Spotlight – February Edition


Mike Zaborowski is a Mechanical Engineer at Realityworks. He grew up in Owen, WI; the youngest child of 4. He and his wife moved to Eau Claire in 1988 when their daughter was born and fell in love with the area. Mike was working at The Hobby Master and made a lot of great friends he still has today.

At Realityworks, Mike’s responsibility is for the mechanical aspects of the products that are developed, whether they are designed in-house or not. Sometimes he gets the chance to brainstorm new designs too, which he really enjoys.

Designing the painting processes for the baby product has been one of Mike’s proudest moments so far at Realityworks.

“It was a huge challenge due to shape of the heads, as well as understanding adhesion and overcoming opinions on looks,” he reflected.

Mike’s favorite part about working for Realityworks is the empowerment the company provides.

“They don’t just make you feel like a member of the team, but give you the support that makes you know you ARE a member of the team,” Mike said. “I also really enjoy seeing products start and end. From concept to shipping and everything in between.”

Growing up, Mike said he always wanted to be an Engineer, just not the kind you might think.

“Pete McMillan was our school guidance counselor,” said Mike. “With a name like Zaborowski we spend a ton of time last in line. Only Tico Zukouski was behind me. I sat down in front of Pete and he said, “OK Mike, what do you want to do when you get out of school?” I said that I want to be an Engineer. He said, “That’s great, mechanical or electrical?” I looked at him somewhat dumbfounded and said, “NO, I want to drive a train!” He said, “NEXT!””

From vacations to his spare time, Mike’s hobbies impact his life outside of work.

“To sum it up, my hobbies revolve around cars, planes, helicopters, boats and rockets,” said Mike. “I have a level 2 certification for Model rocketry and have flown rockets to a mile high and 500MPH. I also have a few rocket designs on the market though Estes products. When people think of model rockets, I do that too, BUT… on a MUCH larger scale!”

“The IRCHA Jamboree was my favorite vacation,” said Mike. “It’s the world’s largest RC Helicopter event and lasts 5 days. Great time with my kind of people. I look forward to it each year.”

10 Ways to Use a Portable Workstation in Your Shop

The importance of storage space in a Career & Technical Education (CTE) classroom or shop cannot be understated. After all, the more organized you are, the better you can manage your classroom and keep your students safe, on task, engaged and productive. Yet CTE educators constantly tell us that they don’t have enough storage space in their classrooms – and much of the time, the storage solutions that are in place take up valuable work space.

That’s why we created our Portable Workstations. Available in two sizes and with locking wheels, these sturdy carts feature three drawers, one of which locks, plus a tough, grated work surface that is tough and durable.

Roll this mobile welding workstation into any area of your classroom or workshop to:

  1. Store tools and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  2. Complete woodworking, metalworking or small engine repair projects
  3. Keep your favorite tools close at hand and safely locked up when not in use
  4. Work with up to 250 lbs. of materials on the small workstation and up to 500 lbs. of materials on the large workstation
  5. Safely store gas cylinders for even the largest welders and projects
  6. Protect your equipment from slag and grinding dust
  7. Work on welding projects (the large cart even includes a removable welding curtain)
  8. Demonstrate techniques and best practices where all students can effectively observe
  9. Store projects and extra scraps
  10. Set up a portable welding work space or learning station anywhere

Learn more about our Portable Workstations from the Realityworks team member who helped engineer them, Mechanical Engineer Mike Zaborowski:

Tips for Programming Quiet Times for RealCare Baby® 3

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

Quiet Times are a function that allows the instructor to set a specific time during a simulation where the RealCare Baby will not ask for any care. This is a discretionary function, and does not have to be used unless the instructor feels there is an event that warrants a Quiet Time. Here are some tips when setting the Quiet Times.

  1. Quiet Times can only be used up to three times during a simulation, and each Quiet Time has a maximum of 12 hours each. There is no way to increase the number of Quiet Times or increase the total hours of Quiet Times. So, if you use the Quiet Times, use them wisely.
  2. Quiet Times cannot be programmed at the same time a simulation begins. So if you set a simulation to start at 3 pm, you need to program the Quiet Time to begin at 4 pm.
  3. If programming an evening Quiet Time that will begin any time after midnight, be sure to set the Quiet Time to begin the following day. Example: if you have a simulation beginning on Friday, at 5 pm and you want the Quiet Time to begin at 1 am, you have to set the Quiet Time to begin on Saturday at 1 am. Remember, Friday ends at midnight.
  4. On rare occasions we have encountered instructors who use Quiet Times and Day Care during the same simulation. If you put the Baby into Day Care mode in the morning, but have an afternoon Quiet Time, you must end the Day Care BEFORE the Quiet Time starts. Example: Let’s say the students bring the Baby to you in the morning and you turn on the Day Care mode, but there is a 3 pm Quiet Time. You MUST end the Day Care BEFORE 2:59 pm. If you end the Day Care any time after 3 pm, you will also stop the Day Care.
  5. Finally, remind the students that in a Quiet Time the Baby will not ask for care, but the Baby WILL cry if mishandled (head supports, rough handling, shaken baby, wrong position). Quiet Time does not mean totally quiet; students are still responsible for how they handle Baby in a Quiet Time.

Full details on Quiet Time and Day Care modes can be found in the RealCare® Control Center Software Help Guide

For more RealCare Baby product support, including videos and FAQs check out our product support page.

Spotlight – January Edition

Brad Berg has been the Shipping Coordinator at Realityworks for 12 years. Though Brad was born in the area, he grew up in Osceola, returning to the Eau Claire area in 2000. He says that being able to focus and his attention to detail are his hidden talents, which are good for art projects that he enjoys while not at work. Brad said he can get so focused that his wife has to remind him to eat sometimes!

As shipping coordinator, Brad handles shipping of all domestic and international orders. He also serves departmental needs such as helping with small trade shows, quoting and keeping the company current with federal customs regulations.

The most interesting part of his job, Brad said, is that every day is a different challenge.

“The constant variations among domestic orders keeps me on my toes and the federal regulations involved with international orders are often an exercise in patience,” he said. “But seeing where and how far our products travel is great.  It shows how many people are understanding the needs our products address.”

Though the company has a lot of new and exciting products coming on board, Brad said that RealCare® Baby is still his favorite.

“It’s almost personable enough to be a real child, but the mission behind it – to teach firsthand the often unprepared experience of taking care of a child completely reliant upon you – that’s a powerful experience, and I don’t think it takes much for kids to really understand the enormous responsibility involved,” he said. “Whatever cute pipe dreams they have about having a child early are strongly grounded and discouraged by the experience when they see how deeply and completely a child takes over their lives.”

Brad said the culture of Realityworks is the best part about working for the company.

“Having a communicative, collaborative, and supportive group of departments and management team, our efforts at bettering the community – it’s just huge,” he said.  “The effort to lift society instead of break it down is so worth it.”

Honoring Dr. King

By Timmothy Boettcher, President & CEO of Realityworks, Inc.

2015 ACTE Business Leader of the Year

Today is a very special day. It is not a day of rest but a day of service to recognize the great Dr. King’s life work and ultimate sacrifice leading the civil rights movement in our country. Not only has his work greatly influenced the rights of African Americans but also of women and other marginalized groups. As one of the greatest orators in history, he exposed truths about our country that many would rather not face, but in a way that made them take notice and make change.

If you don’t know how this day came into being, after a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.” The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”

While the Company did not close our doors on this day of remembering, as we don’t with many federal holidays, we do empower each of us to bring Dr. King’s vision to life in our communities. Each year the Company provides every employee with 4 hours of paid service to help strengthen our communities. In addition to this, we have a charitable giving program that is designed to take a portion of our profits to help provide resources to organizations that help families and children in need in our communities. I strongly encourage you on this special day to take time to remember what Dr. King did for our country. Thinking about how we make our communities stronger is the cornerstone of Dr. King’s mission in life. His work focused on empowering and energizing people to make our communities stronger. Through our collective work we can make a difference in our communities. I encourage you to take today and identify the action you can take this year to work to make a positive impact on the community you live in.

Welding pays off: The importance of “upskilling” in today’s welding education programs

By Jamey McIntosh, Realityworks RealCareer Product Manager

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of “Welding Productivity.” Click here to view the article in its entirety.

The demand for skilled welders is growing. The American Welding Society predicts a need of almost 400,000 welders in the United States by 2025 while the Manufacturing Institute has stated that in the next decade alone, there will be a need for nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs.

To ensure the welding industry is prepared to meet this demand, today’s welding educators and instructors must make certain that their programs and training methods are equipping today’s young people with the skills employers are looking for. And, in a workforce that will increasingly require those who are agile, adaptable and highly qualified, “upskilling” students above and beyond the fundamentals of welding will only make them more employable in a competitive, high-demand industry.

Skills pay off

With an oversupply of entry-level welders and a growing number of skilled welders ready to retire, welding and manufacturing companies are paying more and more attention to welding codes and qualification standards. This means welders who are certified, or who are able to examine and test their own welds, are more attractive than ever before – and their pay reflects that attraction. According to the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International’s “2013 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey,” a welder who is certified to AWS, ASME and other codes has the broadest salary range of any shop floor position, up to $83,000 for a base salary, not including overtime and bonuses.

While having basic welding skills can certainly pay off, other skill sets can also pay large dividends. Figure 1 depicts the many paths one can take when considering a welding-related career. For instance, the chart shows the average pay for a welding supervisor and a manufacturing production supervisor. With reported average pay ranges around $12,000 higher than an average welder, these highly skilled positions are rewarded with higher pay.

When speaking with various workforce development boards and companies within the welding industry, it’s not uncommon to hear welding and manufacturing industry representatives say that they routinely pay more per hour for employees who can visually inspect welds and supervise others in the creation of quality welds over those who could simply create the quality welds.

Barring geography, experience, skill level and employer, the message is clear: By focusing on basic skill development and the development of additional career-specific skills such as weld testing and qualification, educators and trainers are opening the doors to higher pay, more benefits and in the long run, more successful careers.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of “Welding Productivity.” Click here to view the article in its entirety.

Adjusting the RealCare® Baby Grading Scale

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

  • Do you feel that you to make adjustments to the points taken off for each mishandle event?
  • Do you think that points should be reduced or increased to better reflect what you feel is appropriate for your grading scale?
  • Did you know that you can change the points taken off for each mishandle event?

We can help! Just follow these four easy steps…

  1. First, go to any class folder, select any report and click “View”
  2. On the view report screen, click where it says “Edit Rubric”
  3. A new window will open and in there you can increase or decrease points for each mishandle event
  4. Click “OK” and all reports, past-present-future will now reflect the new point system

For more product support tips make sure to check out our Product Support Page and our Pinterest Board too!

The Impact of the RealCare™ Drug-Affected Baby

by Diane Ross, M.Ed., Senior Field Account Manager with Realityworks

As I work with teachers throughout the year, one of the most poignant moments of my career is showing teachers the RealCare™ Drug-Affected Baby. Realityworks has been carrying the Drug-Affected Baby as a part of our RealCare™ Infant Health Trio (Shaken Baby, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby and Drug-Affected Baby) for several years. This past year we added a new unit in the curriculum that covers Methamphetamine, which makes this product more relevant than ever before.

We’ve all seen the news stories of young parents, passed out in their cars, using meth, while their young children are present. Children are losing their parents in an alarming rate in our country overall to drug abuse.

Recently, my college coach, who is now the Executive Director of the School of Medicine at Marshall University, my alma mater, posted a news story created by a classmate about the increased drug problem in Huntington, WV. After watching the news story, I saw the parallels to our own curriculum concerning drug affected babies and their families.

I am convinced that every student, whether in West Virginia or any state, should see this video. It is not a dramatization, but reflects real lives, real people affected by heroin, meth and any other drug. Watching what this small town has had to do to combat the rising drug rate, as well as the rising number of infants born ‘drug addicted’ is alarming.

I challenge you, as a teacher, to spend a class period watching this video and discussing it with students. Many students will become child care givers and even more will become parents. Education is power. I think this lesson will be one of the most important. I welcome your comments and would like to get your feedback on how students have reacted and some of the conversations you have with your students. I’d like to share the comments in this forum, as well as in sessions you may attend or lead during your conferences and meetings.

As a teacher, you may underestimate your influence on society. I look forward to hearing your stories on how you continue to positively impact your students’ lives.

We would love to hear from you – please leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Diane Ross, M.Ed. is a Senior Field Account Manager with Realityworks. She graduated from Marshall University with a degree in Broadcasting, then returned for a Master’s in Secondary Education.

A Look Back on a Year of Giving

Every year Realityworks employees are fortunate to have the opportunity to give back to the community in many ways. From nominating local organizations to receive donations to volunteering within the community, we are fortunate to work for a company that is dedicated to bettering our community through service.

This year employees participated in five larger volunteer and donation opportunities:

2nd_annual_flower_fundraiserRealityworks held the 2nd Annual Valentine’s Day Flower Fundraiser. Employees had the opportunity to purchase roses in an effort to raise funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin. All proceeds collected were matched by the charitable giving fund and then donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

feedmypeople2

 

A spring food drive was held this May in conjunction with a volunteer opportunity to help Feed My People Food Bank by volunteering their time to help repackage bulk food items.

 

busThe Culture Committee held their annual “Stuff the Bus” School Supply Drive contest during the month of August in which teams could earn points for items donated. Supplies were donated to three local schools which were nominated by our employees.

 

comm_tableIn September, several members of the Realityworks team volunteered their time at The Community Table, preparing and serving a meal for our local community members.  The Community Table serves one meal each day, 365 days a year and everyone is welcome!

 

christmas_is_for_children500pxLastly, during the months of November and December our employees had the opportunity to participate in iHeartRadio’s “Christmas is for Children” campaign, which enables businesses to purchase Christmas gifts for local kids. We were able to donate gifts to 17 local children for Christmas this year.

Along with those larger volunteer opportunities, donations supported more than 30 local and regional organizations, including:

Chippewa Area Mentor Program
Chippewa Senior High Special Needs Program
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Special Olympics, Polar Plunge
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern WI
MHS Senior Appreciation Night
Western Dairyland Community Action Agency
Roosevelt Elementary PTA – Eau Claire School District
Seymour Ball Club
Memorial H.S. Bowling Teams
Longfellow Jeanne Richie Memorial Puddle Jump
Special Olympics-Chippewa Falls
Northern Wisconsin State Fair Law Enforcement Booth
Odyssey of the Mind – Flynn Elem. Team
Feed My People Food Bank
South Middle School
McKinley Charter School
Boys & Girls Club
National MS Society – Upper Midwest Chapter
Altoona Area Foundation
Chippewa Valley Montessori School
Ski Sprites Water Ski Organization
Chippewa Sr High School
REACH, Inc. (Regional Enterprises for Adults and Children, Inc.)
Family Resource Center
Menomonie Boys & Girls Club
Kids N Cops
Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, Inc., Northwest District
Community Table
Southview Bear Crawl – Southview PTA
Children’s Museum of Eau Claire
The Shaken Baby Alliance
Hallie Heat Travel Ball
Christmas is for Children

We are so proud to be making a difference in our community, and each year we learn about more organizations that need our support. Charitable giving is truly a part of Realityworks’ corporate identity, and we look forward to doing even more in the years to come!

 

Reflections on VISION 2016: Why I’m Proud of the Realityworks Team

By Timmothy Boettcher, President & CEO of Realityworks, Inc.

2015 ACTE Business Leader of the Year

Last week, the Realityworks team had the pleasure of exhibiting our experiential learning tools at the largest gathering for Career and Technical Education professionals across the country: the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)’s CareerTech VISION 2016 Conference. As President and CEO of Realityworks, Inc., and a member of ACTE’s Board of Directors, I was extremely proud to be exhibiting and presenting at such a gathering for several reasons

We debuted over a dozen new products for technical education. Educators have long been telling us of their need for innovative new ways to provide targeted skills training and prepare their students for careers. As Chair of the Industry Workforce Needs Coalition and the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, I have seen first-hand the importance of ensuring that today’s students have the chance to learn relevant job skills. The Realityworks team worked hard over the last year to research and design several new products that help educators engage students and prepare them for success in the workforce, and the ability to get live, in-person feedback from the very professionals we designed them for is truly exciting.

Timmothy Boettcher of Realityworks at ACTE's CareerTech VISION 2016

Watch Timmothy Boettcher, President & CEO of Realityworks, Inc., review Realityworks’ new products at ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2016 Conference, which took place in Las Vegas December 1 & 2.

 

We connected with our customers. We wouldn’t be the company we are today if it weren’t for the dedicated, passionate educators who support us. From the teachers who first used RealCare Baby® (our flagship product) over two decades ago to those who now implement our new Geriatric Simulator in their health occupations programs and our virtual reality welding simulator in their welding programs, we are thankful for each and every one of them – and we jump at the chance to thank them in person.

We created and fostered partnerships with educators. We are dedicated to meeting the needs of 21st Century educators, and are excited to announce several new solutions to help them engage their students and prepare them for success in the workforce. Attending events like ACTE allows us to learn what educators are struggling with in the classroom and what they are interested in exploring in the upcoming year. That knowledge gives us insight into what is on the horizon for Career and Technical Education, which, in turn, helps ensure we can create products and programs that are truly useful to today’s educators.

Our success as a company depends on remaining profitable, yet profitability alone does not define our success. We measure our impact by how many lives are changed in positive ways, and how profoundly they are changed, as a result of our efforts. The recent Career and Technical Education conference was a wonderful opportunity to connect with our employees and our customers, and I am already looking forward to next year.