Month: February 2021

Did You Know?…Iowa DOT Small Business Development Contracts Program

The Iowa Department of Transportation offers a program specific to small business contractors where small businesses compete against each other and not against large contractors. This program, separate from the DBE Certification, is called the Small Business Development Contracts Program. To be eligible for this, a small business must become a Certified Small Business Contractor (CSBC) by meeting the requirements through the Iowa DOT’s Civil Rights Bureau. (Note: There is no ethnic or gender limitation for this program.) To become a CSBC, and to bid on the small business contracts, follow the steps below:

Register Now for Business Analytics Symposium

Registration is now open for the Iowa State University’s first virtual Business Analytics Symposium, hosted by the Ivy College of Business. Now in its fifth year, the April 6 symposium will feature a new format – four influential keynote speakers over two half-day sessions, with one breakout session each day.

Ready for In-Person Events? Let us know.

CIRAS, like most of the rest of the world, called a halt to in-person educational events last year when the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold. We didn’t like it. We didn’t want to. But we did what we thought was best for your health and the health of our staff – and in the process, we launched hundreds of detailed video webinars that since have been viewed by thousands of Iowa business people. Now, as vaccines roll out and the case counts fall, we’re starting to ponder what the future will look like for CIRAS events

STAFF UPDATE: Meet Jeff White

Jeff White has joined CIRAS as an account manager for southeastern Iowa. Jeff has a bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Iowa. He joins CIRAS after 30 years in marketing, business development, and sales, primarily in Iowa manufacturing.

New Weekly Webinar Series Focuses on Post-COVID Business Resiliency

COVID-19 has taught Iowa companies many things about their businesses – from the importance of understanding their supply chains to the strengths and limitations of Zoom. You’ve learned to be flexible, to plan ahead, and to lean on your employees. But is your business ready for what comes after the pandemic? To help you focus on the future, CIRAS is launching a new Business Resiliency webinar series.

Reflections of One Year of COVID-19 at CIRAS

On February 13, 2020, I sent an email to the CIRAS leadership team about this thing called Coronavirus hitting China. Here is how it ended: The short answer … is that there is very little impact today. But, depending on a lot of factors, moderate to significant impact will happen soon once inventories dry up. Depending on the length of shutdowns, the repercussions could extend for a seriously long period.  I think we should start up the disaster response team to get our hands around this. At that time, we had no idea what we were in for and did not grasp the direness of the situation that public health experts were warning of.

CIRAS to be Key in Manufacturing 4.0 Initiative

Work by CIRAS to increase the adoption of cutting-edge edge technology in Iowa manufacturing will play a key role supporting the state’s new plan for keeping Iowa industry competitive. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the new Manufacturing 4.0 Initiative on Thursday, saying it was intended to outline “new strategies to support (manufacturers’) efforts and ensure Iowa’s future prosperity is widespread, reaching all people in all parts of Iowa.” The initiative, which is led by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, creates strategies and actions focused on ensuring Iowa is a global leader in the next generation of manufacturing.

DID YOU KNOW?… Optional Contract Types May Reduce Uncertainty

Although many of us are optimistic 2021 will be better than the year we just went through, the world will continue to struggle with both the short- and long-term impacts of the COVID pandemic. In addition to trying to keep ourselves and others physically and mentally healthy during these trying times, there also are concerns about the health of our economy – including volatility in the pricing and availability of labor and materials. Economic swings may impact not only the way government agencies contract for products and services, but also the amount of risk contractors are willing to accept on these contracts. Here are a few options for you to consider:

Persistence Helps Bowe Machine Break into GovCon

A Bettendorf machine shop landed government contracts worth more than $100,000 after CIRAS helped a new supervisor delve deep into the intricacies of government bidding. Bowe Machine in Bettendorf. Michael Bigsby had been working at Bowe Machine Company for roughly six months when he proposed that the company pursue government contracts. Bigsby had been involved in quoting government jobs for a previous employer, but he had never played a major role in the bidding process. So, he sought help understanding the procedures.

Online Orders Are an Elixir Following COVID-19 Collapse

A Holstein, Iowa, meat producer now finds itself on the cusp of full-blown e-commerce thanks to a computerized online order system that the company was driven to adopt in response to COVID-19. Tiefenthaler Quality Meats, a family-owned company known for its skinless brats and other meat products, originally approached CIRAS in March seeking help managing the online portion of a yearly anniversary sale. However, those conversations soon shifted when pandemic safety concerns led Tiefenthaler’s to close its retail store to customers. Tiefenthaler’s also cancelled the anniversary sale because of the pandemic and its impact on business.