Just another Friday at ABG

Welcome back to your weekly Just another Friday at ABG Capital! In today’s post, we’ve like to introduce some blog posts that we have coming up next week, recap some news from our Month End Company Meeting, and finally, we’d like to wrap up our Biggest Losers Challenge and announce the winners.

Let’s start off with some of the blog posts you can expect to see next week. The first post we’ll have is on preparing your business for any kind of disaster and then having a plan for recovery. Preparing your business ahead of time might mean the difference between keeping your doors open or closing them for good.

The next topic we’ll be focusing on for our blog posts will be Online Marketing Tools. Most business today are really examining what it means to be online. Their goals may start with simply creating engaging content, then move to generating qualified leads, and ultimately increasing sales. Online Marketing Tools are going to make these goals very attainable and measurable.

Today we also has our Month End Company meeting the end of July is near. Below are some of the highlights from that meeting:

  • June Employee of the Month: Paul Frye
  • July Spotlight: Kimmie Rivetti
  • Honorable Mentions: Randy Stegner and Jenn Williams
  • New Hires: Next week we’ll be welcoming two new people to the ABG Capital team; Michael Dichazi will be joining the VoIP Innovations Support Team and Ashley DelliCarpini will be joining the Inspira Customer Service Team.

ABG Capital Biggest Losers SuccessAnd now, for the most exciting part of this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital… The final results of our Biggest Losers Challenge! During this 8 week long competition our challengers have learning valuable information that will help them on their journeys to become healthier people. We want people to rethink the idea of going on a diet and start thinking in terms of making a lifestyle change. Doing simple things like drinking extra water, getting enough sleep, making healthier food choices and exercising more often will make a big change in your lives. If you’ve been going through this challenge with us, then we’d love to hear your results! Leave your comments in the section below! As for the results of our challenge, we’re happy to announce Nick Jenkner as the winner with an overall 6.82% total weight loss! Congratulations to everyone who took part in the challenge and we hope you continue to reach your goals.

Thanks for checking in with this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital. Have a great weekend!

Just another Friday at ABG

Happy Friday and welcome to this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital! I want to start this week’s updates by talking about some blog posts we have coming up next week. The first one will be all about small business and the different health care options that are available for them. You should never have to feel like your small business isn’t capable of competing with the big guys so by providing a great health insurance plan, you are on your way to playing at their level.

Up next we have a post on whether or not you should be sending your employees to an online university. Starbucks is one of the companies that is talked about this post since they offer students free tuition at an online university. Make sure to check this article out so you can see if this is something your company should be looking into.

In other exciting news for the week, one of our portfolio companies, Inspira, has launched a brand new website. Inspira has a few other sites (such as Payday IRA, Pinnacle IRA, and Total IRA) that have already undergone and complete transformation. The main Inspira site was the last one and believe us when we tell you that it looks AMAZING! You should take a look for yourselves and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Now it’s time to chat about week 6 of our ABG Capital Biggest Losers Challenge! The mini challenge for this week was to track your Non-Scale Victories (NSV). The number that shows up on the scale isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about. Some examples of NSVs are walking further without getting out of breath, wearing a pair of jeans you haven’t been able to in a while, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol or even more energy. If you’ve been doing your own challenge at home, what NSVs have you noticed?

Here’s a great exercise and recipe that were provided to us by Sara Warhold, the fantastic person who’s been running the challenge and motivating everyone to do their best. For the exercise you will need an exercise mat, a set of dumbbells or hand weights, and a timer. 30 minutes is needed for beginners and 45 minutes will be needed for those who are more advanced.

Warm up:

Breathing exercise – lay on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor. Place a hand over your lower abdomen. Take a very deep breath in, filling your lower belly with air and NOT moving your chest or shoulders. The point is to get the breath in deep, not shallow. Do not breath with your shoulders or shrug them. Feel your stomach rise and fall. Take 10 deep breaths here.

Crawling – Repeat 5 to 10 times – On hands and knees, crawl forward 5 times and backwards 5 times. If you can, do this on your hands and feet with your knees up off the ground. Keep your hips low, don’t rock side to side.

Pogo Jumps – For 30 seconds jump in place using the momentum from the ankle, not the knee. Add some air for the last 10 seconds if you can. Beginners – march or jog


Alternate 45 seconds on/15 seconds recover for advanced and 30 seconds on/20 seconds recover for beginner

Exercise 1:

Hard Plank – Plank position, engaged core muscles, “push the ground away” and create space in your armpits, hips neutral

Exercise 2:

Crossover Squat – This is also called a “Curtsey Squat” but Crossover Squat sounds cooler. Stand with feet hips width apart, check that your toes are facing forward. Put your left foot behind you, and across the center line of your body and sink down into the squat, aiming to get your knee just a couple inches from the ground. Push back up to parallel feet. Alternate with the other leg. Advanced: Hold a dumb bell in your hands at chest level. Beginner – Either eliminate weight, or eliminate the crossover and just do a split squat.

Exercise 3:

Rows – Holding a dumbbell in each hand, tip from the hip with a natural bend in your knees. Let the weights hang straight toward the floor without pulling your shoulders down (engaged your shoulder blades to keep them neutral, not hunched). Pull your belly up and in, engage that core. Row UP with the weights, pulling your shoulder blades in towards your spine, then lower the weights down again using resistance not gravity. Repeat.

Exercise 4:

High Knees – Jog in place as fast as you can while pulling your knee up as high as you can. This is tougher than it sounds. Use the first 10 seconds of your interval to “warm up” into it before hitting the high knee. Beginners – Jog but eliminate the high knee

*Cool down with some side-to-side stepping then STRETCH!

*Drink water throughout this workout, stay hydrated!

Sesame and Garlic Flank Steak with Grilled Asparagus

Makes 6 Servings

Prep time: 10 minutes plus 4 hour marinate and 15 minute cook time


2   large cloves garlic, finely chopped

2   pinches salt plus additional for seasoning

1 1/2 tablespoons honeyABG Capital Biggest Losers Recipe

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 1/4 pounds lean flank steak, patted dry

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound asparagus, trimmed


1. Using the flat side of a knife or a mortar and pestle, mash together the garlic and pinch of salt until the mixture forms a paste; transfer to a small bowl. Mix in the honey, lemon juice and soy sauce; slowly whisk in 1 teaspoon oil.

2. Place the steak in a shallow dish or bowl. Pour the marinade over steak and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

3. Heat the grill to high. Remove steak from marinade and season lightly with salt and black pepper. Transfer to grill; close the cover and cook to desired doneness, about 5 minutes a side for medium rare. Let meat rest on a cutting board 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, toss the asparagus with remaining oil and sprinkle with pinch of salt. Place in a grill basket; close cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes a side, until tender. Slice meat thinly and serve with asparagus.

Thanks for reading this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital!

Just another Friday at ABG

It’s almost the 4th of the July and that means you probably have a weekend filled with picnics and other outdoor activities. To celebrate in the ABG Capital office, we had a Staff Appreciation Ice Cream Party yesterday! It was a great way help all of our employees get ready for the holiday weekend.

On the ABG Capital blog this week, we featured a post on startups and the insurance needed to protect them. There are many different insurance options available for business owners. Before you pick one, you need to do the proper research and make sure you get a plan that fits all of your business’s needs.

Next week we’ll be sticking with the insurance theme but we’ll be looking at small business health insurance options. You may be small, but you can provide benefits just like the big boys. Although every company’s situation is unique, we’ll offer you some alternatives that are worth exploring.

Now for the most exciting part of the Just another Friday at ABG Capital blog post; your Biggest Losers Challenge updates! We concluded Week 5 of the challenge and things are going great for everyone so far. As you know, each week we have a mini challenge for our participants. This week we ask everyone to do something different to change up their exercise routine. This could be doing some kickboxing, trying a new machine at the gym or doing a Zumba class. What’s a new exercise that you could see yourself trying out? Tell us in the comments section below!

We also have a great 4th of July Survival Guide to help you stay on track with your health and wellness goals, even when you have a weekend of picnics planned. Sticking to these strategies will allow you enjoy your party time while staying healthy.

Plan ahead

When you accept an invitation to a summer barbecue ask the host what will be served and what you can bring. This way, you can make a game plan about which foods you will indulge in. It also gives you the opportunity to bring something healthy. Try one of these simple recipes:


At the party, look at everything that’s being offered first, then just have a few items that look too good to pass up. If potato salad is your thing, take a scoop and enjoy it, and skip the less appealing-to-you macaroni salad. Don’t waste calories on so-so sweets or treats you can get any time of year.

Get a little more protein

Dietary protein helps control appetite, which ultimately keeps weight in check. Look for lean proteins such as grilled chicken breast or shrimp or three-bean salad, which gets an extra make-you-full boost from fiber. Fill about one-quarter of your plate with lean protein.

Pile on the produce

You should be eating nine servings of vitamin-packed fruits and vegetables daily. That’s easy at a barbecue if you focus on summer salads, grilled vegetables, and prepared fruit plates. Load up on naturally low-calorie, low-fat produce; it should take up at least half your plate.

Be smart about alcohol

When drinking alcohol, alternate libations with water. You’ll pace yourself and cut down on all the empty calories and sugar that tend to be in summer cocktails.

Take a seat

Rather than picking and grazing, head over to a picnic table or sit down in the grass when you eat. Practice mindful eating. If you eat something distractedly, it doesn’t register, so you’ll be less satisfied and you’ll reach for more.

Relax a little!

Shooting for all healthy, all the time is a great way to fail. Allow yourself some leeway, and you’re guaranteed to have more fun and feel better. Eighty percent of the time, do 80 percent of the things that are healthy for you. During the other 20 percent, let go a little and enjoy a small portion of your favorite foods.

We even have a great recipe Chips and Dip recipe to share with you. We’re sure that other party-goers will love this treat.

Vegetable Chips & Dip


1 3-pack bag crispy organic hearts of romaineVeggie Chips and Dip

Home on the Range Dressing

2 cups raw cashews

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 1/4 cups water (or to taste for desired consistency)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons raw agave nectar or raw honey

1/3 cup chopped red onion

3 small garlic cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried dill


In a high-speed blender, combine cashews, oil, lemon juice, water, vinegar, agave, onion, garlic, and sal,t and blend until creamy. Add basil and dill and quick-blend until you see little flecks of green. (This creates added flavor for the eyes.) Do not overblend. Serve immediately as a dressing or dip.

Dressing thickens once chilled. Add additional water to thin it out. Makes 35 ounces.

Wash and cut romaine crosswise into thirds. (This will give you 3-inch romaine chips, perfect for dipping.)

Display chips in a large bowl, set out your dressing, and watch guests enjoy a fun salad in disguise as their favorite comfort food.

Thanks for visiting the ABG Capital blog for another Just another Friday at ABG. Have a fun and safe 4th of July!

Just another Friday at ABG

Hello and welcome back to your Just another Friday at ABG Capital blog post! Let’s jump right in and see what’s been going on in the office this week.

First and foremost I’d like to extend a warm welcome to our newest employee, Santhi Arjunan. Santhi will be working with our Development team as a Java Developer. She earned her education in India and has been a Pittsburgher since 1989. Santhi has two daughters and enjoys spending her spare time cooking, taking walks and caring for others. Having worked at a large organization in Pittsburgh for the last 13 years, Santhi really knows her stuff and we’re happy to have her as part of our team!

Before I jump into our ABG Capital Biggest Losers updates, I want to mention a blog post that we’ve prepared for next week. Building your own startup is always a scary thing. Our blog post will help guide you through the process and ensure that your startup will be a success.

ABG Capital Biggest Losers Challenge And now for your weekly updates for our Biggest Losers Challenge! Today marks the end of the 4th week and also the half-way point of the competition. As you know, each week comes with a challenge for the participants. This week’s challenge was to keep a food journal. Everyone had to write down everything they ate from the moment they woke up to the time they went to bed.

We know that everyone is always attached to their phones so we suggested using My Fitness Pal and Livestrong, which are two different apps to help keep track of everything eaten during the day. These apps are great because they count calories and calculate your fat, protein and carb consumption. They’re also FREE to download!

As for the actual challenge, the participants were to track their daily food intake and then they would earn points based on these seven factors listed below.

  • Ate a healthy breakfast
  • Ate a healthy lunch and dinner
  • Had 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables
  • Ate healthy snacks
  • Drank 8 glasses of water (at least)
  • Avoided bad foods
  • Watched your portion control

This was a really great challenge because it shows you your eating habits, and you might be surprised! If you’re trying to become a healthier person, then start keeping a food journal and write down everything you eat no matter how big or small it is. It’ll hold you accountable for what you’re eating and hopefully you’ll start wanting to swap out the bad stuff for the good stuff.

Now that we’ve covered all of this week’s ABG Capital highlights, we want to share a few updates from the Month End Meeting that was held today:

  • Award Season: We’re in the process of going through the Best Places to Work in Pa and Best Places to Work in Western Pa surveys. We ranked on these lists last year and we can’t wait to share our rankings for this year!
  • May Employee of the Month: Mark Fleckenstein
  • June Honorable Mention: Jed Blazanin
  • June Spotlight: Jenn Williams
  • Promotions: Cameron Nutter was promoted to a Level 2 Technical Support Rep

Congratulations to everyone who has received some fantastic recognition his week!

Thank you for checking out the ABG Capital blog and we hope you have a great weekend!

Just another Friday at ABG

Be happy that it’s Friday! Here are just a few quick notes from ABG Capital to help you finish out your day…

Biggest Losers Update:

Today marks the end of week 3 for our Biggest Losers challengers and they’re still going strong and not giving up. Our challenge for the week was to track movement with a pedometer or some sort of equivalent smartphone app. The goal was to reach 10,000 steps a day, but we were still giving out points for those who reach 5,000. This challenge will be extended through Monday, so there’s extra time to rack up some points! The start of this week fell right after Father’s Day and we know everyone was celebrating with parties and other weekend get-togethers. To help our challengers get back on track, we gave them 10 great tips on how to detox after some no so healthy choices they made over the weekend. Once again, we want to give Sara a huge shout out for putting all of this great information together for us!

  1. Drink Water – A LOT of water. With all the toxins built up from a weekend of campfire and grill smoke – we need a flush! Drink 2 to 3 liters a day.
  2. Wait until you’re hungry – Then eat foods that are rich in fiber, lean protein, and antioxidants. For example: Oatmeal for breakfast, dark greens and grilled salmon or chicken at lunch, and brown rice with grilled chicken and broccoli or asparagus for dinner.
  3. Exercise – The following day after indulging is the perfect day to get back on track at the gym. Endorphin’s will be flowing, sweat will be dripping and the term “Sweat it Out” has a definite truth to it!
  4. Green Tea – Try a cup a day for the next 3 days. Green tea is a great diuretic that flushes the liver and reduces inflammation.
  5. Stretch – Work on lengthening your muscles that might be stiff or stagnant from a weekend of partying. Start with your quads & hamstrings holding each stretch for 30 seconds. You’ll feel more relaxed and mobile.
  6. Avoid/Reduce Stress – Meditate for 15 minutes, try a yoga class, get a massage, laugh at something! Don’t contribute to an already worn out body, get away and do what makes you happy!
  7. Organization – Keep your mind at ease by being organized. Create a 5 day plan prioritizing what needs to get done. Don’t overdo it. Only plan to accomplish the essentials. Seeing it in front of you will relax your mind and reassure yourself that this week is going to go smoothly.

Blog Posts:

As for this week’s blog post, we had a great article that talks about the benefits of incorporating sports into your employee Health and Wellness plans. As some of you might know, we have quarterly sporting events where we take a half a day on a Friday and get out of the office. Those sports include bowling, kickball, softball and football. If you check out this article, you’ll see some tips on how employers can turn simple sports into teamwork skill builders.

Other Office News:

One project that we’ve been working on for months now is an office decoration project that has transformed our office into a space where people feel at home. Last week we finished up the final phases of this project that included a wall dedicated to our Make-A-Wish efforts, our quarterly sports and even our Scotch Friday get-togethers. Check out the pictures below!

Just another Friday at ABG Capital

Dedicated to the wishes we’ve granted over the years.

Just another Friday at ABG Capital

“Sport don’t build character, they reveal it.” John Wooden



Our main hallway.


The ABG Capital Scotch Wall.

The ABG Capital Scotch Wall.


We had people sign it to make it feel more like us!



It’s five o’clock somewhere!

Thanks for stopping by the ABG Capital blog! Have a great weekend. 🙂

Just another Friday at ABG

Welcome back to this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital blog post! Let’s jump right in and chat a little bit about what we have going on with our blog posts and then we’ll get into some Biggest Losers updates.

This week on our blog we had a great article that talked about Massively Open Online Course (MOOCs) and how they help to improve employee skills. These courses are free and give people access to professors worldwide. It’s a fantastic opportunity for people to further their education or stay up to date with other topics that they just want to brush up on.  The biggest point made in this article is that it can be a fantastic resource for employees who want to grow their current skills or learn some new ones.

Next week on the ABG Capital blog, we’ll be posting an article on how incorporating sports into your employee health and wellness plan can be a great thing. Sports aren’t only good for your employees’ health, but they can work wonders for building teams as well. This is definitely something that we’ve accepted into the ABG Capital culture. We have quarterly sporting events (bowling, kick ball, soft ball, football), we implemented Tend to You at 10am and 2pm breaks to play sports during work and we’ve even added a ping pong table in the office! It’s brought all kinds of people together who wouldn’t normally get the chance together.

And now let’s check in with our Biggest Losers contest. Last week we had the participants focus on the number of minutes they exercised that week. This week, we wanted people to focus on getting enough sleep. Here are some of the risks that come along with lack of sleep:

  • Increased risk of drowsy driving
  • Increase in body mass index – a greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
  • Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
  • Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
  • Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information

Missing sleep causes many more problems that simply being a little sleepy the next day. While you’re on your journey to creating a healthier lifestyle, make sure to pay more attention to your sleep patterns.

Now that we’ve covered this week’s challenge, let’s look at a new Last Chance Work-Out! You will need a stop watch and a towel or exercise mat. Hand weights are optional and you should plan to workout for about 30 minutes

Interval levels: Beginners: 30 seconds on, 30 seconds recover/Advanced: 45 seconds on, 15 seconds recover

Kick Downs (lay on your with legs straight up in the air at a 90 degree angle, Keeping legs straight, lower them as far as you can. Return to start, keeping your belly button drawn in and your back pressed to the mat the whole time)

Push Ups (modify as needed)

Lateral Lunges (feet wide, lunge into the left knee keeping the knee in line with the toe but not allowing it to stray over your shoelaces, straighten, lunge right, repeat) Advanced: Hold a hand-weight in each hand as you lower and lift

2 foot hops back and forth

Beginners: Repeat until 30 minutes is up/Advanced: Repeat for 45 minutes



Turkey TacosJust another Friday at ABG Capital

Corn tortillas



Black olives

Shredded lettuce

Chopped onions


Try a tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt in the place of sour cream!


Simple, clean eating salad:

½ cup fresh blueberries

½ cup fresh strawberries, sliced

3 cups baby greens

1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp pecan pieces or sliced almonds

Optional: 1 tbsp blue or gorgonzola cheese sprinkled on top

Thanks for stopping by to check in with ABG Capital. Have a great weekend a happy Father’s Day!