Browsing the archives for the holidays tag.

Manufacturing Day Success…


I didn’t know about National Manufacturing Day until last year when our local ASQ Section sponsored a Middleton High School event. Who knew that the seemingly insignificant act of me checking my son out of school early to attend the Commissioner’s proclamation that day would lead to a year of commitment to awareness and action. (Oh, and congratulations to Middleton High School, the Pre-Collegiate STEM Academy for Hillsborough County Public Schools, who has been designated by the SME Education Foundation as a Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education (PRIME) School Site.)

Soon after last year’s Manufacturing Day, I organized a facility tour at Heat Pipe Technology for my son’s FLL LEGO League. The kids were nine and ten at the time and had left there with such interest and enthusiasm that I thought it could be something scalable that would be a win-win.  Because of this, I decided to pursue some type of observation for 2014 at our elementary school.

10171786_805430586166126_1528563612181051291_nFlorida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) assisted with sending me ideas and materials.  They’re great! The Director of Engineering & Operations over at Heat Pipe met with the principal and I to discuss potential field trip ideas, but logistics really were an issue.  In the end, I pitched we use a LEGO theme because it was consistent with the school’s overall theme for the year.  We worked with the Morning Show to read several LEGO production fun facts and show videos about manufacturing mini-figures and bricks.  Did you know that LEGO is the largest tire manufacturer in the world?! We also sent home a handout talking about the different jobs available in manufacturing to all of of the 5th graders.

So far, I’ve heard only positive things from my network of friends in the industry regarding the overall success of the day.  Heat Pipe had 41 students and a significant increase in girls go through their doors last Friday. They even scored some positive and well-deserved PR via the local papers in the process…


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Top 10: 2013 Lists


PrePopCulture-year-in-review-2013I’ll admit I’ve enjoyed all of the 2013 lists posted.

Here are my favorites so far:

1 – 10 Charts from 2013 that Changed the Way we Think (HBR)

Not great news for those with MBAs, but I’ll be sure and negotiate with food around.

2 – Aljazeera Interactive Timeline 2013

This is the most comprehensive listing of what went down in 2013.  Don’t expect any fluff here.

3 – 100 Most Powerful Moments of 2013 in Pictures (Mashable)

It’s impossible to look through these and not feel something. 

4 – 2013: A Year in Numbers Infographic (Mediabistro)

There’s no doubt we love our devices!  You can count me in the 9m number of iPhone 5 cs & 5s sold in opening weekend. 🙂

5 – Top Everything of 2013 (Time)

They mean everything… even the top Miley moments.  

#1 quote: ‘When you are subverting the power of government, that’s a fundamentally dangerous thing to democracy.’ ~Snowden

6 – Top 100 Wines of 2013 (Wine Spectator) 

Why not?

7 – 2013 Book Lists (goodreads)

This one reminds me of all the books I wanted to read in 2013 and still haven’t gotten to.

8 – 20 Best Lists of 2013 (Rolling Stone)

From the Top 20 Lou Reed tracks to Spotify’s Year in Review. It’s a collection of collections.

4,500,000,000 hours of music were streamed on Spotify this year! 

9 – Google’s 2013 Zeitgeist

Always a favorite, with enough information to keep you busy for a while. I am still a little confused over why Paul Walker is so popular, topping even Nelson Mandela in the Top Trending list.  Unfortunately, Mandela didn’t even make it to the Top 10 People Most Searched. 

10 – The 9 Most Fascinating Maps of 2013 (Fast Company) 

Bonus: Apple’s Year in Review 

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New Year’s Quotes… Top Ten Favorites


I was looking for quotes recently and came across some good stuff for the New Year.  Here are a few of my favorites so far:

Neil Gaiman – “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.  Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.  So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself.  Make New Mistakes.  Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.  Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

Benjamin Franklin – “Be at War with your Vices, at Peace with your Neighbours, and let every New-Year find you a better Man.”

Mark Twain  – “New Year’s Day:  Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson – “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.”

James Agate – “New Year’s Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.”

Bill Vaughan – “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in.  A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. ”

Author Unknown – “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”

Oscar Wilde – “Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.”

Plato – “The beginning is the most important part of the work.”

Buddha –  “There are two mistakes that one can make along the road to truth… not going all the way and not starting.


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Quality Moment: Thanksgiving Logistics


Thanksgiving-2013Paul Borawski is urging us to think about “quality moments” throughout November. Of course, we know November is World Quality Month so it’s a fitting request.

November is also when Thanksgiving is observed here in the United States… This year, Thanksgiving will be served up at my house. Therein lies the quality moment.

The logistics of planning weekly meals is one thing, but Thanksgiving is no joke.  There are obvious benefits to hosting, but there are also obvious challenges as well. Raw materials (groceries), manufacturing (preparation), delivery (presentation), etc. are all factors to consider.

I did find some great resources online to help me out with this:

Epicurious – Thanksgiving Planning Checklist

Food Network – Thanksgiving Planning Calendar

Kids’ Activities – KRP Ultimate Holiday Guide

Lifehacker – Streamline Your Thanksgiving

PBS – Ten Essential Thanksgiving Planning Tips

Here’s my simple method that I hope works:

Brainstorm the menu options. I’m considering absolute advantage.

My mom makes the stuffing my grandmother used to make exactly how I remember it.  She has absolute advantage here.  She would love to make it, it will turn out awesome, and we’ll all remember my grannie with fond memories (my family can tell you about the last time I tried make this).

My mother-in-law uses her hands to manufacture perfectly stuffed and creased pierogies.  We are talking about quality pierogies here.  She only likes to make them on special occasions, and she always makes enough for frozen treats later.  Absolute advantage.

Outsourcing is a good thing.

Figure out what’s needed and make a list.

Avoid grocery store chaos and separate the list out into “buy now” and “buy two days before.” I’ve learned from past experiences that trying to get everything all at once generally fails and results in aggravation.  Also, I’ve observed that people at the grocery store around this time don’t seem that thankful.

I just posted an article on checklists that includes several great resources. 

Prep as much as possible the night before.

I can remember one year when I failed to check that the turkey had thawed.  A little planning this time around, and we’ll be all set! Corrective action and continuous improvement there… Good stuff.

Have fun.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that I really enjoy.  When it comes to “quality of life,” there’s no better time.  Reconnecting with family and enjoying a meal you’ve all worked to make happen is incredibly rewarding.

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