From February 22 -28, 2015, people around the country will be taking part in Engineers Week. The event aims to increase awareness of the many ways engineers contribute to our lives, and teach people of all ages about the importance of engineering, and the need to get more talented young people involved in the profession.
At American Crane, one of our main priorities is making sure that the next generation of workers is aware of the opportunities available to aspiring engineers. We are constantly looking for ways to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and Engineers Week is another outlet for us to do that.
Here are some ideas to celebrate, courtesy of DiscoverE:
Volunteer – Engineers can volunteer their time at local schools to teach students about what they do and why it’s important. Having a real-life role model will usually encourage kids to follow in their footsteps, and gives them a chance to ask questions about the profession.
Open Your Doors – If your company has an engineering department, see if you can designate some time for an open house to show people what goes on behind the scenes. Let them see the equipment and how it is used, and if possible (and safe to do so), let them operate or simply touch the materials and machines involved.
Host a Lunch or Dinner – Getting the public excited about engineering is important, but so is celebrating the engineers themselves. Treat your team to a company lunch or dinner to show them that you value their work and appreciate all that they do.
Nominate – Identify a student who you think is making an impact in the industry and nominate them for the New Faces of Engineering – College Edition. Winners will receive scholarships as well as recognition. Applicants must already be members of one of the sponsoring engineering organizations listed on the website.
Girl Day – In addition to general Engineers Week activities, make sure to set aside some time on February 26th for Girl Day, which is meant to specifically reach out to young girls about the engineering field. In addition to celebrating with the ideas listed above, try reaching out to your local Girl Scouts and working with them on fun projects.
While Engineers Week is a great opportunity to get involved in boosting STEM education, the main goal is to start a conversation that will continue all year round. At American Crane, our Executive Vice President Karen Norheim is constantly finding new ways to promote industrial careers. She was recently profiled in The Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce’s Member Spotlight, and regularly contributes to industry blogs. And in her spare time, she even teaches her nieces and nephew about fun engineering concepts at home – like how to make a marshmallow launcher!
As big supporters of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), we’re always looking for ways to appeal to wide audiences. Many programs are now being incorporated into school curriculums that focus on approachable engineering concepts to get kids excited about hands-on careers. Whether it is robotics challenges, to coding events, to inviting guest speakers to discuss what makes a technical career so enjoyable; the methods vary, but the goal is very much the same.
But one often neglected option is showing how industrial products can contribute to creative artistic pursuits. Not every child will be interested in programming robots or building bridges. This does not mean they’re not creative; just that they apply their creativity to different things – like art.
From STEM to STEAM
Already, the shift to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) is becoming more apparent as more lessons diversify to accommodate different student interests and strengths. But can a subject like art relate to more industrial topics? Absolutely!
A perfect example of industrial equipment being used for creative pursuits is Columbus McKinnon (CM) rigging equipment bringing a hanging sculpture to life in Vancouver, Canada. The artist, Janet Echelman wanted to create an installation that would be suspended from nearby buildings. The piece weighed more than a ton, with 145 miles of braided fiber and 860,000 hand/machine made knots.
To ensure public safety around such a heavy installation, industrial rigging equipment was a must. In the end, CM Master Links and CM Master Rings were selected thanks to their superb strength.
Without access to heavy-duty equipment, such an impressive art installation would not have been safe or possible. This is just one unique example of how industrial technology contributes to making the world a more beautiful place.
For more information about how our products serve unexpected uses, feel free to browse our case studies online.
Our Executive Vice President, Karen Norheim, tells the story of how she got into manufacturing and writes how professionals must come together to proactively solve the problems that could change the course for U.S. manufacturing’s future. This includes attracting more women to the business.
The New Year is always a time of reflection and self-improvement, but it’s also a great time to consider public sector improvements that are long overdue. Recently, much attention has been drawn to the declining infrastructure in the U.S. From roads and bridges, to pipes and other vital structures, the whole country is in a general state of disrepair.
According to a USA Today article, “Six states have 30% or more of their major rural roads with pavement in poor condition, and in five states, at least one-fifth of rural bridges are structurally deficient.” In particular, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in rural areas, with a quarter of them falling into this category. In the article, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation clarifies by stating that the bridges are not unsafe, but they will require significant repair and/or eventual replacement to meet recommended standards.
An article in The Week further examines the true costs associated with infrastructures that were not upgraded and cited numerous structural failures that resulted in avoidable fatalities. According to the American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) most recent U.S. infrastructure report card, the country received a D+ overall; and with many pipelines and roadways nearing a century in age, this grade is no surprise.
But with increased attention drawn to this issue, it’s likely that improvements will start to be made. Roads and bridges are used on a daily basis, so it’s imperative to repair known problems and regularly inspect and maintain functional structures. Some structures are harder to examine than others, but there is equipment available to ensure that all sites are accessible to crews.
For example, American Crane’s bridge travelers are movable platforms that provide safe access to the underside of bridges for inspection and maintenance. These bridge travelers are crucial in providing a safe and effective work environment in an otherwise difficult to navigate location. There are self-propelled gas, diesel and electric powered travelers available to suit all needs.
Currently, American Crane travelers are being used on the Queensborough, Mid-Hudson and Thousand Island bridges in New York, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State, and the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan. Our project for the Mackinac Bridge included eight of the most sophisticated travelers in the Western Hemisphere, and featured telescopic platform extensions.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss the applications of ACECO bridge traveler technology for your bridge project. Together we can improve America’s failing infrastructures.
With the skills gap threatening manufacturers around the country, and not nearly enough millennials entering the industrial space, many have cited the need for more women in manufacturing. In the past, women dominated the shop floor while men were sent overseas to fight in World War II. At that time, women had characters like Rosie the Riveter to inspire them to join the ranks of blue collar workers that kept America moving forward.
But today, women make up substantially fewer manufacturing employees. A recent article in Manufacturing.Net cites false stereotypes about both women and the manufacturing sector as a major cause of this issue. So what can we do to promote industrial careers among women?
Here at American Crane, our commitment to our employees serves a dual purpose of educating the public about the value of industrial careers, and the opportunities available to women in this sector. Recently, we were proud to promote Karen Norheim, pictured right, formerly Vice President of Marketing and Information Technology, to Executive Vice President of the company. In this role, she plays a vital part in the success of American Crane, while also serving as an ambassador for women in technical careers.
Having a strong background in marketing and information technology, Karen has been a constant force driving the company forward into the 21st century. In addition to regular office duties, she’s also been actively advocating industrial careers to those who may not be familiar with the sector. This past fall, she had an especially busy roster. In September, Karen was a panelist for the 2014 Women in Manufacturing Summit in Chicago, IL. During her interview, Karen cited the reasons why manufacturers stand to benefit from hiring employees with different backgrounds. “Women offer a valuable point of view. Manufacturers need to have diversity in order to have a competitive edge,” she said.
In October, Karen and her colleagues led a group of local high school students on a tour of American Crane’s manufacturing plant. The event was planned in honor of National Manufacturing Day, which is a day set aside each October for plants to open their doors to the public.
Later that same month, Karen was invited to participate on another panel, this one being for Nuclear Science Week. On October 17th, she started the day by discussing “The Energy Assembly Line: Advanced Manufacturing in Reducing Global Carbon Emissions,” at the Big Event in Seattle, Washington. The show brought together students, teachers, and members of the general public who are interested in nuclear science innovations.
This is just a sampling of the community involvement Karen does on behalf of American Crane. With her in-depth knowledge of the industrial world, she is a perfect role model for women and girls who are considering a technical profession. We feel very fortunate to have our very own Rosie residing within our walls.
October is a month full of awareness campaigns and holidays – some more widely recognized than others. We’ve become accustomed to seeing football players don bright pink shoes and gloves in support of breast cancer awareness; we look forward to seeing what crazy costumes people can come up with for Halloween; and for the perennially stressed, there’s even Moment of Frustration Day to let out all of that pent up energy (not that this is ever an issue in our office).
But here at American Crane, we feel it’s important to celebrate and promote some additional holidays that particularly matter to those of us in the industrial space. In October, for example, we celebrated Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 3rd, and we’re also pleased to celebrate Nuclear Science Week this month, which runs from October 20th to the 24th. This is a national event aiming to educate people about the field of nuclear science. Each year, one U.S. city is chosen to host the main Nuclear Science Week event, and this year it’s Seattle’s turn. Across the country, numerous events will be taking place before, during and after the actual week-long celebration. For a full schedule of events, check out the Nuclear Science Week Calendar of Events.
As October winds down, what other events are you celebrating this month? Let us know on Twitter!