U.S. Dept. of Commerce partners with CIRAS to help Iowa Manufacturers

AMES, Iowa – Iowa manufacturers are projected to receive up to $37 million in research-based, business-improving services over the next 10 years after U.S. Dept. of Commerce officials on Friday moved to renew the department’s longstanding relationship with Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS).

The award means CIRAS will continue to serve as Iowa’s affiliate of the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Manufacturers Extension Partnership (MEP), a nationwide network of centers created to enhance the performance of U.S. manufacturing. Through this partnership, CIRAS will continue providing services to help small- to mid-sized manufacturers improve their businesses and will add new services to help all Iowa manufacturers navigate rapidly changing technologies and business models.

[Read More ...]

Iowa FIRST LEGO® League Close to Top in Per Capita Participation

Iowa now ranks second nationwide in per capita youth membership on a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team.

Yet, even with another year of explosive growth in Iowa youth getting a STEM boost through research and robots, Camille Schroeder, director of K–12 outreach programs at Iowa State University’s College of Engineering, said the participation milestone does not mean that Iowa’s FLL program has stopped recruiting students and mentors.

“We want to be able to provide this experience for any youth who wants it,” Schroeder said.

[Read More ...]

Second Tri-State Procurement Conference on Tap for March

The reviews are in, and it appears to have been a hit: 
– “Broad range of information covered.  Wide variety of businesses represented” 
– “Got several ideas how to expand my business, the event opened up conversations and information in the tristate area” 
– “Tons of useful info” 
– “A very well balanced conference with a wide range of experts speaking candidly” 

Those are just a few bits of the feedback we received after the first Tri-State Procurement Conference held in Keokuk, IA this past spring of 2016.

[Read More ...]

Mergers Point to Major Success for Innovative Iowa Companies

Three major business deals involving some of Iowa’s most innovative and best-run firms in their fields should send a strong message to other Iowa companies, CIRAS believes: innovation combined with strong business skills reaps substantial reward. The owners of Harrisvaccines, Harvest Innovations, and Hagie Manufacturing all agreed over the past year to sell major portions […]

[Read More ...]

Health Insurance—A Prescription for Fear among Iowa Manufacturers

Iowa manufacturers’ single largest fear, according to a CIRAS survey, is the looming cost of employee health care. And the worry appears to be well placed.

“If you are a private employer in Iowa, you have reason to be concerned,” said Mark Becker, a Johnston-based employer benefits consultant. “There are far more questions than answers right now. On large insurance, there’s really no place to run.”

[Read More ...]