Category: Educational

How to Protect Construction Sites during Hurricane Season

How to Protect Construction Sites during Hurricane Season

By Chris Tilton, co-founder, Dewitt Tilton Group

Hurricane Irma is probably a memory to most, but hurricane season lasts until November 30, and for builders, the weather plays a major role in any construction plan.

If you have not already done so, now is the time to put a hurricane safety plan into place for any construction site. Having a clear strategy ready to go reduces the risk of unnecessary damage, helps prevent injuries on the site and gives you peace of mind.

Let’s start with the basics.

A hurricane watch is issued when a storm is expected to arrive within 48 hours, and a warning is issued when tropical storm conditions are within 36 hours. When a hurricane watch is announced, it’s time to put your plan in place and prepare the construction site.

Steps for Creating a Contingency Plan
The first step is to create a checklist for areas and equipment in need of protection. This list will most likely include tools, heavy equipment, generators, fuel tanks, portable toilets and other materials that cannot be moved to an inside location. Be sure each item on the check list is assigned to a specific member of the team and take time to review the checklist prior to any potential threats.

Your contingency plan should also include a communications piece. In addition to notifying your on-site team, subcontractors should be notified that the site is halting all work until further notice.

Planning for large amounts of water is key to any plan. Heavy rains and flooding are leading causes of damage to construction sites. It is imperative that any construction site is equipped with permanent and temporary drainage systems to maintain the structural stability of the area.

If there are vehicles on the site, they should be moved to higher ground and away from structures that could be damaged. Plus, consider filling the tanks on these vehicles prior to any hurricane or storm.

One of the last but most crucial steps is to turn off access points for all utilities. Now is also the time to remove any project documents from the construction trailer and secure them to an offsite location. As you leave the site, snap a few photos on your phone for future reference. These may come in handy if any items are missing or damaged after the fact.

After Effects
Any good contingency plan will include necessary steps for clean-up and getting back in business after a hurricane. Once you return to the site, assess and document any damage, giving special attention to downed power lines, unstable structures or wet electrical panels. Items to have on hand include cleaning supplies and fuel for vehicles. Finally contact the appropriate utilities and contact your insurance carrier for any assessment needs.

It’s important that all construction companies have a written hurricane preparation plan. Ideally, the plan will be detailed with specific assignments and action deadlines. And during hurricane season, be sure to monitor the weather on a regular basis.

This type of preparation does require added cost, effort and time but can be extremely valuable in the long run and may be your best investment. If construction managers follow these outlined steps and provide clear communication, any site will be up and running considerably quicker and suffer much less loss.

Chis Tilton of the Dewitt Tilton Group

Chris Tilton, co-founder, Dewitt Tilton Group

Chris Tilton is the co-founder of the Dewitt Tilton Group, a Savannah area commercial construction company. For more information or to contact Tilton, call 912.777.3404 or email


Bethesda Academy Announces Open House to Take Place December 3, 2017

Bethesda Academy Announces Open House to Take Place December 3, 2017

(SAVANNAH, GA) Bethesda Academy will host an open house on Sunday, Dec. 3, in the Diamond Dining Hall for prospective students to get a glimpse of the education the historic school offers.

The open house will begin at 2 p.m. Bethesda Academy is located at 9520 Ferguson Ave., and applications are being accepted for the 2018-2019 school year.

Bethesda Academy is known for its tradition of excellence. Young men in grades 6-12 benefit from small class sizes, supportive teachers and yearly campus internships.

The school, which dates to 1740, prides itself on transforming every boy into a young man of the utmost character. The Bethesda experience goes beyond the classroom walls. Its core values, which include a love of God, a love of learning and a strong work ethic, are instilled in every student.

Bethesda also boasts a dynamic and disciplined athletic program as well as an outstanding preparatory curriculum focused on career and higher education pursuits. No student leaves Bethesda without entrepreneurial and “real world” leadership skills.

“We want everyone to see what it’s like to get an education at Bethesda,” said Bethesda Academy president Michael Hughes. “We don’t just educate. We truly transform, and anyone who comes out on December 3 will most definitely find that out for himself.”

For more information about the open house, contact Brandi Hebron-Simpson, director of admissions, at 912.351.2066 or

For more information about Bethesda Academy, visit or call 912.644.4376.

Bethesda Academy

Bethesda Academy

Founded in 1740, Bethesda Academy is the oldest child-care institution in the United States. It is a private boarding and day school for young men in grades six through twelve and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The 650-acre campus features a variety of athletic teams, a wildlife management and organic farming program and a “hands-on” comprehensive curriculum that includes technology applications and STEM opportunities. Through its “Lead The Way” initiative, students have access to exclusive integrated learning and leadership opportunities. For more information, visit or call 912.644.4376.

Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade PR
Cecilia Russo Marketing

Q&A: Please Meet Mike Hughes

Q&A: Please Meet Mike Hughes

Please Meet H. Michael Hughes Ph.D.
Bethesda Academy

Q: When did you join Bethesda?
A: I started my service as President of Bethesda Academy in the summer of 2016.

Q: What is your experience in education and how long have you been an educator?
A: Prior to accepting the position at Bethesda, I served as headmaster for 5 years at Antilles School in St. Thomas, which is considered to be one of the finest independent schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I also led Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville as its superintendent (president) during a six-year comprehensive rebranding period from 1999 to 2005. I taught college for eight years at West Point, and also served as Director of the Center there. I have been a teacher for 31 years and earned graduate degrees at the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Q: What motivated you to get into education?
A: I was inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s vision for his final years to establish an institution of learning for those who follow us. I thought that becoming a school leader to inspire and develop young people would be a very meaningful, intrinsically satisfying way to end my working career. And it has.

Q: What did you do before becoming an educator?
A: After graduation from West Point, I proudly served our nation as an Infantry officer in the United States Army during a 22-year career. My service included assignments in California and at Ft. Benning, GA; as well as with the U.S. European Command in Germany and in the Middle East. I also served as an infantry rifle company commander along the DMZ in Korea and culminated my military career as a tenured associate professor at West Point.

Q: What is your most meaningful contribution as a teacher/mentor?
A: As a teacher of leadership and counseling for eight years at West Point, I taught hundreds of cadets and had a life-changing impact on an entire generation of young men and women who would become superb Army officers. I take pride in celebrating the successes of my former students, whether they become community leaders or represent our Country in leading the global war on terror.

Q: What sets your leadership style apart?
A: My leadership style is very intense, focused, hands-on and engaged. During my numerous experiences as a leadership instructor at West Point, MIT, and the Army, I learned the key lesson that leadership skills can be learned if taught in several modes including theory and practical skills combined with an opportunity to learn from other successful leaders from many areas of life.

Q: What are your most memorable awards?
A: Truly, my “most memorable” award was the privilege of working with America’s finest young men and women at West Point, the United States Army, and in fine schools like Bethesda Academy. When I retired from active duty in 1999 as a Lieutenant Colonel, I was humbled to receive the Legion of Merit for my contributions to the United States Army and West Point. Also, during my doctoral studies and formal training at the University of Virginia, I was selected as a lifetime member of the prestigious Raven Society for my contributions to the University of Virginia and the Charlottesville community in leadership and community service.

Q: What is your vision for Bethesda Academy?
A: I believe Bethesda will become a transformative leadership academy that provides a superb academic and preparatory experience, both college and vocational, to help each boy reach his potential. To achieve this, we have renewed and strengthened our mission to teach meaningful leadership skills to each Bethesda boy and created a new curriculum to support it.

Q: What are three things you want the community to know about Bethesda Academy?
1) Founded in 1740, Bethesda Academy is the oldest child-care institution in the United States. That being said, we are no longer an orphanage. Now we are a private boarding and day school for young men in grades six through twelve and are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
2) Bethesda Academy is an all-male school, and as such, we are fiercely proud that 95 percent of our students graduate on time, and 85 percent of our students go on to college.
3) Bethesda Academy is formalizing an organizational structure to build an effective leadership team and beginning the transformation to a leadership academy.

Q: What are the benefits of an all male school?
A: Founded on a belief in God, Bethesda nurtures boys through competency-based, flexible instructional programs and work preparation so they will grow into responsible citizens. Bethesda offers an education in a smaller, supervised, supportive environment. The 650-acre campus features a variety of athletic teams, a wildlife management and organic farming program and STEM curriculum.

Q: Does Bethesda offer any special programs?
A: Students in grades 9–12 spend one class period of their schedule each day in one of our Campus internships. While the experiences are all unique, students are taught and expected to demonstrate solid work ethic skills. Student interns are currently managed by peer mentors in the following areas: athletics, athletic training, wildlife sanctuary and preserve, dining services, office assistants, development marketing and hospitality, introduction to digital media, teacher’s aide, cattle and beef program, farm and gardens and maintenance.

Q: How can the community get involved?
A: The community can help by providing funding support and opportunities for internships, as well as externship experiences.

Q: How many employees do you have?
A: We have 40 staff members.

Q: Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?
A: I first read “Once an Eagle” by Anton Myrer in 1976 when I was an infantry commander stationed in Korea. It is both a military book and a leadership book and a great study in character, contrasting the lives of two officers. One takes care of his soldiers and serves his country. The other man serves himself only, always seeking a higher rank. A valuable lesson I learned from reading the book is always to get on the ground and see what’s really happening with the people you lead.

Q: Tell us about your family and what you enjoy doing when you aren’t working.
A: My wife Donna and I love it here in Savannah. During my military career, I spent time at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield and developed an appreciation and love for the Savannah area, so it felt like coming home when we came to Bethesda and Savannah. Donna and I have three grown children, two daughters and a son, two of whom are teachers, and one who is an attorney. I like working out by weight lifting and exercising on a tread-climber. I also enjoy spending time with my wife, along with outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing and exploring.

Bethesda Academy President H. Michael Hughes, Ph.D.

Bethesda Academy President H. Michael Hughes, Ph.D.

Contact information:
Location: 9520 Ferguson Road, Savannah, GA 31406.
Call: 912.644.4376

Ten Things Parents Should Know about Autism

Ten Things Parents Should Know about Autism

Matthew Reardon Center for Autism Open House Nov 15

With 1 in 68 children, 1 in 44 boys, and 1% of USA population having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the below list will help parents identify signs and symptoms of autism.

They can also stop by The Open House for The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, taking place Wednesday, Nov. 15, 5:30-7:00 pm.

The Center for Autism operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism as part of the ADVANCE Academy. For more information visit

The following is a modified excerpt from Ron Sandison’s blog, 10 Things Teachers should know about Autism.

1.Every child with autism is unique. Some children are nonverbal and may never be able to speak. Many children with autism are highly intelligent and learn to read and write at an early age. Some children with an autism diagnosis can have an unbelievable gift for math, music, or art. Parents should know that autism is a spectrum, and each child is distinct and should not be labeled based on his or her place on the bell-shaped curve. A high-support child may not be a low-functioning child.

2.Every child with autism has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Parents must use learning styles that fit the child’s strengths.

3.Children with autism usually have a special interest. We should use the child’s passion as a motivational tool for learning new subjects. Julie Ann Reed, whose son has Asperger’s, said, “If your son or daughter has an obsession, use it to help him or her to learn new material. My son Paul is obsessed with computers; so I use computers as a reward system.”

4. Children with autism usually have repetitive behavioral patterns. Parents should understand a child’s routine and help him to follow his patterns to prevent a tantrum or meltdown. Disruptions in schedule can result in extreme anxiety and anger.

5.Children with autism usually have sensory issues. Most of us pay little attention to our senses. When you feel cold, you put on a sweater. When music is too loud, you turn down the volume. For some children with autism, senses provide unreliable information causing great discomfort and anxiety. These children may experience sensory issues with touch, sound, taste, smell, or sight. Parents need to be aware of sensory issues a child may experience in his environment.

6.Children with autism may display stimming behavior. When you bite your nails, tap your pencil, or twirl your hair, you are engaging in the behavior pattern called stimming. This behavior with children of autism can include flapping their hands up-and-down, pacing in circles, rocking back-and-forth, or spinning their whole body. Autistic stimming can be a hindrance by prohibiting the child from interacting with peers.

7. Children with autism tend to experience difficulty with understanding verbal instructions. Parents should relay their instructions in easy-to-follow steps and also use visual aids to ensure your child understands your instructions.

8. Children with autism may have difficultly decoding social cues. Inability to interpret nonverbal communication will cause a child to feel awkward in social settings. Parents should teach students with autism to model their peers through deliberate and specific observation and instruction.

9.Children with autism who lack social skills may make inappropriate and mean comments. Parents need to be prepared for a child with autism to say hurtful words and not to take those comments personally. Teach the child by your own example to say words of praise and thanksgiving.

10. Like all children, children with autism need your love and encouragement. Many children with autism may feel isolated due to having been bullied. Your love and support will encourage your students.

MRCA also offers regular instructional and training opportunities to parents and family members, educators, health professionals, college interns and self-advocates.

Ron Sandison works full-time in the medical field and is a professor of theology at Destiny School of Ministry. He is a task force member for the Autism Society’s Faith Initiative and is on the autism spectrum. (

Matthew Rearden Center for Autism Open House

MRCA operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism. They have provided advocacy and outreach services to more than 800 families across southeast Georgia and have hosted professional training and instructional opportunities for more than 4,000 family members, educators, health professionals and self-advocates. The organization was incorporated in 2000 and currently serves 22 students through ADVANCE Academy. They have 11 full-time employees and operate in a 6000 sq foot suite located at 6602 Abercorn St #200, Savannah, GA 31405. Website:

The center is located off the Northeast corner where Abercorn St. intersects with Jackson Blvd. (just north of Chucky Cheese), 2nd floor.

Patti T. Victor, President and CEO
The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, Inc, and Advance Academy
912-355-9098 (office)
912-352-2460 (fax)

Park Place Outreach Presents “Wear Green Day” to Recognize National Runaway Prevention Month

“Wear Green Day” Set for November 10 to Recognize National Runaway Prevention Month in Savannah

(SAVANNAH, GA) Greenbriar Children’s Center and HUGS (Heads-Up Guidance Services) have partnered with Park Place Outreach – Youth Emergency Shelter in inviting the public to participate in “Wear Green Day” on Friday, Nov. 10, in conjunction with the 2017 National Runaway Prevention Month. The three organizations have similar missions in providing services to Savannah area families and at-risk youth and are also seeking participation by other potential partners.

The theme of this year’s event is “Friends Helping Friends.” Savannah-Chatham County Public School students and teachers are being encouraged wear green on Nov. 10 to share the message that support and friendship can come in the form of teachers, mentors, peers and family members. There may be as many as 900 students in the local school system who are homeless.

“We’re seeking participation throughout the community in adopting this important campaign and sharing its powerful message,” said Julie Wade, executive director of Park Place Outreach. Wade is also a board member of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. ”Our goal is to unite communities to help support at-risk youth as they navigate their world and let them know they do have options to get off the street, starting with the National Runaway Safeline, a 24/7 resource for youth in crisis.”

The three lead organizations all have similarly-focused missions of helping strengthen families and providing vital services to children and youth who may be homeless or in crisis situations.

“Statistics show people don’t often seek the counseling they need because they cannot afford the high cost,” said Ellen Bradley, executive board member for HUGS. “We want them to know there are resources available to them, regardless of their ability to pay.”

This faith-based non-profit is dedicated to making professional mental & behavioral health counseling and addiction recovery services affordable to all motivated individuals. This year they’ve added several new collaborative partners that focus on serving at-risk youth in our community.

The mission of Greenbriar Children’s Center is to promote the healthy development of children and the strengthening of families. They provide services that include an emergency shelter, runaway/homeless, residential care, independent living, family preservation, early childhood education & care, and Project Safe Place.

“The numbers are staggering,” said Wade. “Up to 2.8 million children and teenagers run away from home each year, often ending up on the streets. They’re not bad kids, just good kids in bad situations, and they need a friend to support, listen and care.”

Park Place Outreach – Youth Emergency Shelter provides support for troubled children and teens in Savannah and the surrounding area. The organization has helped more than 6,200 area young people find emergency shelter and thousands more find stability through its non-residential programs.

“If you are thinking about running away or are homeless, or you know someone who has run away or is homeless, you are not alone,” continued Wade. “Many local agencies in Savannah support runaway and homeless youth, to help get them off the streets and reunited with family and loved ones. Please speak up and speak out to help us support runaway and homeless youth.”

Spearheaded each year by the National Runaway Safeline, the goal of National Runaway Prevention Month is to raise awareness of the runaway and homeless youth crisis and the issues these young people face. The campaign also provides education to the public and the role they can play in ending youth homelessness.


Park Place Outreach Wear Green Day

Park Place Outreach
Youth Emergency Shelter
514 E. Henry Street
Savannah, GA. 31401
912-234-4048 Fax 912-651-3621

HUGS (Heads-Up Guidance Services)
706 Wheaton Street
Savannah, Georgia

Greenbriar Children’s Center, Inc.
3709 Hopkins Street
Savannah, GA 31405

Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations™

Local Rotary Announces 2018 Group Study Exchange Team to Travel to India in January

Local Rotary Announces 2018 Group Study Exchange Team to Travel to India in January
The local district of Rotary has selected seven members for its Group Study Exchange (GSE) team to travel to Hyderabad, India in mid-January 2018.

(SAVANNAH, HINESVILLE, JESUP) Rotary District 6920, located in southeast Georgia, is sending a Group Study Exchange (GSE) team to Hyderabad, India in early 2018.

John Neely, Past District Governor and Savannah East Rotary Club member, has been designated as the group’s team leader. “I’m thrilled to lead this outstanding group of individuals to India come January,” said Neely. “Each one of us is excited to partake in Rotary’s motto of ‘Service Above Self.’”

During the month-long trip, team members will stay in Rotarian’s homes, attend Rotary Club meetings, have vocational days, visit Rotary-sponsored humanitarian projects and tour cultural sites. Members will also participate in Polio National Immunization Day, as the eradication of polio is one of Rotary’s largest missions.

Neely will be joined by four of the following team members that are undergoing training for the trip:

Brigitte Shanken, Assistant Governor and Hinesville Rotary Club member.
Joey Darley, member of the Jesup Rotary Club.
Jasmine Head, of Savannah.
Cari Phelps, Metro Savannah Rotary Club member.
Lisa Grove, member of the Savannah Rotary Club.
Jose Dacruz, member of the Savannah East Rotary Club.

The remaining two members will be designated as alternates.

A team from District 3150 in India will travel through our District 6920 in April and attend the District Conference in Jekyll Island. Clubs wanting the India team to visit their communities should contact GSE Co-Chairs Justin Godchaux or Andy Lohn.

To apply for the GSE, individuals’ applications were solicited, and applicants were interviewed by Neely and the GSE Committee. It is anticipated that a team will travel again next year to Sri Lanka.

To learn more about Rotary District 6920, please visit: Follow the 6920 team on Facebook at Rotary District 6920 GSE Team.

2018 Group Study Exchange Team

From left to right: Cari Phelps, Lisa Grove, Jasmine Head, Brigitte Shanken, John Neely, Jose Dacruz, Joey Darley

About Rotary District 6920
District 6920 consists of 62 clubs with a membership of over 3,200 members scattered throughout southeast Georgia to include Macon, Augusta, Valdosta, Brunswick, Camden, Tift, and Savannah.

About Rotary International
Rotary International is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who come together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad. Our guiding principles have been the foundation of our values: service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership. Rotary members believe that we have a shared responsibility to take action on our world’s most persistent issues. For more information, please visit

How to Capture Trending Hashtags for Business Social Media Accounts

How to Capture Trending Hashtags for Business Social Media Accounts
By Cynthia Wright

Cynthia Wright, Junior Partner of Carriage Trade Public Relations and Cecilia Russo Marketing_5920

Leveraging the power of social media is a key component for a business trying to strengthen brand messaging.

With 313 million active users, for example, Twitter is one of the most popular and powerful social media networks worldwide. It’s a proven influencer of brand connection and purchasing decisions and can even boost offline sales.

The successful Twitter marketing strategy should focus on listening to and joining in discussions to hear what matters to your audience, rather than trying to force-feed the conversation.

One of Twitter’s recent offerings, the Twitter Poll, is a great way to connect with audiences, gain insights into your follower base and provide short, clear and engaging context around marketing campaigns and efforts. One of the best ways to take advantage of polls is by using timely events such as holidays, sports events, news stories and viral hashtags to encourage conversations and retweets.

Most people have heard of hashtags at this point but may not know this content sorting system was created by Twitter. It should not be overlooked as one of the most powerful ways to network, inform and influence.

As a general rule, a tweet with a hashtag will receive higher engagement in the form of shares and retweets, which means more people will see it. Businesses can strike gold by using a trending hashtag, which represents topics currently receiving the most traffic on Twitter.

If thousands of Twitter users are using a trending hashtag while tweeting about a popular topic and that topic might relate to your company’s brand, product or mission, it would make sense for you to join that conversation with thoughtful, related content.

While trending hashtags change continually, some of them tend to trend consistently for each day of the week, which is especially helpful for business owners. Below is a quick list for the Monday through Friday trends:

Monday: #MusicMonday, #MilitaryMonday, #ManCrushMonday or #MCM, #MondayBlues, #MondayMemories and #MarketingMonday.

Tuesday: #TravelTuesday, #TrendyTuesday, #TipTuesday, #TopicTuesday, #TransformationTuesday and #TuesdayTreat.

Wednesday: #WayBackWednesday or #WBW, #WisdomWednesday and #WellnessWednesday.

Thursday: #ThrowBackThursday or #TBT, #ThursdayThoughts and #ThankfulThursday.

Friday: #FridayFunday, #FearlessFriday, #FitnessFriday, #FollowFriday or #FF, #FlashBackFriday or #FBF, #FunnyFriday, #FeelGoodFriday and #FoodieFriday.

While hashtags can be advantageous to develop content on trending topics, tread carefully. The key to using trending hashtags effectively is taking the time to select one that aligns with the goals and purpose of the organization.

Here’s an example of how to properly use a trending hashtag. If you are raising funds for a puppy shelter, you may want to capitalize on event-related trends such as #NationalDogDay and #NationalPetDay, even if the top hashtag is #Kale. Animal enthusiasts are most likely to sympathize with your goals, so this is the audience you want to reach, even if the trend is limited to specific days of the year.

On the other hand, #Kale will reach nutritionists and foodies who might scroll past your tweet with little more than a passing wonder as to why a puppy shelter has appeared on their feed.

When used purposefully, Twitter Polls and trending hashtags can be pivotal to the visibility and success of a social media campaign. Be watchful for helpful trends as they are surfacing, and your tweets will stay at the top of your audiences’ newsfeeds. Choose the right trend and your tweets can lead conversations that involve hundreds of Twitter users every day.

Cynthia Wright is the Junior Partner of Carriage Trade Public Relations™, Inc. and Cecilia Russo Marketing, creating word-of-mouth in the community and online through reputation management strategies. For more information, contact Wright at