Tag Archives: Florida

A bunch of Mike’s, including The Professor, but no Gilligan

Who am I?


It depends, according to Google.


Bob Denver as Gilligan on Gilligan's Island
Bob Denver as Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


For the most part, I own the Google rights to “Michael VanDervort”, including my oft delayed but still forth-coming new blog site Michael VanDervort.  There are even sites set up by strangers that use my Instagram pictures for reasons that escape me.


What’s most fun is to find the alter ego Michael’s mixed into my Google awesomeness.   Say hi to them with me:


  • The rock and roll guy
  • my great, great, great, great, great, great, really super terrific ancestor
  • some other dude named MIchael who sued a bunch of other dudes
  • all the Michael’s belong to Spokeo (157 to be exact)
  • another list of Michael’s found in public records (83 to be exact)
  • the Professor, but no Gilligan alas
  • “Michael VanDervort” wanted in Shenzhen
  • Michael the Coronoer
  • Michael’s Florida mugshot
  • Mike, Mike, Mike…LinkedIn


It was fun getting to know myself….well, not my selves a little better.




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Working with Marijuana: What a long strange trip it’s going to be

Marijuana goes mainstream


Medical Cannabis Growing Operation in Oakland,...
Medical Cannabis Growing Operation in Oakland, California (Photo credit: Rusty Blazenhoff)


(For my HR friends and the VC speculators at #sxsw)


How do you when an interesting yet risky counter culture business venture is about to go mainstream?


You see start to see people being hired by companies who are investing in the business even before it is ready to launch, and you start to see job boards.


I saw a story in my local paper today about a guy here in Florida who landed a job as a Professor of Cannabis at a Tampa start-up called Medical Marijuana Tampa.  The company  founded by Jeremy Bufford who is hoping that Florida voters will approve a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in November.  According to the Ledger report, Medical Marijuana Tampa now has 14 paid employees, all in training and hopeful that the ballot initiative will become law.


Our local Professor of Cannabis found his job via Cannajobs.  According to their website:


Cannajobs is about creating qualified, reliable people to work in the cannabis industry. It is also about educating you about how to find a job, qualify for a job and start a career for yourself.

If you are an employer, we are here to either help you find a qualified, reliable worker OR get you information that will help you market your cannabis business more effectively.

We are not just a posting site. We will be holding job fairs in many cities of the U.S. to promote this industry and get people informed about their options. We will be actively involved with qualifying people to be employed.

Join Cannajobs in creating an online community of potential cannabis employees and burgeoning cannabis businesses linking up to become more successful than ever before.

This a new American industry. Let’s make the most out of it.


Working with Pot is the new American dream, not to mention Canada, and what a strange hazy dream it turns out to be.


There are currently 626 postings and position desired postings on CannaJobs, ranging from marijuana marketing consultants – “I am very familiar with your products;” and facilitators – “Much time spent in Amsterdam with Seed Breeders, and other Luminaries. Willing to Relocate to Florida for the right opportunity…;” to a 2nd Generation Shamanic Dowser, 10+ years horticultural experience.


My name is {Redacted}, I have been working in the Horticultural Industry for well over a decade. This has been in the form of a plant health specialist for upper level Golf Courses I have worked at in South Florida. Over this time I have perfected my Shamanic Dowsing Techniques for perfect plant nutrient levels. 

I have also developed many innovative and unique ways to energetically enhance the health of plants through shamanic means. I can also resolve issues associated with noxious earth energies and other nasties as well. 

Unfortunately I have never been able to market these techniques to others in the industry I am in now because of the culture and close mindedness of most in the golf course field. I am testing the waters with this post to find out if there are any in the Cannabis industry that would be interested in benefiting from my skill set. This, as a service to any growers operating within the legal guidelines of their local government. 

I will offer initially a free trial to any state legal growers that are curious to find out if I am full of s— or not. All you have to do is contact me and let me know how many test plants you want me to perform my skill set on. If you are not satisfied with the results, you pay zero and all is good. 

Because of the Shamanic means by which I perform my techniques, my services can be done remotely. No need for me to be on site. I can dowse all essential plant nutrient levels on any plant anywhere in the world. All I need are the desired growth and plant health characteristics of the grower.


There are also serious legit jobs on Cannajobs, like this one from our Canadian neighbors to the north, posted below.  Who knew that even those employed in the ultimate counter-culture biz would need to comply with HR policies?


 Marijuana Master Grower, Permanent, Atlantic Canada


SBHIR Consulting in Atlantic, Canada


Marijuana Master Grower, Permanent, Atlantic Canada
Master Grower required for a 25,000 square foot, state of the art medical marijuana production facility in Atlantic Canada. The ideal candidate will hold a Masters Degree in horticulture or agriculture, and have significant experience managing a commercial production facility.

An attractive compensation package will be offered to the successful candidate, including a base salary, performance based bonuses, stock options and a one-time signing bonus (to assist with relocation costs).
Manage a large-scale commercial production facility of over 10,000 plants. Perform all the tasks in the grow including: cloning, transplanting, feeding plants, defoliation, super cropping, topping, flushing, foliar and preventative sprays, trimming, packaging, waste disposal and inventory management. Company operates under the highest standards of professionalism.

  • Manage a large-scale warehouse with 100, thousand watt grow lights.
  • Perform all the tasks in the grow including: cloning, transplanting, feeding plants, defoliation, super cropping, topping, flushing, foliar and preventative sprays, trimming, packaging, waste disposal and inventory management.
  • Develop and/or maintain grow warehouse protocols and nutrient regiment.
  • Manage grow warehouse working crew of 10 employees.
  • Manage marijuana plants, giving each individual plant the attention it needs one at a time.
  • Manage plant scheduling and organization to precisely project all garden needs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to keep garden green and expenses low.
  • Cataloging and analyzing each individual strain from clone to flower to harvesting.
  • Cloning and manage vegetation with at least a 90% success rate.
  • Execute preventative maintenance and elimination of all types of mold, powdery mildew, spider mites, root aphids, fungus gnats, etc.
  • Maintain a clean and organized work environment.
  • Mastery of Ebb & Flow, DWC and Aeroponics growing methods, including in-depth knowledge of PH; PPM and EC counts.
  • Mastery of Soil growing methods including micronutrients, beneficial bacteria and nutrient implementation.
  • Working knowledge in container systems with soil and hydro as well as understanding temperature and humidity manipulation.
  • Expert knowledge of plant diseases, insects and fungi, as well as plant treatment options
  • Well researched in new techniques and insight to expand knowledge in nutrient of individual strains, high yield recipes, controlled stress environments to different lighting systems and set ups.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of Strains; Sativa, Indica and Hybrids and mastery of medicinal implementation and knowledge of effects of strains and types of medicinal administration.
  • Assist government auditors with inventory, sales and compliance audits.
  • Comply with all HR policies including confidentiality and non-disclosure.
  • Facility maintenance and troubleshooting as necessary.
  • Management of a commercial grow operation for more than 5 years.
  • You have at least 2 years commercial grow experience as a Master Grower.
  • Knowledge of large scale commercial plant cultivation including nutrient requirements, mediums, light requirements, temperature control, air flow, etc.
  • Knowledge of plant diseases, insects and fungi, as well as plant treatment options
  • Physical aptitude and health necessary to perform manual labor tasks required for the proper management of grow warehouse.
  • Advanced knowledge of the cannabis plant and genetics.
  • Must be able to provide grow resume, pictures and portfolio at interview.
  • Must have accountability, proactive behavior and strong attention to detail.
  • You are at least 21 years of age
  • You have no felony convictions
  • You are willing to participate in an extensive background security check.
  • You can start immediately.
  • You are trustworthy and hard working


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The True Joy of Business Travel

The Story Behind Geriatric Happy Hour

This week I headed out on my first business trip of the year, an overnight jaunt to Deerfield Beach FL to deliver a update on developing labor relations trends to a management team.

A room with a king bed at the Hampton Inn.   Lunch at Taco Prince.  Dinner on the way home via the Publix deli. Sounds glamorous, right?

There are some fun parts to business travel for me.

I love taking advantage of the opportunity to connect with people, which I did on this trip by having lunch with an HR colleague.   That’s great stuff for personal and professional networking.

What I love the most though is the opportunity to find ways to watch people and find fun stories.  On this trip, I had a tremendously fun experience.  I went to Duffy’s Sports Grill to watch a rebroadcast of the Women’s Hockey game between the USA and Canada.  This was during Happy Hour, which was 2 for 1.  The bar was packed with local senior citizenry, many of whom I would bet congregate there on a daily basis.  They were drinking and carrying on like grade school kids, cracking jokes and cackling.  They literally had me rolling off my bar stool in laughter.  I shared some of the gems on Facebook as I heard them.

I present them here for your amusement.

Overheard at geriatric happy hour

I just had my second knee replacement.

it’s 2 for 1, right? I’d like a red wine and a white wine. I like to live dangerously!

I’m so old I can remember when a cigar was just a cigar, and you were actually allowed to smoke them.

She was going to divorce him, but then he died.

That kid Reagan, he turned out to be a good President after all.

Canada, Is that near Cuba?

I told my wife to order me an Old Fat Bastard, and she said WTH would I do with two of you?

Somebody is putting the shit we say on Facebook! Wtf?

2 for 1? Johnny Walker Black, Double it up and make sure I get another one before happy hour ends!

Is there anything better than hanging out at a geriatric happy hour in South Florida?

Only one thing, seeing a guy wearing driving gloves while cruising in his NIssan Versa on the Florida Turnpike


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The Warmer Side of Sunshine: Jobs in Florida

Tourism dollars equal local jobs

Unemployment in Florida has dropped, but we still live in a state with an economy largely driven by service jobs. Therefore it’s no surprise that Governor Rick Scott is spending taxpayer dollars on a new campaign to draw more tourists into the state, In fact, Scott set a new goal in September 2013: to bring 100 million tourists to the state during 2014.

So marketers are going all out with a new campaign called the Warmer Side of Winter.

A new commercial. A new web site. A new hash tag. #FLLove Oh my!

One of the commercials that aired last night also has a slightly unusual call to action in play for Florida residents. Invite family and friends to Florida, it creates or supports JOBS. In fact they ran a quantified formula for the impact of tourism on our state right below the Facebook logo at the bottom of the tv screen right at the end of the ad.

85 visits = 1 job

Quick math via my iPhone calculators show this breaks down to 1,176,471 jobs that would be supported or created by these 100,000,000 visitors during 2014. As of November 2013, total non-agricultural employment in Florida was 7, 627, 400, meaning tourism related employment comprises about 15% of the jobs in the state. Wow!

Therefore as a resident, homeowner, taxpayer of the state, and as a employee/shareholder in one of Florida’s largest employers, I feel it is my duty to extend open invitation to all my readers and everyone in my social networks.

Please come to Florida! We love you! We love your money! (and thank you one and all)

The #Coffeeshot Project

Discovering Community through shared moments

Gators (Photo credit: mvndrvrt)

About a year ago, I started posting a semi-regular photo feature on Facebook and Instagram that I entitled #Coffeeshots.  It was basically my way of a moment from the start of my day.  Since I travel a great deal, it was also a fun way to share where I was working or playing.  I enjoyed it, and it almost always prompts a few responses from the social media sphere, so it was a fun way to say hi to the community. I didn’t really have any higher expectation than that for this little side project, but I have learned a few surprising things along the way as I shared my #coffeeshot moments.

I’m a little bit better photographer than I was a year ago.  It’s really boring for everyone, including me to just run a shot of a cup of coffee every day, so it didn’t take me long to figure out I needed to include outdoor shots or people shots or shots of the barista who made my coffee.  I have tried to stay away from too many candid people shots,  I’ve learned to use angles or the occasional naturally occurring silhouette opportunity.  I’ve also developed a better eye for “good” shots.  I’m not claiming to be a really good photographer like Heather Bussing or Steph Grant, but I do have a better eye for a photo, so +1 on that.

Here’s the #coffeeshot from today, taken at Starbucks in Lakeland Florida.  It’s pretentiously entitled “Ladies of Starbucks”, and the lady in gray reflects the sky as well as the feel of the day here in Florida today. She was also interesting to talk to.  This is the second learning.

Coffee is a community unto itself.  People who drink it constitute a shared global community.  At any coffee shop, Starbucks or an awesome local independent like Black and Brew here in Lakeland, you can easily drop insert yourself into fascinating conversations, find business groups, learn about local events, and generally widen your scope if you choose to do so.  That may sound oddly grandiose, but I believe it.  Coffee shops are my favorite place to work and to people watch.  Starbucks runs their whole business model off of this.

Since I started the #coffeeshot project, I’ve largely focused on sharing picture and places.  I’m going to change the game up soon.  #Coffeeshots is going to morph from just photos into an interview series – some print, some video, maybe even a podcast.   It will focus on the people who hang out in coffee shops, and their stories – probably a lot of work and business, but hopefully more.  More to come soon.  And if you are a coffee company looking for something new to share with your community, hit me up.

Thanks for reading this self-indulgent post. Talk to you tomorrow!




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An #HRPuckhead does #Tipmas

What the hell is #TIPMAS?

It was the night before #Tipmas when I got tagged in a Facebook post by that bon vivant raconteur of HR and hockey – my fellow #HRPuckhead Dwane Lay.

He was in Tampa, and looking for trouble.  I agreed to help him in the search.  We crafted our plan and decided that we would meet at Hattrick’s Tavern, which is essentially a sport bar for hockey junkies – especially Tampa Bay Lightning fans.  We had a great time, drank some local Florida brewed beer, dined and received some excellent service from our server Mary Beth.

But I also got to do something else that was very cool thanks to the generosity and creativity of Red Book Connect, who invited me to be part of their #TIPMAS campaign.   They sent me a $50 American Express gift card and asked that I do one thing: find someone at a restaurant who did an outstanding job providing great service and share the gift card with them.

I gave my card to Mary Beth at Hattrick’s, and wished her a very merry #TIPMAS, thanking for doing an outstanding job.  She told me I had made her night and gave me a hug.  It was awesome.

Want to know more about #TIPMAS?


Red Book Connect is encouraging acts of kindness to the hard working servers in the restaurant industry, and we’re calling it #Tipmas. During the 12 Days of #Tipmas, from December 9 through 21, we are encouraging our team and everyone we know to be generous with their servers and to urge everyone you know to do the same.

We hope you’ll share and spread the word to help us ignite the #Tipmas movement!

Day 1: #SecretServer – Secretly ask for a manager to tell them that your server has done a fantastic job. (Dec 9)

Day 2: #SharingIsCaring – Share the story of the excellent service you received online and tag it with #Tipmas (Dec 10)

Day 3: #HolidayHero – If you know your server will be working the holiday leave them a Holiday Card from your family. (Dec 11)

Day 4: #LetterToServer – write your server a letter showing your thanks and leave it at the restaurant. Remember, it’s not just about generously tipping! (Dec 12)

Day 5: #MilkAndCookies – If you go out tonight, order dessert. And leave dessert for your server (i.e. candy bar, candy cane, etc.)

Day 6: #ElfOnTheShelf – If you’re out tonight, and you notice another server working hard, besides your own, mention them to the manager as well! Spread the love!

Day 7: #FastBreak – When you visit, buy your server a meal they can quickly eat on their break, such as an appetizer. Those shifts are long, and every little pick-me-up helps.

Day 8: #WarmFuzzies – “Like” or “Follow” the restaurant on Facebook/Twitter then share your warm fuzzies about your server on the restaurant’s Facebook/Twitter pages.

Day 9: #ShareTheLove – Recommend the restaurant and the server to your family and friends through a Facebook Recommendation.

Day 10: TBA!

There are more great stories on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Follow us to read them all! You can also read some on our blog!


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Three strikes and you’re out…

Two women strikers on picket line during the &...
Two women strikers on picket line during the “Uprising of the 20,000”, garment workers strike, New York City. Strikes, ladies tailors, N.Y., Feb. 1910, picket girls on duty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Actually, it’s way more than three strikes

In the old days of labor relations, strikes were common place.  Walking a picket line in front of your employer was the ultimate card workers could play as part of the traditional collective bargaining process when things really hit the fan.

But strikes are painful and costly, and often the risks of income loss, or even being replaced at your job far outweigh the potential, yet uncertain potential of obtaining a better contract.   Over the past few decades, large-scale strike actions have all but disappeared, but that all began change in late 2012.

Strikes are back, and employers should be taking the possibility you could experience a strike action seriously.  Find out why after the jump.

Check out the links below for a representative list of strike actions that numerous employers have been experiencing in recent months.

Recent examples of strikes or votes to go on strike

As you can see, like the evils spirits in the film Poltergeist,…. “they’re baaaack!”

Later this week, I’ll post some tips on what you can do to prepare.

Bonus content

Enhanced by ZemantaHere are some picket line chants if you are more inclined to go the other way.
There ain’t nopower,
Like the power of the people,
Cuz the power of the people won’t stop!
We are the union! (call and response)
Mighty, mighty union. (repeat)
Everywhere we go-o.
People want to know-o.
Who we are. So we tell them. (Repeat)


On strike,shut it down,
_____ is a union town!

Tips on effectively influencing the C-suite

Influencing the C-suite

Description unavailable
 (Photo credit: mvndrvrt)

I recently attended a conference session in San Antonio where it was suggested that  employee and labor relations specialists and consultants face a giant credibility problem in the C-suite.  People in the C-suite will spend money, but it’s tough to get them to write checks on proactive employee relations initiatives unless you demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) of the programs you are pitching to a CEO.

All too often, we fail to close the deal on a program because of a lack of influence or a failure to present persuasive data, which is the main currency of the C-suite.

This is a much discussed issue in the HR profession.  The fact that we are still having it in 2012 is  disheartening, but not shocking.

As HR professionals, we still have work to do.  There is no quick fix.  We need to be persistent in our efforts to demonstrate value in each HR niche where we operate.  We need to build value.  We need to speak the language of the C-suite.

Some HR people are great at this. Some of us struggle with it, but we can all get better.  Here is a short list of resources to get your started if you want to dig deeper into this topic.

  1. Business case resources for talent management strategies
  2. What does the C-suite  want from HR?
  3. Navigating the C-Suite – Leadership Imperatives for HR
  4. How strategic HR wins the keys to the C-suite

What tips and tricks do you use for advancing your initiatives in the C-suite?

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Investing in innovation in Florida

Investing in innovation

Idle musing, why don’t more big companies do stuff like this?  Looks like some pretty cool stuff happening right here in Florida.

Check out this cool project I ran across based in Jacksonville.  Ignite* Adecco is an incubator/innovation lab project  that is fully funded by the world’s largest staffing firm, Adecco Group.

Here’s how they describe themselves:

We are a division of the Adecco Group formed to embrace and promote a culture of innovation within the company. Ignite* is responsible for identifying and seeding tech product ideas that solve common problems related to the staffing industry. Ignite* is a lean, dynamic group that values forward thinking, creativity, and a passion to change the status quo.

They are moving from a co-working space into new offices, spreading tech knowledge in their community, and hiring staff in Jacksonville.

Ignite* Adecco is seeking an experienced Data Analyst/Scientist to join our fast paced startup incubator. This person will be responsible for analyzing and solving “big data” problems and applying their findings to business solutions.

I also like the looks of Path.to, the site where I found this job posting. Here’s my profile over there.

Cool stuff.


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Did you miss me?

I was on vacation

Sunburn (Photo credit: mvndrvrt)

Sorry about that, folks.  I left town (and the blog) with little or no explanation last week.  I was lured away by the invitation to take a last minute vacation with my wife.  Nobody would say no to that!  The one rule was that we were both turning off our computers and phones.

Painful, but we accomplished about 90% of the objective.

We spent a couple of days at the beach, and then a couple more days touring Savannah, Georgia.   We took our dogs, and stayed in pretty friendly places along the way.  We had a blast.

  Vacation gone to the dogs

Believe it or not, this was the first time we have taken the dogs on vacation, despite having had them for twelve years. They rocked the trip.  Putting the trip together took a little planning, but you can find anything on the Internet.

I made all the hotel arrangements using a website called Bring Fido.  What a great niche idea for a web business!  I found two excellent location that were indeed very open to serving the needs of travelers with pets.

@Merry at the beach #petfriendly
@Merry at the beach #petfriendly (Photo credit: mvndrvrt)

The beach portion of our trip was in Crescent Beach, Florida where we stayed in a private, fully furnished condo at a a place called Beacher’s Lodge.  Great place with easy beach access, a nearly empty pool and restaurants nearby.   Our king size condo rented for $149 a night.  There was also a non-refundable pet fee covering cleaning of $50 a day.

In Savannah, we stayed at the Galloway House, a meticulously  refurbished historical Victorian home that Keith Galloway and Jim Klotz have converted into a spectacular bed and breakfast property.  Kyle and I stayed in a third floor one bedroom apartment unit, along with Merry and Cairo.  We had a great time.

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Description unavailable (Photo credit: mvndrvrt)

When at the seashore, eat some shrimp

I ate shrimp every day, including an excellent mean at the  17Hundred90 restaurant, allegedly one of the most haunted locations in Savannah.  Try the blackened shrimp.

I also had an excellent shrimp Po’Boy sandwich in St. Augustine.

The culminating meal was a meal we prepared ourselves in the kitchen at the Galloway House.  We drove out to Tybee Island and purchased two pounds of fresh shrimp right off a shrimp boat, and did a low country boil at home.  It went down really well.

Companies give vacation benefits for a reason. Don’t waste the benefit, even if you just go stay somewhere different for a few days.  You will feel recharged, and your employer will benefit as well.




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