Author: Jeff Eckhoff

Communications Manager at CIRAS, Iowa State University

Did you know…What PTAC can do for You?

For many people, opening a new calendar also means creating a new set of goals. This is the time of year when many of us resolve that we’re going to accomplish a few things that we know we need to do, such as lose weight, get healthier, and/or clean the basement. At work, this clean-basement desire may translate into an effort to get more organized or learn about an area you don’t fully understand. We’d like to suggest that you make 2020 the year you get better informed about the world of government contracting. Are you ready to resolve that this is the year you’ll grow your company’s business with the government? If so, then the CIRAS Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is here to help. How?

Transit Ad Firm Sees Benefits After a Second Look by CIRAS

A Carlisle advertising company that specializes in bringing brand marketing to transit buses credits a key portion of its business to the technical expertise of a CIRAS government contracting specialist. Jeff Lamb, co-owner of Midwest Truck Advertising, said CIRAS performed a valuable service by checking over a bid proposal he submitted to the Iowa Department of Transportation in late 2017. The fledgling company was competing with several other firms for an overarching contract to see which company would have the right to place advertising on 25 of Iowa’s 35 city bus systems.

3D Printing as a Process Improver: Small Changes, No Waiting

It all started with the search for a better way to check electrical connections on air conditioners. Wes Draughn, manager of manufacturing and engineering for the cooling business unit at Lennox Manufacturing in Marshalltown, had a design for a new process to help Lennox team members be more efficient in checking the quality of their work. “We needed a way to interact with the unit at different times throughout the assembly process, and the plugs that we needed weren’t available off the shelf,” he said. An intern had designed a new guide that could be used to help assemblers test connections at multiple locations on the line. The new “plug” would provide a more ergonomic grip for employees, meeting safety and other agency requirements. But there seemed to be no way to get it built.

SmithCo Sees Growth Ahead After CIRAS Helped Company Prepare

A Le Mars manufacturer of side-dumping truck trailers believes his business is on the road to steady growth after CIRAS helped improve the company’s management structure and confirm that its marketing is on the correct path. SmithCo Manufacturing Inc. was founded in 1994 to make side-dump trailers for the construction industry. Change loomed, however, as the company entered its third decade. SmithCo, long popular in construction, agriculture, and municipal waste hauling, had discovered a lucrative new market in the mining industry. But could the business handle it? Operations manager Scott Lovell saw the potential for enormous growth over the horizon, and he wanted to make sure his company was ready.

Five Ways CIRAS Can Help You Grow in 2020

New years bring a time for new beginnings. To quote Charles Kettering, an inventor and the head of research for General Motors from 1920 to 1947, “Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas.” If CIRAS is a new idea for you, then why not start the new year by considering a few new topics? Here are five ways that CIRAS can help your company grow in 2020:

CIRAS is Sponsoring Winter Conference of Master Builders of Iowa

Iowa’s leading organization of construction contractors will hold its annual meeting next month, and CIRAS plans to be there helping companies learn how to advance their businesses. CIRAS is a sponsor of this year’s Annual Winter Conference of the Master Builders of Iowa (MBI). Founded in 1912, MBI is one of 89 chapters of the Associated General Contractors of America, the most influential and widely respected construction association in the country. The Iowa chapter’s annual gathering is scheduled for February 24-26 at the Prairie Meadows Event and Conference Center in Altoona.

CIRAS Scanner Captures History of Mini-campanile’s Bells

It is a bright summer day when Tin-Shi Tam climbs the steps inside Iowa State University’s iconic campanile to play her daily midday concert on the Stanton Memorial Carillon. Up above, after she’s worked the carillon’s bells through a mix of tunes that includes both Garth Brooks and the theme from a Hong Kong soap opera, Tam starts talking about the miniature version—a one-fifth scale model of the campanile that eventually would be unveiled to the public in October. “I think the whole idea about this project is that not only did we involve so many Iowa State students and faculty to build it, but this is a project that we can actually own,” Tam said. “It’s the whole process. We’ve documented every process. This is something that we can share and say, ‘This is how it works.’”