Manufacturing Digital Transformation Success Stories

In this week’s Manufacturing Ecommerce Success Series, our guest speaker was Jim Vinoski. Jim is the Founder and President of Cosgrove Content: Wordsmith for Industry. Additionally, he is a contributor in Manufacturing at Forbes and BIZCATALYST 360°.  Jim tells interesting stories of manufacturing people and their businesses.

The keys for manufacturing digital transformation success are what you need to establish your game in this place.

In this week’s Manufacturing Ecommerce Success Series, our guest speaker was Jim Vinoski. Jim is the Founder and President of Cosgrove Content: Wordsmith for Industry. Additionally, he is a contributor in Manufacturing at Forbes and BIZCATALYST 360°.  Jim tells interesting stories of manufacturing people and their businesses.

The conversation of this episode started with Curt and Damon introducing Jim. After this, Jim shed light on how he got to where he is today. He said that when people plan for the future, they seldom have in mind to do what he does.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

Moreover, he said that he always loved working on the floor in his manufacturing job and he still does. As for writing, he never thought of pursuing it as a career until much recently. This is when he started his company as well.

After this, Jim talked about having all eggs in one basket when it comes to manufacturing digital transformations success. Explaining this, he said that going with strategy is wrong and can end up in failure. Moreover, Jim also talked about his writing career and Forbes diaries.

Jim said that as a Forbes writer, many people approach him to write their stories and he does that to capture the manufacturing digital transformation success. Further, into the conversation, Jim talked about the key to a successful business and model.

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He said that when it comes to business, you generally have countless business models. Therefore, your target is here to find the model that suits your customers best and work on it. Moving on, Damon asked Jim that when it comes to these new manufacturing digital transformation success models, how do you start and from where?

Answering this question, Jim said that when it comes to this, he has worked with big companies like Nike, Cedric, and other such corporations, and what they do is to work with data. Therefore, Jim said that when it comes down to this, you have to look into your operations from one end of the supply chain to the other.

Additionally, he said that you have to look at and work with your data. Here he mentioned things like where did you get that data from? How will you work with that data? etc. By the end of the conversation, Curt and Jim further talked about Jim’s new article about the Zamboni machine.

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The conversation ended with Curt and Damon thanking the guest for his time.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

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Damon Pistulka, Curt Anderson, Jim Vinoski


Damon Pistulka  00:00

LinkedIn and we will get started here. So


Curt Anderson  00:10

hey girl Hey Val. What’s we got Kevin?


Damon Pistulka  00:14

Yeah we are here we are live on LinkedIn So what? Yeah so people if you’re listening to us on LinkedIn go ahead and comment. We I’m going to be back and forth between the comments on LinkedIn but we’re going to take it over here today. So welcome everyone for the manufacturing ecommerce Success Series today. I’m Damon Pistulka one of your co hosts and my brother from another mother Kurt Anderson way on the other side of the North America for me today talking talking talking about some manufacturing topics and some great writing


Curt Anderson  00:47

absolutely guys so Hey, welcome everyone Gary Good. Good afternoon guys happy Friday as you can tell a little demon I have a picture usually I just have this plain boring background I’m actually in I’m in the witness protection program. Somewhere in Ohio some home some hotel So guys, Happy Friday. Damon’s doing awesome guys. This is such an honor. Such a thrill I’ve been looking forward to this for months I want to introduce my good buddy Jim minovsky Jim Happy Friday dude How are you man?


Jim Vinoski  01:14

Yeah Happy Friday to you I’m great. How are you Kurt?


Curt Anderson  01:17

Hey I am doing awesome so we have a lot to uncover so we’re gonna dig right in So Jim your long long time career manufacturer but more importantly I’m going to I did a little you know Damon you know I like doing a little cyber stalking on our gap you know i double digging So Jim wouldn’t be the same without it won’t be the same without it So Jim guys what what an honor and privilege to have Jim on the program he’s a contributing writer I’m probably show my age by saying right because we don’t write anymore concerning typers that would you say author to Forbes magazine, biz catalyst 360.

And you put out some incredible wonderful pieces and that’s how you and I connected and what I want to you know, first off let’s talk about Jim personally. So guy Ito guys, he married the girl of his dreams I saw on your bio to growing young boys your Scoutmaster? You’re in Grand Rapids Michigan. Give us a little background I know you’re a mechanical engineer by trade if I’m not mistaken. share a little bit of your background and we’re then we’re going to take it from there.


Jim Vinoski  02:18

Yeah, you already ruined one of my points. I was gonna say I come from my podcast studio from my newly launched manufacturing talks podcast in sunny Burbank, but you pin me down I’m


Curt Anderson  02:30

at sunny Grand Rapids, man. So yeah, it was eye catching manufacturing talks. Yeah. So I know. So writing so you’re all about content, right? Just in audio manufacturing.


Jim Vinoski  02:43

Right? Right. I just told someone recently that you hear these people saying having a plan for where you want to get in your life and there is no way anyone’s going to come up with the plan that got me here. So yeah, 30 plus years in manufacturing, busting my tail on the floor,

I’ve never left the floor I still work on a manufacturing floor routinely. But a few years ago I had the opportunity to take writing which I’ve done my entire life and enjoy greatly but never really pursued professionally you know, had pieces published here and there whether it was trade journals or more general magazine magazines and things and then I get on LinkedIn which we all love one day and contacted mine shares a post from a contact to his saying, I’m looking for someone for a client of mine who needs someone who can write magazine length articles about manufacturing, if you’re interested, here’s my email address.

So I’m like well, you know, sounds like a good fit for me so I send her an email Okay, here’s my background. Sounds interesting. I’d love to learn more. I get an email back within an hour saying like checked out what you have on LinkedIn and it’s fabulous so I’m just copying this editor at Forbes and YouTube take it from here. Nice. My immediate responses were good but sure enough, I get in touch with the editor and we go through a few samples and discussions and next thing you know I’m writing for Forbes man


Curt Anderson  04:11

gosh you know in what an illustrious career that you’ve had I know Purina you were with premium for a while General Mills actually saw you’re actually Orchard Park New York which is near me. hometown of the Buffalo Bills my buddy Gary woods in Rochester so you know you’re in Buffalo Bills country they’re at Orchard Park. So a long time career fortune 500 companies and and you find yourself you know how do you make that pivot? How do you go from mechanical engineer like you said I know shop floor just you know, just share it go a little deeper into like that process of like, I mean, it’s such a 180 isn’t it?


Jim Vinoski  04:49

Um, yeah, although, you know, the things I thought would be difficult turned out not to be difficult at all. So the immediate thought when I got into it was well, how the heck am I We’re going to come up with ideas for articles. And I had a number of them myself that we talked about when my editor and I went over what I’d be doing. But, you know, if you’re writing several a month, you go through those pretty quickly.

And I’m actually pretty consistent on five articles a month. But what I found is once your name is out there with Forbes, now people come banging your door down. Yeah, and you know, you guys know, there’s not enough time in life time to tell even a fraction of the cool stories in manufacturing. Yeah, but once people start doing it, and they want me to share their amazing stories all over the map of manufacturing that the topics get easy now, it’s just a matter of cranking out the articles.


Curt Anderson  05:41

Right? Yeah. And I’d say and Jim, you do an amazing job. So I you truly have a gift for storytelling, you really. So all of us want to thank you for leaving the shop floor and sitting down in the computer. And you know, now being the reporter for all these incredible manufacturing stories. And I think you know, I all of us on the call today, there’s a huge renaissance in US manufacturing, and having you on the team and being a voice and advocate to share these incredible stories. You cover in a lot of success stories, 3d printing, e commerce, all sorts of AI all sorts of fascinating things.

And I’ll tell you also have a gift for headlines, man, I think give you credit, guys, I dropped Jim’s LinkedIn profile in the chat box, you have to connect with Jim. And when you connect with Jim in his featured section on his profile, he has a bunch of his Forbes articles. I dropped two that we’re gonna be chatting about today. But I just wanted to share a couple of headlines that you have, you know, coolest airplane you’ve never heard of, or where every kid could turn pro space trucking. I mean like these are just such great you know, headlines on your LinkedIn profile. David, I don’t know if you saw this he has followed by everyone. That is cool.


Damon Pistulka  06:54

You know? Yeah, I saw that. So that you know, that’s why I follow him.


Curt Anderson  06:59

That’s why you follow


Damon Pistulka  07:01

everybody I not that I’m calling but


Jim Vinoski  07:03

he’s cool. Hey, so let me jump into I mean, for especially for manufacturing folks. Um, follow is always great, but I love connecting with people directly. I have follow as my primary go on LinkedIn, you know, you push the three buttons, and you can get over to the Connect piece. You can do that everyone out there.


Curt Anderson  07:19

So in Jim, one of my favorites here and gal, you’ll love this one former fashion model designed concealed carry running shorts for women. I mean, like, like, how just a little bit like, how do you find how do you uncover? And again, you know, we have a couple stories that come in at everybody. How do you find like some of these wonderful stories that you uncover here?


Jim Vinoski  07:44

Yeah, so a lot of them come from PR people. And that’s a little known fact, everyone who’s out there is needing that attention. And so then we’ll engage with folks to go look for avenues to get their name into the press and into the digital world. And so I just get pitches constantly, in fact, yeah, I don’t wish it away at all. But that’s my number one challenge is manage managing my inbox because you told me to 50 pitches a day. Yeah.

But then to like, you mentioned the Fashion Model Amy Robbins. She came to me directly. In fact, I’ve been following her for a while and had her on that list. And she reached out to me before I had the chance to reach out to her and just said hey, I see your write for Forbes and I’d love to have this attention any any chance you’d tell my story. I’m like I already had it on my list. Yeah, let’s do that.


Curt Anderson  08:34

I’m already Heidi I’m right there. So how do you deal with all that overwhelming you know, inquiries and offers How do you filter out which which were you feel like these are great stories versus the not so great.


Jim Vinoski  08:47

So that’s where I get to have the big head. Anything that sounds cool to me. I figures got to be cool to everybody. Yeah,


Curt Anderson  08:52

that’s awesome, man. Amen. It’s Vegas. And you know what? We’re gonna teach. We’re gonna get t shirts. Damon said, Hey, if it’s good for Jim, it’s good for everybody. It’s good for


Damon Pistulka  09:02

Jim. It’s good for everyone.


Curt Anderson  09:07

Let’s dig. Let’s dive right into a couple of your your stories. So one that really touched my heart. I’m actually I’m in Ohio. My daughter is a figure skater. And I’m here for a figure skating competition and made a theme and they timed it perfect. She skated this morning, and then they saved it till this afternoon. Our show was so big. They knew that I couldn’t be there in the middle of winter. Yeah, was that nice?

So as a figure skating Dad, I live at the skating rink. Jim, and I understand I don’t understand you wrote an amazing piece. Anybody who that hangs out a skating rink, you know are very familiar. Damon, you guys in Seattle just landed, you know, professional hockey team to crack and in what clears the ice in between periods. The Zamboni you wrote an amazing article, and again, I dropped it in the chat box on the history, the Zamboni it was it was just a name. It was a person but the person that found out Did you come across that story? What a fascinating article.


Jim Vinoski  10:02

So that was unique. Again on LinkedIn, I’ve got a buddy Jesse cook, he’s in in Buffalo. He’s a lawyer. Nice, but he’s a history buff. And I am too. And at some point we connected because I started seeing some of his posts, and he just does general history. I’m probably the same big head thing that I had. And what’s cool to him is cool to everybody. And he does have very cool stuff. Well, I think it was late last year, early this year, he posts a thing it was Frank Zamboni birthday. And so he posted a thing about the company and about Frank and just a long piece.

And I commented, I’m like, you know, that is too cool. I have got to, to put that on my on my article list. Another guy I know who’s a PR guy out in LA, immediately comments and says, Look, I don’t rep, the company, but I know the family. And so if you’re really interested, I can connect you. And of course, I say yeah, right away and he gets a hold of me, we’d run email together. He’s like, I just got to warn you.

They’re, they’re very careful about who they talk to. So I’m pretty sure I can connect you but it might take some time. So weeks go by. And the next thing you know, he’s got me connected up with a couple other folks just to have a preliminary chat on what I’m looking for. Yeah, and it was funny because you could tell they’re very standoffish at first. Yeah, but you know what I do I just tell the cool stories Exactly. As they tell them stories themselves are too cool for me to add to or change in any way. And by the time we got done talking, they’re like, okay, yeah, we got to get you connected with this guy.

And he’s got he’s got, I wound up talking to people was mo me company all over the world. They’re fabulous people. I mean, that was just an honor to have their story and to be able to tell it, you know, through the way they wanted to be perceived. And, and they’re very careful because it’s a tough business. You know, there are other ice resurfacing machines. In fact, you can’t say Zamboni from now on Kurt, you have to say the Zamboni machine. Okay. If you say just Zamboni it’s like Kleenex, you know, you can?


Curt Anderson  12:15

Yeah, perfect. Yeah, exactly. Right. Yeah. And


Jim Vinoski  12:19

they were just phenomenal.


Damon Pistulka  12:21

And that’s so incredible to be able to share just such a legacy story is that no, I mean, I legacy story like it because everybody, even me, who has spent like, you know, 10 minutes on the ice, other than, you know, fallen down on a lake in the Midwest, you know, compared to other areas and a few hockey hockey matches, but, you know, everybody knows what a Zamboni machine is


Curt Anderson  12:45

Yeah, right? And, and that name and for years and years and years and again, the when you think about how cool what we try to preach them how cool manufacturing is, prior to that is that the Zamboni? You know, people were like using shovels. So here’s a great story. So you’re, you know, you’re, we frequently go to we’re in New York City for Christmas, my sister’s there. And my daughter is figure skating at Rockefeller Center.

There’s the Zamboni machine broke. We’re at you know, probably the most popular skating rink and in the world. Yeah. And there’s a guy with two shovels in each hand going round skin. scraping the ice, it was a miracle. But you know, the Zamboni machine changed hockey article writer three periods in hockey is because the Zamboni machine comes around in what really got him off the ground.

This is a great story. There was an Olympic skater from where was done. Norwegian she was Norwegian No, he came to LA where the Zamboni Zamboni was saw the machine. She was traveling United States, you know, performing. She had him bring the machine with us, especially he could clean the ice. And that was a huge part. We’re like now every city that they went to everybody saw that machine. Now everybody wanted that machine. And so again, guys, check out that article. And we can we’re gonna dig into a bunch more fun stuff.


Jim Vinoski  14:09

Jim and I will say one more thing about the one. The one person that is allowed to say Joe Zamboni is Charlie Brown, because at one point in the peanuts, which featured Zamboni several times, he says there and mighty people have been one of the other characters but someone said there are three things everybody loves to watch, a campfire, a babbling brook, and a Zamboni.


Curt Anderson  14:42

I agree. I agree. 100%. So, Jim, and you know what, and I also I didn’t know that you’re a huge world war two buff and I also saw that you’re an 80s metal band buff. So at the end of the program, David, we might have a little first time on our show, stop being the best kept secret here. We might have a little trivia at the end. So I’ll just I’ll say that guys gotta stick around to the end.


Damon Pistulka  15:01

You will I will. One thing for Jim if you’ve not been to the world war two Museum in New Orleans definitely I spent about eight hours in the darn place and it is so incredible


Jim Vinoski  15:12

I have not heard that from other people. So incredible


Curt Anderson  15:15

and the D day Museum in in Virginia is phenomenal right near Roanoke so so anyway so we’ll move let’s dig in so you wrote a great piece on e commerce and I’m just going to leave it at that could you please share in you know where we’re going with this the DIY your little bit? This is a great ecommerce story of a company man that was in deep deep trouble right 40% of their business went away overnight. And they made a great transition direct to consumer I’ll leave it there Jim please take the baton dude.


Jim Vinoski  15:44

Yeah, so a company called Bursa tube that makes DIY storage sheds and they had their stuff in stores and it was going okay and then they lost an account and all of a sudden like you said their business is in big trouble. There was a guy who really wasn’t involved in the business but he was involved in creating some e commerce solutions and they heard about it connected up with him actually made him the president of the company for a while and he developed you know kind of layering on to what he had already

come up with developed for them an e commerce direct to consumer solution so that people can just get on their website basically design their thing place an order and then it just all automatically happens so it’s all tied their manufacturing with their production with their you know putting instructions together everything and so you wind up getting delivered the the kit for what you ordered and you put it together and you have exactly what you design right there on their website.

And yeah so scales I mean sales skyrocket for these guys and they’re just off to the races and now dusty Dean who who put that all together for him is he’s still involved I believe he’s a board member for the company but now he’s off continuing his work on developing those kinds of solutions more broadly and actually looking at having having him on my podcast


Curt Anderson  17:13

Are you phenomenal so I want to I want to dig deep into that and so we have a gentleman on on with us today we have Kevin from Gen alpha there yard Kevin and so Gen alpha is an amazing incredible company in Wisconsin they are e commerce solution provider for manufacturers and they offer configurators and why I’m gonna dig in let’s I want to dig into the story a little deeper so so again you know their supply chain district distributors so on so forth big bulk of their business was with with one customer understand the story correctly they were bought out new owners came in and said you know what,

we’re gonna do this process ourselves thank you but no thank you we don’t we no longer need your services Yeah, and so they go on they go on their own so these guys are like now what do we do when they take on their product this is a multi $1,000 purchase correct the carports so it’s a multi $1,000 purchase they go on e commerce and then they put on a configurator we preach about configurators constantly take in i know i think like enter your zip code enter your site

you know you could enter everything right was that right to your work and then when you entered your order it went right to the shop floor Damon I mean like it you know there was it they made it as efficient as humanly possible your streamline streamline the whole situation the consumer is thrilled right now I don’t have to go to Home Depot or wherever to purchase it.

I can make it read online custom for myself. Yep, direct to me, I pulled a credit card. Now this company they are paid not before they ship it before they even make the products right? I mean look at that for cash flow, guys. Like is that music to your ears? So look at the power of that of e commerce that configurator direct to consumer. And a lot of people are like, Ah, you know, people aren’t gonna you know, we saw a demo we heard all the time.

You know, we sell things in the 1000s they’re not going to buy this product. Man, we might have to repeat what we just said to Chris Harrington. Just join us. Chris I’ve been giving you a shout out man. I can configurators we’re talking about e commerce with with Jennifer in this great product. Charlotte and Justine Damon, we’ve connected with dynamic e commerce for manufacturers. How were they do know can you share a little bit like how these folks maybe out of desperation? What what allowed them to take on this whole process or going into configurators doo doo? How deep does that story go on your end?


Jim Vinoski  19:38

So I don’t know all the details. I do know this when they lost the account. They took a step back and look at you know what, what’s working, what’s not working. And obviously one big thing is having so many eggs in one basket. So they’re thinking how do we get beyond these big box stores and they start looking at how all that works, talking to customers and the thing that came Through to really clearly is, it doesn’t matter how many of those stores you’re in the trouble is, there’s such a limited contact between your product and the customers.

And especially for these guys who are doing these big buildings, you know, even the smaller storage sheds are pretty good size, you’re only gonna have one or two examples at the shop at the store. And so customers don’t have that interaction, they don’t realize, geez, I’ve got this whole line of things, and you can customize and all of that, you steer them to ecommerce. Now you can, you can show them right up front, look, here’s everything we have. And here’s how you can configure it for yourself.

And oh, by the way, you know, it’s not going to be trying to talk to someone who doesn’t really know about these things and trying to cajole out of them and more information about the company and the product, it’s all right there at their fingertips, it walks them through, like you said, you know, even just the entering basic information, and just makes it super easy for the customer. And then essentially, you know, shows their entire product line. And so anyone looking for that kind of solution now knows, yeah, this company can help me.


Curt Anderson  21:08

Yeah, that’s Gary, our friend Rochester jobs. You know, a couple of comparables, like Michael Dell did the exact same thing way back in the day, very much ahead of time cutting edge where I can go on Dell, or do that computer. And again, you know, make it easy, Gary says make it easy as humanly possible to do business with you. And that’s what we preach every week, Jim is, you know, ecommerce, these configurators, how we can make it so easy for the business would


Jim Vinoski  21:35

do well, and so that’s a phenomenal example. But that’s one example. Right? And so we’ve been manufacturing, we’ve got literally countless different business models. And so the key is exactly what those guys did up front, which was to look at, okay, what, you know, first of all, who’s our customer? And what are we doing well, for him, what aren’t we doing well for him, and one thing that I’ve kind of gotten a bad taste in my mouth about here in the last year, is there’s so much talk about industry, 4.0, and digitalization.

And that’s all phenomenal. I mean, that’s gonna be, we’re only scratching the surface on what that’s going to bring. But I see so many people out there, to me being completely self serving and saying, Oh, you have to have this automation, and you have to have these devices, and just selling their own thing.

Yeah, yeah, that’s the solution for everybody, even like the World Economic Forum and their lighthouse, plants, those are phenomena, but they’re not the solution to even a tiny fraction of manufacturers. And so really dialing in on what can digitalization what can industry 4.0 bring to your business model for your customer, and then honing in on what the solutions are. To me, that’s the key.


Damon Pistulka  22:55

Well, it’s one of the things that we see a lot and we cover when we do training or talking to people is really bringing awareness about what you can do is with with different things, right? So that so that the business people can then decide I want this piece that piece that piece, because we see the same thing in anything digital, or, you know, even so if I’m if I’m a great web developer, well, you’ve got a web development problem, because that’s what you’ve got, and you probably do some, but is that really what you should work on now?

And you know, when you look at something like industry 4.0, the digital digitization of a business, where do you really start? And what do you do? What’s step one, step two, step three, and where do you find those? That’s the bigger question for business right now.


Jim Vinoski  23:41

I’ve had a couple of phenomenal conversations lately. One was an article I had maybe a couple months ago, that feature the Siemens digitalization group, digitalization, Cedric, Niki, their CEO, that portion of their company, I just love this guy. Because, you know, he should be out there selling his stuff. And he is don’t get me wrong. But our discussion was specifically around that, that, hey, it’s not about devices and automation, it’s about. And for him, it was data, you know, what do you have to glean from your data to better serve your customers?

So he’s saying, Yeah, you got to take a look at your operation from one end of your supply chain to the other, all inclusive and determine where are you going to get the biggest bang for your buck, to help your customer, your consumer? And then how do you manage that data? How do you get the data you need? How do you filter it? Right? Have you get the information out of it? That’s critical. And that’s the trouble is we’re all swimming in it, right? Yeah, far too much data and far too little practical manipulation of it.


Curt Anderson  24:42

Right. Right that in and that was another phenomenal piece. And again, for anybody just chimed in, I dropped Jim’s LinkedIn profile in the chatbox. I have a couple articles that articles that were talking about the Zamboni machine. Awesome, awesome article. Another article about that transition for this company that was really in deep trouble. plunge in e commerce. In gym 135% increase through COVID. Right?

Yeah, yes. $50 million in sales. Absolutely crushing it. And again, you know, whether you’re, as a manufacturer, you’re on the b2b side, or there is an opportunity go direct to consumer. There’s a powerful, powerful solutions. Can you’re mentioned your Siemens story, you check out Jim’s, please connect with Jim and you go into featured section, you had a great story about somebody uncovered a bunch of like amazing pieces in Youngstown. Right. Sure. share a little bit on that story. That was another great piece,


Jim Vinoski  25:35

right? Yeah. So like, I got, again, God bless LinkedIn got connected to this artist in Pittsburgh. And he says, Yeah, this is kind of out of left field. But it strikes me that this would be your kind of story. And yeah, so he shared how he and one of his new friends who has his own steel making museum kind of came together, right as this other guy had gotten wind from someone who was in his museum about, hey, these forms that you have these wooden casting forms for sand casting, I know where you could probably get about 6000 of them.

And these things date back to the late 1800s, early 19 hundred’s phenomenal handcrafting of these wooden forms that they use to create the molds then you make the steel components out of whether the gears or wheels or whatever. And so this guy gets his new buddy the artists and he’s like maybe there’s something here you can use, I don’t know, this barn outside Youngstown, the guy wasn’t lying, it was literally 6000 of these things ranging from, you know, normal size, like gears and wheels to just ginormous, you know, screws and


Damon Pistulka  26:48

oh, my goodness, yeah, just


Jim Vinoski  26:50

things for making steel parts, literally, at the earliest of the Industrial Revolution. And so then they have the challenge of number one. How do we get all these things into a space where they’re going to be protected? Still, you know, fortunately, they were in this barn, the guy looked at them all from a shutdown steel mill in Youngstown. And his widow, said, Yeah, you can take them. And it’s just, you know, I talked about my story, being so crazy, I always say it’s the hand of God that got me doing what I’m doing. think it was the same thing with these guys.

Because it just so happened that the artist Corey had just moved into a new space, huge space in an old industrial building in downtown Pittsburgh. And he says, you know, you can probably fit a bunch of them in my space. And then let me ask around and see, if we get some more he goes to the the owner of the building, and the guy’s like, well, I’ve got a whole floor, you can just take it. So now as permanent exhibit of these things, had a show here a week or two ago, to introduce it now. Yeah, go to Pittsburgh and check these things out. They’re just absolutely breathtaking.


Curt Anderson  27:55

That that is wow. And there’s so many amazing stories, you know, and we could go on and on, you know, with different stories. I want to share another one battle is a battle of the the battle motors, battle motors. So the company that it’s converting garbage trucks from gas engines, diesel engines and electric engines that correct?


Jim Vinoski  28:18

Yeah, that’s right. And it’s it’s an interesting story, too, because it’s another one of those where this guy who really wasn’t in the business winds up owning the business. So yeah, my contact was a guy who was in battery development work for a company that was doing that. And he kind of got to where he had taken toward he wanted to as CEO, and he was ready to step away, and got looking around at next opportunities and came across battle motors who’ve been in the government truck and other heavy duty industrial truck business for 70 years.

I think it is. Yeah, starting right after World War Two, in fact, and he gets involved with them, he winds up buying the company, and then pivots and says, Okay, let’s start looking at this technology. Talk about a perfect application. For the EDI concept. You know, these things are out there just during the day, do it at night. That torque piece that PVS bring to vehicles, so important for heavy duty trucks like that.

And so just as marriage that was perfect. And so yeah, they still make their old, highly respected fuel vehicles, but they’re building that business for the E V’s. And you know, with all the mandates now, especially with that he’s wanting to get rid of the pollution and move into more sustainable direction. I think they’re gonna grow like mad.


Damon Pistulka  29:43

Yeah, even when you think about the duty cycle of you know, you drive someplace a little bit and you stop, there’s nothing happening that that’s the power shuts off. And then you just need it to go again, and only when the hydraulics turn on and off you you’re running that Oh, wow, that’s cool. Yeah. Very


Jim Vinoski  29:59

cool. You know livability of cities you think about that you know the yeah you can you can not be a zealot about electrification and still appreciate that yeah running an electric motor on that thing makes a whole heck of a lot of sense right yeah, right yeah.


Curt Anderson  30:14

stories I just want to drop a few hellos we got john in Jersey Scott thanks for joining us today yeah Diane Hope you’re doing great I think Diane’s dad had surgery Hope you’re dead snoring great we’ve got Diana was on just jumped off Gary Kevin everybody happy Friday Thank you. We are with Jim from he’s a contributing writer and I again I got I guess I can’t say writer anymore contributing contributor to Forbes magazine right so Jim, and I know we’re coming after we’re coming after to man I know we could talk about these stories all day share a little bit like what are any without giving away any secret sauce any kind of like what are you seeing Hot Hot Trends?

You know, there’s a myth I don’t know if you can daymond I’ve been hearing this rumor I don’t know if it’s true supply chain issues either either.


Damon Pistulka  30:59

Or, or someone said something.


Curt Anderson  31:01

shortages? I’ve been hearing something I’m just I’m too but what what are you? So what do you what? What are you looking forward to 2022? What type of stories are you looking to cover any trends or anything that little our audience here any nuggets that you can share on what you’re seeing in front of manufacturing now?


Jim Vinoski  31:21

Well, to tie a bow on the previous conversation with the digitalization stuff, I’ve got one coming out in the next couple of weeks, I’ve done a number of articles about applications that Autodesk has supported.

You know, everything from the bicycle crank arm redesign, the article I had a couple months ago to like a studios who knew that a movie studio with us what we think of as as manufacturing design tools, but these tools go way beyond manufacturing, I learned and so I’m writing a catch all piece on Autodesk and everything they have going on, you know, looking at those different elements, that they have different software suites and things, but with an eye toward saying okay, what is it that Autodesk is up to here?

And it’s exactly what we’ve been talking about. They’re trying to bring all these disparate things that they’ve either developed over the years or purchased and they’re bringing them onto a common digital platform and it’s just phenomenal I mean this companies that are going to continue to do well I mean they’ve grown like mad, everyone Yeah, starting up 30 years ago when I was first getting started and it’s amazing.

It’s common it’s going to be amazing where they go though the supply chain piece. Interesting you touch on that because I had some you know, I’m always trying to stay ahead on my publishing calendar. Imagine juggling that but every so often I’ll drop one in there just that’s personal interest. And just in the last couple days, I decided you know what? I wasn’t going to touch the supply chain thing obviously it’s talked about incessantly. Like read about it.

There’s so much being said, there’s just other nonsense. Yeah, it’s real. Don’t get me wrong. I mean, it’s real now. I don’t think it’s getting better anytime soon. I don’t think the doomsday stories are right, but I don’t think the quick fix stories are right either. So I’m going to drill into you know, what’s really happening here. Um, you know, if you’ve got ships at 100 ships parked off Long Beach, probably not because China’s not making enough stuff, right? Yeah, and yet you constantly read stories. Oh, the problems in China. Well, I have problems that’s fair, but that’s not the problem. Right? We’ll drill into that a little bit. Yeah, there’s just all kinds of cool stuff. Okay,


Curt Anderson  33:41

awesome. So Damon I’m going to change gears and yeah, so you know, lots of first off again guys connect with Jim on Forbes if you have Gale, you know, mad Gale. Did you have an awesome program yesterday or what? You guys have some cool cutting edge stories that just fit the mantra here for Jim. Connect with Jim I know Jim I don’t mean like a Kurt’s hold on dude, I get overwhelmed. But when we have some really cool people on the program here they have some really, really cool so I’m gonna do it before we close I’m going to do a little trivia Jim All right.

Yeah, World War Two buff and you’re an 80s metal band band fan. Is that drive that correct? Is that correct? Okay, so I’m going to read a quote and I’m going to is this is this 80s metal band or is this a quote from World War? I know your war two fan? Or buff if you will. Okay, so here’s here’s, here’s a little quote right? Ready? Yep. Where do we go? Where do we go now? Or where do we go? Where do we go now? Where do we go? Where do we go now? I sweet child of mine with a band but


Jim Vinoski  34:46

that was an 80s band, but I think they could well have been talking about World War Two.


Curt Anderson  34:53

No Guns and Roses for you there. Yeah. Mine.


Jim Vinoski  34:58

back right to the beginning. Beginning of my careered


Curt Anderson  35:02

Yeah, I was a senior in college for everyone that came out we’re like Hey, who’s this band? Right Damon? You are a Gundam. Oh, yeah. Who was so absolutely an officer. I want to share a quote with you and then we’ll get winding down. So here’s what’s fascinating guys again, if you came in late, Jim was it’s been a life career manufacturer and took a massive pivot during his career, so admirable, just such an inspiration and again, gifted gifted writer, storyteller, and writing for sharing amazing stories about manufacturers on Forbes.

Jim, you could have stayed the course. I’m sure you know, mechanical engineer, you’re making getting promotions. You could, you could have stuck it out, right? Mike? Mike correct with that could add a career. Huge, huge pivot by sharing these incredible stories that now we can cherish and find out all these great things going on in manufacturing. As you’re an advocate.

I’m going to share a quote with you that I feel fits perfectly. Are you ready for this one? So once, twice, or or at the very most, three times in your life, fate will reach out and tap a person on the shoulder? You know, who do you know where I’m going? If that person has imagination, they will turn around and face fate. And they will and fate will point out which fork to take in the road. If that person has guts, they will take that road. How is that for a quote General Patton, I found that for you, I thought I would share that with you. You are such an amazing, incredible inspiration, dude.


Jim Vinoski  36:34

But I have to jump in here, Kurt because I mean, I deeply appreciate what you’re saying about me. But But what it brings me to is a conversation I had just a week ago. I am going to have an article another one that’s coming up that I think is going to be a good story is about a US Navy Admiral who now makes bourbon. Yeah, yeah, they’re on the phone with this guy. Scott, Admiral Scott, the his first name Scott. So I’m like, Okay, I’m just gonna tell you straight up front. I’m pretty sure the first time I’ve talked to an Admiral. Yeah. And Scott says, Well, you know what, thank you. But I’ll tell you don’t tell my wife that you’re impressed with it because she’s not.


Curt Anderson  37:20

Hey, we’re easily impressed. But no, in all seriousness, dude, I love your work. love what you’re doing so thrilled that you and I connected. We have a couple folks. Gary just dropped the note. Go Navy. Gary, thank you for your service. Our dear friend Chris served in the military. Chris, we love you dearly. Jim. I strongly strongly encourage you and Chris Harrington to connect at some point in time. Gail, you guys need to connect with Jim at some point in time. So Jim parting thoughts anything we I know you have a podcast you have a blog you have you’re crushing it on Forbes, we’re anywhere else we are Dude, you’re everywhere. Where else are we going to find you next?


Jim Vinoski  37:56

Well, if you want to know just go to Jim newly launched website where it collects everything, are you there’s only a few articles on there. Eventually I’m gonna have everything I’ve published on that website. So especially like poking around at Forbes you know, unfortunately, unless you’re a huge fan of Forbes and you’re subscribed, you can only read four articles a month.

So beauty as I own my articles. So now with the old ones, I’ll be plugging those in on my website, you can poke around there and see all these cool stories that I’ve had the privilege to help tell. And yeah, I’ve got manufacturing talks. It’s both a YouTube channel and a podcast so I can find that on my website as well. Awesome.


Curt Anderson  38:39

Well, hey, we’ve got a lot of folks on here that would be amazing guests. And you know, Damon, you know, our dream was always making on that Forbes 400 list. This is about as close as with Jim here, you know, when I was in my 20s man, every year, I’d like I had that thing memorized. I’m like, I don’t think I’ll make it in this lifetime. But anyway, so we get to connect with you, Jim. So hey, Jim, we want to thank you We know you’re super busy. Thank you. Thank you for your time, your passion, your expertise, deeply appreciate what you’re doing for manufacturing. We’re bringing on a big manufacturing Renaissance. So thank you for playing your part in your role. Guys,


Jim Vinoski  39:13

let me return the compliment because it shows awesome i love it. I’m definitely going to be tuning in regularly and I’m just glad that we you and I got connected and I had the opportunity to do this. Thanks a lot.


Curt Anderson  39:25

Oh, thank you to do God bless you, man for all that you do. Damon, that’s, you know what, what do we got going on? On Monday we’re interviewing a matt from catalyst connection. He’s about Pittsburgh MEP, totally cutting edge. So we have some fun things going on next week. So take it Damon, you’re going to be back in action with us next week. So thank you have an awesome, incredible weekend. We’re going to be back crushing it on Monday, Jim, thank you, brother. And join us at the table so you guys can meet Jim let’s do it.


Damon Pistulka  39:54

Alright everyone, thanks again thanks to Gabe and Javan, if I’m not saying your name, right. I apologize. But for joining us, they’re on LinkedIn, drop them some comments and listen to us there. We are here every Friday 1030 to 1130 pacific time talking with great guests like Jim today. Awesome, Jim. That’s all I can say. And we will be back again we’re going now to remote you can join us on remote just look at my post, you can go there and you can be here talk to people network and meet our speaker. So dropping off LinkedIn going back to remote Thanks.


Curt Anderson  40:30

Thanks, guys. Appreciate you.


Damon Pistulka  40:39

Let’s see it. There we go. Boom.

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