Zachary Houle

A Look At Music That's Different

5 Pieces of Knowledge Crucial to Education that Rocketship Education’s CEO has Learned Since 2007

Ten years ago, way back in 2007, Preston Smith desired to cease his career as a teacher and form his own educational institution. Interested in serving underprivileged kids across the country in low-income areas, the current chief executive, Smith, founded Rocketship Education. Rocketship is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit system of charter schools, accepting grants from government agencies without having to adhere to the often-detrimental rules mandated by local boards of education. Along the way, Preston Smith learned several pieces of knowledge crucial to education as the leader of Rocketship.

Smith has discovered that parents are an important piece of the pedagogical puzzle, as many schools simply ask parents to pick up their children and provide them with progress reports every six weeks or so. Every year, a few students’ guardians and parents are trained to carry out interviews for incoming educators, which they conduct alongside a ranking member of faculty. They listen to their children’s sentiments each day after school, providing them unique perspectives directly applicable in deterring who should instruct their kids.

Students with developmental disabilities are kept in regular classrooms approximately eighty percent of every school day, rather than spending half or more of their hours at school with special education teachers. Rocketship’s method of dealing with special needs students helps them feel better about themselves, performing better in class and harboring positive attitudes towards learning.

People associated with Rocketship should be more than proud of its public school status, although their educators are paid significantly more than those at most other schools. Rocketship’s extensive base of resources, secured through its charter status, help bring in quality instructors willing to adhere to the rigorous demands of students, in turn creating ultra-high test scores and unmatched learning accessible for the remainder of their lives.

Rocketship Education is a network of eighteen primary schools serving children grades kindergarten through fifth. Its students consistently earn higher test scores than most others in low-incomes areas, despite obvious disadvantages that come with living in underprivileged neighborhoods, cities, and counties. Rocketship’s students, formally known as Rocketeers, aren’t required to submit payment like families are forced to do with similarly high quality education at private schools. The school system currently features eighteen facilities across America, with twelve spread across the Golden State, three across Music City, Tennessee, two in America’s own Washington DC, and one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Mikhail Blagosklonny Makes Understanding Oncology Simple

Mikhail Blagosklonny is not only an oncologist but he is also someone who supports oncology and wants to ensure that other people know what they can get from the oncology field. While he recognizes that not everyone will be able to be a doctor and understand all of the in-depth things about treating cancer, he hopes to continue helping people learn more about it. Since he knows so much and considers himself to be somewhat of an expert, he believes that it is a part of his job to help other people learn what they can about cancer and the things that are associated with it.Mikhail Blagosklonny even created Oncotarget to help people connect over cancer. While the publication is for peer review of doctors and future doctors, it is also something that people can use when they are hoping to learn more about cancer. Mikhail Blagosklonny created it with the intention of bringing more attention to the field of cancer study and to help people understand what they can get from various cancer studies that they are working with. Since Mikhail Blagosklonny knows a lot about cancer, he is hoping that other doctors will too.

One of the biggest things that has come from this publication is the rejuvenation drug idea. This drug is something that has allowed cancer patients to have more comfortable cancer treatments and has sometimes made things safer for them. While Mikhail Blagosklonny recognizes that things will not always be as safe as possible, he also knows that things will continue to get better for people who are using the anti-aging drugs during their treatment. This is a huge part of the work that he does and he uses it to make things better for himself and for other people who are in those situations.Mikhail Blagosklonny also wants to teach people about cancer. He is making understanding cancer something that everyone can do no matter how much experience they have with it. He feels that a lot of people just don’t understand cancer and that is part of the reason they cannot handle the help that they need when someone they love (or themselves)gets sick.

Mikhail Blagosklonny believes that teaching people about cancer can make the treatment options better and can give people a better chance of being able to deal with the ramifications of cancer and the subsequent treatment that they have to have.As Mikhail Blagosklonny continues to help more people, he is making an even bigger impact on the things that he can try. He has always done his best to make things easier for people and continues to help them with the options that they need. When Mikhail Blagosklonny first started working in different areas, he did his best way to help people have a better understanding of what they could do to make things better. All of this is what has led Mikhail Blagosklonny to making things easier and to showing people what they can do in different situations.


Gregory Aziz: Mixing Business and Charity

Gregory James Aziz, Chairman, President, and CEO of National Steel Car, was determined to be America’s top railroad freight car manufacterer when he purchased National Steel Car in 1994 from Dofasco. It was a long road to get there.

Gregory J Aziz was born in April of 1949. He is from London, Ontario. Greg Aziz went to college at Ridley College and earned a degree in economics at the University of Western Ontario. He started working in the family business. Hus family business was a wholesale food business called Affliated Foods. He started working for the family business in 1971 and helped it grow to an international importer of fresh foods that came in from Europe, Central America, and South America. Aziz soon moved on to investment banking in New York state in the 80s and early 90s. These events lead to his purchase of National Steel Car.

After much investment into the company, Gregory was able to grow National Steel Car from 3,500 cars manufactured per year to 12,000 cars per year between 1994 and 1999. The employee number also grew from 600 employees to about 3,000 employees within the same time period.

National Steel Car is certified ISO 9001:2008 and is the only North American railroad freight car manufacturer to have continuously held this certification for 18 consecutive years. They have also been given the TTX SECO award for the highest quality freight car manufacturing since 1996.

National Steel Car is a charitable organization in their community of Hamilton. The company has donated to several charities including the United Way, the Salvation Army, the Hamilton Opera, Theatre Aquarius, and several other local charities. Every year National Steel Car company makes sure to hold a food drive to contribute to local food banks and they also throw an annual Christmas party for their team members and their families to enjoy. Gregory and his wife Irene Aziz are annual sponsors of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair held in Canada.

Gregory Aziz is not only a fantastic business man, but he also is charitable and enjoys contributing to his community.


Normann Pattiz Pronounces Results of PodcastOne’s Brand Lift Studies by Edison Research

Edison Research and PodcastOne have been engaged in a number of comprehensive studies targeting five major brands involved in diverse services and products categories. This one-of-a-kind study on the pre- and post campaign on the brand lift that podcast advertisers benefit from was done in the second half of 2016.

The results, as released by Norman Pattiz, the executive chair of PodcastOne and Tom Webster, the VP of strategy from Edison Research showed a huge positive impact of advertising on podcast. The positive impact was on intent to purchasing, brand recalling and specific messaging. There were some key findings that emerged from the studies carried out by Edison Research.


Edison Research was contracted to take three different studies by PodcastOne in 2016 with an aim of finding the effectiveness of advertising five national brands on its network. A number of the brands were known but were in the process of launching new messages, while the less-known brands were seeking trial and increased brand awareness.

The studies involved the carrying out of online surveys before the campaign advertisements were run on PodcastOne and after they had run for about four to six weeks. At the end of the studies, the research company noted that the audiences showed an interest in the messages as well as posted a higher intent to purchase or consider the brands.


Normann Pattiz, the founder and chief executive chair of PodcastOne stated that the network’s main area of focus remained providing a higher brand impact that is better than the conventional advertising formats. He added that the great results from the study validated the network’s multi-tiered approach when it comes to integrated measurement and advertising.

Tom Webster, on his part lauded the opportunity to partner with PodcastOne in measuring the impact that podcast advertising had on a number of brands. He was content with the end results as they had carried a survey before and after the advertisements ran and correctly measured the impact of this form of advertising.

About Norman Pattiz

Pattiz started PodcastOne and is its executive chairman. He has a rich experience in the area of radio syndication that spans over 40 years. He founded Westwood One, which he propelled to become the largest provider of sports, entertainment, sports, traffic programming and news to America’s broadcast industry.

Bloomberg reveals that Norman Pattiz also founded the Courtside Entertainment Group with an aim of producing and distributing quality programming. He then realized the potential that lay in the untapped audio on-demand sector and founded PodcastOne towards the end of the year 2012.

Desiree Perez & Roc Nation

Back in 2008 Jay Z, through negotiations lead by his business partner Desiree Perez, signed a monumental deal with Live Nation for a cool $150 million dollars. That deal is about to expire and it appears that Live Nation will opt out of the “360” deal. This simply means that either party could buy the other outright, or sell their shares back to them. It seems Live Nation has no interest in owning Roc Nation.  Read related article on

As everyone in the music industry knows the money is in touring these days, not in recorded music. A music industry insider was recently quoted in an article by Emily Smith “They (Live Nation) have a long-standing touring relationship with Jay, which is very lucrative. It is believed Live Nation wants it to continue for many years.” He also said that Live Nation will not be extending any of their artists rights and recorded music they have bought into.  Check for more news about Desiree.

Recently, both Desiree and Jay met with Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, fueling rumors about UMG possibly buying into Roc Nation. UMG has a distribution deal already with Roc Nation, but they might possibly be looking to own a bigger chunk.

Desiree Perez is the Chief Operations officer at Roc Nation, and if any deals are to be made with UMG, she will be front and center. Jay Z and Perez have a long business relationship, and she has a reputation for being a tough negotiator and her skills with numbers is well known in the industry.  Additional article on

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Perez has had her share of controversy over the years, but Roc Nation will survive and grow because of her street smarts and grit. With her at the helm, we could soon see another epic deal like the one they made back in 2008.  Have updates on Desiree’s timeline updates, visit her page.

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Sheldon Lavin Transforms the Food Industry

Sheldon Lavin was a former national fish and wildlife director. He serves as General Trustee of Rush University. Sheldon is also currently the chairman and chief executive of OSI Group, LLC. He is a highly profiled in meat and food processing industries. Lavin is a board member for Ronald McDonald House Charities, Goodman Theater, the president, and director of The Sheba Foundation and Rush University Medical Center. Sheldon developed his knowledge in the food industry when he got involved with the Otto & Sons in 1970. Later the company changed its name to OSI Group under Lavin leadership. He acquires excellent skills such as leadership and team inspiration international business, operations and traveler.

On February 20, 2016, Mr. Sheldon received a global visionary award by India visions world academy. He received the awards for his incredible accomplishment in making OSI Group International and contributing to new employment opportunities globally. OSI Group has almost 60 facilities and around 20, 000 employees in 17 regions. The company supports future growth and global presence of uncountable food establishments. OSI Team supplies quality meat to leading global retail and food services industries. The company headquarters is in Aurora, Illinois. Click here to know more.

OSI Group received a lengthy list of environmental and sustainability awards under Lavin’s watch. Lavin encourages the succeeding generations of corporate leaders will continue to prioritize. At eighty years old, he remains active in OSI activities. OSI Group also received a prestigious globe of honor award for 2016 from the British safety council because of its sound environmental risk management. OSI being one the 18 organizations achieved the maximum five stars in the British safety council audit scheme from August 2015 to July 2016. The private company also demonstrated to an independent panel of expertise in environmental management throughout the business.

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Andrew Rolfe Is Heavily Involved In Organizing A Fund Gala For The Ubuntu Fund

Andrew Rolfe is synonymous with the renowned Ubuntu Fund. His insights have played a pivotal role in putting the organization on a growth trajectory. In addition, his transformative leadership has ensured that the entity operates as a going concern. Recently, Andrew and other leaders of the organization met to discuss about the need to expand the Funds operations. To this end, they unanimously agreed that they needed more capital to be in a position to realize all their operations. It is for this reason that they decided to hold a gala dinner in London. The dinner was well attended. Rolfe was mandated with the duty of ensuring that all the 300 guests were well entertained and fed. A Xhosa choir presented different songs to the attendees.

The dinner lasted the entire night. During the event, different individuals were invited to deliver their speeches to the audience. One of the people who stole the show is Sinesipho Rabidyani, a proud beneficiary of the scholarship offered by the Ubuntu Fund. Sinesipho talked of how as a young girl, their father would not let them live in peace. This is because he was a heavy drinker. Sinesipho posited that she did not love going home like the other children. This way, she worked hard in school. Sinesipho said that she scored good grades. Besides the scholarship, the organization provided her with mentorship and psychosocial support.

The management of the Fund said that they were hoping to raise $972,960. To their surprise, they had surpassed this amount. The leadership of the Fund said that they would expand the institution’s school campus that is located in Port Elizabeth. They would also develop a state-of-art pediatric clinic within the school. Moreover, they would accommodate more disadvantaged children.

Andrew Rolfe

Andrew is one of the many alumni of Harvard Business School where he earned his MBA. Rolfe pursued his undergraduate degree in politics, philosophy and economics at the esteemed University of Oxford.

His sound educational background has helped him to make informed decisions in all the companies that he has worked for. Andrew Rolfe has rendered his services for Booker Foodservice, PepsiCo Restaurants International, the Gap and Pret A. Manger.


Andrew Rocklage: Successful Lawyer And Businessman

Attorney and businessman Andrew Rocklage is well-known and highly respected in the Boston, Massachusetts area for his business acumen. A graduate of the Isenberg School of Management and Suffolk University Law School, Rocklage has made a name for himself through his work in the region’s business community. Andrew has proven himself to be a savvy, visionary businessman.

Currently, he owns and operates one of the country’s most popular and innovative indoor trampoline parks, Sky Zone Trampoline Park. And he’s constantly scouting for new opportunities to expand the company.

The manner in which Andrew Rocklage runs Sky Zone Trampoline Park reflects his in-depth understanding of the importance of superior customer service in establishing a business. It is part of the reason he is widely praised in Boston business circles.

Rocklage has demonstrated that one of the keys to brand building is using the proper methods to screen and hire staff. As a result he has built a team which contains a collection of very talented individuals that all appreciate the power of working together to provide the best customer experience possible.

As a result of the hiring and training methods Andrew Rocklage has implemented, visitors to Sky Zone Trampoline Park rave about the staff’s friendly, caring, helpful manner. This has enabled the trampoline park to develop a reputation as an excellent place to visit if you want to enjoy a fun environment and have a great time.

Rocklage has made sure that the entire staff at Sky Zone Trampoline Park understands that every interaction with a customer or each other is an opportunity to promote the great experience the park offers. They have embraced the concept and that has led to the park becoming wildly successful.

In addition to his work with Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Andrew Rocklage also has several years experience working as corporate counsel for the internationally known company EPIRUS Biopharmaceuticals. Plus, he has distinguished himself as a true innovator through his extensive experience working in the technology sector.

Rocklage’s ability to use his legal experience to help him create innovative business strategy has put him in position to do great things in the local business community. When you factor in his innate ability to identify and develop the potential of his employees, it becomes clear that Andrew Rocklage has a very bright future.

With his talent, education, training, experience, vision and willingness to take on unique new professional challenges, there are countless opportunities for Andrew Rocklage to continue grow and become even more successful in the business world. The upward trajectory of his professional development coupled with his discerning eye and his wiliness to explore new business ventures and interesting places bodes well for Andrew Rocklage.

Marc Sparks: Rugged Individualist…and Caring Communitarian

The phrase “rugged individualist” was once common in America. It referred to a person who made his or her own way in life with little assistance. Taming the wilderness, cultivating rocky soil and settling in inhospitable environments all characterized the rugged individualist. With the end of the frontier and the misery of the Great Depression, rugged individualism fell from favor as a popular expression and celebrated ideal. Yet this concept never escaped the American bloodstream. In modern times, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists still prosper—and create jobs—from the most meager beginnings. A 21st-century example is Marc Sparks. Learn more:

Often called a “serial entrepreneur,” Marc Sparks was born to do business. Like many with boundless energy and restless imaginations, he chafed at the confines and structures of traditional schooling, graduating from high school with a mediocre grade point average. From there, he shot out of the gate and never looked back. Among his creations was a software production firm that—at its peak—sold $200 million worth of computer programs annually. Another of Sparks’ start-ups was an enterprise that held ownership in multiple insurance companies (he developed this business out of his bedroom). At one point this business concern exceeded a billion dollars in value—which plummeted to nearly zero in just three months.

It is his failures to which Sparks credits his successes. Each loss revealed insights which he later used to win. This philosophy rests at the heart of Sparks’ 2014 book, They Can’t Eat You: My Unorthodox Path to Outrageous Success. In the book, he shares “Fifty Sparks,” gleaned from both triumphs and defeats, that readers can apply to their own commercial ventures. Underlying it all is the conviction that a willingness to lose everything is the paradoxical key to phenomenal professional and financial success. Sparks practices this in his own private equity company, Timber Creek Capital, LP. Based in Dallas, Texas, that supports promising start-up firms with financing, infrastructure and marketing expertise. Key components in his criteria are uniqueness of product or service; laser-like focus on the business; and “an outrageous sense of urgency.” Learn more:

Timber Creek is one of Sparks’ winners, profiting from thriving partner companies in real estate, media, technology and health care. Still, Marc Sparks does not make money to simply hoard or spend it. A generous philanthropist, he directs large donations to causes like Habitat for Humanity, homeless shelters, magnet schools for at-risk youth and pet adoption programs. Is Marc Sparks a rugged individualist? Yes, he did get far on his own instincts, guts and savvy. At the same time, his passion is for partnering, mentoring and giving. To indulge this zeal, he needs people as much as people need him. Learn more:

When We Rely on Securus Technologies for Help

My job as a corrections officer can be dangerous to the point that I must be on my toes every second if I want to go home to my family at night. The minute we allow the inmates to have even a little power, they will take that opportunity and make someone pay. Although we are outnumbered by the inmates, we do have several checks in place that allow us to maintain order throughout the day.


When you bring drugs into the equation, especially in prison, then you are making a very bad situation deadly. The reason being is that these inmates are hard enough to keep in line when they are not on drugs, bring heroin or crack into that mix, and you need a half-dozen officers to maintain order with a single inmate. My team is usually working hard at the visitor center to keep all types of drugs from getting into the hands of those inmates, but it is not an exact science.


Securus Technologies has been installing their inmate call monitoring system in jails around the country for years. The company CEO, Richard Smith, developed an objective all his employees are dedicated to working towards, making this world a safer place for all to live. With thousands of these units installed, and over a thousand employees at your service, you can see why our prison jumped at the chance to have the system installed.


The LBS software is the key to the success of the monitoring system, spotting key conversations and alerting officers of trouble. This month for instance, we have been alerted to inmates using drugs in their cell, who was asked to mail drugs to the jail, and where one inmate is hiding his drugs to keep from being charged with the possession of them.