Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Associates’ Corner - Automated Cells & Equipment, Inc.

Automated Cells & Equipment, Inc. (ACE) provides complete design, build, integration and commissioning of solutions related to factory automation and robotic systems. Incorporated in 1996, Automated Cells resides in a 27,000 square foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Painted Post, NY with a staff of over 40 employees including mechanical and electrical engineers, robot programmers, service technicians and support personnel.

With its vision to be a leading automation solutions provider, ACE solutions can be found in many industries including: aerospace, automotive component manufacturing, food, foundry, job shops large and small, medical device manufacturing, and the powder metal industry.

Specializing in the sale and service of FANUC Robotics’ complete line of industrial robots, ACE can offer robots with payloads ranging from 1Kg to over 1000Kg. They are also one of a select group of FANUC Certified Servicing Integrators and are pre-approved to perform warranty repairs on FANUC Robotics’ products with technicians that have met or exceeded the requirements for programming, maintenance and trouble-shooting of FANUC robots. In addition to being a FANUC Certified Servicing integrator, they are also a FANUC Certified Vision specialist with expertise in applying FANUC iRVision to solve many industrial automation challenges.

For more information, contact Jim Morris, President, at 607-936-1341

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Associates’ Corner - ASI Energy

Take Control of Your Energy Costs

ASI Energy turns your energy expenses into assets.

ASI Energy, an Ithaca, New York-based energy leader, offers significant cost-saving solutions for industrial and commercial facilities. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is a reliable source for electrical and thermal energy at a low cost without reducing your energy supply. Utilizing this innovative technology, ASI Energy takes a single fuel source, like natural gas, biogas/methane to create electricity and heat. Electricity is created with a prime mover engine and the heat is captured for use in a full range of industrial and commercial applications such as steam generation, thermal energy recovery, primary and secondary thermal energy, and preheating.

The process to determine potential savings for your operations is simple. ASI Energy conducts a client-centered Initial Facility Assessment – a complete, singular appraisal of your facility’s energy needs and then generates a guaranteed savings proposal including financing options, possible grants and tax incentives, emission savings as well as project NPV and IRR calculations customized for your organization, and ending with a suggested CHP system for your operations.

ASI Energy’s approach includes:
• Integrated project delivery through Project Management Office
• Guaranteed ROI
• Frequent project reporting and transparency
• Detailed financial analysis
• Financing for your project

While other CHP approaches can be complicated, inefficient and expensive, ASI Energy’s integrated project delivery system is a highly efficient and comprehensive CHP solution. This cost-saving system is backed with extensive knowledge and experience in engineering design, construction management, utility regulatory policies and project financing. ASI Energy’s team spearheads this multifaceted project while you continue your day-to-day business operations without interruption. Their engineers, financial experts and project managers work together to minimize disruptions typically associated with a major energy project.

For more information, and to find out if CHP is right for your operations, please contact ASI Energy at 607-330-1203 or visit them online at

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4 Marketing lessons to learn from the ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge"

By Avinash Murthy -
If you are a social media-holic, chances are that in the last few weeks, you would have chanced upon a video of a celebrity, or an athlete, or a politician dumping buckets of ice and water over their heads. I wouldn’t blame you if you already started wondering if this is a collective attempt towards beating global warming! Well, before you stretch your imagination further, here’s what this ice bucket fuss is all about.
A fundraiser and awareness campaign for the ALS Association, the "Ice Bucket Challenge" has taken social media by storm since it popped off on July 29, with more than 176,000 people tweeting about it in the first seven days alone. The rules of the challenge are simple: once challenged, a participant has 24 hours to either dump a bucket of ice water over their head, or donate $100 to the ALS charity of their choice. To enhance the outreach and spread awareness further, every participant must then nominate three more people to either take the challenge or pay up.
While there are critics pointing out that the viral nature of this fad appears centered around an aversion to giving money, I would say that the campaign has done a fabulous job given that a growing list of celebrities including business stalwarts such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos have participated in this social media fundraising initiative. Also, according to the ALS Association, more than 70,000 new donors have given money to one of its 38 chapters since July 29, contributing to a grand total of $4 million in donations during this same period (compared to only $1.12 million during the same period last year) leaving little doubt that this initiative has been a massive success!
What caught my attention however is the reason behind the euphoric and emotional response to this campaign. I believe that the brains behind this campaign have taught us four important lessons on how to run a successful viral social media campaigns:
  1. Relate to a Cause - The objective behind the campaign was to help raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease while raising funds. History says that any marketing campaign that is associated with a cause which strikes an emotional chord with the target audience does well.
  2. Be Simple - The Ice Bucket Challenge is very simple. All it needs for one to participate is a smart device and a social media account - which is just about everyone these days. Leaving aside the cost of the ice and the amount involved in donation, the entry to be a part of the awareness campaign is essentially free, and the humiliation factor is extremely minimal.
  3. Have Fun - When you’re interacting with your social community it’s important to have fun, so long as your business type allows it. Therefore, it should be no surprise that people enjoy entertaining and fun-loving engagement. The Ice Bucket Challenge did enough to tickle people’s senses.
  4. Endorsers - Any successful viral campaign gives the end users a voice and an active role in the campaign and the Ice Bucket Challenge did exactly that.
This is not rocket science. A vast majority of marketers already know this, but even the best ones have a hard time actually getting it right!
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Job Development Authority Loan Program

What is the Job Development Authority (JDA)?
• JDA provides direct loans for the growth of manufacturing and other eligible businesses within New York State by assisting in financing a portion of the cost of acquiring and renovating existing buildings or constructing new buildings ("Real Estate" projects) or for purchasing machinery and equipment ("M&E" projects).
• In most cases, JDA loans can lend up to 40% of the total project cost of Real Estate or M&E projects.
• Loans can be made for up to 60% for those projects located in Empire Zones or economically distressed areas.

JDA Financing Structure
• The combination of a bank loan and a JDA loan allows up to 90% financing of a project.
• Loans can be from $250,000 - $3,500,000.
• JDA Real Estate Loan is normally a second mortgage loan, subordinate to a first-mortgage loan provided by a bank.
• M&E Loans are secured by a first lien, co-equal with the bank’s lien, on the M&E being financed.
• 50% Bank Loan.
• 40% JDA Loan.
• 10% Borrower Equity

• The Borrower must secure a letter of commitment from the bank detailing the banks portion of the project cost.
• Personal guarantees are required from any person owning 20% or more of the Operating Company for whose benefit the JDA Loan is being made.
• The Borrower must provide at least 10% of the project cost as an equity contribution to the project.

What are the costs involved with utilizing JDA?
• $250 Application fee.
• JDA charges a 1% one-time fee to the borrower on the JDA portion of the loan as opposed to higher fees charged by similar programs.
• In Real Estate Transactions, NYS Mortgage Recording Taxes are waived for the JDA portion of the loan amount.

Contact Jim Cunningham at 607-725-1225 for more information

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How Do You Become a Thriving Company?

By Steve Minter
Since 2006, McGladrey, the tax and consulting firm, has been collecting information on the practices of "thriving" companies for its annual report on mid-market manufacturing and distribution firms.

McGladrey asks business executives to rank their companies as "thriving," "holding steady" or "declining." This year, 32% of executives said their companies were thriving, a drop of 7% from 2012.

McGladrey identified five of the best practices these companies are employing to achieve above average results:

Continuous improvement – Thriving companies "consistently deploy process improvement and quality programs," McGladrey’s research shows. In fact, 87% of the companies that identified themselves as thriving have an advanced culture of continuous improvement.

International expansion and exporting – Companies that pursue sales outside the U.S. tend to have better financial performance than those focused strictly on the domestic market.

Training and productivity – Most thriving businesses provide internal training and skills development programs, McGladrey found, a particularly vital practice as the workforce copes with more sophisticated technology.

Information technology – Thriving companies capitalize on their IT investments by developing innovative products, decreasing cycle time and increasing productivity. Information technology also provides top management with better information and insights into corporate performance so it can take action quicker.

Measuring procurement – Using strategic sourcing and tracking vendor performance, McGladrey notes, helps thriving companies ensure on-time delivery.

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Prosper by Making Time Every Day to Just Think

By Art Petty
If your typical day resembles the one that most of us experience in the corporate environment, it’s a series of meetings interspersed with a series of transactional exchanges that might be better described as interruptions.

There’s little of that elusive and precious asset called "quality time" on our calendars or in our days. The steady drumbeat of deadlines is constantly playing in our minds and at times, it feels like there’s a fire to fight around every corner. When we’re given the opportunity to be creative, it’s often in forced marches through meetings with the labels of "planning" or "brainstorming."

Our days are filled with what has been described as "unproductive busyness." We sprint from meeting to meeting letting the Outlook calendar drive our days. And even when we’re supposed to be focusing, too many of us are obsessively checking our devices searching for something to stimulate our brains. After all, there must be something more important than this meeting going on in front of us.

Since when did meetings become excuses to catch up on email?

Chris Lowney, a former Jesuit priest turned Investment Banker (an interesting career path to say the least), writing in his book, "Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads," describes what happens when we don’t create the time for daily reflection: "And so we turn ourselves into hamsters on hamster wheels: spinning, but not necessarily moving forward."

I see the long-term impact of no down-time…no thinking time in the form of worn-out mid-career managers and exhausted senior leaders who struggle through their days. They’ll describe in private that they no longer feel the same passion for the work they once loved, and they worry that they’ve lost their edge and will be unable to get it back. They are worried and frightened of what this state portends for the balance of their careers.

What we fail to do in our workdays is find time to think deeply. From unstructured conversations to reflective time on our own roles and our performance in the workplace, the time spent thinking and talking without a deadline is valuable processing time.

This isn’t down time, it’s different time. Instead of unproductive busy-ness, it’s productive un-busy-ness. It’s the root source of ideas and connections between ideas. It’s the time when we see our way forward through complex problems and toward solutions that have been otherwise elusive.

Productive un-busy-ness cannot be mandated, but it can be prioritized. The most successful leaders and managers I know have cultivated a mechanism that helps them recharge by creating thinking time and/or pushing themselves so far from the activities of work that the brain gets a momentary and much appreciated holiday. Lowney offers the Jesuit practice of Examen: a daily technique of prayerful reflection, as one approach for leaders and professionals struggling to jump off the hamster wheel.

From meditation and prayer to the lunchtime walk-about or workout to quiet reading time, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you make the time to shift gears and let your brain focus somewhere other than e-mail or the noise coming from yet another status meeting.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

No program, no management fad, no short-list of the top ten things to do. Just a reminder that your brain and the brains of your team members will serve you best if you build in and/or encourage people to regularly tune out the drumbeat and turn off the updates. I’ve watched burned-out managers come back from the brink by recognizing the need to create time to think deeply, and then making it a habit. Whether it’s for your professional mental health or for the health of your team members, it’s important to find ways to momentarily reflect and place things in context.

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The 15 Ronald Reagan Quotes Every Business Leader Must Know

By Ray Hennessey - Entrepreneur Magazine
No leader communicated so plainly and effectively as Ronald Reagan. With an acting and public-speaking background, Reagan’s approach was simple: Say what you mean, say it directly and make folks smile as often as possible.
Reagan was a champion of capitalism, a defender of freedom and never met a regulation he didn’t hate. Many of his quotes still resonate today, particularly since the themes of high taxes and intrusive regulations continue to addle new-business creation in the United States.
Here are the 15 Ronald Reagan quotes every business leader needs to know by heart:
  1. "Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
  2. "Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out."
  3. "The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away."
  4. "The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help."
  5. "Today, if you invent a better mousetrap, the government comes along with a better mouse."
  6. "Government does not solve problems. It subsidizes them."
  7. "There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder."
  8. "My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose. Somehow we win out."
  9. "Status quo, you know, is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in.’"
  10. "Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States."
  11. "We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
  12. "When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat."
  13. "Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July. The Democrats believe every day is April 15."
  14. "How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin."
  15. "They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong."
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Basic Project Management Training

A "train and do" workshop introducing the basics of Project Management, including classroom presentation and exercises on how to organize and manage projects and bring them to a close – on time and on budget.

This training is for manufacturing, engineering, and installation personnel with project leadership responsibilities, whether in a new role or just in need of a refresher.

• Introduction to Project Management
• Individual Roles and Responsibilities
• Defining the Mission & Approach
• Methodology Overview
• Work Plan Review and Sign-off
• Project Tracking (Working the Schedule)
• Action and Contingency Plans
• Project Status Reporting
• Book shelving Project Management Data

(Course materials are based on methods described in the Program Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), published by the Program Management Institute)

Date: November 11th, 2014
Time: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
and continental breakfast
at 7:30, lunch also included
Location: Treadway Inn, Owego, NY
Cost: $150 ($100 for AM&T Associates)

Register at or contact Kathy Peacock at 607-774-0022 x308

Registration Deadline: November 05, 2014

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