Happy Plumber’s Day

April 24, 2014

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter

April 25th is set aside each year to honor plumbers. At Sonnhalter, we have a great appreciation for plumbers and the work that they do.


We salute the ones who keep everything flowing, and not overflowing. We’re thankful for the dedicated plumbers who answer the call and don’t recount the tales of what they’ve pulled out of pipes. In honor of National Plumber’s Day tomorrow, we thought you’d enjoy checking out some plumbing history, compiled by Roto-Rooter.
The history of Plumbing

Build Safety Knowledge on Construction Safety Day

April 23, 2014

Following is a guest post about Construction Safety Day from James White from Maxwell Systems.

We all know that safety comes first, but sometimes that isn’t enough. In construction, safety should come first, second and third. That is what the 7th annual Construction Safety Day is all about. One of the most important aspects of the construction industry is understanding the dangers involved and knowing how to remain cautious and safe at all times. During Construction Safety Day, that understanding and knowledge will be at the forefront of every activity and discussion. If we want to make the construction industry safer, the insight that can be gained during Construction Safety Day is a great place to start.

Who, What, When, Where and Why

On April 23, this year’s Construction Safety Day is taking place at the Washington State Fair Events Center in Puyallup. With the priority of keeping everyone in the construction industry safe, this conference will include exhibits, equipment displays and demonstrations among other activities. Just like last year, Construction Safety Day is being put on by Washington’s Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board. And in the name of making the entire industry safer, many construction companies are sponsoring the event, such as the following:

  • Korsmo Construction
  • Hoffman Construction Company
  • Teknon
  • Lakeside Industries, and more

What to Expect

With construction picking up again, learning how to prevent injuries is becoming more and more important. That is why we can expect this year’s Construction Safety Day to be an extension of last year’s event. The 2014 Construction Safety Day will introduce and explain the newest injury-prevention techniques, as well as demonstrate the safest ways to utilize new equipment and vehicles. Attendees will also learn proper leadership and communication behaviors to further protect everyone involved within the construction industry. This year’s Construction Safety Day is also likely to include a catered lunch and prize drawings.

Safety in the Construction Industry

The first step in making the construction industry safer is to understand what the biggest threats to everyone’s health are. That is why Viewpoint wants to remind people within the construction industry of the dangers of the job. For instance, the Safety in the Construction Industry graphic breaks down the “fatal four” reasons for deaths within the industry by showing falls were the sole reason for 36 percent of all construction deaths in 2012. Understanding that danger and knowing the risks can encourage people to both be cautious and create new ways to prevent falling.

Another key point of the Safety in the Construction Industry graphic is that nearly 20 percent of all work-related deaths came from the construction industry. Making that shocking number more well-known is the best way to get more people involved in taking action to lower it. The graphic also breaks down the most dangerous types of construction. Gaining the knowledge that 48 percent of construction industry deaths occurred within specialty trade between 2003 and 2012 is the most by far can help people understand where we need to attack safety ignorance in order to prevent deaths. While becoming more educated on the dangers of the construction industry will not automatically make it safer, it is a great first step that has the potential to spur action and raise necessary awareness.

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From MAGNET: Find New Talent

April 10, 2014

Each month we’ll be featuring a blog post from our friends at MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network). MAGNET’s mission is to support, educate and champion manufacturing in Ohio with the goal of transforming the region’s economy into a powerful, global player. You can visit MAGNET online at manufacturingsuccess.org.

Employers: Find New Talent with MAGNET’s Summer Work-Based Learning Experiences Program

Judith Crocker, Director of Workforce & Talent Development, MAGNET

Now is the time for Northeast Ohio manufacturers to step up and become part of the skills-gap solution by taking part in a unique summer work-force development program coordinated by MAGNET.

MAGNET’s 2013 Work-Based Learning Experiences program (WBLE) offers work-based learning experiences to high-school students who will enter their senior year next fall.  Students from Mahoning County Career Technical Center, Polaris Career Center and Lorain County Joint Vocational School are participating in this “earn and learn” program.

This program allows Northeast Ohio manufacturers to be part of the solution and help attract and engage young people in engineering and manufacturing careers. Manufacturers can contact me, Judith Crocker, by phone (216.432.5386) or email to participate.

Prep: One- and Two-Day Shadowing Events

MAGNET student interns learn by doing under the supervision of senior product development engineers.

MAGNET student interns learn by doing under the supervision of senior product development engineers.

In addition, in preparation for the summer WBLE program, MAGNET is currently seeking companies that will welcome a student to shadow an employee for  just one or two days, to learn about the company’s products or services. This will give them the opportunity to see for themselves how what they are studying in school relates to the “real world” experience of a manufacturer.

It is our hope that employers who participate in the “shadowing” program will see the student’s potential and go on to offer that student a chance to participate in the summer WBLE program.

About MAGNET’s WBLE Program

Participating employers provide up to 150 hours of work and learning experiences related to the students’ programs of study. These include:

  • Electronics & Alternative Energy
  • Welding
  • Engineering Technology.
  • Precision Machine Technology
  • Computer Design and Drafting

Some of the eligible students are participants in Project Lead the Way. This pre-engineering program is a rigorous national curriculum that prepares students to pursue an engineering related or technical program in college. By the end of 11th grade, these students have studied digital electronics, principles of engineering and blueprint reading. They’ve also been introduced to related engineering and manufacturing skills. So they will bring this valuable background to the summer learning experience.

Students have the opportunity to earn college and high-school credit while preparing for careers in engineering

Northeast Ohio companies will be great places for a student to see how what they have studied applies in the workplace. In addition, they will see for themselves concrete examples of well-paid future career opportunities in the manufacturing sector.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

The MAGNET Work-Based Learning Experiences program is made possible with generous support from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, Nordson Corporation Foundation,Dominion Foundation, and a challenge grant from the Fred A. Lennon Charitable Trust.

Click here to read the original post.

Communication Vehicles: Then and Now

April 3, 2014

By Scott Bessell, Idea Builder, Sonnhalter

One of my more astute colleagues here at the agency suggested that I might share with you my thoughts on new communiqués of today versus yesterday. She, being a millennial, didn’t consider that I was chosen moreover because I, given my age, probably also created those “old” ads. Apologies accepted.

via Abdullah AlBargan

Driving into the creative cave today I was behind a Cadillac CTS 4. Jet black, LED lights, looking…bad (as in good, you know). Anyway, I was thinking about my former favorite caddy, from those bygone days; The 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. I would look ridiculous in either. Dissecting them both is how I offer up my opinion on today’s ads versus yesterday’s—to groans within (another Scott metaphor), here goes. The cars. Both, the new one and my ‘59, appear to us purely as style statements. Underneath, they both have a drivetrain, steering mechanism, wheels. Internally, both have seats, a steering wheel, pedals to make it stop and go and if we’re lucky, a subwoofer! So, they both did/do their jobs. In its day, the ‘59 was kick-ass no doubt. Radical and (insert 50’s adjectives here). Today the CTS is held in high esteem also. Both are powerful and comfortable modes of transportation for their times.

Ads. Stripping away the “art” and “design” of most of today’s communication vehicles, yes, even those obnoxious banner ads, like the cars mentioned previously, “underneath” they too must have something in common, and usually always do—the message.

What do you want to say to me? What would you like me to do or know? Whether it was an old ad or a new one, at their core is the message. They might date themselves by the language they use—dated colloquialisms and such. And like that last sentence, how much unnecessary BS they contain. Let’s retry that: They might show their age by their use of words and phrases popular with the people of the day. So, common to both is the message. Then, like those cars, we stylize a body for our “vehicle” so people will notice it. Ads from “back in the day” looked like it. Ads of today, at least the professional ones, look like it. Understand too that most all the ads from yesteryear were done by professionals. Back then, they didn’t have desktop publishing. Amateurs or wannabes weren’t charged with constructing the latest ad with the latest anyone-can-use software.

So, my comment about communications of yesterday versus today is they both did/do their jobs effectively in that they communicate to the viewer a message. The good ones, then and now, do it cleanly and thus clearly. The best ones get your attention and are memorable. The ones that ad managers claim were totally their own creations are the ones that get you to act and follow through. Or better yet, place an order—immediately.


Noise – I’m Sick of It!

April 2, 2014

manholdingearsI recently returned from a trade show in Vegas. From the time I got off the plane until I got back on, I was inundated with noise. From the one-arm bandits in the terminals, to the larger than life videos in baggage claim, I started to get a headache. So I was looking forward to a quiet cab ride to the hotel – WRONG! As soon as I got in, there was a TV screen in my face with speakers behind my head blasting away on all the cool things I could be doing while in town. I was actually looking forward to going to the show for some peace and quiet.

Thankfully I don’t have to spend a lot of time in Vegas, but it got me to thinking of my daily routine and all the noise that surrounds me in my business life. My wife complains that I’m an email Junky (and I guess I am since I’m in a service industry) because I’m checking emails 18 hours a day. I sleep with my smartphone next to my bed, and I certainly wouldn’t be caught dead without it during the day. A sad commentary.

Technology is great and I know our society is an “I want it now” mode, but we really need to get a life. I think we need to decompress and I’m going to start by limiting my time on the internet for business purposes on the weekend. Hopefully that will help me free up some time for something more quiet and relaxing.

What are you doing to wind down? Certainly I’m not alone in this, am I?

Digital Options for the Mobile Tradesman

March 27, 2014

By Sandy Bucher, Media Engineer, Sonnhalter

Print PublicationsThe World Wide Web turned 25 years old on March 12. Do you remember life before that, when you wanted to get the latest news and information, magazines and newspapers were only available in a print version?

How times have changed, and the options to get information are numerous now. These days, if you have time to read the latest issue of your favorite trade magazine, but don’t have the printed version readily accessible, you can read the digital version on your smartphone, tablet or computer. When you subscribe to your favorite trade magazine, most of them offer a digital edition, so if you prefer to get your news and information digitally, you can. And in some instances, trade publications also offer an app that feeds information from those publication’s issues and websites for your reading pleasure.

Click here for a link from Trade Press publications that allows you to download an app for either their Building Operating Management or Facility Maintenance Decisions publications. If you’re in the facility maintenance field, check it out. And keep your eyes open for other trade publications that offer an app as well.

From MAGNET: MAGNET Workforce & Talent Development Team Helps Returning Veterans Find Manufacturing Jobs

March 20, 2014

Each month we’ll be featuring a blog post from our friends at MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network). MAGNET’s mission is to support, educate and champion manufacturing in Ohio with the goal of transforming the region’s economy into a powerful, global player. You can visit MAGNET online at manufacturingsuccess.org.

This post originally appeared on MAGNET’s  Manufacturing Success blog and is reposted with permission.

MAGNET Workforce & Talent Development Team Helps Returning Veterans Find Manufacturing Jobs

MAGNET is proud to continue working with regional manufacturing companies in connecting our military veterans to excellent career opportunities. This is accomplished through MAGNET’s Career Assistance for Returning Veterans program. In this video, you’ll see how our close relationship with prominent Northeast Ohio-based manufacturers can help you towards utilizing your skills as part of a solid workforce and in an industry that needs dedicated people.
Click here to read the original post.

2014 Con/Agg Show – Looks Like Construction Is On Its Way Back

March 18, 2014
Con-Agg 2014

Photo courtesy of Brennan Industries – http://www.brennaninc.com

I recently returned from the 2014 Con/Agg Show in Vegas #CONEXPOCONAGG. As some people call it, the Disneyland for contractors. All exhibit hall, parking lots and staging lots were filled to the brim with equipment. Contractors were like kids in a candy store.

I’ve been going to that show  for several years and it’s good to see that they are getting back to pre-2008 levels. In talking with exhibitors, distributors and contractors, they all seemed upbeat on what the future holds. Let’s hope their optimism is well founded.

3 Reasons Why The 2014 International Builders’ Show Was A Success

March 11, 2014

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter

I attended the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas (February 4-6, 2014). This was the first time that IBS and NKBA’s Kitchen & Bath Industry (KBIS) were colocated under the Design & Construction Week umbrella. With over 1,700 exhibitors combined, covering more than 650,000 square feet of floor space, these shows delivered more than 75,000 residential construction and design professionals.


Courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography

Here are three reasons why I thought this year’s show was a success compared to recent years:

  1. IBS/KBIS Combination – Since both of these shows had been struggling in recent years, it was a no brainer to combine these two shows under the same roof. The synergy of this marriage helped drive renewed energy for both of these shows. Exhibitors benefited from attendees they wouldn’t normally see; that is, KBIS attendees that normally would not have attended IBS and vice versa. It is much easier to walk down to a separate hall than to plan a trip for a separate show. Each show had its own dedicated app to help navigate the vast array of booths, educational sessions and speakers. Although I wished you could search exhibitors for both shows within each respective app.
  2. Stronger 2014 Outlook – The 2014 forecast for the residential new construction market is the strongest it has been since the 2008/2009 housing collapse. This helped drive overall attendance from the number of exhibitors to the building and design professionals crowding the aisles.
  3. Las Vegas – Like it or not, Vega is still one of the best places to have industry trade shows of this magnitude.  Especially this year, given the terribly cold Midwest/Northeast winter and Polar Vortexes, everyone was more than happy rushing to the sunny and warm desert!

Courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography

Was IBS a success for you?

Mobile Apps: Manufacturers, Are You Using Them to Build Customer Loyalty?

March 4, 2014

Most folks are familiar with mobile apps, but I think we associate them more with retail/consumer applications instead of the B-to-B world. The key to a good app is no different from any other piece of content you develop. It has to answer and be helpful to your customers. To have an app for an app’s sake doesn’t do anyone any good. You need to be customer centric.

The reasons for having an app are pretty simple:

  • How many contractors do you know that don’t have a smart phone?
  • Mobile represents over 5.3 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide.
  • Mobile devices are on the way to surpassing PCs as the first screen for all web usage according to a study by Grant/Morgan Stanley.

eMarketer recently had a post, Mobile Apps Help Lure Customers, Spur Loyalty, that I thought had some great points that would spill over into the B-to-B world for manufacturers to consider. The survey was done by Forbes Insights to executives of companies with revenues over $250,000. Most common reasons were: customer communications, customer service and product information. No real surprises here other than the way it’s accessed and delivered.

Apps can definitely play a role well beyond branding to both support existing customers, but to help potentials through the buying cycle. Potential apps that you might consider would be:

  • Product information
  • Installation and troubleshooting instructions videos
  • Productivity tools
  • Competitive cross reference charts
  • Ability to check current inventory levels
  • Distributor locator with direct links

These are only a few ideas. The point is, with mobile being the fastest growing segment, you need to have a presence there. Make sure your interfaces are user friendly and make sure they fall within the requirement of the app stores.

If you like this post, you might want to read:

Do You Have a Mobile App? Are You Promoting it?

Things to Consider When Using Mobile to Reach the Professional Tradesman.


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