Category Archives: Reviews

Introducing Our New Website

The New McCord Web Services Website.
The New McCord Web Services Website.

We’ve launched our new website last week and invite you to take a look at https://www.mccordweb.com.

Created using a new responsive framework from Project Seven, our new site is made for speed. We have utilized a number of different page layouts using the Zeitgeist page pack.

Our new site features a return to our original colors from years past of a blue-green, gray, and black and we have moved to https.

We have revamped our content, streamlined our services, and introduced new offerings.

As part of our change, we will be changing up our marketing mix.

  • Our newsletter will disappear in October.
  • Our blog postings will move from twice a week to monthly.
  • Our blog posting will be longer, more thoughtful articles.
  • Our social media will focus on LinkedIn engagement.

You will start to see these changes over the next month as we work out pre-scheduled content.

We look forward to many more years serving our clients.

Visit the site now.

 

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Viking River Cruises Internet Access

The Trouble with Travel is Staying Connected.
The Trouble with Travel is Staying Connected.

Going on a Viking River cruise in Europe? I’ve just been on one and wanted to share with you my Internet access experience so you can plan better than I did.

First, I have Verizon and I do have the Verizon Travel Pass. I expected to be able to use my own data plan with Verizon for Internet access to my business while on travel. What I found out is the following.

Wi-fi access on the boat is literally non-existent. If you sit in one of the common areas, you may be able to upload a Facebook photo and maybe, just maybe, do a Facebook messenger phone call, but do not plan on connecting your laptop or doing real work.

Even if the boat is in port, you will still have issues with connectivity. You simply set yourself up for frustration to use the boat internet.

Now, here’s the big kicker, I thought I would be able to use Verizon for my access when the boat connection was poor, but Verizon must have very little coverage in the area of Germany, France, and Switzerland along the Rhine. I found that even out of the port on a bus to a tour that I was roaming with little or no connectivity using Verizon. The ability to read email with no attachments was about the extent of what I found doable.

My recommendation is that if you are traveling on a Viking River cruise, plan on not getting online. If you do, it will be a bonus!

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The Power of Zoom Conferencing

Get in touch with Zoom conferencing from all devices.
Get in touch with Zoom conferencing from all devices.

I am new to Zoom, an online conference and video conference application. So far with integration with my Calendly.com account, my clients are loving the power of the visuals Zoom affords.

I use a Logitech video cam and the Logitech app called Capture as my video controller. Then, when I have a Zoom conference, I link to my video and do screen sharing with clients showing my face on one side of the screen and their account in the center.

My clients are choosing to communicate with me this way in nearly all of my Google Ads strategy calls. There is power in seeing the results in their own Google Ads accounts with my explanation.

It has made it significantly easier to understand a client’s questions and show account results. There is power in a visual!

I am using the free version of Zoom, which still provides for very nice features is very easy for clients to use. It does take me about 5 minutes or so to get everything connected before my call for best client experience, but it has helped customers to more clearly understand what we do and how we do it via Zoom.

P.S. I make no money off this review or referral. I just like using this free application.

 

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SPower’s Industrial Solar Plant in Spotsylvania, Virginia Reviewed

The Meadow Family is positioned to sell a 6,500 tract of land adjoining my subdivision to sPower where they hope to build the 5th largest solar industrial plant in the world and the largest east of the Mississippi.

This solar industrial complex will contain 1.8 million Cadmium Telluride photo voltaic panels. It will be positioned within 50 feet of some local property lines and will forever change the complexion of our semi-rural county of Spotsylvania, Virginia. And not for the better.

These are my concerns and my personal review on this project by sPower.

One

Based on research and an estimate of 4,500 acres to be used for solar generating and using Land Mark Dividend.com’s estimate of return per acre, sPower stands to generate $95,625,000 (over $96 million) to $191,250,000 (over $191 million) in profit yearly. Note this is profit not gross revenue before expenses.

Over the 30 year lifespan of the equipment this is a profit of $2,868,750,000 ($2.8 billion) to $5,737,500,000 ($5.7 billion) for sPower investors.

sPower offers (but not in writing at this time and not in the County paperwork details that were part of the County Staff review – so therefore only is a verbal declaration, $660,000 for 30 years which is $19,800,000 $19.8 million. This “proffer” is only .34% of potential profits from the highest number of $5.7 billion that sPower may be generating in profit for their investors.

If the suggested $660,000 proffer does not meet the new Virginia code in subsection C of the Act for “specifically attributable” as it is not paid for a need that was created, at least in part, by the rezoning. In other words the proffer must address a need that was created by the rezoning or it may be therefore considered illegal and then the county receives nothing.

With the extremely high profit of this project and very low investment back into the community which will be forever changed by this project, I do not personally feel that the special use permit for sPower to build this plant and change the zoning from agricultural to industrial should be approved. There is not enough financial benefit to county residents even with the perks sPower has dangled to residents in their printed and online materials. There is a lopsided positive benefit to sPower investors.

Two

Recycling of CdTe solar panels is a concern. Most documentation is about the recycling of silicone based panels and not the more hazardous and less expensive CdTe panels being used in this project.

Recycle PV appears at this time to be one of the very few US located solar panel recyclers.  Some solar panel manufacturers may offer recycling programs. For now, the industry consensus is that this is a new area and that the need for recycling cannot be met by the existing resources as panels age out.

As a result many panels are removed and stacked and some even put in landfills as the United States does not have the legislative regulation to control and mitigate environmental harm caused by the storage or disposal of aged out solar panels.

In fact, the problem is so significant that the State of Washington beginning in 2021 now requires all solar panel manufacturers selling in the state, to submit to a stewardship plan for approval to include recycling and also codifies the removal, disposal, and storage of solar panels. In Washington State, solar panels are now managed as dangerous waste. Spotsylvania County has none of these regulations.

Additionally, the decommissioning and recycling costs will likely far exceed what is expected or even estimated.

Recently, it cost the Department of Energy, $0.20/watt to encapsulate the Abound solar panel modules made by First Solar(the company which will be supplying the solar panels for the pending Spotsylvania project) in concrete due to the Cadmium. As many as 140,000 modules were encapsulated at a cost or $2.2 million.

The use of the cheaper CdTe solar panels is a health hazard that will be 30 years in the making. Although while the facility is in operation sPower says they will immediately address any broken panels, during decommissioning it is not unusual to stack panels; potentially breaking the glass seal leading to serious toxic leakage into the soil.

With recycling of solar panels not being widely done at this point, it seems shortsighted to not factor in the serious and dangerous consequences of where these panels go, how they are to be stored, and mistakes that are sure to happen in handling when being taken down.

The risk is too high and potential cleanup costs to the county unknowable predicating a NO to this Solar Power Industrial Complex.

Spotsylvania Count,y Virginia should not be a test site for sPower’s 125 LLC aggregate business eager to make a huge profit and destroy woodlands and wetlands of our beautiful rural and agriculture environment and damage our rural cultural heritage.

 

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Steer Clear of Outback Landscaping and Call Me Construction LLC

I have a sad tale to tell, but one of a cautionary note. If you are looking for a review on Charles N. Thomas of Outback Landscaping also doing business as Call Me Construction LLC, know that you should not do business with this individual for good reason.

Charles Thomas the owner of Outback Landscaping is a thief. He stole $10,000 from us and abandoned our hardscape project at 75% completion. We have had to hire a new contractor to finish the job.

This was a $50,000 project. It has now been over a year since he started. What we have to show is compacted gravel, garden walls and no pavers except under our hot tub. We don’t even have wall caps or column caps.

We cannot even finish our electrical inspection due to his inability to perform as he contracted to do so, causing a safety hazard.

We found out several months into the project that he let his contractor’s license expire, and that was just the start. Many customers are in trouble now due to this man.

One customer took him to court with a $300 per hour lawyer to get a judgement which they cannot collect as he has no money, assets, or has hidden his property as the lawyer suspects. He now has a $27,034 judgment against him from a similar situation as ours.

Virginia State Department of Regulation has revoked his contractor license on 9-11-18 and he had to pay a $4,500 fine for one problem with the project abandonment and $4,200 fine for failed project.

We are filing a complaint with the state too. We found out, however, from the AB Kearns Eagle Bay block distributor that he is continuing to buy materials and perform work for unsuspecting customers.

I have to say, based on the way he takes money from clients, promises endlessly in a believable manner, and is so very smooth in all he says and does; that he is believable until you have given him too much money and then he appears to walk the project. But only, after stringing you on with endless health and family issues that may or may not be legitimate. At this point, I trust nothing he says.

Acting in a state of fraud, is a pattern of behavior with this person. These two businesses I have mentioned by name are not the only ones he has done this with – stolen money, not completed jobs, closed down and started up under other names.

Charles Thomas needs to be in jail and we will be working with state authorities to get him there. BEWARE!

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Rebecca McCord – Virginia Tech Graduating Senior

Rebecca A. McCord, Virginia Tech Senior
Rebecca A. McCord, Virginia Tech Senior

Our very own Rebecca A. McCord is a graduating senior at Virginia Tech.  She is seeking full-time employment in the Washington D.C. region in the national defense and/or security field.

Her major is BAIS in National Security and Foreign Affairs with minors in Leadership, Russian, International Public Policy and Global Engagement.

You can see Rebecca A. McCord’s  full resume and curricula vitae on the Wix website that, by the way, she built herself.

Rebecca has been my Executive Assistant for several years. Although my firm will miss her for her exceptional qualifications and head for business, it is time for her make a difference in the world around her.

A person of unique qualifications, Rebecca A. McCord brings to the table a very strong work ethic, desire to make our country strong in the global order and global marketplace, and a desire to succeed. She speaks Russian and French. Rebecca will be graduating in May 2019 but is scheduling job interviews now for full time employment after graduation.

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