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Why Existing Workers Are the Real Answer to Iowa’s Workforce Problem

Iowa is out of people.

Almost every company I talk to, regardless of size, industry, or location, says that finding good people is their number one issue. The few exceptions are expert Lean practitioners—such as members of the Iowa Lean Consortium (ILC)—who tend to look at the issue differently: If every single person in our business was better at seeing, communicating, and solving problems, they ask, wouldn’t it help our workforce needs?

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Cy-Hawk Partnership Helps TAP Extend Technology

Charles Romans sees tremendous possibility in the relationship he’s building with his counterparts on the other side of Iowa.

Romans is the 3D design prototype director for ProtoStudios, a University of Iowa rapid prototyping facility that’s part of the MERGE innovation lab in downtown Iowa City. Despite his black-and-gold employer, Romans and his staff have been working closely with CIRAS project manager Mark Williamson and Chris Hill, director of the CIRAS Technology Assistance Program (TAP), for more than a year as part of a joint effort to learn from each other and give taxpayers the maximum benefit from the equipment each agency controls.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!” Hill said with a chuckle. “It is possible for Hawkeyes and Cyclones to work together.”

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Tortilleria Sonora Steps Out on Path to Food Safety Certification

Life began moving faster after Betty Garcia got the phone call.

It was the fall of 2017, and a Des Moines-area produce company was planning to launch a line of ready-to-eat meals. The company was wondering whether Tortilleria Sonora would be interested in supplying tortillas. First, there were a few questions about the business. Would Garcia mind filling out a questionnaire?

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Walsh Door & Security Keeps Growing as CIRAS Guides

A rapidly growing Des Moines commercial door and electronic security company has become more efficient, more professional, and safer thanks to a long-standing CIRAS relationship that continues to grow.

Walsh Door & Security began as a builders’ hardware company, but the business evolved over the years to become one of very few U.S. firms that offer customers both physical barriers (doors, frames, and hardware) and electronic security (such as access control and video surveillance systems). Marty Walsh IV, co-president of the family-owned company, said the firm has grown steadily on both sides of its door and security business, even as the electronic offering expands.

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Claim Technologies: Finding New Opportunities in GovCon

In the beginning, it was the pursuit of higher peaks that sent Randy Brandt to CIRAS.

Brandt’s employer, Claim Technologies Incorporated (CTI) of Des Moines, audits self-funded health plans to check for overpayments and administrative oversight. The company has worked with all sizes of private companies, school districts, and municipalities, as well as 16 state governments. But before 2018, the firm had only had two federal contracts.

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Dickson Industries Opens New Doors by Achieving Global Quality Standard

A 72-year-old Des Moines company with a long history of making products that boost the flavor and appearance of meat is now pursuing new opportunities after CIRAS helped the firm obtain a Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification.

David Dickson, president of Dickson Industries, said his company obtained its certification last March after a CIRAS gap assessment helped Dickson understand the quality requirements and prepare for the review.

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Learning Opportunities Abound at ILC Events

The nice thing about Iowa Lean Consortium events, according to Sara Richards, is that the useful tips are all around you.

Richards, a continuous improvement manager at Vermeer in Pella, attended two ILC events last year, including a May workshop in Omaha where facilitators Tracey and Ernie Richardson helped participants simulate a “real-life, hands-on” approach to continuous improvement.

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ESCP Finds Business by Making the Web Work for the Company

For John Nelson, the difference was like night and day—largely because everything looks dark when customers can’t find your website.

 Nelson is sales manager for ESCP Corporation, a Davenport metal fabricator and manufacturer of metal stacking racks. ESCP’s website used to work wonderfully, he said. But then one day, a periodic Google algorithm change seemingly knocked the company out of favor. All web-based leads just evaporated.

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CIVCO’s Solstice SRS Immobilization System Speeds to Market Thanks to CIRAS Scanner

An Orange City manufacturer of medical devices found a faster, cheaper, and more precise way to bring its new product to market after CIRAS showed the company how industrial scanners could be used to prove the product’s effectiveness.

CIVCO Radiotherapy, a 36-year-old company that makes a broad variety of radiation therapy products, created the Solstice SRS Immobilization System to keep patients immobile during stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT). Both procedures involve delivering high-dose radiation to very specific areas of the head and neck.

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