Friday, November 18, 2011

American Education Week Wrap-up

As we wrap up American Education Week, Spectrum Industries would like to recognize all those who contribute to the lives and education of our youth. First and foremost, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and National Education Association (NEA) Dennis Van Roekel have the largest influence of any Americans on our education system. Even though their ideologies differ on how to best route for education to take, they stood united in a Monday morning meet and greet in Alexandria, VA. The kickoff event at T.C. Williams High School recognized the importance of education and what is needed to be successful in the future.

Tuesday saw the unveiling of NEA’s new guide for educators in developing effective partnerships to help improve student performance.

The rest of the week has been largely dedicated to those in education supporting roles that don’t normally get high-profile recognition. Wednesday was a national day of recognition – Education Support Professionals (ESP) Day – to honor everyone from bus drivers to cafeteria workers to administration staff.

Communities across America celebrated Educator for a Day on Thursday, which allowed individuals to serve as educators and get a real feel for the numerous duties that are condensed into a teaching position.

Today is Substitute Educators Day. Many of us are familiar with pinch-hitters and bench players having to come in on a moment’s notice and continue their team’s momentum. Substitute teachers likewise have the very difficult task of ensuring a continuing quality in our children’s’ education – no small task considering the very little time they have to prepare lessons!

School modernization has also been a focus throughout American Education Week. Decades of research has shown that the condition of school facilities affects student achievement. This is not a lost topic to employees at Spectrum. We pride ourselves on improving the student environment with what best suits a school’s needs. When a teacher or administrator reaches out to thank us for helping to improve classrooms, it means a lot.

This week, we would like to return the favor and show our appreciation to the entire team of people who work with our students to improve their well-being.


Monday, November 14, 2011

American Education Week Observed for 9 Decades

In 1921, the National Education Association adopted a resolution to support a national effort to raise public awareness of the importance of education. The concern arose after finding that 25 percent of the country’s World War I draftees were illiterate.

American Education Week continues with continued support of the NEA. The NEA's mission is "to advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world."

In 2010, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation for American Education Week. Through the proclamation, the President reiterated education’s importance to our nation’s core values and to future success. The proclamation reads, in part:

Education has always been central to ensuring opportunity, and to instilling in all our citizens the defining American values of freedom, equality, and respect for one another. Our Nation's schools can give students the tools, skills, and knowledge to participate fully in our democracy, and to succeed in college, career, and life. This week, let us reaffirm the importance of education and recognize that we all share in the responsibility to educate our students.

This year’s celebration runs from November 13-19. How can you get involved
with American Education Week 2011? The NEA website lists five things you can do including nominating a Classroom Superhero and helping fund a teacher’s classroom project.

So celebrate American Education Week and show your support – well-educated children are an investment in the United States’ future.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Come on - help a Mo Bro out...

It's already Movember 10 … yes, I said Movember.

And what might Movember be? Movember has been described as the male version of the Susan G. Komen effort to raise money and awareness for cancer. Men who participate (Mo Bros) shave on October 31 and then grow mustaches throughout the month of November. Caring friends, family, and coworkers (Mo Bros and Mo Sistas) can give a tax deductible contribution to help find a cure for prostate and testicular cancer and raise awareness to men's health issues.

From the Movember Web site:

The funds raised in the US support prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. The funds raised are directed to programs run directly by Movember and our men's health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Together, the three channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programs in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.
Why Men's health and cancers affecting Men?
  • 1 in 2 men will diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

  • A man will die from prostate cancer every 15.6 minutes – more than 33,000 men will die of the disease this year.

  • 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer – a new case is diagnosed every 2.2 minutes.

  • Occurrences of prostate cancer in men is comparable to the rates of breast cancer in women.

  • Men are less likely to schedule doctor appointments and stay in touch with their doctors, thereby denying them the chance of early detection and effective treatment of common diseases.

Please help Spectrum Industries to put a dent in these horrible statistics and consider contributing to the Spectrum Movember team - Rollie's Boys.

From this year's Movember participants, we at Spectrum thank you!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Harold Lloyd dangles over a busy city street hanging onto the hands of a large clock Every year, spring and fall, we like to write a blog and say, “Reset your clocks this Sunday.” But with the current technology, setting your clock for Daylight Savings Time observation has nearly become a thing of the past and the whole practice of DST has come to debate.

Many digital timepieces are connected to the internet – computers, cell/smart phones, PDA, tablets – all have clock functions and even the frill-free ones come standard with Daylight Savings Time settings. This has also led to another phenomenon – the decline in sales of watches. I rarely wear a watch and even have an “atomic clock” that sets itself through radio waves.

So why do we have Daylight Savings Time? Why do we continue to observe it? These questions are in debate. This practice was first proposed in 1895, but it took a while to spread. The US adopted DST in March 1918. Thoughts then and now about what Daylight Savings Time does for us include the thought that it gives more sun after work – depending on where you live that may or may not be an advantage. DST may or may not save electricity. But no matter the benefits, DST causes problems by making inconsistent times not only in USA, but across the globe. This video does a great job explaining Daylight Savings Time and problems associated with it.

But for now, just set your clocks back to Standard Time on Sunday, that is if they haven't all done that on their own. You'll get an extra hour of sleep and not have to worry about a loss of sleep until fall when we make another post about Daylight Savings Time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

EDUCAUSE 2011 attendees could win a multimedia lectern!

The 2011 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference attendees that register at the Spectrum booth are entered for a chance to win their choice of three lecterns. The winner can choose from the new line of sleek presentation lecterns - the Academic Lectern, the Inspiration Lectern, or the Moderator Multimedia Lectern.

Entering is easy. Deciding which lectern you want will be the hard part.

Just stop by booth 1019 and register with Butch, Jerry, Sue, or Louis. Then the hard part, choosing which lectern you’d like to win! Let the Spectrum Team tell you about the new and proven lecterns, desks, and mobile computing solutions that make IT integration in the classroom a breeze.

Let the Spectrum Team connect you with our furniture!

The Spectrum Team will have a variety of products along including the Freedom Lectern XRS, the Media Manager Lectern, and the new Inspiration Lectern. For desks, take a look at the configurable Instructor’s Media Console or the Flex InSight Extreme Monitor System Desks that comes in two models – Dual Monitor and Large Format All-in-One-Computer model. Take care of your mobile computing storage needs with the netLT30 Netbook Cart and the new InTouch40 Tablet Cart that not only charges and stores iPad, tablet and e-readers, it also has SYNCING capabilities!

Get the most out of your EDUCAUSE experience.

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference is the place to be to network with peers, learn about and discuss new and ongoing ideas, and discover new products to make integrating technology and learning easier. Make Spectrum part of your IT solutions in the classroom – visit the Spectrum Team in booth 1019!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Educational Funding & Grants Support

Spectrum Industries works closely with educators and school administration and understands that purchasing equipment and material for education is getting harder because of the crunch on budgets and school spending. That is why we have dedicated a Web page dedicated to Funding & Grants Support for educational purposes.

So take a look below for some soon-to-end opportunities and then check out Spectrum’s Funding & Grants Support Web page for some more opportunities to get the funding you need.

Sept. 19 - Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Grants: First Energy offers grants up to $500 to educators in preK-12 schools served by its electric operating companies (Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company, Toledo Edison, Penn Power, Penelec, Met-Ed, and Jersey Central Power & Light). The grants are for any upcoming creative classroom projects and teacher professional development initiatives related to mathematics, science, and technology.

Oct. 1 - Healthy Sprouts Awards: Supporting school gardening programs that teach kids about nutrition and hunger issues in the US, the Subaru and NGA sponsors the Healthy Sprouts Awards. Open to schools and organizations that plan to garden in 2012 with at least 15 children between the ages of 3-18. The top 50 entries will each receive a $500 gift certificate to the Gardening with Kids catalog, NGA's Eat a Rainbow Kit, and a literature package from NGA.

Nov. 30 - K-12 Superhero Competition: Samsung Techwin America sponsors a quarterly competition for K-12 students to portray their favorite historical figure in a digital video, 1-3 minute in length. Winning students receive $500 and the student’s class will win a SAMCAM 860.

Dec. 31 - Matching Book Grant: LEF Books offers a Matching Book Grant up to $20,000 that doubles the schools purchasing power. Check the Web site for details and books offered.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Educational Funding & Grants Support

Spectrum Industries works closely with educators and school administration and understands that purchasing equipment and material for education is getting harder because of the crunch on budgets and school spending. That is why we have dedicated a Web page dedicated to Funding & Grants Support for educational purposes.

There you find a growing list of possible sources for getting the funds for educational needs from classroom materials, books, AV equipment, software, programs and yes, even for furnishing your classroom. As the page grows, more information will be added to aid in you in your search for funding and information to help you write a grant.

So take a look below for some soon-to-end opportunities and then check out Spectrum’s Funding & Grants Support Web page for some more opportunities to get the funding you need.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Parent Trigger Laws: Power to the Parents

Enacted in the State of California in January 2010, the “Parent Trigger” law gave parents of low-performing schools the power to change the landscape of their children’s education. Fast forward 1 ½ years, and similar legislation is appearing across the United States.

What is this law?

Provided that a California school 1) fails to meet federal academic benchmarks for more than three consecutive years, 2) has an Academic Performance Index (the state's benchmark test) of less than 800, and 3) is among the lowest 5 percent of schools in California; a vote by 51% or more of the school’s parents can enact change. These changes include: closing a school, firing all staff and re-hiring new teachers and administrators, or turning the school over to an education management firm or a charter operator.

In the other 49 states, this same action can be taken by a district school board under the No Child Left Behind law, also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. But in California, this power has been passed to the school’s parents. And similar versions of California’s law have now been introduced into the legislations of 14 other states.

Can they handle the truth?

Not so surprisingly, administrators and unions alike are very concerned. Such as: are parents familiar enough with the dynamics of a school system, and could less desperate measures have a better effect? There are also concerns about the ulterior motives of organizations that back the parent trigger laws, in particular, Parent Revolution. Namely, is this nothing more than a plan by charter schools to take over education?

With both sides claiming to have only the children’s best interests in mind, guilt and innocence can sometimes be foggy. One thing is for sure: Parental power in education is on the rise nationally.

Do you think parents can/should take this on?


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New products released!

Spectrum releases six new products in the presentation and mobile computing management lines. Being unveiled today at InfoComm 2011 in Orlando, Florida, Spectrum's new products should fill everyone’s needs.

Spectrum Industries Inc has just released two new mobile computing management carts, three presentation lecterns and an AV cart. With these new products, Spectrum offers one of the most complete lines of educational and presentation furniture. Spectrum’s customers have been asking and we’ve been working hard to design the products you want!

Mobile computing management can mean a lot of things, but we are offering solutions that will fit your needs. Whether you have iPads, e-readers, tablets or full-sized laptops, Spectrum has a cart to securely store, charge and manage software on them.

The InTouch40 Tablet Cart is designed for securely storing, charging and syncing tablets like the Apple iPad, Motorola Xoom, HP TouchPad, RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, or any USB capable device.

The Impression 30 Imaging Cart can store and charge up to 30 full-size laptops and has Ethernet capabilities for software management or disk imaging.

With tight budgets and crowded classrooms, storing high-tech presentation equipment can be a real pain. Spectrum introduces a cart and lecterns to meet the presentation needs for tight classrooms and tight budgets.

The Moderator AV Cart is a small-footprint projector cart that can securely store all your equipment needs in 11 rack units of space that can be increased to 22 ru with optional rack rail. The small size allows the cart to be used to go between the tight aisles of a crowded classroom.

The Moderator Multimedia Lectern takes the Moderator AV Cart one step farther by adding a durable laminated worksurface for a laptop or for keeping your notes. It has a pull-out projector shelf for better equipment cooling and the same rack units as in the Moderator AV Cart.

For a lectern you can both stand behind and pull-up a stool and sit behind, look to the Inspiration Lectern. Not only does it have an inviting appearance, it comes in two heights that can accommodate up to 19 rack units!

For the look of a classic lectern, look to the Academic Lectern. It may look like an old fashioned lectern at first glance, but it can store the equipment you need for a high-tech presentation. The Academic lectern gives you both worlds – classic style in touch with technology.

For all your needs furniture needs for classroom, office or the healthcare industry, look to Spectrum. For a quote or more information, call 1-800-235-1262 or visit

Innovative furniture connecting you with technology.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New lecterns, desks and carts unveiled in Orlando!

What would you think of a line of lecterns and AV carts that can give you a big presentation in a compact package? Or a charging and storage cart that cannot only handle iPads, but a variety of tablets and mobile devices and sync them, too? An imaging cart for 30 laptops? How about a hide-away computer desk that can handle dual monitors or even the largest all-in-one computers on the market?

Don’t miss the unveiling of Spectrum’s latest line of innovative lecterns and AV carts for audiovisual integration for K-12 and Higher Ed. Take a “test drive” of our new and proven products at these shows!

EduComm, June 13-15, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, Booth 705
InfoComm, June 15-17, Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Booth 2498
ISTE, June 27-29, Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Booth 503

And don’t forget to visit Spectrum’s Facebook page for information on how you can win an Apple iPad! Giveaway not associated with Apple.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Educational Funding & Grants Support

Spectrum Industries works closely with educators and school administration and understands that purchasing equipment and material for education is getting harder because of the crunch on budgets and school spending. That is why we have dedicated a Web page dedicated to Funding & Grants Support for educational purposes.

There you find a growing list of possible sources for getting the funds for educational needs from classroom materials, books, AV equipment, software, programs and yes, even for furnishing your classroom. As the page grows, more information will be added to aid in you in your search for funding and information to help you write a grant.

So take a look below for some soon-to-end opportunities and then check out Spectrum’s Funding & Grants Support Web page for some more opportunities to get the funding you need.

Short Deadline

May 27 - AIAA Foundation Classroom Grant: Teacher must be an AIAA Educator Associate (Dues: $0) Can receive $200 per time and up to $1,000 in a year for K-12 teacher who develops or applies science, mathematics, and technology in your curriculum. Ongoing, must be submitted 1 month before evaluation dates of January, March, June and September

May 31 – Captain Planet Foundation Grant: supports environmental projects that give children and young adults 6-18 the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities in their local community, education and ongoing projects. grants are limited to $2,500.

June 01 - NEA Foundation – Nickelodeon Big Help Grants: dedicated to the development and implementation of ideas, techniques, and approaches for addressing four key concerns – environmental awareness, health and wellness, students’ right to a quality public education, and active community involvement for K-8 public school educators

For June

June 15 - Gale/Library Media Connections TEAMS Award: for K-12 public and private schools that recognizes and encourages the critical collaboration between the teacher and media specialist to promote learning, increase student achievement and develop 21st century skills with a $2,500 cash award, approximately $500 in Gale products, a subscription and publications

June 15 – The LLCF Library Gr ant Program: for purchasing books published for PK-8 grades. Public libraries, school libraries, and non-traditional libraries operated by 501(c)(3) agencies are eligible. The Foundation provides grants to libraries or organizations that serve economically or socially at-risk children, have limited book budgets, and demonstrate real need. Grants for 2011 will range from $500 to $3000 and are specifically for book purchases, and cannot be used for administrative or operational uses

June 30 – Charles Lifitte Foundation Grants: recipients must be a certified 501(c)(3) organization that aid students with learning disabilities, target At-risk Populations And Integrate All Learners, provide Equal Access, offer Quality Programming Using Innovative Methods, apply Data-driven Approaches, educate The Whole Child

June 30 – RGK Foundation Grants: programs that focus on formal K-12 education (particularly mathematics, science and reading), teacher development, literacy, and higher education. nonprofit organizations Ongoing, an electronic letter of inquiry must be submitted and accepted inquiries will be invited to submit an application packet which will be reviewed at one of the Grants Committee meetings held in March, June, September and December

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Standardized Testing Advantage: Spectrum's Flex Insight

Leaders of the nation's largest teachers union, the National Education Association, recently issued a policy statement endorsing standardized testing. While NEA leadership doesn’t want standardized testing to be the sole indicator of a teacher’s ability, this statement represents a significant shift in the NEA’s philosophy of excluding such tests for teacher evaluation.

Education reformers say that the tests help provide accountability, but opposition states that placing high importance on periodic testing creates stressful environments for both students and teachers. Although the NEA union still has to vote the statement into an official platform, it appears the tide is changing for standardized testing. Could the inclusion of standardized testing change the makeup of our classrooms of the future? It very well could be, and Spectrum Industries has experience in working with customers on a solution for effective standardized testing.Many school districts across the country have taken a proactive stance on standardized testing while many others are apprehensive of the possible stressful environment that critics say it creates. Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida is one such entity to have already invested in a “High Stakes” standardized testing system. In each of the district’s 220 schools, there is at least one classroom that is set up for computer-based testing. Spectrum designed an advanced workstation that seamlessly transitioned from lecture classroom to computer lab for an advantageous environment in computer-based testing. This workstation eventually became the basis for the Flex Insight desk.

How can the Flex Insight increase the effectiveness of computer-based testing?

Moving students to a computer lab for such testing removes them from their typical test-taking environment – out of their comfort zone. Teachers can attempt to properly instruct the students on the best approach to taking the test, but with monitors sitting in front of them, students simply don’t absorb such instruction well. And when test time comes, students are ill-prepared to perform to their highest capabilities. Especially when testing is in the High Stakes category, students and teachers cannot afford to have an environment that lends itself to test anxiety.

The solution? With monitor, keyboard, and mouse tucked inside the desk, the Flex Insight provides a classic classroom environment and even has 19” of available space for taking notes. In this Flex Insight configuration, teachers can instruct students on the test they are about to take without interference from technology. When it is time for testing, a monitor easily rises with a built-in assist system. And when the test is completed, all computer accessories easily descend back into the desk.Regardless of personal stance, standardized computer testing is building momentum and test results will have significant impact on students, teachers, and schools. In this environment, the Flex Insight will be an essential tool for computer testing systems. And since the Flex Insight is designed with value pricing as a priority, its potential to classrooms of the future is huge.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week

If you haven’t shown your appreciation to your local teachers during National Teacher’s Appreciation week, there’s still a little time left! Our teachers face an incredible amount of challenges in their line of work. Certainly the most publicized lately has been school budgets – will they have the funds they need to best prepare our kids? But let’s not forget the other issues that teachers face: defiant students, difficult parents, administrative politics, and the very under-publicized exposure to colds and other ailments in a normal classroom!

This is quite a profession that our teachers have taken on – they deserve some love here and there. Our children have an ever-increasing amount of obstacles to overcome nowadays, and our teachers play such a major part in making them feel special enough that they can overcome future hurdles. So give our teachers the support they need to make all our kids truly feel special – send a card, tell them “Thank You”, or give them a hug. Or maybe even the traditional apple. Anything you do will go a long way!From all of us at Spectrum Industries, you have our enduring and everlasting support.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day at Spectrum

Since Spectrum Industries has a holiday on April 22, we celebrated Earth Day in advance. We must admit that we overstepped our bounds this year by picking up refuse on our neighbor’s lands. Maybe it was because it was fun to be outside on a sunny day (did it really snow yesterday?). Or maybe we just didn’t have enough to pick up within our own boundaries. Either way, our crew made fast work and we were done in only a couple of hours.

Because of the long winter this year, pruning and sweeping efforts might just go a little longer into the calendar year than normal. But as for the six acres surrounding both of our manufacturing facilities, Spectrum will be refuse-free when local residents drive by on Earth Day. Employees at Spectrum have a lot to be proud of, and being good environmental stewards to our community is one of our big priorities.Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy D.E.A.R. Day!

April 12 is Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R) day. By no strange coincidence, April 12 also marks the birthday of children's book author Beverly Cleary. For most everyone else, National D.E.A.R. Day is a special reading celebration to remind and encourage families to make reading together on a daily basis a family priority.
So if you can find a young one to read with, find out what their favorite book is and drop everything else. Flying solo on April 12? Start that book that you've been putting off for so long!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Freedom Lectern Outdoes Itself

It’s normally difficult to improve a great product but with the help of our customers, Spectrum Industries has done just that. When we introduced the Freedom Lectern, our focus was to make an ADA-compatible lectern with as small a footprint as possible. As it turned out, customers outside the ADA world liked the ergonomics gained through the electric-adjustable worksurface. Others that were familiar with the easy integration of technology in other Spectrum lecterns said “Why not the Freedom Lectern too?”

Well, you know what we said to them? “Sounds great – coming right up!”

Introducing the Freedom XRS. While the original Freedom offers ergonomic flexibility, the XRS takes it to a new level by delivering technological flexibility. For those that simply want the basic rack-based audio visual equipment, the Freedom XRS comes standard with 11 rack units. But if you want the ultimate in integration, check out the optional rack cube. Talk about Xtreme Rack System, not only does the rack cube increase capacity to 18 units, it can easily be integrated outside the lectern and then simply slid back in.

Easy to integrate, easy to use!

But why stop at that? Instructors have really liked the Overbridge option available in the Spectrum line of lecterns, so we designed one especially for the Freedom Lectern as well. The Overbridge does such a great job at keeping touchscreen technologies an arm’s length away that we had to offer it. It’s very convenient for power and communications modules as well – no more having to look around for an electrical or data outlet!The Freedom Lectern XRS offers the freedom to be comfortable in a presentation, both physically and technologically. And in the end, it’s the audience that benefits, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy New Year, You April Fish!

Happy New Year … at least that's what I'd be saying if the Gregorian calendar hadn't been implemented in the late 16th century. But because of the calendar change in 1582, we have been able to plan nefarious deeds and shout "APRIL FOOLS!" this time of year.

All Fools Day has been around for a long time and has been celebrated by many different cultures, but its origins remain a mystery. Some historians have linked it to the Roman festival Hilaria that celebrated the vernal equinox, or the coming of spring. But the more common practices of April Fool's Day come around when the calendar was changed shifting the new year back 3 months.

When the calendar change was made, many European countries were slow to adopt the change. Even for the countries that accepted the new system, news traveled slowly to the outreaches of civilization. The people that didn't get the news didn't realize the start of the New Year had moved to January 1. In their ignorance, they continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1. They also became the butt of jokes and hoaxes including having paper fish placed on their backs. They victims were referred to as April fish, said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

But being gullible is human nature. When someone promises you on time delivery, you expect to get it and delivering on time is just good business. But what happens when you have to shorten up a lead time? Will your supplier of furniture for education, healthcare and business needs get it to you on time? At what point do you risk getting a fish on your back?

You can count on Spectrum Industries to work with you to meet your delivery date target, even if it is moving! Spectrum has manufactured innovative furniture for education, healthcare and business needs and will step up to get you your product when you need it. So don't let a calendar change make you look the fool. Look to Spectrum Industries to get you product to you when you need it and how you want.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spectrum Industries Host Optimists

Bright and early Wednesday morning they rose and came to a meeting. You don’t have to be an optimist to do that, but it’s nice to be an Optimist. The Chippewa Falls club of Optimist International met for a 6:45 am meeting hosted at Spectrum Industries.

Optimist International is an association of more than 2,900 Optimist Clubs around the world dedicated to "Bring out the best in kids." Adult volunteers join Optimist Clubs to conduct positive service projects in their communities aimed at providing a helping hand to youth. With their upbeat attitude, Optimist Club members help empower young people to be the best that they can be.

Approximately 20 members of the club met in the Chippewa River Room in the First Avenue facility with coffee and pastry to start their day. A prayer began the meeting followed by members reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and birthday wishes sung to observe several members births. Some business matters were attended to and then off for a tour of Spectrum’s First Avenue’s facility lead by Dean White, Executive Vice President of Manufacturing and Dennis Barka, Vice President of Process Control. Scott Dorn, Executive Vice President of Sales/Marketing then presented a slideshow overview of Spectrum before the group recited from the Optimist Creed and the meeting was adjourned.

The Chippewa Falls Optimist has been serving the community since it was charted in July of 1969. Chris Cunningham, Chippewa Falls Club President said that on a yearly basis, the club holds quite a few projects and programs to help the community’s youth. Among the list are the Childhood Cancer Campaign, essay contests, dictionary donations and scholarship, as well as a variety of community events.

When asked how many members make up the Chippewa Falls Club Cunningham said there were about 32, but she paused and optimistically said, “We’re always looking for more members.”

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sometimes Higher Seeds are Just Upsets-in-Waiting

Predictions are down the tubes. Hopes for being known as the local Nostradamus are dashed. You played it safe by choosing the favorites and the favorites have let you down big time!

This is a common refrain heard from hoop enthusiasts during the regionals of this year's NCAA basketball tournament. It is also a very common refrain Spectrum Industries hears from our new customers. Some high-profiled competitors have slick marketing campaigns and very slick sales representatives that make big promises on products that just can’t deliver. Many of our customers have turned to Spectrum when the big guys’ products fall apart or when their customer service is simply no help at all.

Spectrum products are built to last using quality materials and quality, ISO 9001:2008-based manufacturing methods. Our lecterns and carts are not trendy ideas whipped together and hastily distributed just so that we can be first to the market square. We listen to what our customers really need and make sure that all their specifications are met – before and after a sale is made! That way our product sells itself and we don’t have to rely on glitzy schemes to drive sales.

Many famous sports announcers have a tendency to play it safe when it comes to their Final Four picks. In such decision-making, one program’s perceived prowess generally trumps another program’s cohesion and character. Our customers know that cohesion goes a lot farther than empty promises!
Busted Bracket image courtesy of senatorsforum
Teamwork image courtesy of thegoldguys

Friday, March 25, 2011

First Wiki Launched Today

WikiWikiWeb, the first wiki or user-editable website, was launched on March 25, 1995 and still is a valuable source of information and sharing.

The concept and development of the “Wiki” came from Ward Cunningham in a hope to create a web page that was quickly editable by the users. In Cunningham’s case, it was to establish and promote an exchange of ideas between programmers within his company.

Cunningham originally was going to call his new platform “QuickWeb,” but later he remembered a Honolulu language term for “fast” used by an airport counter employee. The employee told Cunningham to take the Wiki Wiki Shuttle, a shuttle bus line that runs between the airport's terminals. "Wiki Wiki" is a repeating of "wiki", a Hawaiian language word for fast.

From the “Front Page” of the WikiWikiWeb:

The idea of a “Wiki” may seem odd at first, but dive in and explore its links! The “Wiki” is a composition system; it’s a discussion medium; it’s a repository; it’s a mail system; it’s a tool for collaboration. Really, we just don’t know quite what it is, but it’s a fun way of communication asynchronously across the network.”

Today wikis are compiled about a variety of subjects and from all aspects of life including hobbies, professions and games. Some of the interesting wikis include WikiTravel, WikiHow, WikiBooks, CookBookWiki, ProductWiki, Muppet.wikia and of course the expansive Wikipedia.

Software and services are available so anyone can start a wiki on a topic of their choice. Wiki services include PBWiki, WikiSpaces and Wikia among a few and if you really want to get start your own wiki, check out the Wiki Choice Matrix to find that wiki service that fits your needs.

Cunningham‘s innovative thinking brought the WikiWikiWeb that allowed others to model the concept and software after it leading to revolution in how information has been shared on the Internet.

Spectrum Industries innovative thinking has also brought a revolution in how instructors share information with students with the Spectrum Instruction & Presentation Lectern line. The unique line of Audio-Visual and Multi-Media Lecterns can give you just what you need to present the right information in an efficient way.

Much like Cunningham’s innovation has touched so many to share knowledge across the internet; Spectrum’s innovations touch many with the opportunity to share knowledge in the classroom.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Forward - Daylight Savings Time 2011

It has been said that time stands still for no one. While that may be true, we might feel just a little bit cheated this weekend when we lose an hour. If you have a clock that doesn't set itself automatically and you’re up to the task, you can be official and add another hour to it at 2:00 am Sunday morning. Most of us, however, would probably prefer to wait until we wake up.

Either way, make sure to remember to spring forward, turn those clocks ahead one hour, and try not to feel too bad about the hour that Father Time has taken from us - he'll give it back to us eventually!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Partnership that Traveled the Distance

On March 14, 1995 an historic space flight took place bringing many firsts with records broken and a new cooperation between two global giants.

The flight of the Russian Soyuz TM-21 spacecraft and Russian Mir EO-18 mission marked American astronaut Dr. Norman Thagard with a lot honors. Thagard became the first American to train on Russian soil, enter space aboard a non-American craft, and the first American occupant of the Mir. Serving as the cosmonaut researcher, He helped conduct 28 experiments in the course of the 115-day flight. At the missions completion, Dr. Thagard was the U.S. record-holder for longest space flight and, with 140 days in space overall, was the most experienced U.S. astronaut ever.

The flight, although several years after the demise of the Soviet Union, still had some disbelief of the union that the two countries now were joined. Thagard trained and worked side-by-side with his cosmonaut travel mates and despite years of conflict between the U.S. and former government of Soviet Union, the Russian cosmonauts welcomed Thagard with hugs. Thagard greeted the Mir commander, Aleksandr Viktorenko, in Russian, "I'm glad to be on the station and to see my friends."

Between March 1995 and May 1998, NASA and Russian scientists conducted experiments designed to answer vital questions about how humans, animals and plants function in space, how our solar system originated and developed, how we can build better technology in space and how we can build future space stations. Thagard's work was the beginning of that union.

He spent a year in Russia preparing for the three-month mission on the Mir space station working with his Russian counterparts to do experiments and joined forces to create solutions for both countries.

At Spectrum Industries, we form partnerships every day with new customers. It's not just about us – we want the result of our partnerships to add value for our customers and their end-users for many years to come.

When customers look for solutions to their laptop management, presentation or desk and table problems, they can look to Spectrum Industries. Whether it is for the educational, healthcare or in an office setting, Spectrum is proud of our partnerships with customers and working together to create innovative solutions that are out of this world.