Month: November 2020

What to Watch for as Flu Season Combines with COVID-19

What does COVID-19 have in common with influenza? The foundation for keeping both from overwhelming your workplace starts with education, regular disinfection, and keeping a close eye on your employees so you can spot any outbreaks quickly. That was the message to Iowa manufacturers in November when Emily Law, infection prevention coordinator at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, spoke to participants in the weekly CIRAS Roundtable for Iowa manufacturers.

Reshoring Webinar on December 10

Offshoring your components can come with a great deal of cost and risk. This is true now more than ever in the middle of a pandemic. Iowa manufacturers understand the difficulties that can come with managing an unpredictable supply chain. CIRAS would like to help. Together with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Iowa Area Development Group, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, and the Greater Des Moines Partnership, we’re sponsoring a one-hour webinar on December 10 explaining the benefits of bringing your production home.

Start Your Shopping with Iowa-Made Gifts

It is time for our 5th annual CIRAS holiday gift list! This year buying products made right here in Iowa carries even more significance as it supports our businesses and their employees that have kept our economy running through the pandemic. Here are just some of the great Iowa gifts you can give:

SSAB Finds Valuable Partner in Iowa State Students, Faculty Research

A Muscatine steel factory is on the verge of innovation after increased student involvement developed into major research at Iowa State University. SSAB, an international steel producer, recently completed CIRAS-arranged research and filed for a patent on a new optical fiber technology for measuring the temperature of molten steel in electric arc furnaces in real time. The company also is experimenting with Ames Laboratory on ways to improve the rolled-steel alloys SSAB manufactures.

ILC Virtual Annual Conference Builds Lean Leaders

Good leadership should be purposely developed in yourself and others by building strong relationships with those on your team, an Iowa-born Army colonel told more than 200 Iowa business leaders in October. Col. Candice Frost was the keynote speaker for this fall's first-ever Annual Virtual Conference by the Iowa Lean Consortium. The event, customarily the largest single educational event put on by the ILC, was held online in 2020 for the first time due to COVID-19.

GovTalk: CIRAS Helps Copywriter+ Ink Contract

A Des Moines freelance writing business found financial stability in the opening months of the pandemic after CIRAS helped it pursue and obtain a government contract. Kristi Kenyon, owner of Copywriter+, said her company was roughly three years old when she met Justin Niceswanger, a government contracting specialist with the CIRAS Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), at a networking event. Before that, government contracting “wasn’t something that I even knew was a possibility” for writing jobs, Kenyon said.

CIRAS PTAC: A Smart Way for Construction Companies to Build Their Teams

Building a new federal courthouse in downtown Des Moines is much more complicated than signing the paperwork and pouring concrete. “It comes with significant challenges,” said Elizabeth Campbell, director of Emerging Business Inclusion for Ryan Companies, the Minneapolis-based firm that landed the Des Moines courthouse’s three-year, $105 million contract. One of them is the subcontracting.

Vermeer Using Virtual Reality to Train Technicians, Captivate Customers

An Iowa equipment manufacturer who turned a CIRAS educational event into major experiments with virtual and augmented reality soon expects to see huge dividends in lower training costs and more attentive customers. Vermeer Manufacturing Company, a Pella-based manufacturer of industrial and agricultural equipment, formed its own three-person augmented reality team in 2017, shortly after the company attended a CIRAS educational event on the topic. Three years later, Vermeer has created a successful virtual reality marketing tool and soon will launch a new VR program to train dealer technicians how to service and repair Vermeer equipment.