Certified EO welcomes Menke & Associates as a Certified Employee-Owned founding member

Menke & Associates, Inc., the nation's largest and oldest employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) advisory firm, announced today that they are becoming a Founding Member of Certified Employee-Owned®
(Certified EO), a new certification program for employee-owned companies.

"Menke & Associates is majority owned by its employees.  We are proud to partner with Certified EO, an organization whose mission to expand the awareness and adaptation of employee ownership is the same as ours.  We envision Certified EO will become the premier employee ownership certification body, connecting employees, consumers, and companies looking to do business with other employee owned companies," says John Menke, Founder and President of Menke & Associates, Inc.

Besides being an attractive exit strategy for shareholders, ESOP's can offer substantial wealth to employees.  According to recent research conducted by the Oakland, CA based think tank National Center for Employee Ownership, employees aged 28 to 34 who were employee-owners, meaning they participate in their employer sponsored ESOP retirement plan, or their employer is structured as a cooperative, had 92% higher median household wealth, 33% higher income from wages, and 53% longer median job tenure than employees who are not employee-owners.

Employee owned companies are perhaps the best kept secret of our economy; they strengthen communities, foster a financially savvy workforce, are far less likely to lay off people during recessions, and can provide exceptionally large benefits during economic boom times.  Having a broad based employee ownership program is socially responsible, and the bottom line is handsomely rewarded in a tangible (there are significant tax and financial incentives) and intangible sense (once employees start acting like owners, the overall health of the company tends to visibly improve).

Menke & Associates, Inc. was founded in 1974 by John Menke who co-authored the landmark ESOP legislation that subsequently spawned an industry and sparked rapid growth of employee ownership in America.  Menke & Associates is a national leader in ESOP advisory services and currently administers nearly 1,000 ESOPs. Since 1974, the firm has structured over 3,000 ESOPs, the most by any single organization.  It currently acts as a full service ESOP advisory firm, helping business owners sell to their employees, and provides ongoing consulting on accounting, legal, tax, and valuation matters.

Not only does Menke & Associates create employee-owned companies, but it is one itself.  It first became employee owned in 1983 when John Menke sold some of his stock to the ESOP, and is now majority owned by its 48 employees.  "Our employees offer sound ESOP advisory and consulting services because they live and breathe employee stock ownership plans every day," says John Menke.

An Employee Stock Ownership Plan is a retirement plan, much like a 401k, that buys private company stock rather than public company stock.  The selling shareholders sell their stock to the plan and the stock is then allocated to employees.

To join Certified EO, Menke & Associates had to complete a certification process to accredit that it has significant and broad-based employee ownership.  To qualify, a company must be at least 30% owned by an ownership plan.

"When you see a 'USDA Organic' sticker, it means that a qualified third-party verified compliance with organic protocols. We're are doing the same for employee-owned companies by looking at a company's ownership structure," said Certified EO's Co-Founder Thomas Dudley.

Based out of San Francisco, Certified EO's mission is to build a voice for employee ownership in America. "We want employee ownership to be part of the national consciousness," said Dudley. "Employee-owned companies create wealth for working people and strengthen local economies. By creating a common brand for EO, we're combining the reach of our members to raise the profile of employee ownership. Our members benefit because we help them tap into Americans' support for employee ownership in marketing, recruitment, and internal communications."

To learn more about Menke & Associates, Inc, please visit www.menke.com

To learn more about Certified EO, please visit www.certifiedEO.com

Trevor Gilmore

Pet Fashion Industry Patterns Written by Laurren Darr Introduced By Left Paw Press and International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals

Left Paw Press and International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals is overwhelmingly excited to announce the innovative business trend book Pet Fashion Industry Patterns written by lifelong pet fashionologist and best-selling, award-winning author, Laurren Darr.

Written based on many years of observations of the pet fashion industry, is this uniquely stylish business trend book from International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals founder, Laurren Darr. Pet Fashion Industry Patterns broken into four enlightening sections that provide valuable insights to those seeking an understanding of pet fashion industry developments. These sections include Pet Trends, Lifestyle Trends, Market Trends, and Micro Trends.

Pet Trends is broken into reflections on types of pets that fashions are leaning toward while Lifestyle Trends covers human behaviors affecting the pet fashion industry. Market Trends is an important section that outlines specific tendencies to note within the pet fashion market. Micro Trends summarizes smaller yet significant annotations that affect the pet fashion industry.

Readers will find that this book is a lot of information in a concise, informative, and creative package.  Each chapter is artfully named to be remarkable. Titles include Purr-fect Fashion, Chicks Dig It, Furbulous Fashion Meets Function, Tail Wagging Markets, Eco-Fido, Paw-er Shopping, and Cosmopawlitan Pets.

In addition to being a shrewd book on the pet fashion industry, this hard cover book features a matte cover, grayscale photography, fashion illustrations and graphics that make it a table book that could easily become a treasured conversation piece. Careful attention to detail has been paid to coordinate the colors and patterns of each section throughout the book to also match those on the cover.

Some of the features that you'll find in Pet Fashion Industry Patterns are:

• Black and white photos of some of the most fashionable cities in the world with interesting factoids about each

• Fabulous fashion illustrations demonstrating the topic that is discussed in each chapter.

• Statistics and facts on pets, business, and the pet industry highlighted throughout.

About Laurren Darr

Laurren Darr is on a mission to unleash pet style by empowering pet fashion professionals who strengthen the bonds between pets and humans through their creative work. She's been a pug lover since her first rescue of White Pines Tuttie circa age five. Tuttie was completelyhappy to let Laurren dress her up, put clippy earrings and lipstick on her, and push her around in ashopping cart. Darr understands the deep roots and connections created between humans and animals through fashion because of this kinship. Her book about Tuttie, Lipstick On A Pug, won the Dog Writers Association of America Maxwell Medallion for 2015 Children's Book of the Year. She combined her marketing career and study of pet fashion to found International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals in 2013.

Left Paw Press

Maxx Marketing and Licensing Matters celebrate Jane Seymour's win for LIMA's Best Celebrity/Fashion Program of the Year Award

On May 23rd the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA) presented Licensing Matters (LM) and Jane Seymour with the 2017 International Licensing Award for best Celebrity/Fashion Program of the Year. LIMA is the leading trade organization for the global licensing industry, honoring both Jane and LM for their accomplishments with the Open Hearts by Jane Seymour™ licensing program.

"This year's award winners represent world-class licensing programs and products from around our global industry," said Charles Riotto, President of LIMA. "We are proud to recognize and honor the achievements of these companies – chosen from a record 461 submissions this year – for their impressive initiatives and outstanding results."

The LIMA Awards celebrate the best in licensed programs and products that achieve tremendous success. Open Hearts by Jane Seymour™ Licensed Products have achieved nearly $1 Billion in retail sales since 2008 and continue to grow. Jane's Licensed Products are sold in over 3000+ stores in the USA, UK, and Canada.

Maxx Marketing, LM's creative and product development agency, successfully supported the Open Hearts by Jane Seymour™ licensing program.  "I am thrilled with the long-standing working relationship with Maxx Marketing and Licensing Matters; this award signifies the thoughtful and innovative approach the team took to develop the Open Hearts licensed program," said Jane Seymour.  "And, the synergies between Maxx and Licensing Matters have proven to be the winning formula.  I look forward to working together to further expand the reach of Open Hearts to new product categories.   This work is so important to me because a portion of all revenues help fund my Open Heart Foundation."

Open Hearts celebrate Jane's celebrity/original paintings and embody the connection of giving and receiving all of life's experiences. Licensed Products feature jewelry sold at KAY® Jewelers, Zales, Jared, H. Samuel (UK), and Peoples (Canada); the following licensed products and services are also sold worldwide:  Fragrance, furniture, wall décor, lighting, bedding, soft bath, publishing and even vacation/training seminars.

Jane Seymour is a multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner and recipient of the Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in the year 2000. Jane Seymour has proven her talents in virtually all media, the Broadway stage, motion pictures, and television. Her love of art and color has led to her great success as a painter in watercolors and oils and as a designer. See, www.janeseymour.com.

For more information regarding the 2017 LIMA International Licensing Awards:

Licensing Matters is a full-service licensing agency and a strategic partner of WPP's Maxx Marketing. See, http://www.licensingmattersglobal.com and http://www.maxxmarketing.com/

Annie Kwan

Details of MeCoin Bitcoin Hack Starting To Unfold Company quiet for the past two weeks but details are slowly coming forth

Details of the recent MeCoin company (https://me-coin.com/spa/) bitcoin are slowly starting to come to light.

"Two weeks ago, our Utah-based programming team caught suspicious activity on our bitcoin network.  After isolating the specific activity, we realized that our network was indeed exposed to an external hack" a source close to the company reported.

An internal security audit revealed that hackers exploited an open portal on an external vendor's system.  MeCoin notified the company of the open portal and the issue was immediately fixed.  No other issues were found during the security audit and no additional suspicious activity has been reported since the initial incident.

"We caught it quickly and shut it down immediately"
I was told.

Initial financial audits revealed that the hackers were able to extract an undisclosed amount of bitcoin before the flaw was patched.  The company is completing its final audit and should issue a release at the conclusion of that audit.

MeCoin operates a cryptocurrency network similar to the more widely known Bitcoin, but operates primarily in Latin American markets.  High tech hacking on such networks is becoming more and more popular as the technology gains popularity.  MeCoin says they've been able to aggressively stop the more sophisticated attacks, and the most recent breach was an isolated incident that was easy to fix.

Busted! Australian cyber expert tracks alleged ransomware criminal similar to 'WannaCry' attack, and it is not North Korea!


Cybersecurity, Forensic Investigator and Computer Programming Expert Simon Smith of eVestigator has managed to socially engineer an alleged Ransomware criminal into turning their VPN off to uncover their true identity.

Mr. Smith has had enormous success in finding Cybercriminals. "It seems to come naturally", he said. His success stems from a lifetime of logical expertise in programming and information security. Mr. Smith then added Computer Forensics and Cybercrime Investigation into his C-Level skillset, and that is when he says he saw synergy.

"In catching almost 500 Cybercriminals I guess I can put it down to experience, instinct and a bit of luck in predicting the mindset of the various forms of Cybercriminals and Cybersecurity attackers", Mr. Smith said. "There is a human element that takes you to a higher level than being an expert in technology, and this is where many people get mistaken in this industry", said Mr. Smith.

In this case, Mr. Smith used proprietary techniques to engineer the alleged criminal to turn their VPN off to establish a real IP address. Mr. Smith has notified authorities and believes this finding will not only likely lead to an arrest, but uncover enormous data over many of what he calls 'myths' about 'North Korea'. Mr Smith stated, "He has proof this variant is not North Korea".

He has encouraged industry to contact him to share his research with them.

::Sample of the Ransomware text demanding 9 bitcoins::

"You need to obtain private key...The single copy of the private key, with will allow you to decrypt the files, is locate on a secret server on the internet;...The server will destroy the key within 24 hours after encryption completed....need to pay 9 bitcoins...and us an email to : *@tutanota.com"...



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