Wildlife Studios on adapting to mobile evolution

Posted On May 12 2021 by

first_imgWildlife Studios on adapting to mobile evolutionCEO Victor Lazarte talks about the company’s plan to use its size and tools to partner with top talentBrendan SinclairManaging EditorMonday 22nd February 2021Share this article Recommend Tweet Share”The biggest change we’ve seen is that games are just getting better,” Wildlife Studios CEO Victor Lazarte tells GamesIndustry.biz when reflecting on what he’s seen in the mobile market since he co-founded the Zooba developer a decade ago in Brazil.”With better devices and better internet connections, there are a lot more things that are possible and people are taking advantage of that. In the beginning, multiplayer was hard. The first step was asynchronous multiplayer because it was not so demanding on the connection. And then connections got a little better, so we started having synchronous multiplayer. And more recently you started having synchronous multiplayer with a large number of people playing at the same time.”Just as the gameplay of successful mobile titles has evolved, so too has the business driving them.”It’s now harder for independent studios to break out because marketing and user acquisition are just so competitive… I think that’s why the top charts have become more and more stable” “One thing we’re observing in the industry is that it’s now harder for independent studios to break out because marketing and user acquisition are just so competitive,” Lazarte says. “And if you have a sophisticated infrastructure to acquire users, you’re at a big advantage.”I think that’s why the top charts have become more and more stable. Bigger companies with more sophisticated distribution and larger marketing budgets have an advantage over smaller players.”At least in hindsight, the gameplay evolution Lazarte spoke of seems logical. But it also seems to have hit a wall, with no natural next restriction to shed, no obviously new realm to explore if only the technology would allow it. So with already successful companies tightening their grip on the top of the charts and no clear next step in gameplay to disrupt them, has the mobile gaming industry hit maturation? Is it at risk of stagnation for the perhaps the first time?”There’s always that danger, and I think those of us in the industry have to constantly fight against that,” Lazarte says. “I’m optimistic, so I think there’s no greater force than human talent. Human talent will find a way to overcome this.”There’s a structural force that is making it harder to innovate, because there are now big advantages to scale and complexity. If you’re a company able to run 1,000 A/B tests a day and able to run a bunch of live operation events, you get a massive advantage over other people. So these companies naturally tend to occupy a lot of space in the top of the charts.”And typically, if you have a market with a few large companies, it will be less innovative than a market with a bunch of smaller companies. So there’s a trend in that direction. But then there’s an opposite trend because some people are trying to figure out a way around that.”Lazarte considers Wildlife part of that counter-trend. Even though Wildlife carries a valuation in the billions on its own, he says the company is doing what it can to help small developers compete with, well, companies like Wildlife.”Over the past couple years at Wildlife, we’ve invested a lot in creating infrastructure that allows small game teams to produce amazing games,” Lazarte says. “That’s been a theme for us. And now that we had this technology and this great infrastructure, we started thinking we could serve not only our internal studios but partner with the best game creators in the world and help them create the best games out there.”When Wildlife completed a round of Series B funding in August, Lazarte said the company was going to spend $200 million over two years “to make Wildlife the go-to place for the best game designers in the world.”Part of that investment was detailed earlier this month, when Wildlife announced the launch of Never Forget Games, co-founded by studio creative director Ray Mazza (Merge Dragons, The Sims) and studio director Michael Duke (The Sims).”[As development tools] become more self-service, you’re able to serve more people. You’re able to scale your internal platform, if you will” Lazarte is coy about the specific ownership of the studio, but he says Never Forget is part of the Wildlife family and the studio will “share in the economics.” He also said he expects more such partnerships with developers in the coming years, and Wildlife is exploring a variety of ways of structuring those deals, including starting up new studios or working with pre-existing ones.One thing that seems to be key to those deals is that the developers will have access to Wildlife’s development tools and publishing platform.Related Jobs3D Artist – Mobile Studio – Midlands UK & Europe Big PlanetProducer Indie Game Studio France UK & Europe Big PlanetSenior C++ Unreal Programmer – PC and Console Studio – Austria South East Big PlanetDiscover more jobs in games Never Forget marks the first time the company has had what are essentially outsiders given access to those tools. With plans to make it a more common occurrence, Wildlife has been working to ensure those tools are approachable for new teams.”Over the past couple years, internally we have been migrating toward a service-oriented architecture,” Lazarte says. “So we started serving our teams through standard APIs and a collection of services helping our teams grow. When we started doing that, it was important to create a lot of documentation so the tools become more self-service. And as the tools become more self-service, you’re able to serve more people. You’re able to scale your internal platform, if you will.”I think bringing in this external studio is another step in the journey, and for that to happen, we need to be even more disciplined with this movement.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Mobile newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEpic Games claims Fortnite is at “full penetration” on consoleAsserts that mobile with the biggest growth potential as it fights for restoration to iOS App StoreBy James Batchelor 2 hours agoSupercell ordered to pay Gree $92m in lawsuitJury found developer had infringed on six patents protecting Gree’s technologyBy Danielle Partis YesterdayLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more


Boulder shooting: 10 deaths, including police officer, suspect in custody

Posted On May 3 2021 by

first_imgcarlballou/iStockBy EMILY SHAPIRO, IVAN PEREIRA and JEFFREY COOK, ABC News(BOULDER, Colo.) — At least 10 people, including a police officer, were killed in Boulder, Colorado, on Monday afternoon when a gunman opened fire at a King Soopers grocery store, police said.The slain officer has been identified by police as 51-year-old Eric Talley. He had been a member of the Boulder Police Department since 2010.A law enforcement source told ABC News that officers initially responded to a report of someone being shot in the parking lot of the supermarket and, when they arrived at the scene, a suspect carrying a long gun opened fire on them. Talley was the first officer to arrive on scene, where he was fatally shot.A suspect was wounded during the confrontation with police and taken into custody, according to Boulder Police Department Commander Kerry Yamaguchi, who did not immediately reveal the individual’s name or a motive for the deadly shooting.The suspect was transported to an area hospital to be treated for injuries. There are no additional suspects at this time, Yamaguchi said.Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold fought back tears at a Monday evening press conference, during which he praised Talley for his “heroic action” in responding to the incident after the police department received 911 calls of shots fired and of a “possible person with a patrol rifle.”“Our hearts … go out to the victims of this horrific incident,” Herold said. “Officer Talley responded to the scene, was first on the scene, and he was fatally shot.”Several other law enforcement agencies responded to the scene, including SWAT teams.“Without that quick response, we don’t know if there would have been more loss of life,” Yamaguchi told reporters at the press conference Monday evening.Matthew Kirsch, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, pledged that “the full weight of federal law enforcement” will support the investigation. He said agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were at the crime scene.Both Yamaguchi and Boulder District Attorney Michael Michael Dougherty said they would be releasing more information on the deceased victims, including the exact number of victims, within the coming hours, after they notify families. The Boulder Police Department later posted an update on Twitter, saying the next press conference would be Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. local time and that “no new information will be released before then.”“Boulder has suffered a terrible and horrific mass shooting today,” Dougherty told reporters at the press conference Monday evening. “This is not the first mass shooting that we have had in the state of Colorado.”“My heart goes out to Eric Talley’s family, his loved ones and his colleagues,” the district attorney added. “His life was cut far too short. I also want to stress how incredibly sorry I am for all the victims killed today at King Soopers. These were people going about their day, shopping, and their lives were cut abruptly and tragically short by the shooter who is now in custody. I promise the victims and the people of Colorado that we will secure justice.”The Boulder Police Department tweeted a photo of Talley on Monday night, writing: “Rest In peace Officer Eric Talley. Your service will never be forgotten.”Rest In peace Officer Eric Talley. Your service will never be forgotten #BoulderShooting pic.twitter.com/FVximvhS2E— Boulder Police Dept. (@boulderpolice) March 23, 2021Talley’s father, Homer Talley, shared a statement to ABC News following his son’s death.“He took his job as a police officer very seriously,” Homer Talley said of his son in the statement. “He had seven children. The youngest is 7 years old. He loved his kids and his family more than anything.”Talley’s father said the late officer joined the police force when he was 40 years old and recently started training to be a drone operator so he could get a job to keep himself off of the front lines.“He didn’t want to put his family through something like this,” Homer Talley said, “and he believed in Jesus Chris.”Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Col., took to Twitter on Monday night to react to the deadly shooting.“My heart goes out to the families of the Coloradans, including a Boulder police officer, whose lives were tragically taken by a senseless act of gun violence,” Bennet tweeted. “I am deeply grateful for the swift response from law enforcement and first responders. Enough is enough.”U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also addressed the shooting in his opening remarks at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday morning.“I do want to start — before we actually begin — by expressing my own horror at the violence that occurred yesterday in Boulder, Colorado,” Blinken said, “and offer my deepest condolences to the loved ones of those who were killed, including a law enforcement officer.”The incident unfolded Monday afternoon, as the Boulder Police Department took to Twitter at 2:49 p.m. local time to warn residents of an “active shooter” and tell them to stay away from the area.ALERT: Active Shooter at the King Soopers on Table Mesa. AVOID THE AREA. PIO is en-route.— Boulder Police Dept. (@boulderpolice) March 22, 2021Then, at 4:10 p.m. local time, police tweeted out an alert telling people “to shelter in place” amid a report of an “armed, dangerous individual” about 3 miles away from the King Soopers grocery store. The shelter-in-place order was lifted at around 5:41 p.m. local time, and Yamaguchi told reporters that the incident was not related to the shooting.Eyewitnesses shared videos from the parking lot of the shopping center on social media on Monday afternoon, showing officers ordering a suspect to come out of the King Soopers grocery store with his hands up and surrender. Eyewitness videos from inside the supermarket show shoppers and employees trying to flee or hide.Andy Arellano, who works at the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, told Denver ABC affiliate KMGH-TV that he was concerned for his colleagues and shoppers as gunshots rang out.“We were like sitting ducks, you know, and that’s one thing that I’m reliving it and looking at it in my head,” Arellano said. “And that, that bothers me, I’m still shivering, I’m still shaking.”Eyewitness Andrew Hummel told KMGH that he was at another store in the same shopping center when he heard the shots, prompting him and others to run out.“Everybody kind of sprinted toward the back of the store,” Hummel added.Hummel said his roommate works at the King Soopers grocery store where the shooting took place and hid in a storage room with some customers, texting updates to Hummel and others.“I think one of the biggest scary text[s] that he sent he just said, I love you guys, like thank you for everything, in case, like, things go bad,” Hummel said. “That was a really hard text … that’s something that I would never want to hear from any of my friends, because I knew the seriousness of what was going on and I was horrified. It was truly horrifying.”Sarah Moonshadow, another eyewitness, told KMGH that she was in the supermarket with her son when she heard four gunshots.“We were hiding down, kind of in the self-checkout area, and I just knew, like, this is a problem,” Moonshadow said. “And I started counting in between shots and then I just grabbed Nicholas, I said, ‘Move now.’”U.S. President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday night.U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has also been briefed, an official with the U.S. Department of Justice told ABC News.Colorado Gov. Jared Polis tweeted out a statement Monday afternoon, saying he was “closely watching unfolding events at King Soopers in Boulder.”“My prayers are with our fellow Coloradans in this time of sadness and grief as we learn more about the extent of the tragedy,” Polis added.In another statement issued Monday evening, the governor asked for residents to have patience as the investigation continues.“Right now, the biggest priority is to let local law enforcement and the City of Boulder to do their work to ensure the safety of those involved,” he said.Polis released a third statement late Monday night, mourning the lives lost and showing his support for his community.“Today, ten lives were tragically lost, including Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley,” he said. “And tonight, the families of these victims, our fellow Coloradans, my neighbors, are hearing the devastating news that their loved one who simply woke up and went to work this morning, or who ran out to pick up eggs, won’t be coming home.”“This year we have all been surrounded by loss of life, illness and isolation,” he continued, referring to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. “As spring sprung this weekend, and vaccines continue to get into arms, lightness creeped back in only for the darkness to descend on us again today. Today we saw the face of evil. I am grieving with my community and all Coloradans.”The King Soopers supermarket chain and its parent company, Kroger, released a joint statement Monday evening, offering “thoughts, prayers and support to our associates, customers, and the first responders who so bravely responded to this tragic situation.”“We will continue to cooperate with local law enforcement and our store will remain closed during the police investigation,” the statement added.The union that represents the store’s workers, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, tweeted that it was monitoring the situation.Denver-based Major League Baseball team the Colorado Rockies also issued a statement Monday night in reaction to the deadly shooting.“The Colorado Rockies are devastated by today’s senseless tragedy in Boulder,” the team tweeted. “Our heart breaks for the lives needlessly lost and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this shooting. We are grateful for the brave heroes and first responders who acted quickly.”Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more


Assad regime must be denied the skies

Posted On Apr 20 2021 by

first_img“Would (lifting the embargo) stop people being killed, or would it kill people faster?”, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has asked. She has also warned of an arms race – the implication being that Russia and Iran would send even more weaponry to the regime of Bashar Assad. Sweden’s foreign minister and one-time peace envoy to the former Yugoslavia, Carl Bildt, argues that “if we focus on the military side, it could bring about a collapse of the political track”. A decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan has fatigued the West. In addition, there are fears that arms would fuel Islamist radicalisation, increase sectarianism, and destabilise the region. But radicalisation, growing sectarianism and regional destabilisation are processes that are now well under way, facilitated in large measure by two years of Western reliance on the diplomatic track alone. These efforts have proven fruitless. As for an arms race, Assad already has or is being provided with all the arms he needs. Providing the rebels with more arms would further tax the increasingly beleaguered Assad regime. But the pivotal question is whether supplying arms would shorten the war enough. The balance of power would tip only gradually in favour of the rebels, and in the meantime each day would add to the death toll. A quicker way to end the war is available. The Assad regime’s use of airpower and heavy artillery demonstrates not only its superior firepower, but also its weakness and desperation – weakness and desperation because Assad has only a few reliable ground units. He must move these conventional forces between fronts. This is a crucial vulnerability. The key to changing the strategic balance rapidly is to deny the skies to Assad’s planes, and the roads to his ground forces. As the war in Syria enters its third year, it is hard to avoid a sense of déjà vu at the sight of the European Union’s display of division and risk aversion couched as prudence. Two decades ago, ineffectual machinations and declarations characterised the EU’s response to the war in Bosnia. In that war, as in Syria, an arms embargo favoured the side that started hostilities with a near monopoly on weapons. Redressing that imbalance was essential to ending the war. The EU should be better equipped to respond now than then: the EU now has a common foreign and security policy – a policy motivated partly by the failures of the 1990s. The EU’s main military and foreign-policy powers – France and the UK – are also willing to act. Twenty years ago, France and the UK had dreadful policies aimed at forestalling American-led intervention; now they are prodding the US to act and are arguing for the EU to arm the Free Syrian Army. There is an urgent need. By year’s end, the death toll in Syria will be greater than Bosnia’s: 70,000 have died already in Syria and the death rate is accelerating toward the figure of 100,000 killed in Bosnia. But the Anglo-French call for the arms embargo to be lifted is being torpedoed by people who propose no solutions. Supplying the rebels with anti-aircraft weapons could deny Assad the skies. But there are understandable concerns about providing such weaponry to Syria’s rebels. Instead, Western air forces (especially those of the UK, France, and the US) should intervene directly. This would have two advantages. First, this is a variable that the West could completely control. Second, the impact would be immediate. Without air superiority, Assad’s mechanised forces would be immobilised. This would strengthen the internationally recognised Syrian National Council vis-à-vis Islamists, and in any subsequent diplomatic effort. Western air power tipped the scales in Libya. It would not win the backing of the UN Security Council. But, as the past three years have showed, the same is true of any meaningful policy. The use of force carries dangers – but, as was the case in Bosnia, use of Western airpower is the avenue most likely to end the conflict. Kurt Bassuener is co-founder and senior associate of the Democratization Policy Council, a global initiative for accountability in democracy promotion.last_img read more


Weekend kicks off cold and sunny

Posted On Jan 26 2021 by

first_imgThe National Weather Service forecasts:Today: Sunny, with a high near 52. North wind around 5 mph.Tonight: Clear, with a low around 26. North wind around 5 mph.Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 57. Wind chill values between 20 and 30 early. North wind around 5 mph.Saturday Night: Clear, with a low around 38. Southwest wind around 5 mph.Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 63. Southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 48.Monday: Partly sunny, with a high near 68.Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 51.Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 70.Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 53.Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 70.Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 57.Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 71.last_img read more


TriRig Styx aero road bike skewers bring ultralight, incremental gains to your wheels

Posted On Jan 18 2021 by

first_imgIf you’ve run out of places to optimize your aerodynamics, it’s time to look in some less obvious places. Like your wheel skewers. Which means you’re forgoing the disc-brakes-on-your-road-bike trends because they’re just not aero enough. Which is good, because the new TriRig Styx are bolt-in skewers for quick release, rim-brake bikes only.TriRig says the set, which is made entirely of 6/4 titanium, weighs in at just 45g, saving around 100g or more from your current setup. And, it’ll save 3-4 watts of drag, too, according to their own CFD analysis. The design uses three separate parts: The axle, plus two independent end caps. This means there’s nothing twisting against your fork’s dropouts, which helps protect it from damage, especially lightweight carbon forks with full carbon dropouts. The small nubs keeps the end caps aligned and locked into position, too, so you can thread the axle into place firmly and securely.Retail is $84.99 and the first batch is already sold out. More are on the way with expected delivery around mid July.TriRig.comlast_img read more


Scott Fewell succeeds George Lamphere as LMS CEO

Posted On Dec 31 2020 by

first_imgLiquid Measurement Systems, Inc,Vermont Business Magazine Liquid Measurement Systems, Inc announced today that the company’s former Chief Operations Officer (COO) and General Counsel, W Scott Fewell, has been named Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia firm, effective January 1st. He has taken the reins from the company’s owner, George Lamphere, who assumes the role of Chairman. Lamphere has led the Company through a period of steady growth and expansion since 2000.  Today, LMS is one of Vermont’s fastest growing aerospace companies, specializing in the design, development and manufacture of fuel measurement technologies for commercial and military aircraft.   The Company was founded by Lamphere’s father, David Lamphere, in 1991, at his home in Westford, Vermont. Under the younger Lamphere’s leadership, the company grew from a handful of employees to a team of 43 engineers, skilled assembly technicians, and operations and administrative staff, working in a modern facility in Georgia, Vermont.George Lamphere, right, and W Scott Fewell.Fewell, the company’s new CEO, joined the company in January 2016 as its COO and inside General Counsel. Prior to joining LMS, he was a Director at Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, P.C., located in Burlington, Vermont.  As part of his responsibilities at Dinse, Fewell served as General Counsel to LMS from 2014. He served as outside counsel from 2007. Lamphere states, “Scott has gotten to know our business well and our people well, over the course of a dozen years, first as a trusted advisor and then as an energetic, hands-on COO. We have been working methodically on a smooth transition for a while now. I have complete confidence in Scott, and all of our great employees, to take this company to the next level.”Source: GEORGIA, VT – Liquid Measurement Systems 1.15.2018 www.liquidmeasurement.com(link is external).last_img read more


Ray Marsh fifth-grader rocks out at lemonade stand fundraisers for sick children in need

Posted On Dec 20 2020 by

first_imgBo Macan, left, and his friend Collier Cash Rule who raised funds for him at a lemonade stand last year. Photo courtesy of Carolyn MacanCollier Cash Rule wants to be a rockstar. After all, he’s been playing guitar since he was 7 year old. In the meantime, he’s on a mission to use his talents to raise money for sick children in need.Last October, the fifth-grader at Ray Marsh Elementary rocked out at a lemonade stand and raised about $20,000 for his friend Bo Macan, who has a lot of health problems that often keep him from going to school and playing outside. Rule had the lemonade stand concert for Macan on the front steps of city hall.“I think that it’s not very easy, even to be a kid, when you’re in the hospital and you can’t go outside or you have to miss school or you’re connected to a bunch of tubes,” Rule said. “That probably makes that person sad.”Macan, who is 9, has a rare genetic condition nicknamed by a doctor at the National Institutes of Health as “Bo Syndrome.” His condition includes Type I diabetes, chronic diarrhea, growth hormone deficiency, thyroid problems, seizures and chronic lung disease.“He’s the only kid in the world who has it, which is why it’s really hard to find any kind of support,” said Carolyn Macan, his mother.Rocking out with the Foo FightersCollier Cash Rule rocked out with Dave Grohl, frontman for the Foo Fighters, at their concert in October 2018. Photo courtesy of Jen RuleThe lemonade stand at Shawnee City Hall took place just after Rule had been pulled on stage at the Sprint Center to play with the Foo Fighters earlier that month.“I thought it wasn’t real,” Rule said. “I was like, ‘is this happening?’ I just look back like I’ll never forget that.”Carolyn Macan said Rule used his limelight to raise funds for her son. Hopefully, it draws attention from a doctor who might recognize her son’s condition and be able to help. Carolyn Macan has also been lifelong friends with Jen Rule, Collier’s mother.“When you have people that have been through life’s journey with you, they have a really important place in your life,” Jen Rule said. “And certainly, mom to mom, when you watch people you care about that much have to go through struggles that they just should not have to go through, there is no acceptable logic behind that.”Rule had his first lemonade stand at age 7, when he raised funds for Tina Regier, a Shawnee Mission teacher and friend of the family whose son was battling leukemia. There wasn’t any rock concert, but Rule and his family were able to raise enough to cover utilities and life expenses for a few months for the Regier family.Rule most recently performed at his third lemonade stand, outside of the Sprint Center before a Metallica concert in March, when he raised more than $5,000 for KU Pediatrics.“Collier was really excited to be able to do it to help a lot more kids than just Bo and bring some awareness to the pediatric unit,” said Jen Rule.Rule plans to host more lemonade stands, not just to help sick children’s expenses but also to raise funds for research to find cures and treatments.“I know that if I keep doing this, it’s not going to help every kid in the world, but at least it’s helping some people,” he said. “I think that every kid should have the opportunity to do what they want and not just be in the hospital, so that’s why I want to keep doing them.”Rule will hit the stage again at Variety KC’s 85th anniversary celebration, Variety Show 2019, on April 5.last_img read more


AmazonFresh groceries arrive in Brooklyn

Posted On Dec 19 2020 by

first_imgNo beets til Brooklyn.by: Melvin BackmanAmazon(AMZN, Tech30) is bringing its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service to Brooklyn Friday, marking its East Coast debut.Customers can order groceries and other stuff like toiletries and electronics. Orders for more than $35 that come in before 10 a.m. will be delivered the same day, with later orders arriving the next day.Related: Amazon hiring 80,000 seasonal workers this holiday seasonOnly residents of Brooklyn’s tony Park Slope neighborhood — specifically the 11215 ZIP code — will be able to order groceries with the service at first. But a company spokesman said other Brooklyn neighborhoods will get access in the near future, but declined to comment about moving into other New York City boroughs.It’s free until the end of the year, when Amazon will begin charging $299 annually for the service.Amazon will be competing with a number of other grocery delivery services available in the New York area, from local grocery stores to FreshDirect, which is available city-wide and in a few nearby states. continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more


Gophers hope to stop losing streak against Ohio St.

Posted On Dec 17 2020 by

first_imgGophers hope to stop losing streak against Ohio St.Sophomore Alissa Koch will try to earn her first victory of the year. Marco LaNaveApril 21, 2010Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintMidway through the Big Ten softball season, the Gophers are having their resiliency tested. The Gophers play at No. 23 Ohio State as they try to snap a nine-game losing streak, which matches their longest losing streak in a single season since 1994. âÄúYou canâÄôt really look at it like nothingâÄôs going right, in our sense, because you canâÄôt go any lower. You can only go up from here,âÄù said freshman Alex Davis, who is hitless in four Big Ten home games but made several key defensive plays at her new shortstop position last weekend. âÄúThatâÄôs what weâÄôre striving for, and thatâÄôs what we say every day, is we can only go up, and thatâÄôs where weâÄôre aiming.âÄù The Gophers (15-29, 1-9 Big Ten) have the lowest batting average of any Big Ten team, and freshman Lacey Middlebrooks, responsible for all of MinnesotaâÄôs wins this season, hasnâÄôt pitched since the first game of an April 14 doubleheader at Northwestern. âÄú[Middlebrooks pitching] gives us some options, but thatâÄôs not an option for us,âÄù Bernstein said after last SundayâÄôs loss to Indiana. Since then, sophomore Alissa Koch, who owns a 0-15 record this season, has pitched the last 15 1/3 defensive innings for the Gophers. âÄúItâÄôs going to be [KochâÄôs] ball âÄòtil the end of the year,âÄù co-head coach Lisa Bernstein said after a pair of losses to Indiana last weekend, though she mentioned freshman utility player Jessie Hathaway as another pitching option. Koch has pitched 14 complete games with a 5.88 ERA this season, and the Gophers have won three of her 18 starts (with Middlebrooks receiving the decision). âÄúAt this point, IâÄôm not even thinking about my record because there are games that are good [and] bad,âÄù said Koch, who was 1-7 last season âÄî all in nonconference games âÄî with a win in her final start. âÄúI might not have a win, but as a team we do, and thatâÄôs the important part.âÄù Koch certainly gave her team a chance to win last Saturday against the Hoosiers. After allowing four home runs in her previous three appearances, Koch induced 16 ground-ball outs and allowed just one fly ball to the outfield and three hits in a 1-0 loss. Davis said she was proud of Koch for trusting her defense. âÄúI was having so much fun playing behind her,âÄù said Davis, who was perfect on nine ground-ball chances last weekend after making her first start at shortstop April 11. âÄúI was playing really free and kind of excited because weâÄôve practiced all of these situations âĦ and we knew what to do with the ball when it happened.âÄù The Gophers committed 12 errors that led to 18 unearned runs in their first six Big Ten games, but they had just three errors that led to four unearned runs against Indiana. Three of those came during IndianaâÄôs seven-run first inning, after which Koch settled in to allow just one run on three hits the last six innings of an 8-3 loss. âÄúShe came back and she battled and kept mixing speeds, changed planes with her pitches,âÄù Bernstein said. Koch will need to quickly build on recent improvements for the Gophers to have a shot at their first win in Columbus since 2004. The Buckeyes feature the Big TenâÄôs leading hitter in shortstop Alicia Herron (.432 batting average through Sunday). They also have a slugger in catcher Sam Marder (.366), who leads the Big Ten in on-base percentage (.562), is second in slugging percentage (.849) and is tied for second in home runs (13) after tying for the conference lead last season. Ohio State has its own outstanding freshman pitcher in Melanie Nichols (13-2, 2.09 ERA), but the Gophers will have little time in their preparation to think about what might have been an exciting matchup of first-year pitchers in Nichols and Middlebrooks. Instead, the GophersâÄô excitement must largely be derived from anticipation of the fruits of experience gained by their young players. âÄúThey are getting better in [the coaching staffâÄôs] eyes, and every day we see improvement,âÄù Bernstein said. âÄúTheyâÄôre getting their feet wet, and itâÄôll pay off.âÄùlast_img read more


Toyota Manufacturing Veteran Gary Dodd Named ZAP President

Posted On Oct 20 2020 by

first_imgSANTA ROSA, Calif. — Electric vehicle maker, ZAP has named former Toyota executive Gary Dodd as president of global operations. This recent move is seen as another step in CEO Steven Schneider’s plan to introduce U.S.-built electric vehicles to the masses. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement According to Schneider, “Gary will bring serious depth and breadth to our management team where each senior executive has separate and distinct responsibilities, such as operations, finance, marketing and now, front-line manufacturing expertise. Gary will guide us into volume production.” Dodd joins the management team alongside Amos Kazzaz, who recently became ZAP COO. Kazzaz spent more than 24 years in executive positions with United Airlines including president of United Airlines Shuttle where he had oversight of more than 2,000 employees. “Amos is responsible for maintaining efficient operations, our CFO Bill Hartman is a seasoned CPA with SEC experience, and I know how to position, market and sell vehicles… lots of them,” Schneider concluded. “ZAP will creatively work with American automobile suppliers to build affordable and appealing electric vehicles for American consumers and customers worldwide,” Dodd said. “We are going to dramatically expand ZAP’s leadership in the electric vehicle marketplace.” Dodd has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on behalf of Zap Motor Manufacturing for a $200 million Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan to build an electric vehicle assembly plant. “We are very optimistic that the company’s loan application will receive funding from the DOE,” Dodd said. “Another key part of our strategy is the sizeable competitive advantage we will enjoy because of our close proximity to two proposed Kentucky-based facilities that will be critical to the future of electric vehicles in the United States,” he added. Advertisement “Argonne National Laboratory has announced that it will build a national battery manufacturing R&D Center in Kentucky, in an innovative partnership with the State of Kentucky, the Universities of Kentucky and Louisville. In addition, the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries, of which we are a member, has announced its intent to build its manufacturing facility in Central Kentucky as well. With both cutting-edge facilities within an easy drive of the future manufacturing site, our supply and R&D chains will become the envy of the industry,” said Dodd. In 1998, Dodd founded his own business with the encouragement and support of Toyota and grew annual revenues to more than $700 million by supplying Tier One, just-in-time, and sequenced automotive components from its 11 manufacturing facilities to Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai, Ford and General Motors.last_img read more