Friday, April 20, 2018

CDI USA ~ Leading the Way in Value Engineering for Corporate Exhibits and Permanent Interiors

CDI USA ~ Moving the Industry ~ Expanding into New State of the Art Facility

Founded in Singapore in 1995, Communication Design International (CDI World) is an international marketing and communications company offering extensive project management services. With offices in the United States, the United Kingdom and Asia, the company is strategically located and well equipped with the knowledge to manage their clients' diverse requirements.

CDI World has accomplished more than 1000 projects around the world. Their portfolio includes brand strategy, design and implementation of retail stores, themed museums, corporate offices, as well as the design, planning and construction of international exhibitions and events.

In 2013 CDI World expanded into its CDI USA facility in metro Atlanta. Today CDI USA announces its expansion into a new Atlanta facility unparalleled in the world.

Keeping with CDI USA's mandate to continuously innovate, the company took extreme care to assure that the new facility will benefit clients, employees - and the environment.

To accommodate business expansion to date - and into the foreseeable future - the new facility will nearly double the space of the current plant; from 55,000 sq ft to 100,000 sq ft.

Energy efficient T5 lighting fixtures are installed throughout the entire facility, resulting in improved work conditions for staff, lower utility costs and a dramatically reduced carbon footprint.

New offices feature almost exclusively reclaimed materials. This includes floor covering, cabinetry and lighting fixtures. Reclaimed wood and other structural materials went into building framework, wall and surface finishes, appliances, counter tops and more.

CDI USA is a sustaining partner with Lifecycle Building Center, or LBC. CDI USA President Durl Jensen has long served on CDI's Advisory Board. CDI and LBC share the mission to reduce waste and minimize the volume of materials delivered to land fills.

CDI USA contributes to this effort by both donating recyclable materials and consuming reclaimed and repurposed materials. This extends to client projects and - at the risk of being redundant - CDI's new facility.

Taking the mandate a measure further, CDI employs key vendor Patterson Services in a strategic effort to virtually eliminate all waste delivered to land fills. CDI has virtually succeeded in doing just that - in a historically high waste producing industry.

From June 2017 to March 2018 CDI achieved an astonishing 100% recycling rate. That translates into zero materials delivered to any land fill. An added benefit is the creation of a variety of components from what would otherwise have been waste - without tapping into the earth's supply of raw source materials.

At the core of CDI USA's business services is value engineering, custom manufacturing and management of custom trade show exhibits, event structures and commercial interiors.

CDI produces award winning exhibits across the globe.

Permanent commercial interiors are a growing facet of CDI's portfolio.

CDI produces corporate events on any scale and at every imaginable type of venue, whether ...

... in a custom created indoor space:

... or the great outdoors.

With offices in the US, United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia and Beijing and over a dozen affiliates spanning 5 continents, no client project is beyond CDI's reach.

The full CDI World Story translates into seamless integration of global capabilities on a scale offered by no other enterprise.


Durl Jensen
1501 Rock Mountain Blvd
Stone Mountain GA 30083

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Homes by Mia ~ Mia Hannah ~ Real Estate with Passion, Focus and Knowledge

Growing up in Atlanta in a family with a loving brother and two loving sisters, Mia Hannah knew her future held few limits. She was surrounded by support, encouragement and assurance.

Just what path Mia would take was not so clearly determined. She 
only knew that she would somehow help, nurture and teach, just as she had been helped, nurtured and taught.

Homes by Mia

Mia's beloved late father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force and a Vietnam veteran. He was away from home during some of Mia's childhood. And that further reinforced Mia's determination to serve.

Though she was born and raised mostly in Georgia, Mia attended middle school in Japan. That gave her a broad perspective on life in so many aspects it is the subject for a whole other discussion.

Upon graduation from Georgia College & State University Mia embarked on a successful sales career in the optometry field. Pardon the pun, but it is perhaps here where Mia gained focus and vision.

In 2003 Mia found her life's calling when she began her real estate career. Here she found she could enrich customers with her passion and knowledge.

With Mia the discussion of "knowledge" gets pleasantly complicated. She certainly does not claim to know everything. She is in constant pursuit of more knowledge. Yet she and others find she is a natural teacher. With remarkable simplicity and clarity, she freely shares the wealth of knowledge she has attained.

In terms of certifications and special recognition, Mia can "modestly boast" these achievements:

EcoBroker®, Certified Distressed Property Expert, Life Member, Atlanta Board of Realtors Million Dollar Club

Mia has two designations that encompass personal passions:

The EcoBroker® program is a symbol of environmentally responsible and sustainable practices in the real estate industry. A long-time, "green" advocate, Mia was delighted to add this internationally-recognized certification to her growing environmental resume. The training educates and empowers real estate professionals to actively promote energy-efficient and "green" features in homes and buildings.

As a Certified Distressed Property Expert, Mia offers skills and tools in the purchase and sale of short sales and foreclosed property.

The Million Dollar Club acknowledges annual sales over $1,000,000. Life Member recognizes that level of volume for 5 years or more.

Mia's volunteer activities primarily revolve around assisting the Senior Citizen Community and this past year she obtained a designation catering to that community - Seniors Real Estate Specialist®. REALTORS® who carry the SRES® designation are specially qualified to address the real estate needs of those age 50+.

Mia brings a unique whole perspective to the real estate experience. Perhaps she could and should claim to be "The Zen Realtor®".

Far more than most agents, Mia shares her invaluable network and resources to the benefit of her customers.

Resources for buyers.
Resources for sellers.
Discover your home's value.

Modesty prevents Mia from excessively touting her attributes. We'll let client testimonials speak on her behalf.

It's just a shame Mia works so hard she never has any fun.

Call Mia Hannah today at 404-317-2352 so she can put her real estate passion, focus and knowledge to work for you. Or go here.

Be sure to ask for "The Zen Realtor®".


Mia Hannah
Homes by Mia
Keller Williams Atlanta Perimeter
115 Perimeter Center Place, Suite 100
Atlanta GA 30346
404-317-2352 - Cell
678-298-1600 - Office

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Country City Realty ~ The Best Marriage of Two Worlds ~ Best Service in Georgia

When you call Country City Realty do not be surprised if a man with a relaxed drawl answers with:

"Country City Realty. This is Country."

Or a relaxed woman with no drawl may answer with:

"Country City Realty. This is City."

This is the relaxed world of Jennifer Short and Jon Ellis, two of the most genuine Realtors® one will find any time anywhere. Do not be deceived by their laid back demeanor. This wife and husband duo know fire, determination and resilience like no other.

In 2008 Jennifer Short sold real estate and owned a rental home agency in New York City. She served Manhattan, Brooklyn, upstate or anywhere a customer may have needs a few bridges or tunnels away.

In 2008 Jon Ellis bred, raised, trained and raced horses in Vian, Oklahoma. Vian is just north of the Arkansas River. That is debatably pronounced 'R-Kansas'. It depends on where the pronouncer is from. Jon's interests were not limited to horses.

For the record, Jennifer has no photos of herself like the one above.

They lived in worlds about as different as any two on one continent can be. They were each successful and happy. And single.

They each happened to casually register on the same matchmaker website. Neither thought to filter geography as a limit to their search. For each this was just an incidental diversion. Not much thought or planning went into it. No particular result was expected.

One day Jon was poking around the website and saw a cute lady named Jennifer. He introduced himself. She introduced herself back. They soon advanced beyond introductions into conversations. Conversations advanced to friendship. Friendship advanced to good friendship. Good friendship advanced to passion - or the real possibility of it. Yet they had never met in person.

Jennifer had a passion for horses from her childhood days in Illinois attending a riding camp. It was something between lofty equestrian training and a gritty dude ranch.

Jon had a passion for horses in his DNA. His family bred, raised, trained and raced horses for generations. He took his passion to another level, hand raising selected horses like his own children.

One fine day in 2009 Jon sold a horse trailer to a buyer in Maine. How convenient. Jon opted to deliver the trailer rather than ship it. New York is conveniently located between Oklahoma and Maine. Jon had never been to New York. Jon had never met Jennifer.

Jon called Jennifer. Each knew one could not park a horse trailer in New York City. They arranged to meet in the country north of the city. Do you see the makings of a great team name developing?

Jon and Jennifer met. They liked each other. A lot. A whole lot.

Jon returned to Oklahoma. Before long Jon and Jennifer agreed some force they could not comprehend took hold of their hearts and minds. They were in love.

Oklahoma was not the place for Jennifer. New York was not the place for Jon. Where then was the place for both of them? Atlanta.

Jon and Jennifer married and moved to a ranch northwest of Atlanta. Jennifer successfully plied her real estate skills in a new market while maintaining business in New York. Jon successfully plied his horsemanship skills while expanding stables and facilities on their new turf. 

Jon and Jennifer returned to Oklahoma to select yearlings from the family ranch to adopt and raise. Jon selected one that struck him as a beauty with potential. Jennifer selected one that followed her around and won her heart.

Things were majestic for three years.

In 2013 things got even more majestic. Jon and Jennifer learned they were expecting a child.

In May 2013 Jon traveled to Oklahoma to race 8 horses he stabled. He owned four and trained three for others. The two horses Jon and Jennifer selected 2 years earlier had the best potential to finish well in the scheduled races.

At the training center others confided that Jon's horse would be the clear favorite to win his race. The purse would exceed $100,000.

As race day approached Jon felt a sense of foreboding. Bad weather was forecast. Having endured a lifetime of Oklahoma weather threats this was nothing new. Yet Jon sensed something ominous. The thought would not leave him. Yet he did not leave Oklahoma.

Then the unimaginable.

On May 20 the largest tornado in history tore across Oklahoma. Jon was at lunch in town and watched as the 2 mile wide funnel blew across the landscape. He leapt into his truck and raced to his horses. When he arrived nothing was there. Nothing except one maimed horse.

Seven of the eight horses simply vanished. Jon found the eight irreparably injured and immediately had it put down.

Jon remained in Oklahoma for days with others who suffered the same fate. By instinct they would return each morning to search for life that could not be found. After a grueling span Jon could do nothing but return to Georgia. Still in shock.

Jennifer had certainly following weather reports. Her obvious first thought was of Jon's survival. The relief that Jon was fine was immense, the enormity of their family loss equally immense.

They lost most of their family. They lost their financial fortune. They lost much of their life. And they had a child on the way.

Upon return home Jon did all he could do. He worked. He went to work with equipment he has and tended the property of neighbors. He cared for Derbydaydelight, their lone surviving horse who was too young to take and race in Oklahoma. To bring in new horses was not an option, economically or emotionally.

Jon and Jennifer had a daughter, Montana, a healthy, brilliant, amazing girl. 

With the passage of time despair led to resignation, then resolve and determination. 

Jennifer continued to prosper in real estate, both in New York and Georgia. Jon continued to work. They loved on and nurtured Montana. They bought a house closer to Atlanta with no room for a horse and sent Derbydaydelight back home to Oklahoma.

Montana continues to amaze to this day. She is a child who thrives.

In October 2017 Jon joined Jennifer to form Country City Realty. Perhaps their past is all part of a greater design. The team immediately discovered that the two parts make a greater whole than they could possibly imagine. The majesty they found in romance and marriage at once was manifest in their work.

Today Jon and Jennifer greet each day with marvel. At what new skill Montana will reveal. At what new adventure lies before them. At what new opportunity they may find to help someone buy or sell a home.

To work with Jon and Jennifer is to experience the pleasure of real estate as it should be. They bring to every relationship and transaction an unmatched level of energy, dedication and compassion.

Call Country City Realty today at 404-695-8685 to sell your home or buy one. 

Whether it be Country or City, whoever answers will take excellent care of you.


Jennifer Short Ellis
Jon Ellis
Country City Realty Team at Keller Williams Realty Partners
220 Heritage Walk, Suite 100
Woodstock, GA 30075

Friday, March 30, 2018

Phi Gamma Delta Ski Chalet ~ Lake Lanier Orr Yacht Club Commodore's Ball ~ Lies & Untruths That Started & Perpetuated it All

Beginning in 1968 founding brethren of the Kappa Deuteron Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta at the University of Georgia proudly dwelt in an exceptionally regal structure.

Okay, let's not dicker that we had an 1800's chapter slapped down and out because hooligans broke curfew to go to the circus. We know that and have talked about that. We're talking this minute about where Delta Colony guys and their immediate successors dwelt.

This is where early modern era Phi Gams resided. Of course we know that none of those young men were hooligans.

In the early 1970's brothers or others who choose to remain nameless concluded Phi Gams were not suited for such a regal dwelling. Perhaps early brethren were hooligans after all and were evicted. No one is talking.

Somehow Phi Gams acquired a sweet piece of real estate upon which to erect a monumentally ugly structure. No one is talking about how this came about or if there was some structural design competition whereby the designer receiving the fewest votes was awarded the project. This was the result. Quality roofs do not sag like this.

Since no one is talking let's just tell the story the way we want and see who emerges to call us liars. Hooligans were involved. They were to be evicted from their regal dwelling. Perhaps they were to be evicted from the University of Georgia and the state of Georgia. Perhaps they were destined for labor camps in Siberia.

To avoid any of these eventualities the hooligan Phi Gams sponsored a poker night and invited owners of sweet pieces of Athens real estate. Hunch punch flowed freely. The property owner who consumed the most hunch punch lost his sweet piece of real estate. He also lost his girlfriend. She went on to become an early Phi Gam Sweetheart.

With property in hand a structure was needed. A design contest took place at this Bavarian Alpine Inn during Open Mike Yodeling Night.

Hunch punch flowed freely. When hunch punch ran out and no one could yodel any longer Phi Gams decided one building design looked like it might be a happening venue to attract 1970's women. Due to many exotic forces that influenced 1970's women the design in fact went on to function quite well in the women attraction department. In other departments not so much.

With remaining proceeds from the hunch punch poker game Phi Gams built a structure loosely resembling the design selected on the hunch punch yodeling night. Construction details will follow after several digressions. Phi Gams moved into the structure.

This is where conjecture ends and the verifiable legend begins.

In 1976 brothers and occasional women influenced by exotic forces would sunbathe on the flat roof of our glorious house, by then recognized as the “ski lodge”. Whether that was an affectionate term or other was a moment to moment decade to decade thing.

Before long a puddle became apparent near a roof drain.

Gradually the puddle grew. And grew. This in not the actual roof.

The puddle grew impressively. Water mysteriously never drained despite what appeared to be drains. This in not the actual roof either.

This puddle demanded a name. Lake Lanier Orr. Lanier Orr was the Delta Colony brother and Athens area home builder who built the ski chalet. That’s about all we undergrads knew about him in 1976.

Lake Lanier Orr demanded a high brow recreational facility. Lake Lanier Orr Yacht Club.

Yes, we have already shown you this facility. It is in no way high brow. But it was the only Yacht Club available to us.

Lake Lanier Orr Yacht Club demanded a potentate. The Lake Lanier Orr Yacht Club Commodore. Who maybe should look something like one of these prosperous and attractive people.

The Lake Lanier Orr Yacht Club demanded a regal annual celebration. The Lake Lanier Orr Yacht Club Commodore's Ball was born.

The late great Steve “Codman” Tmay served as the inaugural Commodore. Yours truly served as 
inaugural boatswain a/k/a bos’n.

The Lake Lanier Orr Yacht Club Commodore’s Ball followed a theme employed by many, but never before at Kappa Deuteron. Brothers and dates arrived with packed luggage hoping to win a weekend beach vacation awarded as the grand finale of evening festivities.

All this was engaged on short notice. Commodore Tmay expended minimal if any effort seeking appropriate attire, settling contentedly on a blazer and ascot. This is not Codman.

Bos’n Stoddard worked marginally harder attempting to locate at the very least an official whistle essential to welcoming guests aboard.

The Navy School was the obvious and only source to procure a bos’n whistle. The cashier smirked and advised it is called a pipe or more properly a boatswain’s call, never a whistle. The Navy School still did not inventory them due to the dearth of ships in Athens upon which passengers might need to be welcomed aboard.

A sailor cap and referee's whistle would have to suffice for this bos’n.

The First Annual Lake Lanier Orr Yacht Club Commodore’s Ball was festive even with guests welcomed aboard by an improper pipe / call / whistle. Some kind of grog beverage was concocted by the trash can full. A brother with a blind date won the vacation, most certainly giving rise to an awkward weekend of unguaranteed romance.

In year 2 the first bos’n was promoted to Commodore 2 following the graduation of Commodore 1. Commodore 2 was astonished when girlfriend Julie Sams’ father, a former Navy officer, bequeathed to him his 
Navy blazer and peaked cap. Bequeathed, not loaned. The Commodore asked if the father was certain, as the volatile Stoddard-Sams romance had notoriously unstable sea legs. The father was certain. His son is probably curious about that bequeathal to this day. The blazer looked like any blazer but with several stripes. The cap resembled this but with fewer scrambled eggs. 

Promoted to bos’n 2 was Rusty “Vince” Blair. N
o one can remember year 2 Lake Lanier Orr Yacht Club Commodore’s Ball except that it was vaguely similar to the year 1 event. At night's end bos'n Vince was promoted to Commodore 3. When year 3 Ball dates approached Commodore 3 Vince confessed to retired Commodore 2 that he lost the Commodore blazer and peaked cap. Vince liked to climb trees and meditate. Perhaps he pondered there the meaning of life and where he last saw the many things he lost. This is not the actual Vince.

Back to the ski chalet.

During the summer quarter of 1978 Bob Cheeley, Tommy “Poonhead” Williams, Mike “Duckie” Hall, Walker “Stalker” Campbell and yours truly resided in the officers' quarters. The condition of those quarters was by then a powerful deterrent to becoming an officer.

One night when all but 2 brothers were lodged elsewhere a monsoon hit Athens. Cheeley and yours truly were awakened by the noise equivalent to Niagara Falls from a distance of 18 inches. Not sure what led us there but we ended up in the kitchen to find roof water flowing down via the 2nd floor and out of fluorescent ceiling light fixtures. Somehow the fluorescent tube lights still shone and no sparks flew, yet water gushed out of the fixtures by the gallons. Kinda like this but with way more water and in a gnarly kitchen far less nice than this office.

We grabbed jimongo trash cans formerly used to concoct and dispense Lanier Orr Yacht Club Commodore’s Ball grog and began collecting water. We collected and dumped water for hours. At the recent Pig Dinner Brother Cheeley advised that Duckie Hall was there to bail too.

This is not the recollection of yours truly, but let’s not split hairs. It would be entirely unlike Hall to stick around during frantic hours of aquatic need, though with a name like Duckie he should have been perfectly suited to our task. In my mind Duckie would have bolted from that scene 
like this. But I digress.

Days later we learned the peculiar occurrence of gallons of water pouring out of functioning light fixtures was the result of an aberrant drain line malfunction deep within the ski lodge bowels.

The rest of the ski lodge bowel failure and repair details are fuzzy because yours truly moved to Rivermill weeks later. There the roof was 67.3% less likely to collapse as one slept. This is what a habitable structure with a proper roof looks like.

Let’s exercise some timeline suspension.

Each and every year ski lodge namesake Lanier Orr loyally attended Pig Dinners absolutely devoid of any apparent shame. He even entered and loitered in the ski chalet, which he had to know better than anyone was primed to implode any second, minute, day, week, year or decade. Take your pick, but Brother Orr showed zero shame or fear. Brothers like me found that astonishing. That link is not Lanier Orr, not a Brother and not even a man. It's the best Google can find. To the best of our knowledge Brother Orr has never been arrested or worn anything orange. Since we really need an image at this point we chose a handsome guy. Let's say this is Lanier Orr.

For decades yours truly disparaged Brother Orr without mentioning him by name to any member of the general public when discussing our UGA fraternity house, as follows:

“Our fraternity amazingly prospered despite a lodge that looked like an ugly ski chalet shabbily built with no plan whatsoever by a fraternity brother with an otherwise excellent reputation for quality work. The structure violated every architectural standard known to man.”

This is what yours truly wanted people to imagine.

Several months prior to a recent 
Pig Dinner reunion my blood brother Clay informed me of the first fallacy of my decades of contrivance and/or false recollection. An architect did in fact design the place and secure all requisite stamps and building code conformity approvals. Only he designed and got it approved with no basement in the plans. 

The basement idea came late in the game, and Brother Orr was asked if it could be included. An accommodating fellow, he said it could be done and did it. The afterthought basement was largely the cause of inherent structural instability from day one of the building completion. Yet this was not Brother Orr’s fault in any way. Yours truly did not sweat the vague fault or liability details. Yours truly just wanted more details.

Yours truly owed Brother Orr one large yacht load of an apology, as likely did decades of brothers who were armed with misinformation. Much of that misinformation was likely initiated and certainly perpetuated by yours truly.

Clay suggested not to worry. Lanier is probably good with everything. Yours truly was not good with everything.

At this point I will begin to speak in first person instead of yours truly.

Fast forward to a recent afternoon Pig Dinner event in Athens. I pulled Lanier Orr aside and began to blather my poorly rehearsed apology for decades of misguided abuse of his name and reputation. It may have been the first time I ever looked him directly in the eye at close range.

Then came what I call The Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment blew away all other decade long fallacies of contrivance and false recollection. We had virtually zero facts correct. Lanier calmly and with no pretension told the real story.

Lanier did not build the house and was not instrumental in its plan. Another builder got to a point of approximately 90% completion then disappeared. Fortunately he did not depart with any Phi Gam funds for uncompleted work. Lanier was the only go to guy who could come to the rescue given the schedule. He was local and talented. Whether he was available is moot. He made himself available. Lanier did not throw in the word “talented”. I did.

Yes, the basement was an afterthought. No, the columns placed down there to support the rest of the house were never the proper length or properly set. There was more than the only one column I thought I remembered. I remember only one because it obstructed billiards shots on the only sorry pool table we owned during my era.

That table was cheap to begin with and came by virtue of the chapter somehow winning it. It was never properly leveled on the concrete floor that was never properly leveled. It had strange ruts, leans and angles I came to know and occasionally used to my advantage during the only period in my life I was remotely decent at billiards.

Okay, back to the lodge. 

This week I reached out to Brother Lanier Orr for further edification on details. I know of no email address for him. I left him a voice message. Perhaps he prefers to lay low. He is retired and he has earned the right to lay however he wishes.

I go on record here to say Kappa Deuteron owes Brother Orr a debt of gratitude. For a many years he got a bad rep he did not deserve. Perhaps he was unaware of misinformed young twits like me thinking less than ideal things about him. I hope all is well today.

Following that 1978 gully wash I thought it impossible the house would stand another week, much less another decade plus. We even won a few of our 14 Cheney Cups while the place held together.

I last set foot in the old place circa 1983 before moving to Chicago. What it must have looked like and been like to dwell in at the end of its life circa 1990 I can not imagine. 

The Kappa Deuteron Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta at the University of Georgia now occupies the regal structure befitting the Finest Fraternity Ever to Grace Planet Earth.

It was not always so.