Impact Dakota Blog is a blog dedicated to supporting North Dakota’s manufacturing community improve People, Purpose, Processes and Performance. Entries provide information on opportunities, new ideas, quick tips, celebrations of success, and well, frankly, anything to help you become a better manufacturer.

October 26, 2017

I think we’ve taken this pumpkin spice thing too far. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall. That first crisp evening when you need to put on a sweater, the crunch of leaves under your feet, homecoming football games, but pumpkin spice? It’s obvious that the pumpkin spice council’s marketing team has done an outstanding job because it’s in everything now: cookies, chocolate candy, ice cream, oatmeal, pancakes, marshmallows, and now even in a special “limited edition” of my favorite breakfast cereal.

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October 23, 2017

In my last post, I told you about the signs you should look for if you are interested in accessing grant funding. They included adding employees, increased capital investment and being negatively impacted by foreign trade. Be sure to look for these signs and go back to re-read the post to see the others!

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October 19, 2017

I walk through a potential client’s shop and a new piece of machinery catches my eye. I ask the company leader if he applied for any grant funding to offset the purchase, and he looks at me with a blank or inquisitive stare. He then says, “I didn’t know I could get grant funding.”

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October 17, 2017

Cybersecurity, at this point in the technological age, has become a household word. Every week, almost like clockwork, it seems there is a story on the news about a newly discovered hack or data breach often made possible by poor cybersecurity practices. Many of these incidents are focused around stolen data, which resides in our IT, or information technology, infrastructure. However, the breaches that interest me are those that affect the systems and devices that monitor and manipulate much of the world around us and have real-world health and safety consequences if they are compromised. These extremely important systems and devices are known as operational technologies, or OT.

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October 16, 2017

NDSU’s Northern Plains Ethics Institute is set to host a presentation by Reza Maleki, Impact Dakota senior business adviser. He is scheduled to present “Automation: Boon or Curse” Thursday, Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m. in the A. Glenn Hill Center’s room 300.

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October 12, 2017

I was at an end of summer family barbeque the other day, and two of my nephews, 16 and 20 years old, were in attendance. As the day progressed, they spent most of the day fixated on their phones, from watching YouTube videos of cats and playing games, to tweeting and instagramming photos.

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October 10, 2017

Cybersecurity is everyone’s business! As personal computing devices become even more pervasive, the chances of falling victim to a cyber-attack rise higher and higher. With continuous use of email, social media, banking apps, etc., the list of vulnerabilities to which we have opened ourselves is ever-growing. Hackers often use an unsuspecting individual’s error, like a weak password or clicking a suspicious link, to gain access to larger institutions or to organize large-scale denial-of-service attacks.

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October 4, 2017

I spoke at a manufacturing conference in St. Louis this week, and thoroughly enjoyed the keynote speaker, Jennifer McNelly, President of 180Skills. 180Skills provides online career and technical education that fills the manufacturing skills gap (you should check them out for your workforce development needs!).

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September 22, 2017

If you are on social media and have any members of the manufacturing community in your network, you likely have had your news feed flooded with organizations promoting their Manufacturing Day activities. In my news feed on LinkedIn this morning, I had four posts related to Manufacturing Day, and that was before I even started to scroll down my homepage!

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September 21, 2017

As you are no doubt aware, technology has entered our home and work lives in numerous ways -- from cars that can parallel park hands-free to numerous iPhone, iPad, and Android apps to keep our children occupied with games and keep us on track with food and fitness. Mobile apps can also be found in manufacturing and companies and programmers have been pretty busy filling this niche to help manufacturers in their everyday work environments.

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