Friday, May 28, 2010

"Everything is bigger in Texas"

Do you know if this is true or just a "tall tale?"
Like most truisms, as a native Texan I can tell you it depends on what you are talking (bragging) about.
I can say without hesitation one thing that just got bigger in Texas, Spectrum's sales force.

Statistics tell us that K-12 enrolment has been steadily increasing despite a lagging economy.



Texas’ public school enrollment increased by 20.1 percent over a 10-year period, despite enrollment declines in eight of the state’s 20 regions.
Enrollment in the public schools reached 4,749,571 by the 2008-2009 school year, which is an addition of 795,137 students over the past decade. On average, the state added 1.9 percent more students each year, according to a recently released report called Enrollment in Texas Public Schools 2008-2009, published by the Texas Education Agency’s Division of Accountability Research.

To support this growth Spectrum Industries has recruited two local representatives.







South Central Texas will be represented by:


Travis Rozacky





North Texas will be represented by:


Rob Wellman



Look them up using the rep finder feature on our web site. Or keep an eye out for the mail and email you might receive announcing a local or regional show that Travis or Rob are attending.
Spectrum prides itself in listening to what educators and administrators are looking for. Find out our solutions to the questions we have heard you ask.
Do you have a favorite "Texas jackalope" story? I'm sure Rob and Travis would enjoy listening.

You can also find out what is new at Spectrum by going to www.spectrumfiurniture.com.


Happy 118th Birthday Sierra Club!


Spectrum Industries, Inc. would like to congratulate the Sierra Club on 118 years of environmental service and education. When famed conservationist and preservationist John Muir successfully campaigned to expand the Yosemite National Park in 1890, he set his sights higher to protect the Sierra Nevada. That progression has continued to this very day, and 1,300,000 members extend sustainability efforts throughout the United States.

One part of the Sierra Club Mission Statement especially rings true for Spectrum: To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources. We have always taken the role of stewards of our environment very seriously. It’s not a fluke that we received the U. S. General Services Administration’s prestigious Evergreen Award. Spectrum prevents waste by recovering and recycling materials instead of releasing them into the environment. Our products are designed and manufactured intelligently with our customers’ health in mind. We take serious conservation efforts when it comes to using as little energy as possible in our manufacturing facilities.

To get our message to the masses, we recently have made major efforts in the area of Social Media. A local college student helped those efforts by making a Wikipedia page for us. It nearly failed, however, because it was so environmentally based that an editor compared it to “a tract for the Sierra Club”. Sorry, we’re not affiliated with the Sierra Club, but thanks for the comparison! And a huge “thank you” to Lindsey for helping us – you are awesome!

We at Spectrum Industries will continue to improve our sustainability efforts – hopefully with the same success the Sierra Club has achieved in their 118 years.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Is “Disability” Just an Ableist Word?

Most of those that carry on in daily activities without using an aide have a skewed vision of those that use aids to walk, see, hear, eat, etc. We call them “disabled”. And what does that conjure in the mind? Someone who can’t do something.

Could I dunk a basketball like LeBron James? On a 10’ rim, no way. A torn left ACL and a torn right Achilles & the ensuing operations have limited those types of abilities. Give me an 8’ rim, however, and I’ll at least give you a good show. And that’s precisely it. Give those that use aides of whatever type their “8’ rim”, and they can do whatever the pros do, and in many cases, do it better.


We haven’t lost track of that here at Spectrum. We have a respectable history of working with the Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute to produce innovations that level the playing field. Our latest collaboration: a workstation for those with physical limitations. It is aimed at those pursuing math and science careers, but is capable of so much more. Please read the official Dunn County article for more information.
As a manufacturer, do we have a perfect plan to change ableist perceptions of the word “disabled’? Tough question. But we continue to use our research and development resources to find that next best 8’ rim.

Many thanks go to Jeff Annis and WHEELIE cATHOLIC for collaboration and inspiration, respectively.



What does that 8’ rim resemble in your world?

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Perfect Laptop Cart for the iPad!

Everyone knows that the iPad is a hot item, and if you are fortunate enough to secure this technology for your classroom (Some people are having a hard time securing just one of them for their home), you certainly want to protect them and treat them with care!

Technology Director Terry Wynn from the Unified School District #218 in Elkhart, Kansas was kind enough to show us just how well the Spectrum Industries’ LT15 goes with the iPad. Newly reinforced outlets are dedicated for each unit, and each iPad rests horizontally on a tray that smoothly slides in and out, providing a completely user-friendly environment to store and charge iPads. And talking about smooth, the LT15 comes standard with 5” balloon wheels to ensure safe transport – you even have the choice of 4 swivel wheels or 2 rigid/2 swivel wheels at no extra cost. The comparison of balloon wheels to plastic casters is like night and day!


Really - Would you put iPads in a box with cheap casters? Imagine the wear and tear from putting them in and pulling them out of a slot, compounded by the vibration caused when you transport the iPads. Such a cart would not protect your iPad investment very well at all. Spectrum's LT15, on the other hand, is the model of protection, down to the custom double bolt lock as seen embedded in the door above.

If you’re able to get your hands on the best technology available, make a serious effort to use it with the best laptop cart available – Spectrum’s LT15.









Take a look at how Apple is revolutionizing education.

Thanks again for sharing, Terry!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

TEAM

Some goals in life seem as thought they can be reached without help from others. Sometimes this appears to be true, but if you look deeper you will see that all worthwile goals are supported by a team.
Are you a team player?

Excerpt from
Pulling Together....The 10 Rules for High Performance Teams,
by John Murphy


At the center of every high performance team is a common purpose - a mission that rises above and beyond each of the individual team members. To be successful, the team's interests and needs come first. This requires "we-opic" vision ("What's in it for we?"), a challenging step up from the common "me-opic" mind-set.

Effective team players understand that personal issues and personality differences are secondary to team demands. This does not mean abandoning who you are or giving up your individuality. On the contrary, it means sharing your unique strengths and differences to move the team forward. It is this "we-opic" focus and vision - this cooperation of collective capability - that empowers a team and generates synergy.

Cooperation means working together for mutual gain - sharing responsibility for success and failure and covering for one another on a moment's notice. It does not mean competing with one another at the team's expense, withholding important data or information to be "one up" on your peers, or submitting to "groupthink" by going along so as not to make waves. These are "rule breakers," that are direct contradictions to the "team first" mind-set.

High performance teams recognize that it takes a joint effort to synergize, generating power above and beyond the collected individuals. It is with this spirit of cooperation that effective teams learn to capitalize on individual strengths and offset individual weaknesses, using diversity as an advantage.

Effective teams also understand the importance of establishing cooperative systems, structures, incentives and rewards. We get what we inspect, not what we expect. Think about it. Do you have team job descriptions, team performance reviews and team reward systems? Do you recognize people by pitting them against standards of excellence, or one another? What are you doing to cultivate a team-first, cooperative environment in this competitive, "me-opic" world?

To embrace the team-first rule, make sure your team purpose and priorities are clear. What is your overall mission? What is your game plan? What is expected of each team member? How can each member contribute most effectively? What constants will hold the team together? Then stop and ask yourself, are you putting the team first?




Spectrum Industries understand that without team work with our partners, customers, sales people, employees and community we could not reach the goals we aspire to.
Who will you help today?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Can Wellness Help Your Workplace?


Did you know that Wednesday May 19th is National Employee Health & Fitness Day? Founded in 1989 by the National Association for Health & Fitness, NEHF is a national health observance, created to promote the benefits of physical activity for individuals through their work site health promotion activities.

For our part, Spectrum Industries employees will have 4 different slots available for “power” walks (degree of power up to the individual…), and Spectrum management will provide water to quench thirsts.
With a great program in place, your organization can experience better overall health and productivity.

Benefits For Employers:
Enhanced employee productivity
Improved health care costs management
Decreased rates of illness and injuries
Reduced employee absenteeism
Develops employee leadership skills

Benefits For Employees:
Lower levels of stress
Increased well-being, self-image and self-esteem
Improved physical fitness
Increased stamina
Potential weight reduction

Taking care of yourself not only improves the quality of your workplace, but also your home life as well. Please visit the National Association for Health & Fitness website to find the best program to suit your workplace needs!

How healthy is your workplace environment?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spectrum Industries Named 2010 Business of the Year Chippewa County




“We guarantee complete customer satisfaction.” -David Hancock, Spectrum Industries President/CEO

Complete customer satisfaction, community involvement, and innovation employees are a couple key dynamics that contributed to Spectrum Industries recent achievement. Yesterday, Thursday, May 13, the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) announced its 2010 Business' of the Year, and Spectrum Industries was named the 2010 Business of the Year Chippewa County (Quadrant 3 for Chippewa Falls location).

Since April 1968, Spectrum Industries has been providing high-quality furniture and product solutions to businesses and educational institutions; in 2009, over 1,700 different products were manufactured and shipped from the Chippewa Falls-based facility.

As many educational institutions and businesses have downsized during the recent economic downturn, Spectrum sees the current marketplace as recovering. Spectrum strives to strategically plan ahead for future changes and opportunities. One of the ways Spectrum has maintained its longevity and strategic goals is through the quality products it produces. “We guarantee complete customer satisfaction,” said David Hancock, Spectrum Industries president. Customer satisfaction is a top priority for the approximated 200 employees at Spectrum Industries; additionally employee satisfaction is important to management. Spectrum is especially pleased with the hard working, and innovative workforce available in the Chippewa Valley. “These attributes are at the core of our success and will be the reason we continue to expand and succeed moving forward,” said Hancock.

Spectrum gives back to the community in which it operates. It currently supports Junior Achievement events, sponsors a Relay for Life team and supports the United Way to name a few. Community involvement offers a way for Spectrum to impact the Chippewa Valley through volunteerism and other events. To show the company’s commitment to social responsibility, being an ethical and community-minded corporate citizen is one of the tenents of the Spectrum Industries’ mission statement. This mindset has led to the pursuit of environmentally-friendly operations and sustainability endeavors.

Spectrum is proud of the acknowledgements and awards it has received; including the most recent recognition - 2010 Business of the Year Chippewa County. “Receiving recognition affirms that our decisions have been good ones for the company, for our employees and for the community,” said Hancock. “With so much to offer, there is a bright future for all of the existing firms in Chippewa County and a significant draw exists for bringing in new employers and organizations."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spectrum's vLT - The Ultimate Value in Laptop Carts


The end of the school year is looming. The cheap laptop cart in your department is falling apart, and you'd like to get another with the meager amount left over in the budget. But do you really want another junky laptop cart?

Please do your faculty and your students a favor and take a look at Spectrum Industries' vLT line of laptop carts. With our latest line of laptop carts, we have focused on the basics that our loyal customers enjoy most: laptop security and superior mobility at value pricing.The panels and doors are made from 16 gauge steel, and the wheels are 5" soft-ride balloon wheels. With double-bolt locks and a manageable footprint, we have designed and delivered the security and mobility that our customers wanted most in a laptop cart.


Of course, we didn't necessarily stop there. Like all of our laptop carts, we added a 1" high pressure laminated worksurface. As such, the vLT doesn't look like just another metal box with wheels that happens to hold laptops. This laptop cart actually looks like custom furniture, and with a riser podium, the vLT could double as a lectern!

Spectrum Industries, Inc. - Manufacturer of quality laptop carts since 1995.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not Every Box Comes With a Warranty...

Have you heard about the 'suspicious' package left outside a Florida Church?

That's right a couple days ago a cardboard box was left outside the Seminole County Church in Florida; the note on the 40-pound bundle said, simply, "For Pastor Nick."

In the old days, someone would have taken it inside and opened it. However, a church member who found the package on the doorstep thought the corrugated box secured with duct tape might be dangerous.

So he took the 'suspicious' box to a nearby fire station to have it checked out. The Seminole County Sheriff's Office bomb squad couldn't figure out what was inside even after the box was X-rayed.

So, deputies blew it up...

The Result
More than $2,500 in paper money was turned into confetti! That's right this 'suspicious' box was meant to be an anonymous donation to the Seminole County Church.

Fortunately, the church won't be out any money, though, because the U.S. Treasury will replaced damaged paper money.

Although we do not expect any of our products to be blown up upon arrival, we have 10 year product warranty just in case.

Spectrum's Guarantee

We guarantee all Spectrum products to be free of all defects in materials and workmanship, for the original owner, for a period of ten years. Any item deemed defective by Spectrum or the original manufacturer, under normal use conditions, will be repaired or replaced at Spectrum’s discretion. For more information on our product warranty visit our website.

And, as an added bonus all of our products are American Made!

For more information on Spectrum's products visit our website.



Food for thought: Have we become too suspicious in the post 9/11 world? What would you have done if it was you that found the box?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Solving School Challenges In a More Collaborative Way - 'Crowdsourcing'

Feds turn to ‘crowdsourcing’ for educational innovation

Education technology advocates hope that a new national online community will inspire entrepreneurs and educators to team up in developing and funding innovative solutions to some of education’s most persistent challenges.

The Open Innovation Portal, launched by the U.S. Education Department (ED) with help from IBM’s cloud-computing solutions and Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations (STCI), aims to address educational challenges ranging from high school dropout rates to low reading, math, and science scores.

The initiative is part of a new White House effort to encourage innovative collaboration across all industry sectors. To do this, federal officials are turning to a process known as “crowdsourcing,” in which officials tap the collective wisdom of a large group of people through the power of the Internet, to inspire new practices and creative solutions to systemic problems.

President Obama recently challenged cabinet officers to have every federal department be able to openly discuss innovative solutions with the public in the next 18 months.

“The national, state, and local governments are basically at a point where old ways of fixing problems are not working,” explained Mike Turillo, chief operating officer and vice chairman for STCI, an organization that helps bridge the private sector with local communities. “They’re saying, ‘I give up,’ and are now willing to embrace change and innovation, because that’s all that’s left. They’re embracing a paradigm shift to innovation and collaboration, because without collaboration across all sectors, nothing will get solved—and everyone’s starting to realize this.”

Learn more about what inspired the collaborative ideas, as well as, how cloud-computing works at eSchool News.

Additionally, organizations and businesses can post “challenges” to the portal. For example, IBM is providing $500,000 in technical service grants through the Open Innovation Portal to support educational innovations that can bring measurable and sustainable improvements in K-12 student and school performance and teacher effectiveness. During 2010, IBM will offer five separate challenges on the portal to identify the best ideas for integrating advanced IBM education technologies within local education agencies (LEAs) to drive higher student achievement.

Visit the Open Innovation Portal at https://innovation.ed.gov/index/



To learn more about Spectrum's advanced solutions for integrating educational technologies into the classroom visit our website.


References
eSchoolNews
Open Innovation Portal
U.S. Education Department (ED)
Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations (STCI)

Friday, May 7, 2010

National Nurses Week: "Caring Today for a Healthier Tomorrow"

Here at Spectrum Industries we are committed to "making a difference to the circle-of-care" by manufacturing product that support stationary and mobile technology used within the health care industry.

Since we are embarking on National Nurses Week (May 6 through 12), it only makes sense to thank our nurses, and all health care professional, for their dedication to medicine.

Often described as an art and a science, nursing is a profession that embraces dedicated people with varied interests, strengths and passions because of the many opportunities the profession offers. Nurses work in emergency rooms, school based clinics, and homeless shelters, to name a few; and they have many roles – from staff nurse to educator to nurse practitioner and nurse researcher – and serve all of them with passion for the profession and with a strong commitment to patient safety.
This year’s theme for National Nurses Week is “Caring Today for a Healthier Tomorrow.”

For more information on Spectrum's health care products visit our website to contact your local sales representative or view Spectrum Industries Custom Solutions PowerPoint on SlideShare.

Also visit Spectrum Industries at the American Telemedicine Association 2010 (ATA) Booth #1527. Spectrum Territory Sales Manager, Sue Emerson, will be featuring a Telemedicine Cart.

ATA is next weekend, May 16th - 18th, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX.
Be sure to visit Sue at Booth #1527 to see what’s new at Spectrum Industries.


Thank you to all the nurses—retired and practicing—caring today for a healthier tomorrow!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Magical Mushrooms (It's Not What You're Thinking)

Ingenuity and environment are two things Spectrum Industries takes very seriously.
Environmental Sustainability directs our every-day activities, and ingenuity keeps us connected to our customers.

The story below is from the Eco Salon website. It is American ingenuity at its best.







As a cook and someone fairly knowledgeable about nutrition, I know mushrooms are delicious and that they may have amazing healing powers.

But mushrooms have other powers – perhaps even magical enough to heal our environment. They can turn the gunky, thick, toxic oil from an environmental disaster into perfectly good soil.

In the aftermath of the Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay last November, woven mats of human hair were used to absorb the oil from the beaches. Oyster mushrooms were layered between the oil-soaked mats and allowed to work their magic.

In just 12 weeks, the mushrooms consumed the oil and the hair, turning the whole mess into soil. When you think about the fact that the hair waste from salons usually goes into landfill and that oil from oil spills is generally incinerated after it’s cleaned up, this is an improvement on a massive scale.

The story is almost as much an example of the power of human ingenuity as it is proof of the mighty mushroom’s magic. In 1998, San Franciscan, Lisa Gautier, founded a non-profit called Matter of Trust that matches up man-made and natural surplus materials to give to needy non-profits.

As one of the many projects she’s working on, she collects human hair from salons all over the country to make mats for the San Francisco Department of the Environment to use to clean up motor oil.

After the spill, she donated the mats and hundreds of volunteers fanned out to absorb the oil from the beaches with hair mats. To me, this magical mushroom story proves that the natural world has a lot to teach us, if only we’ll listen.


Do you have the desire to be a part of the solution? If you are so inclined there are numerous ways to help. One site for information is the Mother Nature Network.


To see the lates steps Spectrum Industries has taken to continouosly reduce our ecological footprint go to our Environmental Impact statement.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's Teacher Appreciation Week!


Did you know that every year the National PTA sets aside the first week in May to celebrate the amazing contributions of teachers around the country?

That's right, this year Teacher Appreciation Week is this week, May 3rd-7th. This is the perfect time for Administrators, Academic Advisors, students, parents and community members to show their teachers just how important they are to the success of the school.

Here are 8 tips for celebrating teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week or anytime throughout the year.

1. Hold a Teacher Appreciation breakfast or luncheon. During the event, hand out teacher awards. "Most likely to..." awards are an excellent addition because it is easy to include everyone in the celebration. Find free certificates at Certificate Street.

2. Organize student's sports team to play against teacher volunteer teams in front of the whole school. Bands, choirs, and cheerleaders can perform special routines celebrating teachers.

3. Display teacher appreciation bulletin boards throughout the school. One idea is to place a baby picture of every teacher, organized by grade level, and allow grade levels to attempt to guess the teachers in each photo.

4. Hold a raffle for teachers in which administrators and/or advisors switch roles with teachers. Vow to cover their class for a few hours while they observe other teachers, plan a unit, or relax in the teacher's lounge.

5. Hand out a small stack of personalized notepads to each teacher. Design and print the notepads yourself or organize a team of student volunteers to create the notepads at notepads or sticky notes for teachers.

6. Read or email a teacher poem a day. Here are 10 ready made teacher poems.

7. Place small, thoughtful treats in teachers' mailboxes daily to remind them how important they are. Items can include candy bar minis, pens, pencils, mugs, tote bags, hand written notes, stationary, stickers, teacher supplies such as whiteboard markers, etc.

8. Say "Thank You" and give your teacher a hug to recognize their hard work and dedication to enhancing the knowledge of our future generations.
How will you recognize your teachers?
Look for more ideas at:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Securing Your School from the Inside Out

Let’s face it: The threats to your schools’ security—both physical and electronic—are getting more and more sophisticated. And the best tool for protecting your schools against these threats, according to experts, might surprise you: a robust, IP-based network.

It goes without saying that a well-designed and well-secured network can help keep data thieves from targeting your schools. But a robust network also is an advantage as video surveillance cameras, alarm systems, emergency-alert systems, and other security tools become converged on a single IP-based network.

Using a single communications infrastructure, you can remotely manage and control all the security tools you have at your disposal, quickly and easily. That means you can be more proactive in preventing an attack—and more effective in responding if one should occur.

Although a robust IP-based network may be the most efficient way to protect your school, there are additional ways to be proactive about protecting your electronic products. That is why Spectrum Industries has created a line of laptop and notebook carts and cabinets.

Spectrum has been manufacturing laptop storage and charging carts since 1995. Recently, our customers’ needs have focused on laptop security and the increased mobility of laptop carts. In turn, we have designed robust laptop carts – using the same quality that Spectrum has always been known for – to suit the needs of today’s learning environment.

Spectrum laptop carts combine vault-like laptop security with ease in mobility to provide resourceful laptop carts for the classroom environment. Although the our carts are undeniably heavy-duty laptop carts, they feature a lightweight footprint with high-quality balloon casters to provide easy laptop access within a classroom or between separate classrooms.

Our custom made double-bolt lock provides the utmost in laptop security, whereas our competition often uses padlocks on their laptop carts that any bolt cutters can quickly bypass. We use 16 gauge steel as a frame for our laptop carts, carefully ventilated to offset heat buildup from the laptops charging inside. Our 1” thick high-pressure laminated bases and tops add a touch of class without sacrificing laptop security – as opposed to carting around a simple steel box offered by other manufacturers.

In addition to our laptop carts, Spectrum has designed a laptop locker that provides ventilated laptop security for up to 8 laptops per module. It is designed to be bolted to the floor and/or wall to provide the ultimate in laptop anti-theft security. The Secure Laptop Locker is constructed of 16-gauge steel and laptops within are protected by a double-bolt lock to provide vault-like laptop security. The Secure Laptop Locker is modular so that units can be bolted together for expansion needs.



Whether you are looking to store 8 or 30 laptops Spectrum's laptop and notebook carts and cabinets are easy solutions for your laptop management needs; providing easy-access storage, re-charging, security and mobility for laptops one classroom at a time.

For more information on choosing the right security solutions for your students and schools visit the eSchool News archives, and for more information of Spectrum Industries line of laptop carts visit Spectrum Industries website.


Spectrum Industries - manufacturer of laptop security systems for over 15 years.