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Cool Conversations - #USAMfgHour Summer Fun Chat

03 February, 2023

This week, #USAMfgHour took on a lighter conversation just ahead of the July Fourth holiday. Manufacturers and supporters shared their personalities in these nine fun questions.


Instead of the typical weekly chat that focuses on topics important to manufacturers and supporters, #USAMfgHour chilled out and had a fun chat leading into the holiday weekend. Christine Torres of Duralabel in Oregon led a get-to-know-you session for the dozens of businesses joining.

Summer has long sunny days ? are you an early bird or a night owl?

"Early all of the time. I am up somewhere between 3 and 4 am," said Dan Bigger of Custom Profile plastic profile solutions in South Carolina.

"I've always been a night owl. I seem to be the most awake at night. It was great when I was younger and going out. It's a bit tougher with kids and work these days," said Paul Kiesche of Aviate Creative in New Jersey.

"Night owl, but I'm trying to go to bed earlier. It is tough in the summer," said Erin of Earthling Interactive in Wisconsin.

"Early bird! Mornings are pretty tranquil by me, and I enjoy watching the world get started. Besides, I'm most productive between 7 a.m. and noon," said Rebecca Hart of Drive Source International/Dynamatic in Wisconsin. 

"I've always been a night owl. Night's tend to be quieter and more productive because most outside distractions are gone," said Olga of NJMEP.org in New Jersey.

"We have a lot of early birds here! Some like to run before the sun comes out. Others (me) just want extra time for coffee," said Kelley of North American Coating Laboratories in Ohio. 

"I am always a night owl but I'm even more of one when it stays light longer," said Julie Basello of Radwell International in New Jersey. 

"Definitely a night owl! Plus, that's when snacks test the best," said Noah Katzenstein of Artus Corp.

"I have never been a morning person. I get up in the morning, but it's not my favorite time. I like to be outside late in the summers- on the river, working on the lawn and garden, relaxing on the deck," said Shannon Simpson of DuraTech in Wisconsin.

"I'm a little bit of both and it can be a problem sometimes. I'm a morning person because of my pup having endless amounts of energy by 6 am plus I also enjoy the gym early in the morning. I've always been more of a natural night owl though," said Ben Nordman of Obsidian Manufacturing.

"I have always been a morning person. I found this great group of people on Twitter in the USA. I now have a daily double shift from the UK and then into the USA. The dawn chorus of birds and the draw of the beach in the morning makes for little sleep in the summer," said Nigel T. Packer of PelaTis in the U.K.

"I'm definitely a night owl! I've always appreciated getting chores done late at night when there are no crowds to deal with. God bless 24-hour grocery stores!" said Chris MFG Talk Radio.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

"A veterinarian! No relationship to the WMS and Supply Chain roles during the day. However, I have pets at home and that helps. Here's a selfie!" said Kirsten Austin of DCSC in Missouri. She then shared a picture of her beloved dog MoMo.

"Probably was not realistic but I wanted to be a professional athlete. Was a multi-sport athlete until the end of high school but focused on track & field and was fortunate enough to do that through the end of college!" said Obsidian.

 "I wanted to be a teacher, a veterinarian, and/or a restaurant owner. I do things now that have to do with teaching and veterinary services, but not restaurant ownership," said DSI/Dynamatic.

"Depends on the age. I wanted to be an Olympic athlete, a chemist, and an artist. Artist won out and has been a part of my entire career and hobbies," said Kiesche.

"Getting closer. A writer. Gene E. Uss wanted to be an inventor and still plans on it. With his mind, I think he will succeed," said DuraTech.

"I thought I would be a crime scene tech because I watched a lot of CSI! Instead, I'm here doing marketing for a manufacturing company, and I couldn't be happier! Plus, I get to chat with all of you!" said NACL.

"I always wanted to be an engineer, fixing things than making and inventing things. Done all these now so I am working on educating and sharing my knowledge," said Packer.

"I always wanted to be a writer. Loved journalism, poetry, literature. Fascinated by Psychology too. Still holds. Especially abnormal psych. Definitely related to my work," said author Dondi Scumaci.

"A doctor. I have always wanted to help people. I guess I still am. We help a lot of great small businesses," said Buy American Movement in Missouri.

"I wanted to be a police officer when I was growing up, I even majored in criminal justice in college. During my time in school though I realized how much I enjoy writing and design and decided to use those talents in marketing." Said Mfg Talk radio.

"I wanted to be an artist, a photographer, and a radio personality. Funny that I grew up to own an art gallery, work as a professional photographer and do voiceovers and host podcasts among many other things," said Julie of Radwell.

"I was big into baseball and wanted to play it professionally, but alas I didn't make it. I was recruited by the Pittsburgh Pirates and by colleges, but I played football instead," said Bigger.

"An NFL player but alas, colleges weren't looking for a 5' 9" middle linebacker. What I do now didn't even exist when I was growing up," said JD Allen of Cleveland Deburring Machine Company in Ohio. 

"Nope. I wanted to be a flight attendant (stewardess in those days). I did a fair amount of air travel (for a kid) when I was small because my parents were split up. I was always in awe of the flight attendants," said Earthling Interactive.

What's one thing you're learning now, and why is it important?

"Google Ads (just got certified). We'll be using these more going forward," said DSI/Dynamatic.

"Trying to put to use 2 Marketing Classes I took at our technical college last semester," said DuraTech.

"I'm winding down my last few weeks of Process Improvement class for my MBA. I have found class discussions and readings to be extremely helpful as we navigate a post-pandemic world and have to find creative solutions to problems!" said NACL.

"All things MarTech related! I know there's no way to master it, but once I accepted that I've found more gratification in learning what I can. There are a gazillion ways to use technology for marketing so just have fun!" said Earthling Interactive.

"I am learning my new job, new company, and new plastic process. I have a lot to learn, but there is a lot of good services that Custom Profile provides that I have not had access to in the past," said Bigger.

"Trying to dive into the business side of what I do by looking at other diverse sources of income for us and having fun at the same time," said Ruby Rusine of Social Success Marketing.

Some manufacturers are planning corporate picnics, ice cream socials, and other fun events with employees. What are some of your workplace summer traditions?

"Our Marketing and Customer Service Departments are on the same office floor. We just had our annual 4th of July potluck yesterday. We could not have it in 2020 obviously. Other departments are doing similar events," said DuraTech.

"One of my favorites was a company BBQ -- leaders serving their teams. The head of sales did an amazing job grilling burgers, chicken, hot dogs, etc.," said small business advocate Bill Garland in New Mexico.

"An annual Nintendo Wii tournament! 1st-3rd place get extra vacation time! I will be going home with a prize!" said NACL.

"I don't know what my new company does. I will be working from home primarily, but the SC plant will be 2 hours from me, and I hope to meet all of the good people there soon," said Bigger.

"' Tradition' doesn't really exist, but we are holding a summer picnic for all employees at the end of July. Maybe it will BECOME a tradition," said DSI/Dynamatic.

"Ooooh! This is easy - it is my favorite and I organize an outing every year to our collegiate summer baseball team games the Madison Mallards. We hang out in the Duck Blind for all-you-can-eat-and-drink and enjoy some pretty good games," said Earthling Interactive.

"Ice cream socials are a must," said Buy American Movement.

Do you have a hidden talent? What is it?

"Gene E. Uss can wave with his other hand, but prefers this profile, as it is "his good side" it brings out his eyes he said," said DuraTech.

"Nothing that comes to mind. I am pretty good at anything athletic which explains why I am the way that I am. I am not about to quit, give up, and I don't like to lose, but I do accept it, at times," said Bigger.

"My hidden talent recently came out of hiding when I started hosting podcasts and doing voiceovers. I never thought about it until a year or so ago. And now it's a thing," said Radwell.

"Hidden? Hm... I don't think so. Most of my talents are out in the open," said DSI/Dynamatic.

"My hidden talent still hasn't revealed itself to me yet. Fingers crossed for laser vision though," said MFG Talk Radio.

"Well ?hidden talent'? I like to write when I get inspired, but.. some people know that about me already. Is that Hidden? It's hard for me to hide things," said Nick Rivers of Obsidian.

"I'm psychic. I somehow always know people want to hear what I have to say before they ask, it's weird," said JD Allen of Cleveland Deburring.

"Used to be able to play saxophone pretty well in high school! Haven't picked it up in four or five years but I'm sure it would come back quickly," said Nordman of Obsidian.

"If I tell you, they aren't hidden anymore... I'm pretty good at voiceover and making up nonsense parody songs!" said NACL.

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?

"Great question. I would probably go with Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I don't really use my phone for anything other than those plus the default apps," said Obsidian.

"Adobe Premiere Rush, Photoshop, and Instagram---I think I see a trend haha," said Radwell.

"Spider Solitaire, GPS and... Baseball - as long as I can still Google anything & Text," said Rivers.

"Music, Linkedin, & Twitter," said Bigger.

"I only use Instagram. I don't like a lot of apps. I prefer old-school tablet or desktop," said Buy American Movement.

"This is SO hard! Waze, Dark Sky (weather app) and YouTube. I need to know where I am going, what the weather is, and listen to some music on the way!" said Garland.

"ESPN, Pandora, and TD Ameritrade." Said Cleveland Deburring (JD)

"This question is stressing me out," said Scumaci. "Weather, Bible, Calendar."

"Spotify, Instagram, Chrome," said MFG Talk radio.

"It's sad that this is tough! If the standard apple apps don't count, I'd say Twitter, IG, and my banking app. Sorry to all of my games and other social media!" said NACL.

"LinkedIn, Photoshop, Clips (video editing," said Earthling Interactive.

"Calculator, Bible, Weather," said DSI/Dynamatic.

What's the weirdest food you've ever eaten?

"Raw oysters. Need I say more???" said Garland.

"Oh geez, there have been a bunch as I started working in hotels and restaurants throughout college as that was my major. Maybe antelope or liver. I can't remember them all, but I got to try a lot of interesting stuff," said Bigger.

"Sweetbreads," said DCSC.

"Don't eat disgusting food. Nope, never ever. I never step out of my comfort zone! LOL" said DuraTech.

"Haggis. @NigelTPacker might know what it is, though it's more of a Scottish delicacy. Would I eat it again? No." DSI/Dynamatic.

"We're pretty adventurous here. Probably fried grasshoppers. They were pretty crunchy!" said NACL.

"Frogs legs, cow tongue and kimchi. I am not a fan of any of them," said Radwell.

"My girlfriend is from Brazil and introduced me to ?cora??o de frango,' which I found delicious at the time. Only later did she tell me they were chicken hearts," said MFG Talk Radio. 

"Ate a live cricket and earthworm - we were seeing who could spit them the farthest - sometimes they just got swallowed," said Rivers.

"Baby octopus (it was disgusting)," said Earthling Interactive.

"My answer will ALWAYS be okra. It's vile, sorry. Lol," said Jeanette of Genedge in Virginia. 

"BBQ raccoon," said Buy American Movement.

What is the top destination on your list of places to travel?

"Oh, so many I want to see!! St. Lucia is at the top, though, since that's our honeymoon destination," said DSI/Dynamatic.

"I have already been there, but I want to go back to Hawaii. Maybe to England to see all of my wonderful connections there," said Bigger.

"Definitely Japan, I've always wanted to go there and see some of the ancient temples and shrines," said MFG Talk radio.

"Cuba and Alaska. They have been on the list for a long time," said Sam Gupta of ElevatIQ.

"England. My ancestors hail from Bostock," said Suzan Bostick of DCSC. 

"I really want to visit the UK sometime. I missed a trade show there a few years back due to some family issues, but I'd really like to see it," said Austin of DCSC.

"London. I was there but just in Heathrow which is not what I wanted but there wasn't time for a proper visit," said Radwell.

"I want to visit every U.S. state and territory. Would love to go to Europe and the Netherlands and see our ancestral castles," said Buy American Movement.

"Top destination? I just want a warm, white-sand ocean beach and clear water," said Rivers.

"The USA! Though I did go there when I was 12," said Neil Hussey of Caravan Restoration in the U.K

"I want to go back to Kauai.......I could live there," said DuraTech.

"'ve always wanted to go to Iceland and see the Aurora Borealis in person!" said NACL. "Second visit would be to travel the classic Route 66!"

"Area 51," said JD of Cleveland Deburring.

"Banff, Canada! I've seen photos from people that have been there, and it is gorgeous! I've also been to Ireland before and would love to go back eventually," said Obsidian.

What's the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?

"My former work husband ~ Al (RIP still miss ya!)," said Austin of DCSC. "' Kirsten, give people a chance to do the right thing in their time.' Patience was never my strong point, but he was and still is right about that one."

"I don't have specific sayings off the top of my head right now, but my grandpa was always great with life advice. He always was the one I was observant of as I grew up and I would be a success if I turn out to be half the man and person he was through the entirety of his life," said Obsidian.

"'Anything worth having is worth working for.' - my Father. Sadly, I never got a chance," said JD Allen of Cleveland Deburring.

"Being taught the phrase "Help me understand" was golden advice. Also, stopped a lot of arguments," said Rivers.

#USAMfgHour is a Twitter chat every Thursday.

"You don't have to explain or be afraid to say ?no.' Best piece of advice, especially when you're overextended. That came from my mom. I thank her for that every day!" said NACL.

"The best is probably my answer to a question before: ?try anything once, twice if you like it.' I credit my dad for that one," said DSI/Dynamatic. "Oh, and have I thanked him for that? Yes. Every time I use it in front of him."

"Not advice I was personally given, but the whole ?Be water' speech Bruce Lee made always resonated with me. It has definitely helped me approach life in a more open-minded way and become more adaptable even in negative situations," said MFG Talk Radio.

"From my mother (who passed in 2013); When we were kids she used to tell my sister and me the following: ?Always be able to take care of yourself.' She raised two very independent women who have weathered life's storms successfully. The best advice I ever got," said Radwell.

"It came from my dad before I left for college. He said, ?it is all up to you. What you do with the rest of your life is your decision. If you apply yourself you will go far, if not you will not.' I spent my freshman year in the library," said Bigger.

"'Don't be baffled by the BS. Hang in there. Do what you need to do.' My first mentor at my first engineering job as he walked out after resigning," said Garland.

About #USAMfgHour

Anyone who champions U.S. manufacturing can join in on a new conversation each week on Twitter using the hashtag #USAMfgHour. The chat starts at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time/2 p.m. Eastern. Share positive blog posts, helpful articles, news, important information, accomplishments, events, and more with other manufacturers and supporters from throughout the country.

Are you interested in hosting a #USAMfgHour chat? Contact organizers @CVTPlastics, @DCSCinc, and @SocialSMktg.