Auto Profit Masters Awards $45,000 to Nation’s Top Auto Repair Centers

Top performing shops, service advisors and technicians recognized for excellence.

LITTLETON, CO, February 28, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ — Today, Auto Profit Masters, a repair-shop training company founded by the owners of award-winning Keller Bros. Auto in Littleton, Colo., has announced the recipients of its first annual 2011 RPM ToolKit Top Performers Awards.

The culmination of a yearlong challenge, contestants are scored on key metrics entered into the RPM ToolKit, which analyzes business practices that lead to profitability. Prizes included equipment to further increase efficiencies and profitability such as a $3500 NAPA Robin Air A/C Excharger, a $3500 NAPA Diagnostic gun with wireless PDA, a $1400 MotorVac fuel cleaning system and QuickBooks Pro software from Intuit. Winners also received training scholarships from Auto Profit Masters, an iPod Touch, airline tickets, leather jackets, and gas cards.

“2011 was the inaugural year for the Top Performers Awards and the competition was fierce,” said David Rogers, co-founder of Auto Profit Masters. “The shops, service advisors, and technicians using the RPM ToolKit are tops in their field and committed to customer service. We can’t wait to start the 2012 competition.”

The 2011 Top Shops include:
Harding’s Garage, Fairfield, ME
Motoring Specialists, Vacaville, CA
Mufflers and More, Walled Lake, MI

Top Service Advisors for 2011 are:
– Peter Saitta, Jr. of TLC Auto & Truck, Fairfield, NY
– Chris Harris of Harris Garage, Hayes, VA
– Scott Jacobs of Motorcar Makeovers, Blue Bell, PA

The Top Technicians for 2011 include:
– Donald Chase of Harris Garage, Hayes, VA
– Gage Cole at Kearney Garage, Denver, CO
– Ernie Schwartz at Russwood Auto Center, Lincoln, NE

Awards for the nation’s top three automotive shops, service advisors, and technicians were presented during the RPM ToolKit national convention, hosted by Auto Profit Masters. In addition to recognizing 2011 winners, Rogers also announced criteria and new sponsors for the 2012 contest. Rogers anticipates that in 2012 APM will award more than $100,000 in prizes.

“Our sponsors are gearing up for the 2012 competition,” said Rogers. “While the contest offers very valuable prizes, our technicians and owners know that the real benefit of the RPM ToolKit is a dramatic increase in profitability, employee production, and growth.”

About Auto Profit Masters:
Auto Profit Masters (APM) is a repair-shop training company built by people who are active and successful in the automotive service industry. The RPM ToolKit is a comprehensive software program that analyzes every aspect of a shop’s performance, identifies gaps in production, and trains owners and service writers to correct those gaps. For more information about the RPM Toolkit, please visit www.autoprofitmasters.com or become a fan on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AutoProfitMasters.

Michaels Launches “Craft Masters” Reality Show

Web-based craft competition kicks off just in time for National Craft Month.

IRVING, TX, February 28, 2012  — With glue guns a-blazing, top crafters will face off to see who is selected as the first “Craft Master” in a new weekly craft competition Web series, “Craft Masters,” created by Michaels, North America’s largest arts and crafts specialty retailer. The series begins airing Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. CST at Michaels.com/craftmasters.

Each week, three crafters compete to win a $500 Michaels gift card. The fun begins when contestants are each given a basket of mystery supplies, and the clock starts ticking as the crafters quickly plan their projects. After a mad dash through a Michaels store to snap up additional items needed for their creations, they head back into the crafting studio in a race against time to complete their projects. All the while, a panel of expert judges makes drop-in visits to see how the crafts are coming along.

“Craft Masters is all about skill, speed and ingenuity,” said Michaels Chief Marketing Officer Paula Puleo. “We have an incredibly gifted group of contestants, and they come up with some amazing projects – and some hilarious crafting disasters! It’s fun, exciting and inspiring for our viewers, plus it’s a great way to head into March, which is National Craft Month.”

When time runs out, the judges give their final critiques and select a winner. Judges include Michaels Creative Expert Jo Pearson, who stars in how-to craft webisodes on Michaels.com throughout the year and has designed thousands of projects for Michaels in her 25+ years with the company. Michaels Creative Director Michael Duncan, an avid crafter and painter, will also serve on the panel, and each week a guest judge will join Duncan and Pearson.

The first season of Craft Masters will run for seven weeks.

About Michaels
Irving, Texas-based Michaels Stores, Inc. is North America’s largest specialty retailer of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall decor and seasonal merchandise for the hobbyist and do-it-yourself home decorator. The company currently owns and operates more than 1,060 Michaels stores in 49 states and Canada, and 136 Aaron Brothers stores, and produces 10 exclusive private brands including Recollections, Studio Decor, Bead Landing, Creatology, Ashland, Celebrate It, Art Minds, Artist’s Loft, Craft Smart and Loops & Threads. For more information visit www.Michaels.com

TravelShark(TM) Counts User Votes and Names Three Charity Partners for TravelSharkPix

Oceana, the Cheetah Conservation Fund, and People in Crisis United to receive donations from TravelShark’s new travel photo-sharing application, SharkPix.

SINGAPORE, February 28, 2012 TravelShark announced today that it has chosen Oceana, the Cheetah Conservation Fund, and People in Crisis United as the charity partners who will receive donations from the company’s new socially enabled photo-sharing application, TravelSharkPix. These three organizations secured the most user votes in the SharkPix Charity Hunt – during which users from around the world supported their favorite charities.

SharkPix allows travelers to share their favorite trip photos with other travelers on the application. TravelShark displays the best SharkPix pictures across its global network of travel sites – including LasVegasHotels.com, SingaporeHotels.com, HotelLondon.com, VancouverHotels.com, and more – with attributions to the photographers. For every photo accepted by SharkPix, the company will donate between $0.10 and $0.25 to its new charity partners.

The three winning charities support a wide range of causes around the world.
– Oceana is an international non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans.
– The Cheetah Conservation Fund is a globally recognized leader in conservation efforts related to cheetahs and their ecosystems.
– People in Crisis United, an organization created in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, works to make all patients and their families comfortable during their stays at Holtz Children’s Hospital through art, music, and pet therapy.

“The response from TravelShark’s user base to the crowd-sourced ‘hunt’ for charity partners was overwhelming,” said Sue Heilbronner, CEO of TravelShark. “We received thousands of votes for the candidate organizations, representing a global articulation of the causes our users care about the most. We’re excited by the diversity of the causes our users chose.”

“Oceana is thrilled to be named a winner of the TravelShark Charity Hunt and we’re incredibly grateful to all of those who voted for Oceana and ocean conservation,” said Matt Littlejohn, Vice President, Strategic Marketing & Communications. “We’ll use the proceeds to keep on winning victories for our seas around the world. The oceans – and Oceana – thank you!”

About TravelShark | TravelShark is the world’s largest online travel network, with thousands of location-based travel websites for destinations around the globe. TravelShark connects global travelers with hyper-local travel solutions and memorable trips. TravelShark recently launched the Sharky Awards, recognizing unique and unexpected “finds” in travel, and TravelSharkPix, which allows people to share their favorite trip photos with fellow travelers looking for inspiration for their next trip. The company’s content-rich websites – including BostonHotels.com, SingaporeHotels.com, BeijingHotels.com and SeattleHotels.com – help hotels and resorts generate profitable revenue for travel companies by driving direct bookings through TravelShark’s Featured Hotel Program. TravelShark is headquartered in Singapore, with a U.S. office in Boulder, Colorado. To learn more, visit http://www.travelshark.com, or call +1-720-239-1280 or +65 6734 8515.

About Oceana | Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 500,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit http://www.oceana.org.

About Cheetah Conservation Fund | With over 20 years helping to save the wild cheetah worldwide, the CCF develops education and conservation programmes based on its bio-medical and ecological cheetah research. Since 1990, CCF has presented educational programs to more than 350,000 outreach school learners, farmers and conservation biologists; donated nearly 400 livestock guarding dogs to commercial and communal farmers as part of its innovative non-lethal livestock management program; and has established a genome resource bank that currently holds the world’s largest wild cheetah database. However, despite the many successes of CCF programs, the cheetah is still Africa’s most endangered big cat with approximately 10,000 cheetahs remaining. To learn more please visit www.cheetah.org.

In Honor of Women’s History Month, Photographer, Olivia Barrionuevo’s Latest Work Featured at The Consulate of Mexico in Los Angeles Opening, March 1

Olivia Barrionuevo, nationally recognized photographer and photojournalist, captures the soul of the ancient Maya and Aztec civilizations in her latest exhibit, ‘The Ancient Mexicans’ on display during Women’s History Month.

NEW YORK, NY, February 28, 2012  — Olivia Barrionuevo, nationally recognized photographer and photojournalist, captures the soul of the ancient Maya and Aztec civilizations in her latest exhibit, ‘The Ancient Mexicans.’ The exhibit will be on display at The Consulate General of Mexico in an exclusive gallery chosen by the Art Culture of Mexico.

“I am very honor to present at the Mexican Consulate since this is a part of Mexico away from home,” said Barrionuevo.

The Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles presents the exhibit, March 1-30 with an exclusive exhibit opening on March 1 at 6 p.m. The Ancient Mexicans is a unique look into Mexican culture and tradition, portrayed through Barrionuevo’s lens.

“During my career as a photojournalist, I traveled with President- to- be Ernesto Zedillo, during his campaign,” said Barrionuevo. “We visited San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico. There I was to encounter for the first time the history and culture of the Chamulas, and Zapotecs I became completely captivated by their Maya traditions, culture, and life styles. Their amazing ability to endure and survive so many centuries. As an artist I wanted to capture their body, soul, pride and sprit without being literal to what I was seeing. It was at that moment “The Ancient Mexicans” project was conceived.”

In addition to covering Mexican presidential campaigns and photographing feature films, Barrionuevo has been awarded impressive internships at the Los Angeles Times and has studied with the renowned Annie Leibovitz. She is currently working on a book production of her work and seeking national publication.

Her photographs have been exhibited at The Center for Fine Arts, The Museum of Tolerance, University of Judaism, Self-Help Graphics, the Center for Fine Art Photography, The Historical Lummis House, and Belenky Gallery in New York. Her work is also featured as a permanent collection of Centro de la Imagen in Mexico, City.

She has won numerous awards, Book of the Month by A&I, most recently she is the recipient of prestigious honors by the International Photography Awards (IPA) in the Advertising, Portraiture and Children category. Additionally she has received awards from the Center for Fine Art Photography and Women in Photography.

The Ancient Mexicans will run through the month of March at the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles located at 2401 West 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90057. For more information you can call 213 351 6845 or email: AsuntosCulturalesMx@gmail.com, to see more of Barrionuevo you can visit www.oliviabarrionuevo.com or facebook.com/oliviabarrionuevo

LGR Launches Portable NO2 Analyzer with ppt (parts-per-trillion) Precision.

LGR’s ultra-portable, compact analyzer for precision, automated measurement of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) provides parts per trillion sensitivity, directly from ambient air or industrial emissions. It supports remote and unmanned operation.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, February 28, 2012  — Los Gatos Research (LGR), the leader in precision trace gas analyzers, has introduced a unique and portable NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) analyzer that delivers parts per trillion (ppt) measurement precision in just seconds, directly from ambient air samples. Specifically, the LGR NO2 Analyzer provides 50 ppt measurement precision in a one second interval, which can be extended to 10 ppt precision with less than 1 minute of data integration. With a total measurement uncertainty of less than 1%, this new analyzer delivers higher speed and superior performance than older technologies based on chemiluminescence analyzers. Furthermore, it does not require any chemical processing, eliminating the use of potentially hazardous ozone or other consumables in this important air pollutant measurement. Together with fully automated operation, plus Ethernet and wireless connectivity, this rugged, lightweight and compact analyzer is ideal for use in unmanned monitoring stations and airborne applications, as well as in research and reference laboratories.

NO2 is an important EPA-regulated air pollutant with a well-established negative role in air quality. It is a toxic by-product of burning fossil fuels in automobiles, power plants, and other types of hydrocarbon combustion. Existing NO2 measurement methods are indirect, inaccurate and somewhat complex, for example requiring titration with ozone. In contrast, LGR’s laser-based gas analyzers are based on the company’s patented Off-Axis Integrated Cavity Output Spectroscopy (OA-ICOS) technology, a fourth generation, cavity-enhanced laser absorption technique. This unique approach is both more rugged and more precise than earlier cavity-enhanced techniques, such as conventional cavity ringdown spectroscopy (CRDS), because the performance of OA-ICOS does not need ultra-precise alignment or sub nanometer stability of its optics, or a high degree of thermal control. This ensures higher absolute accuracy, longer maintenance intervals, higher reliability and reduced cost of ownership.

The LGR NO2 Analyzer was developed in response to a clear market need. “Atmospheric scientists have an urgent requirement for a rugged, portable and affordable NO2 analyzer,” according to Jeff Stehr, Ph.D., Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland. “We need this type of analyzer to support research based on both ground-based and airborne measurements. And regulatory agencies need a remotely operated precision NO2 analyzer to monitor local air quality for compliance with EPA regulations.”

LGR (www.LGRinc.com) makes the world’s most precise, rugged and reliable instruments for measurements of trace gases and isotopes. LGR instruments have been deployed by scientists for acquiring the most accurate measurements possible on all seven continents, in unmanned aerial vehicles, in mobile laboratories, on research and commercial aircraft, and in undersea vehicles.