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Sherron Watkins on Bauer Business Focus, December 2, 2011

Posted November 29th, 2011 - No Comments

Sherron Watkins, former Enron vice president, stopped by Bauer Business Focus recently to discuss how the fall of Enron has influenced the way companies do business.

On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation on the 10th anniversary of the fall of Enron with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

As a result of the bankruptcy and ultimate collapse of Enron Corportaion on Dec. 2, 2001, the federal government has created regulations and policies like the Sarbanes-Oxley act to prevent further crises in big corporations.

Sherron Watkins, a former Enron vice president who is widely considered to be a key player in uncovering scandal within the organization, stopped by Bauer Business Focus to discuss the legacy of its fall.

“I’m afraid we haven’t learned much,” Watkins said. “I think the Department of Justice, and society in general, was hoping that the federal prosecutions of executives at Enron would deter corporate misbehavior and we didn’t see that in any of the big banking crises, so I’m afraid we haven’t learned anything.”

But, Watkins said she believes there are lessons that can still be learned to avoid future crises.

“My biggest concern is this undercurrent throughout the country that government regulation in any form is harmful. We don’t mind regulations in so many arenas but the business lobbying effort has convinced us that regulation around business will dampen our capitalist system and it has been shown time and time again that a capitalist system without regulation will do harmful things.”

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Jake Schiffer on Bauer Business Focus, November 25, 2011

Posted November 21st, 2011 - No Comments

“If I could start a company that mimicked what I had in Europe I think it would take off really well and be really well received here in this country," said Jake Schiffer, Founder and President of Leprechaun Cider Co.

On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation about bringing a European flair to market in Texas with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

As microbreweries become more popular nationwide, the spirit industry has become increasingly competitive. One Houston entrepreneur is changing the game by introducing hard cider into the mix.

Jake Schiffer, Founder and President of Leprechaun Cider Co., stopped by Bauer Business Focus recently to discuss his venture and how studying abroad in Europe gave him an idea for a bold new business.

“In Europe, the quality of cider is much higher and it’s much more crisp, and you can taste the apples with no taste of malic acid or sugar; that’s the difference,” Schiffer said. “When I came back to the states from Europe I realized the differences and that’s how it came together that if I could start a company that mimicked what I had over there I think it would take off really well and be really well received here in this country.”

Building the business took some time, Schiffer said, but the trial-and-error proved to be worthwhile.

“I’m glad the way it turned out because it gave me a good year to build the company with the logo, the brand, the quality of the product and get some of the kinks out and launch,” he added.

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Stephen Arbogast on Bauer Business Focus, November 18, 2011

Posted November 17th, 2011 - No Comments

Bauer finance executive professor Stephen Arbogast talks Keystone XL with KUHF's Andrew Schneider.

On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation on the Keystone XL pipeline with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

In 2008, TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP filed a Presidential Permit with the Department of State to build the Keystone XL pipeline, consisting of 1,700 miles of pipeline running  from Alberta, Canada, to Houston, TX.

Stephen Arbogast, an executive professor of finance at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business, stopped by Bauer Business Focus to discuss recent developments in the the Keystone project and the potential impact on the City of Houston.

“Obviously the pipeline is going to mean jobs, and it’s going to mean a better slate of crude oil for the refineries outside of Houston,” Arbogast said. “I think the biggest thing is that it’s going to move the pricing basis for North American crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, down to the U.S. Gulf Coast around Houston.”

With the project still in review after three years, there is some doubt brewing whether or not the pipeline project will ever be completed.

“I think the odds that some pipeline gets built somewhere that basically enables Canadian tar sands oil to come all the way to the Gulf Coast are very high,” Arbogast added. “Whether those pipelines or that pipeline will be built is the Keystone XL pipeline that looks very much up for grabs.”

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Steven Craig on Bauer Business Focus, November 11, 2011

Posted November 9th, 2011 - No Comments

“The troubles that the super committee are addressing are very real and difficult problems,” says University of Houston economics professor Steven Craig.

On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation on the House Deficit “super committee” and their impending deadline with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

Set with the task of finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next 10 years, the House Deficit “super committee” has a long road ahead of them, according to University of Houston economics professor Steven Craig.

Craig stopped by Bauer Business Focus recently to discuss the arduous job of the committee.

“The troubles that they are addressing are very real and difficult problems,” Craig said. “People aren’t spending their money because they’re worried about social security deficits and what’s going to happen with Medicare and other long-term problems and addressing those problems in a real way may be very helpful.”

With a November 23 deadline quickly approaching and no agreement in sight, the super committee must reach an amicable agreement that Congress wasn’t able to reach earlier in July.

“The existence of the super committee is saying something about the President and his people and the sense that they aren’t really setting the agenda. As hard as this round is going to be, I don’t think it’s going to be the end of the hard negotiations.”

Click here to hear the full interview.

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