Friday, January 21, 2011

Mother Nature vs. the Northeast

It’s no secret that northeastern United States has been receiving more than its share of extreme winter weather this season. It was posted today that day and evening classes have been canceled at UMass Lowell. While we’re sure that the students will enjoy their long weekend no matter what the weather is, it looks like the snow will move on and they will be back Monday.

Moreover, we also know that the odds of them returning for the next semester have increased. The University of Massachusetts Lowell has invested in the latest technologies to increase retention rates and provide students with the best possible tools for success. The latest audio/video equipment enhances the material in class. Clicker (aka audience response) systems help keep students engaged in classroom topics, and measures are now being taken to allow students to revisit material after class. Videos and presentation slides can be accessed after class by outside computers or mobile devices. Which means that students left scratching their heads after the explanation of a complex theory can now hit “rewind” when they get home.

Spectrum Industries got in on the ground floor with UMass Lowell, and has been providing a platform to deliver these technologies since the Fall of 2007. UMass Lowell’s product of choice is consistent with an increasing amount of campuses recently – the Link Lectern. There is hard evidence in UMass Lowell’s case: Since the Fall of 2007, the retention of freshmen has increased from 75% to 81% while the number of 4-year continuing students has increased from 63.7% to 69.1%.

The Link Lectern obviously cannot take all the credit for these numbers, but it has added value with what The University of Massachusetts Lowell is trying to accomplish. Spectrum even takes it a step further by providing a custom overbridge to house UMass Lowell’s specific technology. Moreover, we’re proud to be a partner to a university that obviously cares about its students.

And as for Mother Nature, depending on where and when Spectrum employees left for work this morning, it was between -20°F and -27°F – not including wind chill! But take it from a humble blogger that grew up in Georgia and Arizona: the people of Wisconsin are a hardy lot and it takes more than this to slow them down. Not even record amounts of snowfall keep Spectrum from producing and delivering.

Top photo courtesy of Chris Barrineau:

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

CVTC’s New Learning Center – A Successful Collaborative Effort!

When Chippewa Valley Technical College opened their new Learning Center last semester, many longtime hopes and dreams of CVTC students and faculty were realized. Students wanted an open concept with readily available resources, and faculty needed greater interaction to provide the support needed to retain every student possible.

SDS Architects ( helped to make this vision a reality. More computer workstations and a variety of group study spaces are now readily available to students. As are a multitude of CVTC services – the Learning Center is home to the CVTC Library, Academic Services, Disability Services, and Diversity Services. With an open design better reflecting the comforts of home, students feel much more at ease in seeking the help they need.

One amazing achievement behind the Learning Center project is the major contribution of the CVTC students, both financially and in design. Student Government supported construction expenses of $400,000, while CVTC Student Services staff asked students for input on the type of space they wanted. The result: Academic Services alone registered 700 students in its initial 6 weeks of operation, compared to 581 students in the entire 2009 Fall semester. Increased activity was witnessed with the other Services as well, proof that the new concept has worked as planned.

Spectrum Industries was pleased to be a part of this effort. Our ultimate goal was to add value to the project with 42” high CafĂ© Tables and custom Computer Workstations. With open communication between the students and SDS Architects & CVTC faculty, this project will not only increase student retention. In the long run, the CVTC Learning Center will guide students to add value to the entire Chippewa Valley community.

Photography by Eric Oxendorf Studio
For more pictures of the CVTC Learning Center, visit the SDS Facebook page gallery.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Salute to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Spectrum Industries, Inc. is extremely grateful for the lifetime efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr. If there is one thing that has been passed down through history, demanding change through violence just doesn’t end in a win-win situation. Tolerance and respect for others was more along the lines of what King stood for.

The “civil” part of civil rights is not always the easiest of paths to take, as changes aren’t brought about easily or immediately, but it was the path that MLK chose - and ultimately laid down his life for. In remembrance of what Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for, we urge everyone to be civil, to do things the right way, and to turn from hatred.

Here are some local events being held to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Take some time to see what events may be happening in your area!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spectrum Industries Continues Success

After a strong showing in 2010, Spectrum once again outperformed the furniture industry. According to a recent article by CabinetMakerFDM, the Furniture Design & Manufacturing market has continued to slip. The year 2010 was not nearly as negative as 2009, but sales decreased by 6.4% nonetheless. For the full article, click here.

Spectrum Industries has had the honor of being recognized in the FDM 300 for many years now. The FDM 300 is comprised of the 300 largest cabinet, furniture, millwork, store fixture, office/contract and component producers in North America. In the February 2011 edition of CabinetMakerFDM, Spectrum was recognized even further as one of a handful of FDM 300 companies with stronger sales in 2010.

While this is certainly great news to all Spectrum stakeholders, we have only our customers to thank. Customer service continues to be our pride and joy, and our loyal customer base continues to provide us with the ideas and insight needed to weather an adverse economy. We formed some great partnerships in 2010, and for our part, we at Spectrum will continue to listen to you in 2011!