Railroad Day on Capitol Hill

Capitol_at_Dusk_2

In a few short weeks, advocates and representatives of the Railroad Industry will make their annual journey to Washington DC to make their messages heard by lawmakers. This important annual event, Railroad Day on Capitol Hill, is taking place on March 2nd, 2017, at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown, 999 9th St, NW, Washington, DC.

With the ever-shifting political climate, it’s more important than ever to be heard.  As anyone who has taken part in the event before knows, it’s the most effective way for the railroad industry’s message to be reached by Congress and can only succeed if everyone turns out in order to present a unified industry.

New Dome Railroad Day Logo - 2017

The event takes place over the course of one day with appointments, meetings, and events all organized in order to communicate the important role that the railroad industry plays in America’s economy, improving our country’s role in global marketplace, and our ongoing success in helping the environment.

Attendees of Railroad Day will have the opportunity to speak directly with decision makers and help promote real change. “Railroad Day is our single most impactful day of the year with Congressional leaders,” said Linda Darr, president of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, of 2016’s Railroad Day. “We had the opportunity to address issues of importance to our industry and the shipper customers we serve.”

Attendance is open to all Class I, II, and III railroad personnel, shippers, state and local government representatives, as well as members from the supplier community with an interest in furthering the political goals of the railroad industry. To learn more, please visit www.aslrra.org.

Photo Credit: By Martin Falbisoner – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, www.commons.wikimedia.org

NRC-REMSA 2017 Wrap Up

NRC-REMSA2017

Photo Source: REMSA Twitter

Last month, a team from Willamette Valley Company’s Railroad Division had the privilege of traveling to Boca Raton, Florida to meet with industry representatives and officials at the NRC-REMSA 2017 Conference and Exhibition. This year’s event proved once again to be an unparalleled opportunity for WVCO and other railway businesses to connect directly with professionals representing all segments of the industry. We appreciated the opportunity to listen to your questions and concerns about the growing number of challenges this industry faces and introduce you to our wood-tie remediation and other repair products.

NRC-REMSA

The annual NRC Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibition encompassed more than 1,000 attendees, 150 exhibitors and over 25,000 square-feet of meeting space. It was a pleasure to join the many other members of the railroad industry; including service firms, manufacturers, suppliers and contractors to answer questions about our railroad products and POLYQuik Roadway Repair materials, Joint Fillers and Light-Rail Grout. Other participants of the conference/exhibition included: Union Pacific, SANDAG (San Diego), Genesee and Wyoming, Caltrans, CSX, California Rail, LA Metro, Alaska Railroad, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National, New York MTA, Watco, OmniTRAX and many others.

Speakers

Event-goers had the chance to take in seminars from key individuals in the railway and transportation industry. Rob Castiglione, the Staff Director of Human Performance Program for the Office of Railroad Safety FRA presented “Overview of FRA Part 243 Minimum Training Standards Final Rule,” where he expanded on training requirements for all railroad employees and contractors who perform safety related work, the history of the rule, and the role of associations like NRC.

John Zuspan of Track Guy Consultants presented “Means and Methods for Direct Fixation, Low Vibration Track & Embedded Track,” a seminar on the means and methods for embedded track construction.

Jerry Power’s seminar on “Overview of FRA Part 219 Drug & Alcohol Regulation for Maintenance-of-Way Workers Final Rule”  covered  the scope of FRA’s alcohol and drug regulations to cover employees who work in railroad maintenance.

Lastly, Lesa Forbes, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service, spoke on new opportunities abroad and how US Commercial Services can help your firm expand your international business.

HallOfFame

Photo Source RT&S

The event also saw the induction of new members into the NRC Hall of Fame, Ron Brown, John Zuspan, and Rick Ebersold. The three were honored for their work in NRC, REMSA, and the railway industry as a whole.

Below are some photos of NRC-REMSA 2017, courtesy of REMSA’s Twitter page.

NRC-REMSA2017

Photo Source: REMSA 2017

NRC-REMSA2017

Photo Source: REMSA Twitter

WVCO was proud to take a part in NRC-REMSA 2017 and look forward to taking part once again next year!

Sources:

Railway News

NCRMA

RT & S

Nora Ayanian sees a future of autonomous robot coordination

Nora Ayanian

Photo Source Tumo

“Teams of humans are exceptionally good at coordination. Teams of robots, however, are clumsy at coordination, requiring extensive communication and computation.” – Nora Ayanian

There’s no denying it, robots are incomparably skilled when carrying out a specific given task, even if that task requires some light improvisation. The same can’t be said, however, when robots are forced to worked together; the overlap in work either results in extra work on the programming side or redundant/ineffective task management on the robot side. But what if robots could coordinate themselves autonomously depending on what the other robots are currently doing? It may sound like something out of Westworld, but this is exactly the question that Nora Ayanian is working to answer.

Nora Ayanian, assistant professor and Director of the ACT (Automatic Coordination of Teams) Lab at USC, endeavors to make robots and robotics a very real part of everyday life. “I want to make robots easy to use and have them everywhere,” said Ayanian, “they should be accessible, user-friendly and interactive so you can have them in your house and in your car. Right now, robots are really difficult for novices to use.”

Despite her passion for the robotic, her goal to achieve robotic automation would require researching a much less predictable source: people. By developing an online multiplayer game with funding from the National Science Foundation CAREER award, Ayanian was able to study the ways that humans can coordinate together when presented with very little information or communication tools. This research would prove invaluable in defining an automated coordination system for robots and allow to them to “think” of solutions for problems based on the activities of the greater robotic team.

Though automated coordination could certainly be applied to groups of identical robots with identical programming, Nora Ayanian believes that diversity, both in terms of team and of the robots themselves, is the key to solving complex tasks.

“The way we solve multi-robot problems right now is to uniformly apply one control policy to all of the identical robots in the team. For example, imagine we’re trying to monitor air quality with a team of physically identical aerial robots. If we considered all the factors that could affect the problem, the robots, and their capabilities, we might have too many factors to consider and our problem would be intractable,” wrote Ayanian in a blog post for Justmeans.com. “Imagine that same team of aerial robots assisted by robots on the ground. The robots on the ground could provide additional information such as temperature, position, topography, and satellite communications via hardware the aerial robots might not be able to carry. They could also perform computation, telling the aerial robots where to go and mapping the air quality, allowing the aerial robots to use more of their on-board energy for sensing.”

The contributions Nora Ayanian has made to the field of robotics don’t just end with the vast potential of her research, they are also every present in the new generation of roboticists she inspires and works alongside in her role as Director of USC’s ACT lab. We are incredibly excited to see what Ayanian’s work means for the future of robotics and dub her our “Featured Innovator of the Month.”

Note: Nora Ayanian does not work for Willamette Valley Company nor is she affiliated with our company.

Sources:

https://www.technologyreview.com/lists/innovators-under-35/2016/

http://www.justmeans.com/blog/diversity-in-the-it-industry-is-key-to-solving-global-problems

USC News: New USC Viterbi professor sees robots in future

USC News: Two USC Viterbi researchers named among top ‘Innovators Under 35’

Spotlight on the Timber Innovation Act

Tham & Videgård Arkitekter's Wooden Highrise apartments for Stockholm

Tham & Videgård Arkitekter’s Wooden Highrise apartments for Stockholm

It’s a new year and time to look towards the future of the timber industry and examine the potential for positive change with upcoming initiatives such as the Timber Innovation Act.

The bill, currently finding bipartisan support from both political parties and the backing by the wood industry, would promote research and labor in the timber industry and create initiatives to drive the construction of tall wooden buildings. Furman Brodie, Vice President of Charles Ingram Lumber Company and SLMA (Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association) chairman of the Board, outlines the benefits of the bill:

“We are pleased to see Congress recognize the potential environmental and economic benefits of increasing wood use in tall building applications through the ‘Timber Innovation Act.’ Our mills are large drivers of the rural economies in which we operate, and expanded markets will help to bolster and grow these economies. Encouraging the use of wood products also benefits the environment, as increased wood demand encourages landowners to continue planting trees instead of converting their land to other purposes,”

Bridgport in London - Photo source: Portland Tribune

Bridgport in London – Photo source: Portland Tribune

As the name implies, the bill would bring forth incentives and measures to create innovation in the timber industry and to help further development of CLT structures in the USA. TimberInnovation.com states that the bill would:

•  Establish performance driven research and development program for advancing tall wood building construction in the United States;

•  Authorize the Tall Wood Building Prize Competition through the U.S. Department of Agriculture annually for the next five years;

•  Codify the Forest Service’s Wood Innovation Grant program and expand it to facilitate Centers of Excellence and provide grants to states to fund education, outreach, research and development, including education and assistance for architects and builders, which will accelerate the use of wood in tall buildings.

The House bill also includes language allowing the Wood Innovation Grant program to support proposals to use and/or retrofit existing sawmill facilities in areas with high unemployment to produce mass timber materials.

The U.S. Senate introduced the Timber Innovation Act (S. 2892) and a House companion bill (H.R. 5628). Both measures have been led by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) for the Senate, Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) for the House. You can read the bill here.

Though the bill has still not yet passed, things are looking good for the Timber Innovation Act. We hope 2017 will see its implementation and lead to a bright, productive future for timber!

Sources:

www.timberinnovation.org
www.awc.org
www.agriculture.senate.gov

Partner Spotlight: Moulding & Millwork Producers Association

WMMPALOGO

“The MMPA is a unique association…I am amazed at how daily competitors come together and discuss the business obstacles and opportunities within a relatively small industry.  The knowledge, experience, and comradeship that is built within the members within the association is an investment for myself and for my company.” – Al Delbridge, President, East Coast Moulding Co.

Willamette Valley Company is thankful for the strategic partners we have. It’s important we all work together and look towards the progress and innovations that each has accomplished. With that in mind, we’re taking this opportunity to spotlight one of our partners, the Wood Moulding and Millwork Producers Association (MMPA).

The MMPA is a non-profit association, created to promote quality products, develop sources of supply, promote use of raw materials, standardize products, and increase both domestic and foreign usage of moulding and millwork products. To this end, MMPA provides the tools, information and services necessary to help its members achieve increased sales and profitability.

Beyond assisting their members and promoting products and materials, the MMPA is driven to promote the use of sustainable forest and recyclable/renewable resources. Protecting the ecosystem for future generations is a key principal of MMPA, and strengthens their commitment to protect the natural cycle of forests. To this end, the Poly Material Group of MMPA champions the use of Cellulosic and Plastic materials that may otherwise him ended up discarded in a landfill. In their own word, “MMPA recognizes the importance of creating sustainable solutions to meet the moulding and millwork needs of Today and Tomorrow.”

To accurately understand the impact of MMPA, however, one has to look no further than the impact it has had on its members. Please find some testimonials below taken from MMPA.com

“Yuba River Moulding and Millwork Inc. has been a member of the MMPA since 1977. Like most of the active members of the association, our company considers the MMPA a very important component to the success of our company  in past, present ,and future perspectives.” –  Tom Williams, President, Yuba River Moulding and Millwork Inc.

“I was caught in awe at first, just thinking about a bunch of competitors meeting twice a year to discuss how to improve our industry…it’s about as real and honest as you can still find in any industry and I am proud to be associated with them.” — Les E Baker IV, Sales Manager,  Best Moulding Corp

“We joined the MMPA a few years ago so we could be a part of the organization that is the voice of the moulding industry in North America. We have found this membership to be a benefit to our company in several areas: moulding market information; support organizations; and the MMPA quality influence to our customers/customer.” —Bob Simon Exec. Vice President, Gossen Corporation

It might be one of the best business decisions you ever made too.” — Ted Smith, President – Smith Millwork, Inc. Lexington, NC

We’re proud to have MMPA as a partner and look forward to continuing to work together and assist one another in the future.

Sources:

http://www.wmmpa.com/

Step Up Your Halloween Decorating Game with These Easy Craft Projects

dyi-halloween-decorations

Chillier weather and the changing colors on the leaves means that autumn is here, the holiday season is just weeks away and it’s time to get “crafty”!  October is the month with perhaps the most craft-focused holiday of all, Halloween.

Ready to step up your spooky decoration game this year? Here are some simple Halloween projects you can take on this weekend using Ecclectic products and adhesives.

DYI Halloween Skulls

Nothing says Halloween like spooky skulls, does it? These Dazzling Halloween Skulls will add some much needed scares to your home. With their sugar skull design you can also use them as Dia de los Muertos decorations!

Creepy Spiderweb Vases

Spiderweb vases complete with giant spiders? A must-have for your next Halloween party!

Custom Day of the Dead Plate

Dia de los Muertos begins right after Halloween! These stylish plates are bound to be a hit.

Eeeek! Anatomical Paper Mache Hearts

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a good scare, and these creepy decorations resembling human human hearts will certainly deliver.

With our friend Mark Montano and our very own Eclectic Products, there is no shortage of DIY projects that you can undertake. Check back soon for more fun DIY and Craft projects and tips!

About Eclectic Products, Inc.

Headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, Eclectic Products specializes in adhesive/patch/coatings and repair products ranging from 0.18 oz. tubes to industrial totes and drums. The company offers powerful brands with exceptional performance and high-level technical R&D abilities. Eclectic Products has earned numerous awards for product performance, innovative design and excellence from organizations such as theNational Retail Hardware Association, HGTV Magazine and Handyman Magazine. Eclectic’s manufacturing facility based in Pineville, Louisiana has also been recognized by the State of Louisiana for demonstrating exceptional quality of work and a commitment to community. All products are proudly made in the U.S.A.

Did You Know the First Company Certified to Manufacture Cross Laminated Timbers is in Oregon?

DRJohnson

Oregon company D.R. Johnson made history in September of 2015 when they became the first American company certified to produce Cross-Laminated Timber.

For the uninitiated, Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) is a sustainable modern building material that brings tremendous benefits to constructions and the surrounding environment. Such benefits include affordability, reduced construction time, a lowered environmental impact, durability, and heat insulation.

To be able to produce CLT panels for construction, a company must first become certified by the American Plywood Association and the American National Standards Institute. This is no small feat and a great achievement accomplished by D.R. Johnson Lumber.

CLT manufacturing brings tremendous potential not only for Oregon but for the country as a whole. CLT constructions are growing in such popularity that many experts believe we are entering a “Timber Age” of construction. More projects and structures are embracing the material, and D.R. Johnson is always providing CLT panels for two of them in Oregon alone; the Albina Yard Project in Portland and the Woodcock Education Center in Monmouth.

UBC's Earth Sciences Building - Photo Source See-Change.net

UBC’s Earth Sciences Building – Photo Source See-Change.net

Established in 1951 in Riddle, Oregon, D.R. Johnson is a family-owned wood product manufacturer now lead by sisters Valerie Johnson and Jodi Westbrooks. The company’s vast experience producing riddle laminators (structural glue laminated beams) has undoubtedly served them well as they transitioned into producing Cross-Laminated Timber panels. Their infrastructure, tools, and local timber bounty will undoubtedly serve them well in this exciting venture.

Making history is an exciting event in its own right and we can’t help but look towards D.R. Johnson’s future endeavors with Cross-Laminated Timber with excitement. We know we’ll be seeing more and more wooden constructs in the very near future.

Sources:

OregonCLT

CapitalPress

Master the Art with Mark Montano

Mark Montano

“It feels natural for me to be creating and making. I get depressed if I’m not in the middle of a project to be honest.” – Mark Montano

Mark Montano is literally a man of many hats. Just look at his resume; he’s been an interior designer, a clothing designer, a TV host for The Style Network and The Learning Channel, a columnist, a published author, and most recently a youtube-hit with his channel, Make Your Mark where he frequently uses our favorite craft glues (like the E6000 line) and other DIY products from our very own Eclectic Products.

Mark’s passion and infectious creativity have brought success in every medium he’s immersed himself in, but it’s his desire to inspire others that have truly brought him to the limelight.

It all began at the young age of 14 when Montano aided his mother and aunts in the sewing of their clothing. “Sewing is so wonderful and meditational. Since I was from a small town with no real way to get great clothes, I had to make them and that’s what I did.” Years later this very mindset took him to acquire a masters in Costume History from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Paired with his Bachelors degree in business, Montano was ready to take the design world by storm.

Mark Montano went on to intern for Oscar de la Renta and found himself in the heart of design world. His New York surroundings inspired his work and became a staple of the boutique he established. His creative sensibilities would soon find a very different audience than the high fashion world of New York when he took on the position of contributing editor for Cosmo Girl! Magazine. His design tips helped define many a teenage girl room from that moment onward.

It was his transition to TV, however, that truly brought Mark to the everyone’s homes and face to face (so the speak). As a designer on the hit TLC show While You Were Out, Mark Montano would transform people’s homes while they were away for the weekend. By the time he became host of My Celebrity Home, it was hard not to recognize Mark Montano’s unique style and vibrant attitude.

Mr. Montano is a thoroughly creative individual, one with the unwavering capacity to master whichever medium he embraces. It’s his gift for sharing, however, that truly renders him incomparable from so many other creatives. From his Cosmo Girl! tips to his design shows to his YouTube Channel, Mark has always done everything in his power to inspire others to create and to give them the tools to do so. We name him our “Featured Innovator of the Month” and look forward to sharing more videos and tips from Mark in the future. Don’t forget, you can always find the latest from Mark Montano in his Youtube Channel. Now, go create something!

Note: Mark Montano does not work for Willamette Valley Company.

Sources:

instructables.com/id/Featured-Author-Interview-Mark-Montano/

kellygolightly.com/interview-mark-montano/

www.youtube.com/user/MakeYourMarkMontano

AllAmericanSpeakers

Innovators We Admire: Dirk Ahlborn

Dirk-Ahlborn

Photo Source CrowdFundInsider.com

“New technologies and new ideas, can create a better passenger experience while solving these issues through new monetization strategies and business models, with the Hyperloop and all other forms of transportation.” – Dirk Ahlborn

Innovation can’t thrive in a vacuum; external factors, opposing views, tools, and resources must come together to create the breakthroughs that propel us forward. Few know that as well as Dirk Ahlborn, Founder and CEO of JumpStarter Inc. which operates JumpStartFund  and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT).

Ahlborn’s mission was to create a new platform for scientific funding and the bringing together of minds. “We already have a process to help create a physical startup. Why not do that online?” asks Ahlborn. “Why not create an online crowdsourced incubator? This way we allow tech-disconnected hubs to connect with the best technology hubs and co-found new companies. It’s all about building communities smarter and faster.” It’s this collaboration of communities and hubs that have lead the way for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.

Watch as Ahlborn discusses his ideas about the world’s next breakthrough in transportation on the news program, Business Rockstars.

The term Hyperloop, a concept popularized by super innovator Elon Musk (most famous for Telsa), is a system of transportation that uses tubes and air compression to reach incredible speeds. Inspired by this idea, Dirk Ahlborn and Jumpstarter Inc. built HTT, a research crowd collaboration company working to develop a high-speed transportation system.

Hyperloop

Photo Source Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.

HTT aims to create a high speed intercity transport that travels close to 800 miles an hour as well slower, inter-suburban travel. The project would have a capacity of 15 million passengers a year. Putting this into further context, an airplane travels at most at 500mph and most trains at 200mph. Beyond its speed, the Hyperloop boasts many other proposed benefits, such as being self-sufficient through renewable energy, a greater emphasis for safety, lower construction costs, and affordable travel.

This may sound like a far-off fantasy but it’s closer than one may think.  In a partnership with Deustche Bahn, HTT will be working to create an “Innovation Train,” a conventional train powered through the technology of HTT for greater efficiency. One such piece of tech would be the creation and use of Augmented Reality windows, as seen below.

Dirk Ahlborn knows that innovation can’t thrive when it’s isoated, it’s only when great minds come together that breakthroughs occur. This philosophy is already bringing about changes to the transportation industry and will only continue from here. For these reasons and many more, we name Dirk Ahlborn our “Featured Innovator of the Month.”

If you’re looking to hear about more incredible innovators bringing the latest breakthroughs to the transportation industry, be sure to take part in AREMA’s 2016 Expo.

Note: Dirk Ahlborn does not work for Willamette Valley Company nor is he affiliated with our company.

Sources:

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

JumpStartFund

Tech.EU

TechnoBuffalo

Five Fun Projects to Kick Off The School Year in Style

Allure E6000

Now that summer is winding up, we thought this would be a great time to share some stylish kid friendly back-to-school project ideas using top-of-the-line adhesives produced by Eclectic Products’, a division of Willamette Valley Company.

The E6000® line of adhesives can be found in most arts and crafts stores and offer a wide range of products to suit all your adhesive needs, including Fabri-Fuse, Jewelry and Bead, Stitchless, and Spray Adhesive to name a few.  These five Back-to-School project ideas, presented by our good friend Mark Montano of Make Your Mark, are fun ways for the kids to kick off the new school year in style.

No Sew! Easy Rag Rug Pillows

The great thing is that with Fabri-Fuse, No Sew really means No Sew! A bit of adhesive and some materials and you’ll end up with stylish rag rug pillows worthy of sale in even the trendiest of artisanal markets!

Recycled Paper Jewelry

DIY jewelry is a fun and relaxing way to get ready for the new school year. When you can make creative, wearable jewelry out of old magazines and adhesive, it’s even better!

Octo Love DIY Sweater

Now, if you’re somehow Octo-opposed, don’t worry, you can use these same techniques to create all sorts of fun patterns on sweaters and fabrics! Your kids will have a blast coming up with different designs to create!

Allure-Ing Fabric Bracelets

This project is named after E6000®’s Allure Dimension Design Adhesive Paint in Gloss! As you can see, beyond simply sticking things together you can use E6000 to create some fun designs and bring out the true “Art” in “Arts and Crafts.”

How To: Ginger Jars

Create some fun jars to keep around the house for decoration and a sneaky place to store school supplies!  You can pattern these however you see fit to bring out the unique style you’re after.

Five fun ways to use E6000®, five very different projects to make with your kids! Click here for more uses and fun project ideas!

About Eclectic Products, Inc.

Headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, Eclectic Products specializes in adhesive/patch/coatings and repair products ranging from 0.18 oz. tubes to industrial totes and drums. The company offers powerful brands with exceptional performance and high-level technical R&D abilities. Eclectic Products has earned numerous awards for product performance, innovative design and excellence from organizations such as theNational Retail Hardware Association, HGTV Magazine and Handyman Magazine. Eclectic’s manufacturing facility based in Pineville, Louisiana has also been recognized by the State of Louisiana for demonstrating exceptional quality of work and a commitment to community. All products are proudly made in the U.S.A.