Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Manufacturing Boot Camp Kick Off

Spectrum has been fortunate to be able to take part in two of the Chippewa Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America programs this year; the Explorers Program and the latest one, the Manufacturing Boot Camp which had a kick off at Spectrum on the week of June 13, 2016.

The Program
The Manufacturing Boot Camp program gives an opportunity for 16 to 18 year olds to gain firsthand experience with manufacturers to see what happens inside local businesses, summarized Alyssa Kellagher, Exploring Executive with the Chippewa Valley Council Boys Scouts of America. 

With the boot camp, they are working with approximately seven different businesses all within the Chippewa County. The format of the program is a six-week long course, taking place Monday through Thursday, with the students at a different business every week. In the morning they complete certifications and in the afternoon they are more interactive within the business site.

The Participants

Of the 23 participants in the program the majority of them just graduated from high school or are going to be seniors along with a few that are going to be juniors. A good handful of participants are going to be looking for employment right away, explained Kellagher. 

“The program has a large population of students that are more kind of alternative learning and so they're more hands-on and kind of need a little push to help them get certification that will make them be more marketable to employers as they are looking for to be hired,” she said.

The week they were at Spectrum, students received an overview of the manufacturing facilities, offices, and product display room. They got a full overview of Spectrum including information about Spectrum’s design process, manufacturing cell layout, time studies, and packaging methods, and Spectrum’s furniture for presentation and education. Later in the week, Laurie Reardon, human resources, worked with them on resumes and interview skills to round out their experience. 

As for certifications while at Spectrum, Bonnie Burke of Workforce Resources lead them through the OSHA 10 training, which provides training for entry level workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces. Additionally, UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center’s Ted Theyerl and Bob Oliver taught students on lean manufacturing, quality, and how to establish a safe and efficient operation.

Program Development
The program is in its first year, said Kellagher, and is a joint effort with the Boy Scouts of America, Workforce Resource, and the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation (CCED), as well as the businesses of Chippewa County.

The Chippewa Valley Council BSA was awarded a grant through the State of Wisconsin’s Blueprint for Prosperity program. The original vision came from Charlie Walker with the CCED, said Kellagher. Walker was the one who inspired the main idea and then he works with them to apply for the grant. The CCED is the link between the program and the businesses that host boot camps.

Workforce Resource partnership includes recruiting of students and helping with certification. And although Workforce Resource has done similar programs with adults, there really hasn't been a similar program out there before that has been geared towards 16 to 18 year olds. 

The Take-Away

And what exactly are the students taking away from the boot camp? Beside the OSHA 10 and Lean Manufacturing certificates, they are achieving certifications in Critical Core Manufacturing Skills from CVTC and Safety and Manufacturing Processes and Production from the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council. Along with getting some firsthand experience of what goes on in local businesses, and knowledge of the hiring process, the participants will receive a stipend of $1,044.00 for completing the Boot Camp. High school elective credits will also be available for students from the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District. 

But the benefits aren’t just for the participants.

“You find a lot of times that students are leaving the area,” said Kellagher, “and keeping our people local is a huge goal of our program, getting students hired, and building family awareness.”

“I think there is a big stigma almost anywhere you go that a student needs to go to a 4-year college and that manufacturing is dirty or whatever people say about manufacturing, and it’s not,” she explained. “I think getting them the certifications at no cost is kind of another big goal. To have them complete those and have a leg up compared to other people who may be applying.”

Making a Difference
One thing that stood out for Kellagher was that there are two students participating in the Manufacturing Boot Camp that were also in the Explorers Program held at Spectrum.

“I thought that was pretty cool that they had a good experience with the program and that they decided to do the boot camp,” said Kellagher.

Kellagher also said that she could see that a lot of the other participants haven't been in a manufacturing site, and that even just being at Spectrum and getting a tour sparks the participants’ interest. That “spark” really stood out when they could see the finished products in the product display room because they had a lot more questions.

“I'm just very grateful that you guys had us, said Kellagher. “As I walk around, people always are saying ‘Hi, how are you doing’, even the ones I didn’t know. So, it's been a good experience.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Great Speeches Take Place Behind Great Lecterns

Abe Lincoln graced Spectrum with his presence during the three days of InfoComm 2016. Abe gave a great speech during which he expounded on our momentous new Media Manager Series of lecterns.

Two score and eight years ago, Spectrum’s founders brought forth innovative and high-value products to diverse markets. They were and are dedicated to the proposition that, while all people are created equal, all educational and corporate furniture is not. Now we are in the midst of a momentous convention to better learn about the latest AV technology. We are at a booth at that convention, one dedicated to providing AV-compatible lecterns and other furniture to academies of education and to free market enterprises. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, for it is through the advancement of technology at school and work that we shall make the most of our opportunities for learning, collaboration, and the free exchange of ideas and images.

It is in this last, most important of our contributions—toward the betterment of all learning and business environments—that Spectrum Industries dedicates its energies. It is to the free flow of information through integrator-friendly lecterns, tables, mobile device carts and more that Spectrum focuses its industry-leading innovations in design and manufacturing. For AV integrators and facility managers need not struggle to find perfect lectern solutions for any space or need. Indeed, those solutions stand before you waiting to be examined, along with Spectrum’s policy of free shipping with no minimums anywhere among the contiguous states of our great nation.

And in a narrower sense, we might pause for a moment to consider the role of the Media Manager Series of lecterns. Its creation was, after all, Spectrum’s attempt to assuage the desires of customers and resellers for lecterns that retained similar features, functions, and appearance while offering an array of sizes. It was the requests of AV integrators and facility managers, the likes of which are here gathered at this great moment, which led to Rack Units that could be shipped separately for preemptive assembly at diverse locales, to front and back opening panels, and special security and safety features. And to ensure those created equal are indeed treated as equals, Spectrum has become the industry leader in adjustable height lecterns.

Yes, the task ahead of you is great: to furnish your spaces with highly functional and attractive, AV-ready furniture that assists those who will use it in the world-changing tasks they engage in daily. Yet you have allies in this effort, and they are arrayed around us within this booth barely capable of containing their eagerness to assist you in your task. So seek out those who will guide you to your moment of epiphany, and speak with them about your needs. For it is not only possible but likely that those who get behind these fine lecterns will indeed change the world, and it will have been you who so united them with such an opportunity.

For more on the Media Manager Series check out this great new video and take a look at our website:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Meet Our Territory Managers! June Edition

One Wednesday each month we are featuring one of our Territory Managers. This month we're introducing you to Julie Butkunas, Territory Manager of Illinois and Indiana.

Having spent the majority of her life in the Chicagoland area, Julie is right at home in the Great Lakes states of Illinois and Indiana.

“I most enjoy working with the end users seeing their ideas and dreams realized,” said Julie about why she enjoys her job with Spectrum. “Our customers appreciate our ability to incorporate their ideas into the finished products. It is very rewarding for me working with a team, transforming a classroom into a state-of-the-art learning environment.”

Julie’s experience and education in Interior Design has benefited her relationships with customers. She is a graduate from the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago, where she studied Interior Design. Before joining Spectrum Industries, Julie worked for a Chicagobased architectural firm for 15 years. While there, she worked on a team that designed mid-rise and high-rise mixed-use buildings, medical buildings and financial institutions locally as well as in the Netherlands.

Julie has been very impressed with the Spectrum Lectern family, especially with the new designs that are being released this year. “We lead this AV Lectern market globally by providing a durable, flexible and aesthetically appealing lectern,” she said. “I am proud to present our products to the industry.”

Outside of work, Julie enjoys visiting her sons Patrick and David, who live in New York City and Australia. She and David, who works as a portfolio manager for an investment firm, sometimes meet half way to see each other. Two years ago they met in Japan where they skied at Nagano and toured through Tokyo and Kyoto. She visits Patrick in NYC more frequently, where they often take in art venues. He recently graduated with an MFA degree and works at a women’s homeless shelter while pursuing a career as an artist.

Julie also can be found on her paddleboard or snowshoeing/skiing in the winter. In the evenings she enjoys long hikes with her dog Belle.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New Product Spotlight: Media Manager Series Lecterns

Spectrum Launches the Media Manager Series.

With the Elite Lectern being the inspiration, the new family of redesigned lecterns gives customers the same great design for each lectern in a variety of sizes. That means they can fit into the smallest classrooms and simplest boardrooms to the largest lecture halls or presentation spaces. With a timeless appearance, the series is built with heavy-gauge steel for long-lasting durability. It’s available with a plain surface, surround, or with an Overbridge Control Console™ for easy control access. Each lectern has a removable rack cube which can be shipped separately for easy AV and IT integration. The series of lecterns also has unique features that set them apart from each other:

Director Lectern

The largest in the series, the Director Lectern boasts the ability to fit two full sized rack cubes for maximizing AV and technology integration.

Protected with a dual-bolt lock, the Elite Lectern features a large document camera drawer at perfect writing height that can be put either on the right or left side.

Link Lectern

The Link Lectern comes in an optional 36” or 41” height to suit the needs of your customer’s function and design.

Compact Lectern

Our Compact Lectern, the smallest unit in the series, still offers great integration but in a footprint that fits the tightest spaces.

Spectrum’s Configurator at helps design the lecterns to your customer’s specs by choosing from over 60 color combinations and a variety of options. Click on Request a Quote to get your perfect lectern.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

InfoComm 2016 - Change the World

InfoComm 2016 is right around the corner and we’d love to see you there. Stop at our booth, C5437, and check out our new products, including your first peek at the new Media Manager Series. With the Elite lectern being the inspiration, the new family of redesigned lecterns gives customers the same great design for each lectern in a variety of sizes. That means they can fit into the smallest classrooms and simplest boardrooms to the largest lecture halls or presentation spaces.

The new lectern series will help you help you to “Change the World.” And with a few words, Abe Lincoln changed the world. See Abe speak at our booth daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and 11 a.m. on Friday. Also, see the new AV Equipment Channel on our very popular InVision Element Table. Don’t miss the excitement!