Business Notes

Business Notes

Microfinance International of Arlington has joined forces with Telegiros Virginia, a company specialized in delivering money transfers to Bolivia and which has the largest market share of the Bolivian remittance market in the Greater Washington area. Atsumasa Tochisako, President and CEO of Microfinance International, and Vesna Yaksic, President and CEO of Telegiros Virginia, signed an agreement under which Telegiros Virginia will provide services under the Alante Financial brand and send remittances through Alante Financial’s distribution network in Bolivia.

With the combination of extensive penetration into the local Bolivian market and the affordable, diversified products and services of Alante Financial, it is expected that Microfinance International will become one of the largest remittance senders to Bolivia.

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce held its 81st Annual Meeting on Dec. 9, at the Sheraton National Hotel, in Arlington. An audience of more than 200 Arlington business-people and leaders gathered for a celebration of 2005 and a look ahead to future successes in 2006.

Dennis Bakke, Arlington native and author of Joy at Work, addressed the audience. Joy at Work, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller, was the topic of Bakke's address. Following Bakke's speech, recipients of the following special awards were announced: 2005 Committee of the Year: Communications Council, Chaired by John Gunn, John Gunn Marketing Partners LLC; 2005 Chairman's Award: Comcast; 2005 President's Award: Ellen Brown, Hamilton College.

Additionally, Sean Hosty, Chair-Elect for the 2006 year, introduced the 2006 Officers and Board Members.

2006 Executive Committee: Sean W. Hosty, Chairman, Legg Mason; Barbara Nicastro, Chairman-Elect, The Law Offices of Barbara E. Nicastro, Esq.; Margaret McKeough, Treasurer, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority; Todd Ihrig, Assistant Treasurer, H.D. Vest Investment Services; Grace Abi-Najm Shea, Vice Chairman, Communications Division, Lebanese Taverna; Timothy Reese, Vice Chairman, Economic Development and Government Affairs Division, Buck Commercial; John Murphy, Vice Chairman, Member Affairs Division, Washington Workplace; Jim Whelan, Vice Chairman, Membership Development, The ProActive Corporation of America; Loran Adams, Vice Chairman, Special Interests Division, Crescent Resources, LLC; Stanley E. Taylor, Past Chairman, George Mason University;

Steve Barto, Past Chairman, UBS Financial Services.

Comcast, winner of the 2005 Chairman's award, sponsored the Annual Meeting.

Battelle officials recently presented a $15,500 check to Arlington Science Focus school to help support the school's science and technology education programs. The Funds will be directed to a program called Investigation Station in which students design, build and assess their own learning in a hands-on manner. These lessons focus on ecology, biology, geology, physics, astronomy and chemistry directly correlated to the Virginia Standards of Learning. Learning tools will include whiteboards, wireless devices, cameras, microphones and other technology devices designed to enhance the weekly "Science City" experiments. The donation also will help purchase curriculum materials for the gifted science programs. Arlington Science Focus School is designed to develop extensive understanding of science content and processes through inquiry-based learning. Battelle, a leader in science and technology, has a large office in Arlington.

Rotary Club of Rosslyn-Fort Myer meets for lunch on Tuesdays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn's Vantage Point Restaurant, 1900 Fort Myer Drive. All Rotarians are welcome to join in the fellowship. Rotary is a community service organization made up of business professionals dedicated to service above self. The Rotary Club of Rosslyn-Fort Myer is currently supporting a literacy project in India. Contact Chris Zabriskie at 240-346-4237 or

Cannon Design in Arlington announced that the firm has raised $10,000 in donations to assist in the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Effort for Katrina, through the donations of its employees and a matching program sponsored by the firm. This special matching program was created in response to concerned employees who expressed an interest in donating monies to help the victims of Katrina, following one of the severest hurricanes recorded in U.S. history.

Shannon Nifontoff of Arlington, recently attended XanGo LLC’s third annual convention in Salt Lake City, Nov. 3-5. Nifontoff is an independent distributor for the company, the first to market a premium mangosteen beverage, XanGo™ Juice, to consumers worldwide. More than 6,000 independent distributors from around the world gathered at the Salt Lake City Convention Center. The XanGo Unleashed Convention provided an opportunity for distributors to hear from XanGo founding executives and get guidance on boosting their own businesses.

XanGo created a new category of dietary supplements with its creation of XanGo Juice. The delicious dietary supplement is made from an exclusive puree of the whole mangosteen, a coveted fruit from Southeast Asia. Taking health and wellness by storm, XanGo has grown to more than 500 employees in less than three years and achieved record-breaking sales of over $200 million in 2004, its second year of operation.

The South Arlington Lead Share Association (SALSA) meets for breakfast Friday mornings from 7-8:30 a.m. at the Juke Box Diner, 7039 Columbia Pike, Annandale. The first half hour is for networking. The meeting officially begins at 7:30 a.m. Only one business per profession can be represented. Visit or call Pat Cardillo at 571-331-8670.

First Edition Toastmasters meets every Friday at noon at 1700 N. Moore St., Suite 1030, Arlington. The diverse membership of this Toastmasters chapter includes small-business owners and employees with a variety of government agencies and associations. Visit to find out how Toastmasters can improve skills in all areas of public speaking and communicate more effectively. Call Barbara Hicks at 703-558-2266, or visit