In today’s Bulldog wrapup on technology and life science news:

  • Former GSK exec Bob Ingram to receive NC honor
  • The CED plans 30th anniversary parties
  • Amazon is hiring big time
  • AMD is cutting jobs
  • The FBI director warns against cellphone encryption

The details:

  • Ingram Picked for North Carolina Award

Gov. Pat McCrory will present the North Carolina Award, the highest civilian honor the state can bestow, to six people on Thursday, Nov. 13.

The Public Service honor goes to Bob Ingram, the former GSK executive and now a venture capitalist/investor.

“While leading a professional career in pharmaceuticals, Robert ‘Bob’ Ingram has also made an impact as a public servant. Ingram is chairman of the Research Triangle Foundation, Glaxo Foundation and a partner in Hatteras Ventures Partners, seeking venture capital to fund the next bright idea in the science or medical field,” the state said in announcing the honor. “Ingram was asked by President George H.W. Bush to form the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Institutes of Health Cancer Advisory Board. He serves on the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy. He has been on the cover of Business Leader and Forbes magazines.”

  • The CED Turns 30 – Time to Party

“Join us for the CED@30 Pop-Up Parties,” says the Council for Entrepreneurial Development.

“We are turning the big 3-0 this year! Can you believe it? In true CED fashion, we are throwing not one, not two, but three parties to celebrate and they will be “popping up” all over the Triangle!”

Three parties are set: Oct. 28 at the American Underground @ Main in Durham; Oct. 29 at Alexandria Real Estate in RTP; and Nov. 4 at HQ Raleigh.

Check out the CED website ( for details and to RSVP.

  • Amazon Is Hiring

Amazon is hiring 80,000 seasonal workers for its distribution centers as it looks to improve its shipping efficiency during the crucial holiday season.

The figure is a 14 percent increase over last year’s hiring of 70,000 workers, as Amazon has been opening more distribution centers.

It now has more than 50 distribution centers in the U.S., up from 40 last year. And in July it announced it was opening eight smaller sorting centers for a total of 15 by year-end. At the centers packages are sorted by ZIP code and then transported to U.S. Postal Service offices.

The company says the sorting centers help Amazon offer services such as Sunday delivery, a later cutoff order time and tighter control over shipping logistics.

Thousands of the seasonal jobs are expected to become permanent positions.

The pace of hiring at a retailer can serve as an indicator of expectations for the holiday shopping season, which accounts for 20 percent of the industry’s annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation, a trade group.

Seattle-based Amazon is hoping to avoid problems that occurred late in the holiday season last year, when shippers such as UPS were caught off guard by spiking online orders, particularly from

Overall, the National Retail Federation said it expects sales during the November and December period to increase 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion, up a percentage point higher than last year. It marks the highest increase since 2011 when the rise was 4.8 percent.

Amazon employs more than 132,600 full-time and part-time employees globally.AMD says it will cut 7 percent of its global workforce in an effort to improve its profitability.

  • AMD Is Cutting Jobs

The Sunnyvale, California-based chipmaker has been dealing with weaker revenue and profits for some time and posted third-quarter results Thursday that missed market expectations.

The company expects the reductions and related real estate moves will save $85 million in 2015.

AMD employed 10,149 people as of the end of its third quarter. It plans to cut the jobs by the end of its fourth quarter. The company will take a $57 million charge, largely for severance, during that final quarter.

Shares of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. fell nearly 5 percent to $2.51 in extended trading following the announcement. As of Thursday’s close, the stock is down by nearly one-third in the year to date.

It is the first move by AMD’s new CEO, Lisa Su, a former chief operating officer who replaced Rory Read just over a week ago.

AMD also said Thursday that it earned $17 million, or 2 cents per share, in its most recent quarter. Its earnings, adjusted for amortization costs, came to 3 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were anticipating earnings of 4 cents per share. A year ago the company earned $48 million, or 6 cents per share.

The chipmaker posted revenue of $1.43 billion in the period, down from $1.46 billion last year and also short of Street forecasts. Analysts expected $1.47 billion, according to Zacks.

For the fourth quarter, AMD expects revenue to decrease 13 percent, plus or minus 3 percent, from the third quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect revenue of $1.48 billion, which implies growth of 3.7 percent.

  • FBI Warns Against Phone Encryption

FBI Director James Comey warned in stark terms Thursday against the push by technology companies to encrypt smartphone data and operating systems, arguing that murder cases could be stalled, suspects could walk free and justice could be thwarted by a locked phone or an encrypted hard drive.

Privacy advocates and technology experts called the concerns exaggerated and little more than recycled arguments the government has raised against encryption since the early 1990s.

Likening encrypted data to a safe that cannot be cracked or a closet door that won’t open, Comey said the move by tech companies to protect user communications in the name of privacy is certain to impede a wide range of criminal investigations. New legislation to allow law enforcement to intercept communications is needed at a time of advancing technology and new forms of communication, he said.

“We have the legal authority to intercept and access communications from information pursuant to court order, but we often lack the technical ability to do so,” Comey said in a Brookings Institution speech.

Comey cited particular cases in which he said access to cell phone data aided in a criminal investigation. But in a question-and-answer session after the speech, he said he could not cite particular instances in which someone was rescued from danger who wouldn’t have been had law enforcement been blocked from that information.

“Rescuing someone before they’re harmed? Someone in the trunk of a car or something?” Comey asked. “I don’t think I know yet.”

But, he added, “Logic tells me there are going to be cases just like that.”

The speech, which echoes concerns he and others in law enforcement have previously made, comes soon after announcements by Apple and Google that their new operating systems will be encrypted, or protected with coding by default. Law enforcement officials could still intercept conversations but might not be able to access call data, contacts, photos and email stored on the phone.

While the companies’ actions are understandable, Comey said, “the place they are leading us is one we shouldn’t go to without careful thought and debate.”

“Encryption isn’t just a technical feature. It’s a marketing pitch. But it will have very serious consequences for law enforcement and national security agencies at every level,” Comey said.