Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Meet Travis Edinger

As one of many employees celebrating working anniversaries with Spectrum Industries Inc. this year, Travis Edinger, a R&D Technician for Spectrum’s Quality and Safety Department, celebrated 32 years with Spectrum in September.

On a daily basis, Edinger creates, develops, and tests the quality and durability of products.    

“I work with the product development department and have them test and analyze new ideas and concepts to see if a design might work,” Edinger said. “And when all the tests come together at the end of testing, I make one final test report. I look at things through the eyes of safety, quality, and a durability perspective.”     

In Edinger’s early career, he worked as a carpenter and went to school at Chippewa Valley Technical College. There he took different types of drafting classes and was able to expand his 3D mindset. His schooling and experience as a carpenter helped him land his first job with Spectrum as a Draftsman in 1986.   

“The reason why I stayed at Spectrum was because of Dave Hancock,” Edinger said. “I worked very closely with him on a variety of projects. He’s been very fair and generous, I felt like he understood me.”        

Spectrum Industries originally started in 1968 as Cygnet Films in Illinois. Over the years Spectrum grew into the furniture business and Edinger has been involved in many different areas of the company.    

“I’ve been involved in design, research, sales, marketing, packaging, quality, safety, technical support and I’ve been in a managerial position,” Edinger said. “I’ve been able to work outside the box as far as even building maintenance. I was involved in a lot of the remodeling for the Johnson Street facility.”                  

Edinger works as an R&D Technician at Spectrum’s Johnson Street location. With his job, he tests products to ensure they will be safe for the customer to use.

“Most of the tests that we do are pre-formatted test standards set by ANSI-BIFMA or UL,” Edinger said. “We try to adhere as closely as we can to those test formats. We send our products to Intertek to get certified and pre-establish in our in-house testing that they will get certified. I have several sets of standards that I reference. We do all the testing in-house first before it gets sent out, so there should be no surprises with the outside testing results. If there is a unique function, we evaluate it very closely.”                

With Edinger’s 32 years of experience at Spectrum, he has been involved in many product releases and is pleased with his time spent with the company.  

“I helped design some of Spectrum’s older products,” Edinger said. “Such as our bunkbeds. I was actually the primary designer on our Class line originally, the 71000 line, and the hi-tech line. I am proud of the fact that working at Spectrum I have my name on three different patents. One was for the Teleboard, one was for the FPM desk system, and the other was on Dave Hancock’s weight machine. Dave patented a continual force in movement, a system on stainless steel.”     

Edinger’s history with Spectrum has been nothing short of impressive. With so many different positions over the years, Edinger is an expert in understanding design, product procurement, and safety.         

“This company has given me endless opportunities and for that I am extremely grateful,” Edinger said.      

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Randal Greene Celebrates 40 Years at Spectrum Industries Inc.

March 29, 2018, was the 50th Anniversary of Spectrum Industries Inc. While Spectrum reflected on its history and innovations throughout the years, its employees were celebrating anniversaries as well.
Randal Greene, a Buyer for the Purchasing Department, celebrated his 40th work anniversary in February. Greene worked at Hubbard Scientific, a division of Spectrum, for 10 years until it was sold in 1991. Greene stayed on working for Spectrum and has and been with the furniture company for 30 years.

“At Hubbard Scientific, I worked in many different areas,” Greene said. “I worked in the raw materials warehouse department, the plastic fabricating department, shipping department, and eventually became the traffic coordinator manager for domestic and exporting of shipments.”            

Greene started working at Hubbard Scientific when he was just 19 years old and has stayed working for Spectrum ever since. With 40 years of experience, Greene has worked just about every job within the company.

“The first job I took on at Spectrum was working in transportation and I also worked with custom outside accounts as an inside sales person,” Greene said. “We only had one person working those accounts when Spectrum first started. I also worked with the transportation of our products to our customers. I did those two jobs for a number of years and then I ended up going into production scheduling. After that, I went into purchasing and spent about 10 years in each of those areas.”      

With Green’s longevity, he has witnessed Spectrum flourish, develop, and create new products over the years.     

“It’s been a very exciting time,” Greene said. “I have seen Spectrum grow from a handful of employees to 200-250 employees. It’s been a blast watching the company grow. The best thing about my job working for Spectrum all these years is that I got to work with so many nice people. Spectrum has been more of a family type of environment.”         

As one of many employees who have been working at Spectrum for a countless number of years, Spectrum Industries appreciates and thanks Greene for all of his hard work and dedication.

“If I had to pick one entity of my career that I enjoy the most it has been working with my fellow employees,” Greene said.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Importance of UL and RoHS Certified Products

Throughout the past century technology has increasingly evolved and transformed. With schools now using learning tools such as robotics and 3D printers, it is important to understand how safe electronics are.

Spectrum Industries headquartered in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, verifies and guarantees that all products manufactured are safe. The premier furniture company tests every product according to ANSI-BIFMA furniture standards and has multiple products that are UL certified. A UL certified label on products ensures consumers that Spectrum has met company and quality standards in order to prevent safety accidents.

“UL certification verifies to us and our customers that our product designs meet or exceed all the safety criteria defined by specific UL standards,” said Dennis Barka, Spectrum’s Vice President of Process Control. “It ensures robust designs that protect consumers from safety and durability issues that may otherwise be unknown and inherent in an uncertified product.”            

UL, otherwise known as Underwriters Laboratories, has created the national safety standard. It promotes safe living and working environments by companies testing and inspecting products in order to meet safety standards. If a product is UL listed that means it has met UL’s Safety Standards.

“Our electrical products that we purchase have to meet UL requirements,” said Randal Greene, Buyer of Spectrum’s Purchasing Department. “There are different UL certification levels. We find out from our vendors what their UL listings are on electrical components. And if we are in doubt, we also have an outside company that can test for UL. We can send part of a product to them and they will run it through and approve it.”      

Having multiple products UL Certified ensures customers that our products are safe for them and students to use. In order for a product to receive UL certification, manufacturers submit their products for testing and if it meets UL’s Safety Standards, it can be UL marked. Products that aren’t UL listed can result in electrical shock or fire.      

Besides using UL listed products, Spectrum also makes sure its products are RoHS compliant. RoHS, a self-certification program that Spectrum follows, stands for the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic products.    

“RoHS is an initiative, a directive, which stipulates that certain hazardous chemicals have to be under a certain level within that material,” said Greene. “As long as our products meet this directive our products can be exported into the European Union. European Union countries have RoHS requirements, the United States does not.”

If companies do not comply, large penalties or fines can be given. Spectrum’s products are all RoHS compliant to ensure customers that we meet applicable standards for safety and durability.    

“By being RoHS compliant and following UL standards, we are able to help protect our customers from any potential issues,” said Barka. “Our customers know our products are safe, and with the certification marks, it never has to be questioned.”

Spectrum operates as an environmentally responsible manufacturer and implements environmental sustainability through waste prevention, material recovery and recycling, product design, and procurement. By being RoHS compliant, Spectrum is implementing its environmental stewardship by restricting materials that can harm the environment and become exposed to workers in recycling and manufacturing processes.      

“We take pride in being a good corporate citizen by doing our part to help protect our environment,” said Barka. “We always strive to incorporate environmentally safe initiatives and practices into all our daily operational and manufacturing processes.”

Monday, May 21, 2018

Spectrum Secures Mobile Devices with New Security Door

Spectrum Industries Inc. is introducing a new locking feature on one of its storage solutions, the Collectiv8 Charging Pillar.

In stock, ready to ship, the Collectiv8 is built fully assembled for easy, simple integration. The Collective8’s new optional feature is a security door that was created to help protect tablets, notebooks, laptops, Chromebooks, and more. The small, compact design of the Collectiv8 allows it to fit under standard-height cabinets and be hung, stacked, or mounted to a worksurface. A metal wall shroud, another optional piece for the Collectiv8, is ADA compliant.           

“The Collectiv8 has the ability to work perfectly in any environment due to its small structure and ability for multiple units to charge at once,” said Ben Jones, Spectrum’s Vice President of Sales. “The new locking security door allows for devices to be safely stored and charged.”      

In addition to the many features this small charging solution has, it offers a superior cable management system. Along the side of the Collective8, next to each storage bay, is where the management system is located. An 8’ power cord and rotated outlets are also part this product’s features. With all of these features and a heavy-duty, scratch resistant coat, the Collectiv8 is safe, durable, and tough.           

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Furniture Needs in a Makerspace/STEM Classroom

Makerspaces are being incorporated into classrooms and libraries all over the U.S. The great thing about creating a makerspace is that it can be built anywhere. With furniture that allows for flexibility in your makerspace, collaboration and the process of creating can be accomplished.        

From complete makerspace design to a single 3D printer cart, Spectrum Industries can MAKERYOURSPACE into the most functional classroom space available. From early childhood development to pre-engineering, Spectrum’s quality built furniture will take your Makerspace well into the future. 

Whether a 3D printer or robotics are being used in a makerspace, Spectrum creates products that connect people with technology. The premier school manufacturer is headquartered in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and manufactures desks, tables, chairs, lecterns and carts.

Spectrum’s mobile and tech-ready furniture can make any space a makerspace. A makerspace layout that flows and gives students the choice to learn how they want, can result in endless collaboration and tinkering. Mobility in Spectrum’s products allows for an innovative environment to be kept strong even when desks are re-arranged. This type of flexibility allows for teachers to constantly understand what students are innovating and brainstorming.   

For a makerspace, it may seem that high-tech furniture needs to be used in order to create a flexible environment, but that’s not true. A casual environment that allows students to choose how they want to learn, helps students relax and generate new ideas. 

Spectrum’s Makerspace Ideabook is a comprehensive guide that shows you what type of layout Spectrum’s products can create in a makerspace. The Pivot Jr. (linked to page), a height-adjustable mobile desk, can easily transform any environment. Its small footprint allows for ideas and brainstorming to occur anywhere in the classroom.

In any learning environment, individuals should feel inspiration. Surprisingly, color can impact behavior and mood. Color in the classroom can strike imagination and inspiration in students as well as designate certain areas of the classroom for specific tasks. Spectrum’s Expressions Line offers an endless variety of color combinations for its products.  According to The Inclusive Classroom: The Effects of Color on Learning and Behavior from the Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences Education, “teachers and school administrators need to understand the ways that color affects student behavior. A thoughtfully planned physical environment will enhance the psychological comfort of the most sensitive students by identifying and eliminating detrimental sensory impact. Careful planning during construction, selection of materials and finishes, and spatial organization can play a major role in behavior and learning in the classroom.”       

With Spectrum’s Makerspace Ideabook and innovative furniture that connects people with technology, the possibilities of room layout and furniture for your space is endless. MAKERYOURSPACE a learning environment that will inspire, strike innovation and most importantly allow students to collaborate.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Spectrum Welcomes Ashley Scott as Content Coordinator

Headquartered in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Spectrum Industries Inc. is happy to welcome Ashley Scott as Content Coordinator. Scott will be responsible for writing press releases, case studies, articles, feature stories and managing social media platforms.

Scott received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh studying Public Relations. She minored in journalism and sociology and previously worked for UW-Oshkosh as a Communications Intern for the University’s Alumni Center writing profile stories on campus Alumni.            

“I am looking forward to writing and creating content for Spectrum,” Scott said. “Writing articles, press releases and working with social media is exactly what I wanted to do with my degree. In addition to my writing experience, I believe my past work experience in manufacturing will help me understand how Spectrum’s products are created.”

The Sheboygan native worked at Kohler Company in Kohler, Wisconsin for three summers in the company’s Distribution Center. Her manufacturing experience from Kohler and education is something she will always be thankful for.         

“Being able to write and understand how Spectrum’s products are made is extremely important to me,” Scott said. “Spectrum creates products that connect people with technology, and being able to understand the design, process and ergonomics behind each product made is essential to my job.”          

Scott graduated in December of 2017 and couldn’t be more thankful that her first full-time job is with Spectrum.         

“We are excited to have Ashley join our team,” said Carla Leuck, Spectrum’s Marketing Manager. “She comes with great writing and social media experience and we are looking forward to boosting our marketing by including case studies and educational pieces to our Resellers and customers.”        

With being four hours away from home, Scott is adjusting to life in West-Central Wisconsin and loves to 
explore this new area of the state for her. 

“When I have free time, I always try to be active,” Scott said. “I enjoy spending time outside and finding new trails that I can run on.”  

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Thank You Teachers

May 7-11 is Teacher Appreciation Week and National Teacher Day is Tuesday, May 8. During this time, it is important to thank teachers for their hard work and dedication to their students.  

Mark Dotson, Spectrum Industries Territory Manager, for Virginia, North and South Carolina, grew a passion learning about the Civil War from his U.S. History teacher Mr. William Moon at Wayne High School in Dayton, Ohio, now Huber Heights.          

In October of 1862, descendants of Dotson’s fought in the Battle Perryville. One of many factors that contributed to Dotson’s passion for the Civil War.

Eventually, Mr. Moon recognized Mark’s interest in the Civil War and let Dotson read his old college history books so he could learn more about it. Dotson’s main focus of study and passion is on the Virginia Theater of the Civil War from 1862-1864.

“Mr. Moon fueled my interest in the Civil War,” said Dotson. “My folks are from Kentucky, but my descendants all fought for the Union. Although this is true, my real interest was in the Confederacy. I thought it was cool somebody who was essentially out numbered 10 to 1 held their own for four years and it was all about Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and everything that took place in Virginia.”     

Dotson has been to every major battlefield in Virginia and continues to learn more about the Civil War by reading books such as the 1864 Grant vs. Lee Overland Campaign from his favorite author Gordon Rhea. Locations where the Battle of Cold Harbor, Battle of Chancellorsville and the Battle of Second Manassas, also known as the Second Battle of Bull Run, are some of Dotson’s favorite battlefields to visit.     

With a passion for the Civil War that was fueled by Mr. Moon, around 1985, Dotson wrote Mr. Moon a letter thanking him for teaching him and for the development of his interest in the Civil War.     

“I said hey if you remember me, I want to thank you, you got me interested and I am down here in Williamsburg, Virginia with colonial history. I am living in Richmond, where the capital of the Confederacy once was and I wanted to thank you. I sent him a book marker with a pine cone on the top which was the colonial symbol of hospitality for colonial Willamsburg.”       

“Mr. Moon wrote back and he said thank you, yes of course I remember you,” Dotson said. “He said there are days where I wondered if anyone was ever listening.”

With it being Teacher Appreciation Week, this is the perfect time to thank a teacher for their dedication and hard work. A simple thank you can go a long way.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Spectrum Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Spectrum Industries, a premier furniture manufacturer headquartered in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, celebrated its 50th Anniversary on March 29, 2018.

David Hancock and Bill Duren, both of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, were lifelong friends and dreamed of one day starting a business together. Eager, the two men went to work and founded Applied Research and Development Corporation (ARDCO) in 1960. ARDCO developed products such as disposable plates and plastic containers from plastic and foam materials. Eventually, ARDCO was sold and in 1968, Duren and Hancock created Cygnet Films. The film company produced sales promotion and training films for educational purposes. The lifelong friends ran Cygnet Films together for eight months before the unfortunate death of Duren at 36 years of age.  

After Duren’s death, Hancock ran Cygnet Films and in 1969, Cygnet Films changed its name to Spectrum Industries Inc. making David Hancock CEO. One year later Spectrum purchased Fischer Motion Picture Laboratories and began film processing. Spectrum produced film for the education market, setting the stage for what their future would be. With the purchase of Hubbard Scientific in 1975, a manufacturer of educational products, and one of Spectrum’s biggest clients, it doubled Spectrum’s size.

The 1980’s and 1990’s were Spectrum’s years of advancement. In 1982 Spectrum acquired Jewel Metal Works, which wasn’t only a great purchase for Spectrum, but also introduced metal fabrication that would later influence the Manufacturing Division to be created. Spectrum began to manufacture office furniture, custom store fixtures and other products such as furniture for waiting rooms. In addition to Jewel Metal Works, Spectrum purchased Stanwood Corporation and Hallie Wood products. The purchase of Stanwood Corporation developed Spectrum’s line of wood products which included chairs, stools, tables and much more.

The years 1990 and 1991 are significant years in Spectrum’s history. Within these two years, Spectrum sold Hubbard Scientific to American Educational Products and launched a new line of products and business model that would change the company forever. The new business model included manufacturing and creating high quality furniture to connect people with technology. With the implementation of the new business model sales went up and the amount of Spectrum employees increased. Spectrum was able to consolidate and move from three different locations to one, its headquarters in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

The years following brought Spectrum great success. In 1995 Spectrum introduced its mobile laptop cart and 10 years later expanded its Chippewa Falls facility. In 2007, Spectrum’s medical division was launched.

With the development of technology, Spectrum was able to create, design and manufacture products that were needed for technology. Products were designed from the feedback provided by teachers, schools and information technology (IT) departments. As the world of technology grew, so did Spectrum. Communication, development and teamwork are contributors to Spectrum’s success and growth.  

Before Spectrum grew into the big company it is today with over 4,300 products manufactured, it started very small. Hundreds of employees at Spectrum over the years have helped the company get to where it is at today. Spectrum continues to manufacture and create high quality, durable products for the education, corporate, government and healthcare settings. Innovative products such as its storage and charging carts and AV ready lecterns, continue to connect people with technology.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Spectrum Welcomes Chippewa Native as New Territory Manager

Spectrum Industries headquartered in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, is happy to welcome Brian Morrissey as a Territory Manager. Morrissey will be responsible for representing Spectrum Industries in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.     

Morrissey previously worked in the consumer packaged goods industry and has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. with his sales experience.     

“I am looking forward to the challenges of my new position and proudly representing world class products manufactured in my home town of Chippewa Falls Wisconsin!” Morrissey said.

The Chippewa Falls native received his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin Stout.

“We are excited to have Brian join Spectrum and become part of the sales team,” said Ben Jones, Spectrum’s Vice President of Sales. “His experience in sales and territory management will be contributors to his success as a Territory Manager.”

When Morrissey isn’t busy traveling for work, you can find him spending time outdoors, as well as with family and friends.

“As an avid outdoorsman, one of my favorite activities is spending a quiet evening fishing on one of the areas lakes,” Morrissey said.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Seven Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mobile Computing Cart

1. Flexibility: Does the cart offer a bay size that will meet your current and future mobile device needs?    

At the moment, you are trying to find a solution for your current technology needs. As you know, technology changes fast, but a mobile computer cart can work for you through this deployment of technology and many more. Make sure the bay size of the cart you are looking at is large enough that it could hold different sized devices along with any type of protective case it may have. You never do know what new technology will be available to advance your students' learning.     

2. Convenience: Does the cart allow for easy management of your mobile devices' wires and cables? Does it have numbered slots for effective organization of those devices?

First, think about what it will take to initially wire the carts. If you are getting a large deployment, you’ll need an organized crew to wire all your technology in a reasonable amount of time. But is the cart itself set up for fast wiring? Look at the wire management in the front and where the power bricks might be stored in the back. If you can, wire the cart you are looking at buying so you have a good idea of how much time it will take to wire the entire cart. Also, think about how the instructors
will be using the devices. Typically, having each of the slots numbered helps with assigning devices to students and keeping your technology organized.      

3. Safety and Security: Is the cart equipped with secure locks and an exterior design that ensures safe operation around even the youngest students? Are standard tests performed to make sure it meets certain certifications? 

There is a lot to consider when it comes to safety. You want your technology to be protected and not tampered with. Having the ability to lock the cart is paramount. You want to know that your technology is safe, no matter where the cart is in the school. As for safety, the number one item you should look for is if it is UL listed. The typical listing for a cart is UL 60950-1. This certification looks at such things as electrical power; where all conductive material must be grounded, and industrial design, where it performs a number of tests including a tip test. It will also look at how the cart handles going up an incline and how much weight it can hold. Look for the safety security mark on the product itself (include UL/ETL logo). Keep in mind that it’s important for the entire cart to be UL listed, not just components of the cart.    

4. Durability: Is the cart made with top-quality materials to ensure it is rugged enough to stand up to years of daily classroom use?   

You want to make sure your cart can last the wear and tear of students and staff going in and out of this cart day in and day out. Is it made of heavy-gauge steel, or a flimsy
material? Also look at the dividers inside the cart and what they are made of. Will they break if a device leans up against it? Or does it have small pieces that may fall out if a student plays with it? Also look at the braking system on the wheels.Will the brakes withstand them being locked and unlocked multiple times each day for years?   

5. Mobility: Does the cart's size and exterior design, including its wheels, allow for it to be easily navigated through narrow and crowded school hallways and doorways?

Most mobile computing carts are on the go! Going from classroom to classroom with many students taking technology in and out of the cart, all day long. The first item to look at are the wheels. How easy is it to move that cart around, in and out of doorways, over thresholds, and into tight corners? Consider and learn if the wheels are noisy. Does the cart have any pieces that come out from the cart, like the handle or the base of the cart for the wheels? Some wheels hang out from the bottom creating a tripping hazard. As for the handles, look to make sure it doesn’t protrude from the cart for kids to run into. Also think about how your hands will be protected when going through narrow hallways or doorways. Finally, look at the weight of the cart. Some carts are very heavy and that is without the devices wired in. Look for a light-weight cart, yet durable, for easy mobility. 

6. Charging Ability: Can the cart meet your specific needs for charging mobile devices? Does it allow for easy external monitoring of the device-charging process?

First you need to look at the total number of watts your equipment will draw. Then look at the cart to see if it can charge all the devices at once or if you need a timer where it splits the devices into banks and only charges certain banks at a time. 

7. Affordability and Dependability: This biggest question you need to know is if the carts you are looking at fit into your budget, and does it fit into the specifications you need from the cart.   

Create a list of “must-have” features the cart needs to have. This will help prioritize your needs and you won’t fall for some of the add-on features you don’t need. Finding the right mobile computing
cart isn’t necessarily hard, but it needs to be thoroughly thought out so it meets the expectations from both the IT standpoint and what the instructor is looking for. If you do your research and determine what your needs are, you’ll be happy with the final mobile computing cart you decide on.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Love of Horses, a Spectrum Employee's Passion

Spectrum Industries' employee, Megan Weaver, works first shift in the Shipping Department and has worked at the premier furniture manufacturing company for almost two years.

The 24-year-old is originally from Illinois and resides in New Auburn. Weaver likes her job due to its versatility and the people she works with.   

“We all have a rotating job set for every day,” Weaver said. “This week I’m in the office picking carriers, taking care of phone calls and making sure everything is set for the next day. Otherwise, it’s out on the docks and you are setting up orders, doing receiving and pretty much getting everything in and out the door when it’s supposed to be.”   

When Weaver isn’t working, her weekends are spent with the one animal she loves the most, horses. She has had a passion for horses ever since she was little. Weaver’s parents have pictures of her riding horses from as young as two years old.       

“Ever since I was kid, I’ve always loved horses,” stated Weaver. “I’ve never had any of own, but I’ve always been around them,” Weaver said. “Actually, my best friend from home, her family had horses, so I got into it that way. She taught me everything I learned.”         

For horse training and cow breeding, Weaver spent a period of time at Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas. Weaver rode horses and eventually began to train them.

“When I started riding I was just riding for fun,” Weaver said. “I didn’t actually start training until I went to college and after I had graduated from high-school when I got my second farm job,” Weaver said.

Weaver used to compete in high school rodeo and is in the process of training two horses for barrel racing in speed events.   

“The horses I’m working with right now are Yearlings,” Weaver said. “They were born last summer. Right now I’m starting ground work with them, which is haltered lead rope stuff so they know their basics. This has to happen before I can ride them, which isn’t until they are two years old.” 

Although Weaver has been thrown, kicked, and suffered serious injuries from riding horses, that doesn’t stop her. Her passion for horses continues to grow.   

“I was out there visiting them the other day and they all ran out to me,” Weaver said. “I was completely happy. All the babies were running up to me and all wanting attention. It’s just something I really enjoy. It’s being able to be outside and be around these animals, it’s so much fun riding. I go on trail rides and I can be completely happy going off by myself and riding around.”     

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spectrum Donates to Chippewa Falls Fire Station

The new Chippewa Falls Fire Station No. 1 was greeted by Spectrum Industries with a donation of over $15,000 in furniture. Spectrum donated 16 Flex Flip Tables and an IMC Station for the Fire Station’s training room in March 2017.   

Located at 1301 Chippewa Crossing Boulevard, the new 20,000 foot building includes living space for fire fighters, an exercise room, kitchen, day room and lockers for storage. The new $5 million building also features six vehicle bays.         

Spectrum Industries, a niche furniture manufacturer also located in Chippewa Falls, custom designed furniture for the new Fire Station. The Flex Flip Tables donated featured height-adjustable legs, power modules and locking casters for the table’s mobility. Spectrum designed the IMC Station with a custom laminate and silver base.     

“The community of Chippewa Falls is extremely important to us and we wanted to help in any we could,” said Dave See, President of Spectrum Industries.       

Check out Spectrum's Flex Flip Table in motion:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How Furniture can make-or-break Makerspace

Across the U.S., teachers are integrating hands-on learning into their classrooms enabling students to work collaboratively while building skills through tinkering, creativity and innovation. This type of learning has many names including STEM/STEAM education and Makerspace.

Any space or area available that can be used for students to program robots, build Legos, or even a treehouse is called a Makerspace. Summarized, it is any area that can allow students to collaboratively learn, build and construct while introducing and applying skills. Makerspaces not only allows students to learn from the teacher, but learn from each other as well. Some of the materials that are used for creativity and innovation include 3D printers, straws, popsicle sticks, Legos, drones, robotics kits and much more.  

“Letting students discover their own projects is what makes makerspaces so popular; it’s the application of algebra, writing and other core curriculum subjects that convince educators that makerspaces can be valuable learning environments,” said Matt Zalaznick from Makerspaces: Meeting of the Mindsets.

There is no hiding that Makerspaces allows students the freedom to learn in a non-traditional way. Although this is true, in order to produce an effective Makerspace the right type of furniture and room layout are needed. Rather than sitting in a traditional school desk, students now have the chance be mobile around the classroom and collaborate with other students.  

“Just as education has adapted to the ‘maker’ mindset, classrooms need to adapt to allow makerspaces to flourish,” said Ben Jones, Spectrum’s Vice President of Sales. 

Flexible furniture that allows for storage of parts, toys or electronics helps create an organized layout and also gives students the chance to practice responsibility when putting away makerspace materials at the end of the day. This also gives teachers the opportunity to lock and store away materials during any given time.

“For students to use a makerspace to its maximum potential, it must allow them to move around freely and find inspiration,” said Kylie Lacey from Makerpaces: Meeting of the Mindsets- Brave New Building Blocks. “Whether constructing a makerspace from scratch or renovating an existing room, administrators must bring in furniture and design elements that facilitate enthusiastic creation.”

The correct type of furniture in a makerspace also allows for teachers to be mobile in the classroom and easily see how students are learning skills, applying creativity and collaborating together. How a makerspace functions corresponds with how students will utilize their creative space. Whether they are working by themselves or within a group, the purpose of the makerspace is to not only have students collaborate, be creative and develop fundamental skills, but to become inspired by the process of “making” in their makerspace environment.

“Students are watching each other building items, asking for advice on how to do something or they are using others as a template and trying to build like it,” said Joell Anders, First Grade teacher at Fall Creek School in Fall Creek, Wisconsin. “It has been a great way for students to have conversations about their process or modify things after seeing someone else’s idea.”  

Room layout and furniture in a makerspace can make-or-break its effectiveness and collaboration component. Mobility, flexibility, separate areas for noise levels, storage space and even a display area for finished makerspace products are aspects that to a winning room layout that will offer students the most effective makerspace experience possible and inspire students.      

“It has given my students another opportunity to create and explore,” Anders said. “This makes learning engaging and exciting! Which makes learning more fun and makes teaching more fun as well!”