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Washington BPA students will attend national conference

Apr 23, 2018

Top business students from Washington High School attend the Business Professionals of America 2018 National Leadership Conference, “Dream Bigger”, in Dallas, Texas, May 9-13, 2018. Brayton Anderson, Peyton Cuddeback, Kinsey Duwa, Madison Fishback, Allison Hippen, Kaitlyn Stalder, and advisor, Shelly Duwa, accompanied with approximately 7,000 other conference delegates from across the nation to participate in national-level business skill competitions, workshops, general sessions, and the national officer candidate campaigns and elections. Besides having the opportunity to excel, they will also be experiencing exciting sites in the historic Dallas area.

Forty-nine students competed at the BPA State Leadership Conference February 18-20, 2018 and 20 students placed in numerous events. Brayton Anderson, Allison Hippen and Peyton Cuddeback placed 2nd in Web Site Design Team. Kinsey Duwa placed 2nd in Advanced Office Systems & Procedures. Brennan Horak placed 4th in Advanced Office Systems & Procedures. Our 7-member team placed 1st in Parliamentary Procedures (Brooke Stout, Kristen Twinam, Jenah Greiner, Madison Fishback, Mason Sinn, Kinsey Duwa, & Braeden Duwa). Peyton Cuddeback placed 3rd in Digital Publishing. Madison Fishback placed 3rd in Fundamental Desktop Publishing. Braeden Duwa placed 3rd in Integrated Office Applications. Alexa Mitchell placed 5th in Advanced Office Systems & Procedures. Kinsey Duwa placed 6th in Advanced Spreadsheet Applications. Braeden Duwa placed 6th in Advanced Word Processing Skills. Kylee Porter placed 7th in Advanced Word Processing Skills. Megan Mitchell placed 5th in Basic Office Systems & Procedures. Brock Sobaski placed 8th in Basic Office Systems & Procedures. Colton Anderson placed 10th in Basic Office Systems & Procedures. Kaitlyn Stalder placed 6th in Database Applications. Kaitlyn Mitchell placed 4th in Fundamental Desktop Publishing. Taytum Hobscheidt placed 8th in Fundamental Desktop Publishing. Madison Fishback placed 5th in Graphic Design Promotion. Kaitlyn Stalder placed 5th in Integrated Office Applications. Walker Ikerd placed 6th in Integrated Office Applications. Kylee Porter placed 7th in Integrated Office Applications. Megan Mitchell placed 8th in Integrated Office Applications. Mason Sinn placed 9th in Integrated Office Applications. Alexa Mitchell placed 5th in Intermediate Word Processing. Abby Voss placed 6th in Intermediate Word Processing. Kaitlyn Mitchell placed 9th in Interview Skills. David Hora placed 5th in Presentation Management Individual.

Business Professionals of America is a national organization for high school and college students preparing for careers in business and information technology occupations. The organization’s activities and programs complement classroom instruction by giving students practical experience through application of the skills learned at school. Business Professionals of America acts as a cohesive agent in the nationwide networking of education and business and industry, and is contributing to the preparation of a world-class workforce through the advancement of leadership, citizenship, academic, and technological skills.

Comments (4)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 06, 2018 16:40

“Dream Bigger”

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology have emerged as huge new industries in Silicon Valley. Conversations center on Bitcoin, Ripple, Ether, initial coin offerings (ICOs), online privacy and security, disruption of global banking, and related topics.

What’s in store for cryptocurrencies and blockchain in 2018? Why do some people view crypto as a dangerous bubble, while others see a more rosy future? How could blockchain technologies change society over the next 20 years? How will cryptocurrencies impact investment portfolios? Many of us have questions about if, where, and when to invest in cryptocurrencies, and what reputable companies are rising up in the space.

Join fellow Columbia alumni as we take a deep dive into the exciting future of blockchain technology!

Note: This is a free event. The venue is a private residence in Beverly Hills (Zip code 90212). The address will be released privately to registrants the day before the event. City parking passes will be distributed following check-in the day of.


5:00-5:30pm: Networking; Food & Drinks
5:30-6:30pm: Panel Discussion followed by Q&A
6:30-7:00pm: Networking

Food and beverage will be served. An RSVP is required to attend.

About our Speakers:

Tatiana Koffman is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and advisor passionate about bringing consumer technologies to life. With a focus on tokenized securities, Tatiana currently serves as a strategic advisor to several high profile issuances in the space.

Previously, Tatiana was a Venture Partner at DNA.fund investing in ICO’s across sectors. Tatiana was part of the founding team of Machine Shop Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund started by the rock band Linkin Park, invested in Robinhood, Lyft, Riot Games, and Hyperloop One. Tatiana was also one of the first investors and advisors to Winston House, and founder at MARBL Media.

Tatiana holds a JD/MBA and spent the formative years of her career in Mergers and Acquisitions, and Fixed Income Trading with a focus on Swaps, Derivatives, and Asset-Backed Securities.

Ethan Kravitz is a serial entrepreneur and technology expert who began building and programming computers over 20 years ago. He began using, mining, and trading bitcoin in 2012 and has been involved with the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector since. Additionally, Mr. Kravitz has a strong security background having been awarded four lifetime passes to Def Con, the largest computer security conference in the world.

Prior to starting AGE, Mr. Kravitz was the co-founder and CTO of Overnight, where he still serves on the Board of Directors. Mr. Kravitz previously worked as an engineering manager for Science, a premier Los Angeles mobile and blockchain incubator. Mr. Kravitz is currently an advisor to Camino, a Silicon Valley GovTech startup, and serves as a technology consultant to multiple blockchain projects in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Dat Nguyen is VP of Special Projects at Safewise developing a toolkit for smart contract dispute resolution. He is a business consultant advising and investing in startups from a wide range of industries including: hospitality, healthcare, and video-gaming. He has also counseled clients in resolving their disputes through mediation and arbitration. Previously, he was a commercial and IP litigator at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP.

Mr. Nguyen has experience in a wide range of technologies including: blockchain, cellular, semiconductors, memory, audio and video standards, video gaming, virtual reality, graphics processing, and data encryption. He holds a JD from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and a BS in mechanical engineering from University of Maryland.


This event is being co-hosted by the Columbia Venture Community and Columbia University Alumni Association of Southern California.

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 04, 2018 00:44
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Apr 26, 2018 13:21

Careers in manufacturing

Students learn about jobs in advanced manufacturing

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Apr 26, 2018

Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Employees of Agri-Industrial Plastics, from left, Marcus Six, Lasandra Crew, Jeff Guttry and Jason Davis participate in a forum Tuesday at the business to educate students and parents about career opportunities in manufacturing. Also pictured is Amy Jones, director of business development.

Agri-Industrial Plastics and Elevate Advanced Manufacturing partnered to host an event Tuesday for students and parents about career opportunities in manufacturing.

About 40 people, many of them in high school or even younger, attended the event. The event included hearing from Agri-Industrial Plastics representatives and touring the facility.

Company president Lori Schaefer-Weaton began the evening by talking about her company and how it has grown in the past 40 years. It was founded by her father, Dick Smith, with one used machine and now has 27 blow molding machines in a 340,000-square-foot facility with 200 employees.


Industry challenges

Schaefer-Weaton spoke about challenges facing advanced manufacturing. She noted that, while the U.S. public supports manufacturing, they are less willing to encourage their children to work in it. Schaefer-Weaton said this is ironic given that the average advanced manufacturing worker makes about $77,000 plus benefits per year compared to about $60,000 in other industries.

“We employ 14 percent of the workforce in the state, which is even more than agriculture,” she said.

Iowa’s factories have added 6,900 jobs since 2010, a gain of 3.4 percent. And there are still jobs left to add.

“Companies are turning down [orders] because of an inadequate workforce,” Schaefer-Weaton said, adding that the state is short about 6,700 workers in advanced manufacturing.

She said groups such as Elevate Advanced Manufacturing, Iowa Workforce Development and Indian Hills Community College are coordinating to educate school children about these opportunities and to create internships for them after high school.

“It’s not going to fix the problem overnight, but these programs are gaining traction,” Schaefer-Weaton said.



A panel of four Agri-Industrial employees, all alumni of Fairfield High School, spoke about their background and what led them to a career in manufacturing. Jason Davis, who graduated from FHS in 2011, said he went to Kirkwood Community College convinced that he would go on to get a bachelor’s degree. A friend of his worked for Agri-Industrial Plastics, and encouraged him to apply for an opening with the company before he went to college.

Davis began working in an entry-level job in customer service. Later, a job opened in supply management, and he got that, too. Now he manages more than 200 suppliers, and has worked at the company for five years.

Jeff Guttry, another alumnus from the class of ‘11, said he went to Coe College to wrestle and study accounting. He learned two things there, that wrestling wasn’t going to pay the bills and that accounting was not for him. He later attended Kirkwood Community College where he studied business management.

Upon his return to Fairfield, Guttry knew he wanted to work for Agri-Industrial Plastics. He called a temp agency, and the agency found him a position on the production floor. After working there 1.5 years, he saw a customer service position open. He worked there for two years before moving this year into his current role in the engineering department.

“The team is one of my favorite things about working here,” he said. “It’s key to get along with your co-workers, because you spend more time with them than with your family.”

Lasandra Crew graduated from FHS in 2003, and has spent 12 years at Agri, most of her adult life. She is the customer service supervisor, a position she loves because she still has the same day-to-day interactions with customers but can also “boss people around.”

Marcus Six, an ‘07 grad, enlisted in the Iowa Army National Guard after graduation. He started at Agri on the production floor, where he spent 3.5 years. A maintenance position came open, and he jumped at the chance.

“I’ve always liked tearing stuff apart and rebuilding it,” he said.

Six has worked in maintenance for five years.



A member of the audience asked the panel how they handle problems that arise on a daily basis. Davis found that if he’s organized, he doesn’t have many problems.

“Problems arise when you try to take shortcuts,” he said. “We have a production meeting every morning at 9 a.m. If there is a problem, everyone is aware of it by then.”

Someone asked what their favorite part of the job was. Crew said she loves to get to know the customers and her co-workers on the floor.

“This is my home away from home,” she said. “I love it because no day is the same.”

She acknowledged that some customers can be harder to deal with than others, and said the key is to maintain a positive attitude.

Davis chimed in, “I’ve learned you have to kill them with kindness. It’s super hard, but it works on the difficult customers.”

Schaefer-Weaton said having a good attitude is what allows an employee to be promoted from within the company. Current employees are always given first crack at job openings.

Six said he also enjoys the variety in the job, knowing when he comes to work that he could be fixing a brand-new machine or one that’s 40 years old.

Davis advised the students to taste the flavor of various careers until they find their niche.

“I had no clue in high school that I would be in supply chain management at age 26,” he said. “I thought I’d be a financial advisor. I took an economics class in college, and I told my advisor that was not for me.”

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Apr 26, 2018 00:02
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