Food Fortune: Engineer Kim Tran still waits tables.
Great ideas can come from any source and any place. For Baldor, they often come during a weekly lunch at the Diamond Head Chinese Restaurant in Fort Smith, AR. Every Monday, while passing the egg rolls and steamed fish, the company's top executives chew on a PuPu Platter of ideas for new products and different marketing strategies. The latest idea: rebates to end users and distributors who buy Baldor's Premium Efficiency Motors in sizes of 20 hp and above. The rebates are in the form of $1.00 per horsepower. Marketing Vice President Randy Breaux hopes the program will bring about a 10-15% increase in sales of the motors and drives. But it's not just ideas cooking at the Diamond Head. Recently, as the Baldor group assembled at their usual table, the waitress asked them what they wanted and Chairman Rollie Boreham said, "an electrical engineer." To which, the waitress responded, "Great, I'm one." Not long after, she became a Baldor employee. But she didn't give up her waitressing. She's married to the restaurant's owner, so every day at noon, she is back at the Diamond Head taking lunch orders for an hour before resuming her engineering work at Baldor's Drive Center.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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