Friday, April 6, 2012

Associates’ Corner - Transonic Systems Inc.

(Each AM&T monthly newsletter highlights one or more of our Associate Member companies)

Transonic Systems Inc. is the worldwide industry leader in the manufacture and marketing of biomedical flow measurement devices. Its biomedical products measure and confirm liquid flow during surgery, post-surgery, hemodialysis and in research studies.

The Company was founded in 1983 by Cornelius Drost, who as a Sr. Research Associate at the NYS College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University invented the transit-time ultrasound flowmeter. Transonic measurement superiority was quickly recognized and, in less than a decade, scientific literature cited Transonic transit-time ultrasound as the "Gold Standard" against which other technologies were validated. The first transit-time ultrasound flowprobes measured volume flow in vessels in large animals such as the sheep. Flowprobes have now become so small that scientists can measure the volume of flow through hair-sized renal/femoral arteries in mice.

Over the years Transonic has expanded its product lines into a broad spectrum of applications. Cardiac surgeons use Transonic to check flow in their bypass grafts. Neurosurgeons use Transonic to avoid intraoperative strokes during aneurysm or bypass surgeries. Transplant surgeons rely on Transonic measurements to check their work. In dialysis units Transonic Hemodialysis Monitors help improve dialysis delivery. Transonic measurements are integral in ground-breaking research that leads to medical advances such as the artificial heart. Transonic devices are also used in bioprocess control, and as "Transonic inside" original equipment devices. From the laboratory to the operating room, Transonic Systems provides accurate, intuitive, and reliable tools to measure flow.

Customer service, sales, marketing, R&D, finance, administration and manufacturing are based at the Company's 33,000 square-foot headquarters in Ithaca, NY. European and Asian divisions in the Netherlands, Taiwan and Japan augment the worldwide marketing and distribution of Transonic products. The Company currently employs 130+ people.

For more information visit:

Top Three Unexpected Traits of The Best Entrepreneurs

Here, then, are the top three unexpected traits of the world’s best entrepreneurs:

1. They are idealistic

More than a few people think that entrepreneurs are essentially like Gordon Gekko, who famously opined “greed is good” in the movie “Wall Street.” While making money is necessarily a basic motivation in any business endeavor, among great global entrepreneurs I’ve noticed a characteristic quite different than greediness: They tend to be visionary idealists. Indeed, the very tagline of the World Entrepreneurship Forum indicates as much: “The worldwide think tank devoted to the entrepreneur, creator of wealth and social justice.”

Social justice? You bet:

- When a company hires poor farmers in India to grow an otherwise useless weed (the jatropha plant) on otherwise unusable land, then turns it into gasoline at half the prevailing cost per barrel, you have a business that’s making money and making a difference.
Yes, these sorts of companies make a lot of money, but they make money because they have a vision.

2. They are great teammates

Especially in the West, particularly in the United States, people tend to view an entrepreneur as a strong individual with a dream and a plan. Steve Jobs, for instance. In actuality, the best entrepreneurs are team players, not one-man (or -woman) shows. They understand that they cannot do it alone and need to build a superior team if they are to create a superior business.

Take Steve Jobs.

Sure, he was a genius, but part of that genius was the ability to surround himself with a team of people who shared his vision and passion and were fiercely loyal to him. Apple is Apple because Jobs was smart enough to know that yes, a great team requires a leader — but also great teammates.

3. They are characters with character

There are all sorts of traits required to be a successful entrepreneur: the willingness to take a smart calculated risk, being able to live with uncertainty, etc. That said, my experience at the WEF has led me to add two more traits to the standard list:

- The best entrepreneurs are not afraid to be themselves. They are “characters,” whether that means they are funny or loud or shy or whatever. They are who they are and are not afraid to be who they are.

- They have character. Values are important to them. Integrity counts.
So, while the world often looks chaotic and even depressing these days, the folks at the WEF remind me that no matter their nationality, character usually wins out in the end.

~ Steve Strauss is a lawyer, author and speaker who specializes in small business and entrepreneurship. He also writes a weekly column for USA Today.

You Didn’t Study Economic History in School? No Problem: Here’s a Quick 10,000-year Summary

This history of the economy in many ways is quite simple. The numbers below are approximates and a bit of a mash up taken from several sources to illustrate trends and shifts in our economy.
Here’s a brief 10,000 year summary of the economy in North America and to a certain degrees the Western Hemisphere. Since the dawn of civilization, there have been three drivers of wealth and job creation in the economy. The Agrarian Age, The Industrial Age and now the Creative Age.

The Agrarian Age

For the first 10,000 years of civilization employment and wealth creation was primarily tied to agriculture. At the turn of the 20th century roughly 60% of the labor force was directly or indirectly tied to Agriculture – as a result of innovation, shifts in the economy, the industrialization of agriculture, mechanization and productivity gains that number is now is just below to 2%. This snapshot occurred during the transition from the Agrarian Age to the Industrial Age.

The Industrial Age

By the mid 20th century the tides had shifted. Just as the labor force had peaked at 60% during the Agrarian Age, approximately 50% of the labor force was employed in manufacturing during the Industrial Age, currently that number is just below to 12% due to the recession, automation, global shifts, labor costs and off shoring! This snapshot occurred during the transition from the Industrial Age to the Creative Age.

The Creative Age

Today employment in the Creative Age is approximately 35% where it was only 5% at the turn of the 20th Century. In other words people who are paid to think represent 35% percent of the labor force. Creative class jobs are expected to grow by about 40% over the next decade or so.

Shifting Trends

As we moved from the Agrarian Age to the Industrial Age employment growth and and wealth creation shifted from one to the other, now we are seeing a similar shift again. If we want to see our communities prosper, we need to make sure we are focused on future economic growth opportunities versus ones from the past. The previous wealth drivers don’t disappear they just diminish in their importance and contribution to wealth creation and employment, while making room for new ones.

Crystal Ball?

In a recent talk I gave, I asked people to imagine that we were at the end of the agrarian age and the beginning of the industrial age and we could choose to invest further in a building a better buggy or a building a new buggy – the automobile. If you invested in the better buggy you would been out of buisness, if you invested in the automobile you would have been as wealthy as Detroit was at its peak mid 20th Century.

We are now in the same cross hairs of time. We are at the end of the industrial age and the beginning of the creative age. If you are building an economy and community are you going to bet that industrial based manufacturing is going to carry the day or that knowledge, innovation and technology driven companies is where the future economy is heading. We have a bit of a crystal ball here. I don’t know about you but I am betting on the future not the past! Look what happened to Detroit they missed the shifting trends and are still paying for it today vs. Silicon Valley who is still capitalized on the shifting trends.

~ Dan Taylor

Leadership Imperative: Say What You’re Going to Do And Then Do What You Say

There are many things I can live without or look past, but one thing I consider a critical part of the foundation in any relationship is trust. I think this belief partially stems back to my younger years and repeatedly hearing my Grandmother say to anyone that would listen “I can handle many things, but I can’t (and won’t) tolerate a lie”.

There are literally hundreds of ways that trust is built in your career as well as in your personal life, and there is a saying you have likely heard many times rings that true for me in both areas; “Say what you’re going to do and then do what you say”. It seems simple enough, doesn’t it? However, many people miss the consequences of not being able to deliver on this.

Think of someone that has made a commitment to you on multiple occasions and then hasn’t delivered. Think of a friend that has promised you something and then didn’t follow through. What is your trust level with these types of individuals? Now think about a time recently when you made a commitment to a colleague, friend or family member and then didn’t deliver. If you want to frame this very boldly, making a commitment and then not following through is almost like telling a lie and as a result, can deteriorate trust in that relationship in the same way.

There are many reasons why people don’t follow through on what they say they are going to do, which can include lack of time, lack of a proper system to track what they’ve committed to and in some cases, they just said “yes” because that’s what the person wanted to hear and they never did plan on taking action in the first place. All of these ‘excuses’ can be overcome by under-committing and over-delivering, setting proper expectations, implementing effective systems to track deadlines and to-do lists and being realistic about what you commit to.

As you continue to build your reputation as a leader, as well as a trusted friend and family member, I challenge you to be extremely self-aware in regards to the commitments you make and ensuring you deliver as you promise. Trust, or a lack of it, will play an important role in how your future unfolds in many ways.

~ Jennifer Warawa

A Generation That’s Too Scared to Dream Big?

The economic downturn affected American families' finances on a variety of fronts, and reminded us of the importance of preparing for a rainy day by not overextending ourselves financially and having a monetary safety net in place. Yet have we given equal thought to the important role that our children's career paths can play, not only in their economic futures, but in the economic future of our nation? The recession may have made us more fiscally prudent, but did it make us too scared to dream?

American innovation is at the core of what makes us great -- the will to take chances and go all in on an idea. For us to maintain our status as an economic superpower, we need to keep dreaming, and dream big.

Junior Achievement USA and the ING Foundation recently surveyed a national sample of teens, asking them what their ideal job is, how confident they are that they'll achieve their dream job, and, perhaps most tellingly, if they'd give up that dream job for one that paid a higher salary. Less than half the teens we surveyed (43 percent) said they were very confident they'd have their "dream" job. Yet a significant majority -- 71 percent -- said they would give up their dream job for one that paid a higher salary.

There is a lot of talk -- particularly now, during the presidential campaign -- about the importance of creating jobs. And we agree, it is critical to create jobs to spur economic growth. But how will those jobs be created? It is through the power of American ingenuity and innovation, and the strength found in the belief that an idea can change the world.

As we recover from the recession, have we given thought to how it affected our children's beliefs that they can be anything they want to be? These things are clear: we need to nurture our young peoples' abilities to dream, and we need to give them the tools to plan and achieve those dreams. We can't let America get left behind in the global economy.

When we asked teens about their ideal job, more than half (61 percent) said it was in science, technology, engineering, math or medicine. This is where the future of American innovation lies, and it is critical that we support our young people's pursuit of these careers.

Junior Achievement has been empowering young people to live their dreams for nearly a century. We currently reach more than 4 million U.S. students a year, giving them the skills, knowledge and confidence to live their dreams. We teach students how to start and grow their own businesses, by doing it.

We give students a safe environment in which to practice 21st-century skills, such as problem-solving and teamwork, which are key to success in today's business world. This critical education helps instill appropriate tolerance for risk, the understanding that failure is often the key to success, and most importantly, the guts to chase a dream.

The American Dream -- and a robust economy -- is out there. We must help our young people reach out and achieve it.

~ Jack Kosakowsk, President & CEO of Junior Achievement

New Manufacturing Tax Plan

After four years of complaining that the U.S. tax code encourages foreign outsourcing of jobs and production, President Obama has unveiled a corporate tax plan he thinks will reverse the trend. The second bullet in his 23-page corporate tax overhaul proposal released on Feb. 22, is “Strengthen American Manufacturing and Innovation,” which states:

“The manufacturing sector plays an outsized role in the U.S. economy with significant spillovers to other sectors that make it particularly important to future job creation, innovation and economic growth.”

U.S. manufacturing enterprises are engaged in a global economic battle whose outcome is being determined in part by the tax structure of the U.S. and other nations. As such, the Treasury Department proposes the top corporate tax rate on manufacturing income be cut to 25 percent “and to an even lower rate for income from advanced manufacturing activities by reforming the domestic production activities deduction,” says the plan.

The plan simplifies and makes permanent the R&D tax credit at 17 percent. It would make permanent the tax credit for the production of renewable electricity “in order to provide a strong, consistent incentive to encourage investments in renewable energy technologies like wind and solar.”
The plan also calls for companies to receive a 20 percent income tax credit for expenses associated with moving operations back to the United States, as opposed to the current system that “allows companies moving operations overseas to deduct their moving expenses and reduce their taxes in the United States as a result.“

It would allow small companies to expense up to $1 million in investments; allow cash accounting on businesses with up to $10 million in gross receipts; double the deduction for start-up costs; and expand the health insurance tax credit for small businesses.

The 23-page plan (worth reading) is located at: