In the guest chair:

This morning, the studio was filled with with a great group of guests! G.J. Hart Executive Chairman, President & CEO California Pizza Kitchen, Bettina Gardner, Deputy Director for the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, Ernie Buday, VP of Marketing & Communications for WorldPay, Comedian, Jeff Justice, and Jim Wheaton, General Counsel at Liberty Tax Service were all on the show to give some to chat with Dana.

Ernie Buday, Bettina Gardner, Dana Barrett & G.J. Hart

Ernie Buday, Bettina Gardner, Dana Barrett & G.J. Hart

In 1985, California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) opened its first restaurant in Beverly Hills and introduced diners to innovative California-style pizza. Since then, CPK has launched what has become a global brand known for creative California cuisine. Today, CPK is approaching 300 restaurants in 16 countries and 218 cities around the world and has served over 15 million pizzas to more than 43 million guests. Dedicated to a unique dining experience, CPK is now introducing its Next Chapter featuring reimagined menus, open kitchens, and unique renovations in all restaurants across the country.
Bettina Gardner has over ten years of experience in government, educational and corporate foreign exchange programs.Atlanta is a city where financial technology companies thrive. The city’s strong IT, cybersecurity, and financial services workforce makes it attractive to established companies in the sector, startups and entrepreneurs alike. Atlanta is one of the most accessible cities in the world and home to the world’s busiest and most efficient passenger airport and is both the economic engine of the Southeastern United States as well as an emerging global economic hub.
Worldpay is a global payments technology leader that enables businesses to accept a vast array of payment types, across multiple channels, almost anywhere in the world. On an average day, Worldpay’s proprietary technology platforms process approximately 31 million transactions.
Founded in 1997 by CEO John T. Hewitt, Liberty Tax, Inc. (NASDAQ: TAX) is the parent company of Liberty Tax Service. Liberty Tax is one of the fastest-growing tax preparation franchises and has prepared almost 20 million individual income tax returns in more than 4,300 offices and online.
In the national headlines:
  • The next data breach is upon us… this time Wendy’s is reporting some ‘unusual activity’ on customers’ credit or debit cards in some locations.  According to Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini, “Fraudulent charges may have occurred elsewhere after the cards were legitimately used at some of our restaurants,” Ruh-roh.  So far the scope of the breach has not been defined… but check your accounts!
  • Score one for the cheerleaders.  To settle a class-action lawsuit with former cheerleaders, the New York Jets agreed Friday to pay $324,000 to women claiming they were cheated out of wages, ordered to practice and forced to pay for work-related expenses. According to a lawyer for one of the cheerleaders, the women were paid $150 for each game, but were not compensated for travel, practice time or expenses related to the job, such as hairspray and makeup.
  • Facebook posted more than $1 billion in quarterly net income for the first time yesterday, reflecting the social network’s ability to quickly capitalize on its popularity.  Fourth-quarter revenue rose 52% to $5.84 billion, up from $3.85 billion in the same period a year earlier, as the social network drummed up more interest from advertisers. Costs, meanwhile, rose only 21%.
  • Ebay is at the other end of the spectrum, posting the fourth straight quarter of declining year-over-year sales and issuing lackluster financial guidance for the company who just recently spun off from the much more successful PayPal.  Time to innovate Ebay.
  • Looks like we may have our first lying liar story of 2016.  The Federal Trade Commission—one of several federal agencies investigating the for-profit school industry—is suing DeVry University over advertisements that claim 90% of its graduates who sought jobs found them in their field of study within six months of graduation. It accuses the school of including workers in low-paying retail jobs as finding work in their field of study, such as a business-administration major working as a restaurant server.
 In the local headlines:
  • Three Atlanta companies made Forbes’ inaugural “America’s Best Small Companies” list released yesterday. The companies are ENT Institute, Afterburner and   The criteria:
    • “The company has been acknowledged as outstanding by those who know the industry best; It has had the opportunity to grow much faster, but its leaders decided to focus on being great rather than just big; It has been recognized for its contributions to its community and to society; It has maintained its financial health for at least ten years by having a sound business model, a strong balance sheet and steady profit margins; It is privately owned and closely held. It is human-scale, meaning frontline employees have real interaction with top leaders; It has both charisma and mojo. When a leader has charisma, you want to follow him or her. When a company has mojo, you want to be connected with it.”
  • Atlanta pest-control giant, Rollins Inc. has achieved record revenue and profit growth in 2015.  The company – proving that your business doesn’t have to be sexy to make you very, very rich is reporting that their annual revenue rose 5.2 percent to $1.5 billion last year, with yearly profit jumping 10.5 percent to $152.1 million.
  • Atlanta based Coca Cola is launching a new ad campaign around Diet Coke.  The campaign is called “It’s Mine”, and the their launching it by offering millions of unique package designs on Diet Coke and introducing a Diet Coke 12-oz. glass contour bottle Feb 1.  In order to make this happen Diet Coke went high-tech and partnered with HP on digital printing technology.  First, the brand created 36 ‘base’ designs inspired by the bubbles, fizz and taste of Diet Coke. Then, through HP’s software, the base designs were used to automatically create millions of entirely new graphics.  Super cool.
  • Cobb County has officially approved the design for $9.8 million pedestrian bridge across i-285 to the new Braves’ stadium, SunTrust Park.  It looks like a long (possibly pollution filled) walk to me.  Just sayin’.

For other events and appearances: check out Dana’s event calendar:

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