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For The Whitmore Group’s James Metzger, It All Started With A Brooks Brothers Suit

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Two years after he’d graduated from Hofstra University as a history major in 1983, All-American athlete James Metzger—the future chairman, CEO and founder of The Whitmore Group, Ltd., in Garden City—was still tending bar in Bethpage when his determination to dress for success finally paid off. His friends had thought he was nuts when he spent the money he’d saved from serving drinks to buy thousand-dollar Brooks Brothers suits, but the last laugh was on them. That Metzger would later launch one of Long Island’s leading insurance brokerage firms was the farthest thought from his mind the day he stood on line at Brooks Brothers. He had already landed a sales job in the insurance industry but was making more money tending bar one night a week, so he was reluctant to give it up. In that same line of customers he saw one of his largest potential clients, whom he’d already pitched, and here they had something in common. “We were both buying the same tuxedo,” Metzger recalls, with a laugh. Within two weeks, he’d landed the account. But it was what happened next that ultimately changed his life. It was a typical, busy Friday night, and Metzger was working behind the bar, when he spotted the same client come walking in. Thinking fast to create a favorable impression, Metzger vaulted over the side to greet him. “Jim,” said the surprised client. “What are you doing here?” Metzger explained that he was part owner of the bar and checking out some inventory. Still improvising to keep the ruse going, Metzger quietly asked the other bartender if he wanted to work alone that night; he readily agreed, since he’d clear $500.From a payphone near the bar, Metzger then called his boss and said he had to see him tomorrow. For the finishing touch, he bought his new insurance client a drink, still posing as a part-owner of the establishment. When he met his boss the next day, Metzger told him why he had to quit: “I said, ‘I’m making a lot more money tending bar, but I got a job in the insurance business, and one of my largest clients came in.’ That was the last night I ever tended bar.” He says he’s still friends with his former boss, he still buys suits off the rack at Brooks Brothers—and he claims he’s still the same size, 42 Regular.“I was fortunate that I found a profession for which I was well-suited, literally and figuratively,” he tells the Press.When Metzger launched The Whitmore Group in Roslyn Heights in 1989, he had three employees. Now his office is in Garden City, employing almost 90 employees, handling $140 million in premiums annually, and insuring $3 billion worth of fine art in private collections, to highlight a few noteworthy benchmarks. “My business is 30 times the size it was when I started,” Metzger says, adding that his company is now licensed in 48 states. When he began, the funeral industry was 95 percent of his firm’s commercial property and casualty insurance offerings, but today it’s about 15 percent. “We have a very large niche in personal insurance, health insurance, life insurance and estate planning,” he explains. The Whitmore Group has also expanded into real estate, construction, and the hospitality industry. Metzger chose the name for his company when he stopped one day at a pharmacy in Westchester during a business trip upstate, and happened to pick up a list of the 400 richest men in America. “I liked three names: Cambridge, Hamilton, and a guy named Jerome Whitemore III,” he recalls. The first two were already taken by corporations, so he selected the third and changed the spelling to Whitmore. He added “Ltd.” to the company, he says, “so it sounded British!”To anyone who asked about its origins, Metzger would explain that Whitmore was “the name of a gentleman on the board of a Fortune 500 company who was from Liverpool, England, and that he was my financial backer!” Metzger laughs. “That’s the story I tell people.” Metzger grew up in Melville and first made his mark in sports as a star athlete at Half Hollow Hills High School in Dix Hills, where he was the school’s all-time leading scorer and rusher as a running back on the varsity football team. He also started for the varsity basketball team when they were in the county playoffs. In 1977, the year he graduated high school, he won the Lt. Ray Enners Award as Suffolk County’s outstanding lacrosse player. In further recognition of his prowess, he was the only high school athlete picked to play in both the North-South All-Star Football game and the North-South All-Star Lacrosse game. As a sophomore at Hofstra University, Metzger was named to the 1980 Division 1 All-American lacrosse team.He claims that he weighs today what he weighed when he played lacrosse at Hofstra. “I think if I put my uniform on today I would look the same, but I wouldn’t have the same results!” he says, admitting that he’s cut back on working out and is focused more on maintaining a healthy diet, although he insists his knees are still “perfect.”As for the business outlook on Long Island, he’s bullish. “We’re in challenging times, but there are a lot of opportunities on Long Island,” says Metzger. “But you better be up for the game, because it’s ultra-competitive. You’re in the major leagues here.”Metzger says that The Whitmore Group is one of the last privately held firms of its size, and for now, he’d like to keep it that way. “One of the keys to the relative success I’ve had is that I hire people smarter than me…who have expertise in areas in which I don’t,” he says. “I rely on them and I get out of their way. I respect them and I appreciate them, and I’m willing to suffer the consequences if I’ve misjudged them. I trust my instincts, and my instincts have been good to me.”Metzger says he’s made many mistakes in his career, but he’s benefitted from them, too. “You learn more from your mistakes and your losses than from your victories,” he says. “I truly believe that!”And James Metzger has the winning record to prove it.last_img read more

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Hatton: Theophane deserves title shot

first_imgRicky Hatton has heaped praise on Ashley Theophane, insisting the Kilburn light-welterweight deserves a world title shot.Theophane, 31, will defend his British title against Darren Hamilton of Bristol at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday after Steve Williams withdrew at short notice because of illness.It is the second successive fight in which he has had to deal with a change of opponent.Theophane trains in New York.In December he overcame a difficult start and battled his way to an 11th-round stoppage of the rugged Ben Murphy, who was a late replacement for Nigel Wright.Ex-world champion Hatton, now Theophane’s promoter, declared: “Ashley is an example to all boxers, and just wants to train and fight all comers.“As soon as Williams pulled out he never once thought about not fighting, because the British title and owning a Lonsdale belt means so much to him. I have nothing but admiration for him.”Saturday’s fight will be on the undercard of the British heavyweight clash between David Price and Sam Sexton.It will be Theophane’s third defence of the belt he took from Lenny Daws last year, meaning a victory would see him keep the coveted Lonsdale belt outright and remain on course for a possible world title challenge.And Hatton, who dominated the light-welterweight division in his heyday, said: “Ashley has done it his way and flown around the world solo just to benefit from top-class sparring and experience in the best gyms.“He has served his dues and a world title fight is no more than he deserves, but Hamilton is still there to give him a test.”Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

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Photo library: Tourism and leisure 15

first_img{loadposition tc}Click on a thumbnail for a low-resolution image, or right-click on the link below it to download a high-resolution copy of the image.» Download Tourism & Leisure contact sheet (1.1MB) » Download full image library contact sheet (10.5MB) Hoedspruit, Limpopo province: Otter Trail balloon flight. Photo: Chris Kirchhoff, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Hoedspruit, Limpopo province: Otter Trail Balloon flight. Photo: Chris Kirchhoff, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Hoedspruit, Limpopo province: Otter Trail Balloon flight. Photo: Chris Kirchhoff, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Limpopo province: Game farms and hotels cater for the needs of tourists and local holidaymakers. Photo: Graeme Williams, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Kimberley, Northern Cape province: The famous Big Hole, a former diamond mine and the largest hand-dug open-cast mine in the world. Photo: Graeme Williams, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Kimberley, Northern Cape province: The famous Big Hole, a former diamond mine and the largest hand-dug open- cast mine in the world. Photo: Graeme Williams, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Kimberley, Northern Cape province: A new bridge has been built to allow tourists a spectacular view of the famous Big Hole, a former diamond mine and the largest hand-dug open- cast mine in the world. Photo: Graeme Williams, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Kimberley, Northern Cape province: The new viewing deck at the famous Big Hole, a former diamond mine and the largest hand-dug open- cast mine in the world. Photo: Graeme Williams, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Kimberley, Northern Cape province: A new bridge has been built to allow tourists a spectacular view of the famous Big Hole, a former diamond mine and the largest hand-dug open- cast mine in the world.Photo: Graeme WilliamsMediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image TOURISM AND LEISURE 15:{loadposition tourism}Having trouble downloading high-resolution images? Queries about using the image library? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected]last_img read more

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Running is in her blood

first_imgRunning in tough conditions, Budd-Pieterse completed her longest race distance so far, the Two Oceans Marathon. Budd-Pieterse has enjoyed success onthe senior circuit in the US, where shecurrently lives.(Images: The Unlimited) Early in the morning of 3 June, she’llset off on her first Comrades Marathon,sharing the road with thousands of other runners.(Image: Comrades Marathon) MEDIA CONTACTS • Terez Taylor  PR, The Unlimited  +27 31 716 9665 or +27 83 273 3015 RELATED ARTICLES • Running into the history books • Getting Africa’s youngsters moving • Mutola’s girl Caster off to London • Living on in the Comrades spirit • How’s your Friday looking?Janine ErasmusZola Budd-Pieterse is no longer the naïve young darling of South African athletics, but the 46-year-old still has what it takes. She finished her first ultramarathon in April 2012, running a cold and rainy Two Oceans in Cape Town in under 4 and a half hours.At 56km, the Two Oceans was the longest race Budd-Pieterse had run in her entire career.“If you can do this race in these conditions, you’ve really accomplished something,” she said afterwards.With a successful first shot at the 50km Loskop Marathon also under her belt, the petite athlete  tackled the daunting Comrades Marathon – at around 90km, one of the world’s toughest races – in June, and finished in a respectable time.Her sponsor for these events is insurance and financial services provider The Unlimited, which runs a comprehensive wellness programme for its employees.Running into the record booksBudd-Pieterse, a 5 000m specialist, set many running records in the 1980s. She broke the world record in this event in 1983 and 1985, running in her famous barefoot style which, she has said, only applied to grass and track events. On the road she always wore shoes.Her popularity was such that even today her name is used informally to describe minibus taxis, and the late singer Brenda Fassie had a big hit with her single “Zola Budd”, an ode to the super-fast township taxi which took you anywhere you wanted to go.In 1984 Budd-Pieterse was granted British citizenship through her grandfather, in order to compete in that year’s Olympic Games in Los Angeles, as her home country was banned from all international competition because of its apartheid policies. She was just 18 years old at the time.Running in front of a hostile crowd in the women’s 3 000m final, she collided with the American Mary Decker, who fell and was unable to finish. Budd-Pieterse came in seventh and in her 1989 autobiography admitted that she deliberately slowed down to avoid the possibility of having to collect a medal to the noise of boos and jeers.An inquiry afterwards found her not guilty of causing the incident and years later, Decker attributed it to the fact that she, Decker, was inexperienced in running in tight groups.Never far away from AfricaAlthough she won the world cross country championships in 1985 and 1986, representing her adopted country, Budd-Pieterse’s UK career didn’t last much longer and she came back to South Africa in 1988.She announced her retirement from international competition shortly afterwards, but returned to the track to represent South Africa at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics – the country’s first Summer Games since its banishment in 1960.Currently she and her family live in California, where she has competed successfully in the senior racing circuit since 2008. Although the drive to compete and achieve is still there, she said in a 2008 interview with the New York Times, it’s not as all-encompassing at it used to be, and now she runs for enjoyment and not because there are records to be broken.Even in the few years since her relocation, she said, the demographics of running in South Africa have changed.“There are a lot more women running, which I am very thankful for, so yes there is an upliftment in running. You can see it in the figures that ran Two Oceans; there were more women running, which I am very proud of.”The family plans to return to South Africa as soon as possible.“We moved to the US about four years ago, only to live there temporarily for two years and then it went on for four years,” she said. “Our business is still in South Africa and our home and everything, so South Africa is still our home. It depends on my kids, when they finish high school, and when we are going to move back.”It’s not IF, asserted Budd-Pieterse – It’s more a question of WHEN.Asked how she’d react if one of her own children developed Olympic ambitions, she said straight away that she wouldn’t volunteer to be the coach.“My first advice would be to get a good coach for my kid,” she laughed. “I would be really proud of them but first of all I would make sure it’s something they really want to do and they are passionate about, and that’s more important for me than anything else. And then I would support them as much as possible.”And there’s no question of where the allegiance would lie – “We are all still South Africans, definitely.”Tackling new challengesThe feisty mother of three is far from done with her running career. On 7 April 2012 she completed the Two Oceans in unfavourable weather in a time of four hours, 29 minutes and 51 seconds, and successfully completed her first Comrades.This year on 3 June the entrants took on the 89km down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, the final third of which is said to be tougher than any other stage, whether up or down.Her preparations were helped along by none other than nine-time Comrades winner Bruce Fordyce, who was present in the stadium to witness that doomed 1984 Olympic final. Fordyce said in a newspaper column before the race that he felt Budd-Pieterse was quite capable of getting a silver medal by coming in between six hours and seven hours 30 minutes.But she didn’t set herself any unrealistic target for the big race, and said she’d be happy if she finishes in a time of around eight hours. She was almost right on the mark with her final time of eight hours, six minutes and nine seconds although it was, she said later, the hardest race of her life.“Although my preparations for the race have gone smoothly, I am a bit concerned because I did not do enough mileage, as I hear other people have done,” she said beforehand, “but for what I want to achieve I think it was good enough. Bruce has really been great, advising me when to do my hard runs, how to taper and all of that.”Budd-Pieterse has also secured the agency for Newton athletics gear and running shoes in South Africa. Operating out of her home city of Bloemfontein, she’s busily promoting the gear, the running shoes of which are said to be almost as good as running barefoot.last_img read more

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Richard Maponya’s big dreams for Soweto

first_imgIt has always been Richard Maponya’s dream to see Soweto grow. (Image: Facebook/ Richard Maponya)Dreaming big, Richard Maponya started out small selling clothing offcuts. Today he owns the massive Maponya Group. The determined entrepreneur also opened Soweto’s first major shopping centre, Maponya Mall.Continuing to grow Soweto’s economy, Maponya also established Maponya Motor City on Klipspruit Valley Road in Orlando East. This was the first such business in the south of Johannesburg, and now the Maponya Group’s ventures include property development, horse racing and breeding, retail, automotive sales, filling stations and liquor stores.last_img read more

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Amplify’s Social Clip Sharing Gets Twitter-like Following

first_imgCognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… IT + Project Management: A Love Affair steven walling Related Posts Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo…center_img 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Tags:#enterprise Amplify, a service for gathering and sharing clips from the Web, has added the ability to subscribe to the clippings of others in a fashion very similar to Twitter’s asynchronous following. Amplify is tailored to both public sharing, publishing to a group, or private collection of material; the service occupies an interesting space somewhere between a social network, an enterprise app, and social bookmarking.With a dead simple interface for selecting text and images from the Web, you’ve long been able to publish your clips to both Twitter and Facebook. But until now, there was no way to get a stream of clips from those you follow directly within Amplify. Amplify was created by the team by Clipmarks, and is both a conceptual extension of that service and an entirely new direction. Run on WordPress MU, it’s one of the easiest ways available to clip and publish content you find valuable; the only real limitation is that clipping is performed through a Firefox add-on. The new features are primarily suited to public sharing of your clips, especially with Twitter OAuth login and friend importing. But Amplify still lacks some functionality required for a booming social network, such as blocking. In that sense, its private group option is what may eventually become the primary driver for the business; early testing with enterprises and in government has borne this out to some extent. One of the primary social functions of networks like Twitter and Facebook is information sharing, especially from Web-based references. If you’re a rabid link-sharer on your preferred platform, Amplify is likely to be a tool that will make your life significantly easier. The new ability to aggregate sources from trusted fellow Amplifiers only adds to the utility of the site. last_img read more

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Canada Keeps Rolling Out Green Demo Homes

first_imgA national program launched three years ago invites homebuilders and developers to show off their greenest designsIn May 2006, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – the country’s national housing agency – announced an initiative designed to generate interest in eco-friendly housing among builders, developers, and the public.The CMHC, which calls the program the EQuilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative, solicited proposals for demonstration homes that, once built, would serve as models and inspiration for comparable home construction on a larger scale. Completed homes are open to the public for a minimum six-month demonstration period and are then monitored for performance for at least a year thereafter.The CMHC says 72 builder- and developer-led teams submitted proposals, and an independent committee of housing experts selected 12 teams to build demo homes. Six homes have been completed and winning project proposals for three more were announced in February.The completed homes include the Avalon Discovery House and the Laebon CHESS Project, both in Red Deer, Alberta; the Riverdale NetZero Project in Edmonton; the EcoTerra house in Eastman, Quebec; the Now House project, in Toronto; and the Minto Ecohome in Manotick, Ontario.last_img read more

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Sports Ministry grants recognition to BFI, says it secy-gen

first_imgBengaluru, Jul 27 (PTI) In a much awaited decision, the Sports Ministry has granted formal recognition to Basketball Federation of India, according to the secretary general of the BFI. Earlier this month, the Indian Olympic Association has granted affiliation to the BFI faction led by K Govindaraj, which was recognised by the world governing body (Fiba). This Govindaraj-led faction has been granted recognition by the Sports Ministry. “This recognition has been granted as the BFI has fulfilled all the conditions laid down by the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011 for grant of recognition as a National Sports Federation (NSF),” the BFI said in a release. “Ever since the election of Govindaraj, Chander Mukhi Sharma and V Raghothaman as president, secretary general and treasurer respectively, of the BFI in March 2015, Indian basketball has grown from strength to strength. “Indian teams have participated in 16 prestigious international competitions across various age groups in both the men and women sections. BFI has hosted two South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Championships and important FIBA gatherings such as the FIBA Asia Central Board Meeting and the FIBA New Competitions System Workshop. The BFI has also been successfully conducting regular National Championships and various FIBA Coaching Certification courses. “The BFI has also been entrusted with the responsibility of conducting prestigious FIBA competitions this year, starting with the FIBA Womens Asia Cup 2017 which is already underway in Bengaluru,” the release said. Speaking about the ministry decision, Chander Mukhi Sharma said, “This positive step is in recognition of the continued service to the game under the leadership and guidance of our President Shri K Govindaraj. Im thankful to all the stakeholders who have stood by us and supported us in the last two and a half years. We will take the game to new heights.” PTI PDS PDSadvertisementlast_img read more

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Traditional Birth Assistants in Malawi

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on October 18, 2010November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Last week, Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika lifted a ban on traditional birth attendants (TBAs) that had been in place since 2007, saying:We need to train traditional birth attendants in safer delivery methods. We should not completely stop them because their work is very important. We should train them to assist us in addressing the health challenges that we are facing.Expanding opportunities for non-physicians to act as skilled birth attendants may help to stem the tide of maternal deaths in countries where doctors, midwives and nurses may not exist in the needed numbers. Evidence suggests that having a skilled birth attendant present at birth leads to fewer incidences maternal and child mortality and morbidity. If TBAs are properly trained as Mutharika suggests, they may be able to play a major role in reducing Malawi’s high maternal mortality ratio.In January 2010, with the support of MHTF and UNFPA, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted a Maternal Health Policy Dialogue on “Human Resources for Maternal Health: Midwives, TBAs and Task-Shifting.” To view the webcast and read the event summary, click here. For other events in the Policy Dialogue Series, click here.Share this:last_img read more

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Who will be the Elite?

first_imgBy BEN HARRISMen’s Elite EightThe question on everybody’s lips is: “Will it be NSW Mets’ year?”The Mets have lost two matches in the two-year history of the Elite Eight series at the X-Blades National Touch League – the two grand finals.In 2011, the inaugural Elite Eight tournament, Mets were beaten 7-6 by NSW Scorpions in the grand final in the last few seconds of the match.The Mets were unbeaten in the tournament before losing the final.Last year, Mets were unbeaten when they reached the grand final against NSW Country Mavericks.Mets went down in the final few seconds of the match 5-4.Mets have a team full of big match international experience with Steve Roberts, Anthony Ziade, Nicholas Good, Ben Moylan, Scott Buckley, Robert Nakhla and Trent Touma lining up, so there should be no excuse this time.However, it won’t be an easy run as all the Elite Eight sides will be at their best with selection for the 2015 Touch World Cup up for grabs at this tournament.Scorpions have two-time Elite Eight Most Valuable Player in Sam Brisby.Brisby and Simon Lang are the leading touchdown scorers in Elite Eight with 16 and 17 touchdowns respectively.The Mavericks look strong on paper and the defending champions will be led by the likes of Dylan Hennessey and Dylan Thompson.Not to be forgotten, NSW Rebles, Queensland South Stingrays, Queensland Chiefs, Queensland Country Outlaws and The Alliance have all strong line-ups this year.Women’s Elite Eight        While the men’s NSW Mets team have fallen short when it comes to winning the big game at the X-Blades National Touch League, the Mets’ women’s side is the exact opposite.The Mets are two from two when it comes to Elite Eight, defeating NSW Country Mavericks 9-4 in 2011 and Queensland Chiefs 5-4 last year.They could make it a hat-trick this week especially with Paul Sfeir at the helm.The current Australian Men’s Open assistant coach brings plenty of knowledge and experience to the team.However, Australian Women’s Open captain Lousie Winchester won’t be playing this week, which does leave the door ajar for the other teams.Chiefs should have won last year but were swept away by Mets in the final.The Queensland side will be without 2013 Most Valuable player Emily Hennessey but they do have experienced campaigner Peta Rogerson.She will be backed up by plenty of other Australian representatives.In the race for the title will also be NSW Mavericks and NSW Scorpions, both reached the semi-finals in 2011 and 2013.Queensland Country Outlaws, Queensland South Stingrays, The Alliance and NSW Rebels should not be taken lightly.Related LinksWho will be the Elite?last_img read more

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