Actually, yes! A number of advocacy agencies and government groups have conducted research studies and surveys that examine the water supply in many communities and determine if contaminants are present.

ZRYLW: Should I be concerned?

GE Pro Elite Team: With major advances in health research and testing, professional experts are learning a great deal about drinking water and its potential dangers.

ZRYLW: How can I know for certain if contaminants are present in my water supply?

GE Pro Elite Team: It requires the help of professionals to determine what issues may have arisen. That’s why we designed the GE Pro Elite.

ZRYLW: Is there a way for homeowners to prevent contaminants in their homes?

GE Pro Elite Team: In order to feel confident and relaxed about the level of protection in their homes, people should consider the GE Pro Elite as a certified and tested system that overcomes any emerging threats.

ZRYLW: Can people take care of these potentially harmful substances all by themselves?

GE Pro Elite Team: At this time, home testing is not available. Only local professionals and state laboratories have the ability to examine and define these contaminants.

ZRYLW: We’re glad to have you present this information.

GE Pro Elite Team: You’re welcome. Enjoy your day!

By contacting the GE Pro Elite team today, consumers are ensuring that their loved ones are safe and protected from the hazardous materials that may be present in their drinking water. The GE Pro Elite team is eager to educate communities about their water treatment system and its extensive list of benefits.

US Coal Imports Surge in 2014

US coal mining companies have recently seen a major decrease in production; Colombian coal cheaper, high quality.

Coal imports to North America, and specifically the United States, have risen dramatically even as Central Appalachia has seen a number of mines close.

The reason: price. Costs to transport coal from Central Appalachia is 173% more expensive than to import

from Colombia – a country where coal is cheap to acquire and can be shipped in higher quantities.  Research firm IHS Energy calculates that the average load of coal from the US costs $26 per ton to ship while Colombian coal averages just $15/ton. Lower labor costs also contribute to the disparity in price. Colombian coal is, on average, $4 cheaper per ton than US product.

China, the largest coal importer in the world, has seen a weaker demand in coal use this year. Europe’s declining imports have also added to the depressed coal prices.

The first six months of 2014 saw a surge of coal imports. The US bought more than 5.4 metric tons between January and June which is a 44% increase from the same period in 2013. Only one-third of this was purchased domestically. Colombian coal companies ramped up production by 24% to meet the increased demand.

The US Energy Information Administration predicts that US coal consumption will rise to 862 tons by the end of the year. The expected increase is directly related to a frigid start to the year when power companies used more coal to produce electricity than expected.

Birmingham, Alabama-based Drummond Co. anticipates that its two Colombian mines will produce nearly 30 tons of coal this year. The company refused to comment on the fundamental cause of the ramped up production but said that reflected a 19% production increase.

US coal producers are working toward creating competitive pricing as the year progresses. Rail company CSX has announced plans to increase its fleet to over 4,700 locomotives by year’s end and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. will add 5,000 new cars.