In the guest chair: 

Melanie Brandt, Justin Palmer & Dana Barrett

Melanie Brandt, Justin Palmer & Dana Barrett

This morning, Dana had the pleasure of hosting five very successful guests. Melanie Brandt of ACG stopped by to give an update on what to expect in 2016. Justin Palmer, VP of Mazzone & Associates also chatted about ATP and gave his insight on valuations. Mazzone & Associates is a middle market mergers and acquisition advisory firm experienced in delivering successful results to their clients.

Peggy Johnson, Executive Director at Callanwolde was in studio to dish on what upcoming events you don’t want to miss! The Callanwolde Foundation, Inc., operating as Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve, restore, and develop the Callanwolde Estate and to be a premier public participatory arts and cultural center.

Sam Holowka, Kasey Gartner, Dana Barrett & Peggy Johnson

Sam Holowka, Kasey Gartner, Dana Barrett & Peggy Johnson

The Northwestern Mutual gals, Kasey Gartner and Samantha Holowka, were in for their monthly visit to give an inside look into what you should be planning this year.The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company is a U.S. financial services mutual organization based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Its products include life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, annuities, mutual funds, and employee benefit services.

In the national headlines:

  • The Obama administration proposed spending nearly $4 billion over a decade to make driverless cars on U.S. roads more widespread in an effort to curb fatalities and traffic jams. The proposal, which still requires congressional approval, aims to have federal regulators work with auto makers and others to craft policies and potential rules across the U.S. for policing driverless cars. Regulators would also test so-called connected vehicles that talk to one another to avoid crashes in designated spots across the U.S. as part of this proposal.
  • Dennis Crowley is stepping down as chief executive of Foursquare Inc. after struggling to turn the location-sharing mobile app into a moneymaking business over the six years since he founded it. The leadership change comes as Foursquare closes a new round of $45 million in funding led by Union Square Ventures, Morgan Stanley some previous backers including DFJ Growth, Andreessen Horowitz and Spark Capital. The bad news is the money was likely raised at a much lower valuation than the $650 million valuation they had in 2013.
  • Goldman Sachs Group has reached a nearly $5.1 billion tentative settlement over their handling of mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 national financial crisis. The New York City-based bank will pay a $2.4 billion civil monetary penalty, make $875 million in cash payments and provide $1.8 billion in consumer relief — including mortgage principal forgiveness for underwater homeowners and distressed borrowers, forecloseure prevention, support for debt restructuring and other programs. Here’s the crazy part…While Goldman says the settlement would reduce the bank’s fourth-quarter 2015 earnings by approximately $1.5 billion on an after-tax basis it really won’t hurt the bank much in the long run. In fact shares were trading down only .4% after the announcement. Argh.
  • Best Buy is totally struggling to stay relevant and afloat. Poor holiday sales last month didn’t help. The big box electronics retailer posted disappointing holiday sales on yesterday, forcing it to slash its earnings forecasts. Best Buy (BBY) said it experienced poor demand for mobile phones and other consumer electronics.

In the local headlines:

  • Buckhead restaurant American Food and Beverage, which opened in mid-January 2015 in the ritzy Buckhead Atlanta mixed use development, confirmed that it officially closed yesterday. Very sad. Loved that place. Great environment… great service. Oh well.
  • The Brookhaven City Council voted Tuesday to suspend City Manager Marie Garrett and she was then promptly escorted from City Hall. They’re not saying what caused the hubbub but they have agreed to mediation to work it all out. Garrett was hired as interim manager in 2012, and in 2013 was appointed to the position. In 2013, Garrett’s salary was raised to $214,000 making her the highest paid city manager in the state according to a 2013 Municipal Wage & Salary Survey of cities with a population less than 100,000, according the Brookhaven Post.
  • The first hotel on the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail could break ground this summer. A 140-room boutique hotel is being planned in Old Fourth Ward, next to the Studioplex development and near Krog Street Market. If all goes as planned the hotel will be on a soon-to-be-paved portion of the Eastside Trail that extends from Irwin Street to Edgewood Avenue and will include two restaurants and a rooftop bar.
  • is reporting that Atlanta is the best city in the United States for web developers to move to based on job availability, average annual salary, median home price and median annual rent.

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

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