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Athletes Seek an Edge on the Web


Athletes looking for that extra edge in competition may find what they’re seeking at the Web site produced by a local consulting firm.

Enhanced Performance Systems Inc., which pioneered a psychological assessment and training system, now offers a test called the Athlete’s Competitive Edge that can be found at (www.TAKEACE.com).

For a fee of $35, the 50-question test will evaluate a person’s mental abilities when it comes to athletic competition. Besides measuring 23 critical performance factors such as focus, confidence, discipline, strategy and leadership, the test also allows participants to compare their results to other amateurs in their sports or to professional athletes.

“The test and evaluation is aimed at anybody who competes and wants to improve their game, from the elite level athlete or coach to weekend warriors,” said Marc Sagal, EPS’ chief operating officer.

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Sagal, a former professional soccer player, said it could be immensely beneficial to many aspiring athletes and other recreational competitors who are intent on getting better at their playing.

“The higher you go in the world of sports, the more important the mental side becomes. At certain levels like professional sports, the technical athletic skills are very similar,” he said.

Living proof that ACE works is Andrew Hermann, an Olympic race walker, who worked with EPS to determine what areas he could improve in his quest to make the 2000 Olympics men’s track team.

“Amazingly, I was able to slice nine minutes off my time simply because I had better mental focus and was able to concentrate on the areas I needed to improve,” said Hermann, who was named to the team in February.

Among those using ACE are professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer athletes, as well as thousands of amateurs.

Besides helping folks sharpen their mental approach to their games, EPS is a longtime consultant to businesses that are looking for ways to evaluate and sharpen their staffers’ competitive skills.

EPS clients have included some of the nation’s largest companies, including San Diego’s Alaris Medical Systems, and Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks, and Hewlett-Packard.

Textbook Search Service Gives Students More Shopping Options


Local entrepreneur Alex Neal is banking on his college memories. Not Spanish verb clauses, or the symbol for lead, but the frustration leading into each semester , buying expensive textbooks.

Neal, who graduated from USD in 1996, still remembers how the books’ high prices and the lack of alternatives bothered him.

Last month, Neal relaunched a Web site that could combat the college book buyers’ remorse.

Campusbooks.com, Inc. compares textbooks’ prices and availability. Students enter the title and author’s name and get a listing from 15 online bookstores. The sites include Amazon.com, Borders.com, Textbooks.com and Varsitybooks.com.

Neal said that one of the company’s main strengths is its domain name. A competitor has been doing tens of millions of dollars in marketing, which brought campusbooks.com more than 10,000 contacts so far, he noted.

Neal explained that for the last year, the campusbooks.com site has simply been a page in which the users enter their E-mail addresses.

Now, campusbooks.com is starting to market, targeting universities that are scheduled on a quarterly system. These schools, all in the Western states, include Stanford, the University of Washington, and most of the schools in the University of California system.

For many schools, the third quarter began last week. So did campusbooks.com’s marketing, which includes college newspapers, advertising bulletin boards, fliers and stickers.

This is campusbooks.com’s second try at the site. Neal first started campusbooks.com in August 1998 as an online textbook shop. He acquired the domain name in September of that year.

Last January, Neal bought Graduate Ltd., a Web site and retail shop for discounted software for teachers and students. Campusbooks.com had faltered in its first months, so Neal shelved it and focused on the newer venture, he said.

When talking with a friend, Neal got the idea to reinvent campusbooks.com as a textbook search service, he recalled.

Neal’s pleased with his audience’s availability.

“Obviously, the college market is easy to target,” he said. “It’s unique in that the entire demographic congregates in one campus. It makes it that much easier to target.”

Wal-Mart Rewards Stores


A 3-inch stack of bonus checks adds up to a pleasant workday for Debbie Kintzele.

Checks in hand, the San Diego district manager for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. gets to make a circuit of the retailer’s best-performing stores and distribute them to employees.

Her latest opportunity came in mid-March, when she and fellow district manager Russ Frever handed them out to more than 1,700 employees of the retailer’s seven most successful San Diego County outlets.

“You would not believe the spirit and excitement in the store when you hand out the checks,” Kintzele said.

The “stakeholder bonuses” went to all employees of stores that showed certain increases in net profits and overall performance during the fiscal year ending in January 2000, said April Papalio, a spokeswoman for the retailer. Those stores are El Cajon, Chula Vista, Murphy Canyon, Poway, Santee, South San Diego and Vista.

El Cajon was tops, with Murphy Canyon a close second, said Papalio.

Those high-performing stores may be ones that face new competition, but nevertheless stay in the black and see a 2 percent increase in net profit, Kintzele said. Or they could be stores that post a 5 percent increase in net profit.

Whatever the case, she said the company sets aside 4 percent of a particular store’s net profits, then divides the money among store employees. Individually, the bonuses ranged from $250 to $920, depending on whether the employee was full-time or part-time, and the length of time he or she had been employed by the store during the reporting period.

All told, Wal-Mart distributed $1,074,000 worth of bonuses among the seven stores. There are nine San Diego County stores in all.

Such sharing of profits gives employees “a sense of ownership,” Papalio said. That ties in with founder Sam Walton’s philosophy that if you give employees part ownership they will be “part of the solution,” Kintzele said.

Employees are able to track store profitability , “we’re a rare company that shares all our numbers with our people,” Kintzele said.

Watching those numbers, employees can make the effort to keep profitability up, perhaps by keeping expenses down, Kintzele said.

Frever said he is proud , and the company is pleased , to recognize the 1,700-plus employees.

Museum Features Southwest Artists


Museum goers with a fetish for Southwestern art will find what they’re looking for April 29 at the San Diego Museum of Man. Four noted Native American artists will be present at the museum to share time-honored traditions, heritage and crafts from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The program, “Conversations in Culture: Southwest Indian Artists Sharing Their Heritage Through Crafts,” is a popular symposium sponsored every year by the Museum of Man.

Formerly called the Southwest Indian Arts Colloquium, the symposium has been a regular feature of the Museum of Man for the past 11 years, according to Douglas Sharon, director of the museum.

This year’s program brings to the museum Mexico-based Zuni fetish carvers Andrew and Laura Quam; potter Kathy Won Povi Sanchez, known for her graceful blackware pieces; and Wahoe artist David Snooks, specializing in intricately beaded and painted gourds, Sharon said.

Sharon is proud of the seminar and the opportunities it affords.

“This is a unique event, as it offers participants a rare opportunity to get to know talented Native American artists in an intimate, conversational setting,” he said.

Techniques, inspiration, heritage and family traditions are just a few of the many topics addressed during the event. Three sessions, in which the artists will discuss and demonstrate their creative talents, will be followed by a question-and-answer period. Artwork will be offered for sale following the program, Sharon said.

Refreshments are included with admission.

Registration is $45 for members and $65 for nonmembers. Space is limited, so it’s best to sign up as early as possible. For more information or to register, contact the Museum’s Education Department at (619) 239-2001.

The San Diego Museum of Man is an educational, nonprofit corporation founded in 1915 to display the life and history of humankind.


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