Iowa Celebration of “Manufacturing Day” will include nearly 150 Events

AMES – Iowans once again will have easy access this October to a broad spectrum of educational events aimed at promoting the benefits of a career in manufacturing.
Friday, October 7, has been designated as national Manufacturing Day – a time for U.S. factories to open their doors and show the public that manufacturing has become a clean, high-technology industry packed with fulfilling opportunities.
For Iowans, however, the celebrations, plant tours and seminars will stretch well beyond a single day – into an entire month.

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Upcoming CIRAS Innovation Summit Puts the Focus on Food

A program aimed at boosting Iowa industry one sector at a time will turn its attention to food next month.

CIRAS staffers are now finalizing the details for a November 15 innovation summit in Ames focused on the needs of food, beverage, feed, and grain processors. Similar to previous summits, the day-long event will include a morning session with short, interactive, technology presentations followed by an afternoon session in a tradeshow-like environment. Organizers say this format allows participants to learn about key technologies, then develop specific plans around how to implement them in their businesses.

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CIRAS has Checklist for Businesses Headed to Higher Ground

Roughly one-third of Iowa’s counties were under a flood watch or warning on Friday morning after massive rainfalls throughout the state – in some areas, up to 9 inches – send rivers higher. More rain is expected throughout the weekend, posing a significant and imminent flooding threat for many Iowa businesses.

CIRAS believes that any company who does not have a flood plan already in place should immediately begin making preparations for trouble.

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Joy Donald

CIRAS Strategy Coach Helps Facilitate Answers, Action

There are countless paths that a company can take in pursuit of growing revenue and increasing profitability. Every decision made along the way tends to matter: Should you invest in equipment upgrades, employee training, new technology, or better marketing? Should you push for better quality or new product features? How different are you, really, from your competitors? How do you identify and successfully navigate your most effective strategic path?

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An April Preventative Controls class at Iowa State University.

Iowa State Seeks to Educate Companies on Looming Food Law

Think of it as an impending explosion in the dark: It’s coming at some point. It may be a time bomb or a firecracker. You don’t know how big, or how close to you,  the eventual bang will be.

You probably ought to find out.

Experts say that’s roughly the current situation in Iowa’s food companies, many of whom can expect within months to feel the first full weight of important new federal safety regulations. A 2011 law called the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) gave the FDA new powers to prevent outbreaks of foodborne disease. But the impact of new rules was largely delayed as authorities constructed complex standards and procedures.

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Mary Zimmerman

Iowa Vendor Conference Answers Questions, Offers Guidance

Mark Baker eventually concluded that government contracting is worth a shot.

No, the CEO of Des Moines-based Endless Supplies Corporation acknowledged, it’s probably not going to be his company’s primary business strategy. Becker still has difficulty reconciling the fast-moving, products-always-changing world of information technology with sometimes-lengthy government procurement processes. But after a full day at the Iowa Events Center spent hopping between educational presentations and asking questions of the speakers, Becker concluded that Endless Supplies ought to at least get certified so his company can show that it’s ready and able to do business with the government.

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Scott Fortune removes a part from Upper Iowa's new #-D printer.

Upper Iowa Tool & Die Adds Innovation — One Layer at a Time

A Cresco tool-and-die maker’s search for diversification has led the company, with CIRAS’ help, to stake out new territory as what may be the first Iowa business of its kind to produce parts for customers via additive manufacturing.

Upper Iowa Tool & Die & Innovations, founded in 1978, purchased a new plastic-based 3-D printer earlier this year after conversations with CIRAS convinced the company to aim higher in its search for a way to differentiate from competitors. Since mid-April, Upper Iowa has been pitching its additive manufacturing capability both to new clients and as an add-on for services to existing customers.

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