Friday, October 17, 2008

Welcome Aleah & Chris!

Tooling U would like to extend a warm welcome to two new members of our team.

Aleah Kapusi is joining the Inside Sales team. Aleah will be qualifying incoming leads and working with Michelle and Katie to provide support to current customers. Aleah is a dedicated PTA mother and sports fan – if you have a question on Cleveland sports statistics or trivia, send her an e-mail.

Chris Petty will be joining the Outside Sales team, focusing on the western region of the United States. He will be focusing on Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. I would encourage you to send Chris a welcome e-mail – and when you do, ask him to explain to you why he has had over 300 stitches in his head!

Director of Sales

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Phew! IMTS 2008 is over! For those of you who missed the show, there’s simply no way to describe it. The best I can think of is 1.2 million square feet of robots, CNC machines, conveyer belts and salespeople! We were lucky enough to be located at the entrance to the North Hall, which provided the perfect opportunity to demonstrate our product to the entire show. I
got a chance to meet a lot of great people over the course of the week – and managed to get a few laughs when I showed them my personal Tooling U test scores.

I think the picture that best sums up IMTS, though, comes from Chris Pinner’s desk. Chris is one of Tooling U’s dedicated writers – and IMTS’ dedicated snatchers. Let’s face it, we all like free stuff. And as trade shows go, IMTS is a free stuff paradise. Chris? Well, he strives for excellence. I think you can tell from the picture below that he made his way around the entire show.

I suppose it’s a good thing that IMTS is every two years. These companies would go bankrupt if they had to supply Chris with new desk decorations every year. See you in 2010!

Marketing Manager

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Era of Stolen Workers

I recently came across an editorial in Metalforming which I found extremely interesting. The editorial was titled, “Labor Shortage? Grow, and Keep, Your Own.” We’ve all known for quite some time that skilled labor is a growing shortage within the United States. Companies are having a harder time finding and hiring employees who already have the skills necessary to complete the job. That’s why Tooling U is so successful – companies can focus on hiring a dependable worker and worry about training them later.

In the past, companies who lacked skilled employees simply stole employees from another rival company by offering better hours, wages or working conditions. Manufacturers in South Carolina and Alabama lured workers from Ohio and Michigan by offering sunny Decembers. Steelworkers in the Ohio Valley were lured to new companies by promises of higher pay and advancement. This era is over.

Across the United States, small and large businesses alike are finding it difficult to find and retain skilled workers. Manufacturing is shifting toward higher skilled, higher paying jobs and as a result, the applicant pool is shrinking. The editorial pointed out that the top four most difficult jobs to fill are for engineers, machinists/machine operators, skilled trades and technicians. According to the article, one company, The Minster Machine Co. in Ohio, has discovered a way to increase retention within its ranks. It has implemented an engineering internship program which begins engineering students on their way to a career with the company. Minster has found that over 95% of the students in their program graduate, and 95% of those engineers stay in Ohio to work. This is impressive work when you consider that over half of Ohio’s engineering students leave the state to begin their career.

Educating employees is simply not enough when facing a labor shortage. Manufacturers need to be grooming future employees through internal training programs, internships, apprenticeships and affiliations with local vocational schools. Tooling U is taking an active stance in helping these programs work. We are currently a part of several educational partnership programs throughout the country.

If your company is not currently facing a labor shortage, it will be soon. As the workforce ages and retires, there will be fewer and fewer skilled workers to replace them. Consider getting your company involved in one of these programs – if you need help or don’t know where to turn, talk to Gretchen Schultz in our Business Development program. She’d be happy to help you get started on the way to recruiting and retaining your own employees.

In you are interested in reading the Metalforming Editorial, click here.

Sarah Wering
Marketing Manager

Friday, August 1, 2008

6th Annual Tooling U Golf Outing

The 6th Annual Tooling U Golf Outing and Sales Meeting was held Thursday and Friday, July 24 and 25, 2008. The event was kicked off by 12 straight hours of “Sales Meeting” at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Cleveland, complete with stimulating presentations by the Content, Marketing and Sales teams. The highlight of the day was the lack of flowcharts and PowerPoint presentations – thank you James Vickers!After the meeting, the sales team headed to Ohio City for some fine dining and muchas margaritas at Mamocho Mexican restaurant. The staff would again like to thank Mr. Vickers for moving the Friday morning meetings from 7:00 to 8:00 am. That extra hour allowed time for more margaritas, er…sleeping!

Friday morning found the sales team back at the Hilton Garden Inn for a few more hours of business before moving on to Thunder Hill Golf Club and Fish Hatchery in Madison, OH. Team Daniel Cremieux made an appearance for the second year in a row, but found some stiff competition from Team Roundtree & Yorke. Hats off to both for their team spirit and inspiring a new award category for next year’s event – “Ugliest Team Shirt”. There are not many people who can pull off bright red shirts adorned with various fishing apparatus, or wear pink and teal palm trees with such unabashed pride.

The teams teed off to begin an arduous 18 holes of golf on a course with arguably more water than green. It is still up for debate what is more dangerous – the sand traps, the water hazards or the people driving the golf carts. Some drivers needed to be reminded that they were not on the tea-cup ride at the state fair, nor are “donuts” appropriate on a golf course. Once again it was proven that golf balls don’t float, ugly shirts improve your game, Chris “Seth Rogen” Pinner should never have been given a drivers’ license and golf scores don’t improve as the day goes on. Most important however, is the obligatory injured team member whose sole responsibility is to keep the golfers hydrated. Many thanks to Gary Hill. You’re the best beer man Thunder Hill has ever seen!

After an exhausting 5 hours of trash-talk and poor sportsmanship, the group moved on to the Grand River Cellars Winery and Restaurant for dinner, the post-golf party and awards ceremony. The following awards were announced: Best Score was awarded to Tim Cunningham, Dan Pruitt and Toni Neary who all received Gift Certificates to McCormick & Schmick; Greg Herlevi, Cindy Bernosky and Len Scaffidi were awarded Gift Cards to P.F. Changs and an assortment of golf instruction books for Lowest Putts AND Worst Score; The Longest Drive prize went to Jeremy Sobeck who took home a Ping Craz-e Anser Putter; Dan Sloan took home a Nike Tour Sand Wedge for Closest to the Pin; and Tim Cunningham was awarded a Ping G12 Hybrid Club for the Longest Putt. An assortment of door prizes were also awarded: A pair of much-needed noise-cancelling headphones went to Michelle Robinson; a $50.00 Gift Certificate to the spa of his (wife’s) choice went to Wes Howard; I won a $20.00 Chipotle Burrito Card; Katie Strand and Gary Hill each took home golf instruction books; and Chris Pinner received a $75.00 Gift Certificate to McCormick & Schmick.

Many thanks to the Golf Outing Committee for putting this event together, and to all participants for providing such an enjoyable day, despite the general lack of skill.
VP Operations

Friday, June 20, 2008

OSU and Tooling U Partner to Provide Continuing Education Units

Have you ever wished that you could receive education units for your Tooling U classes? It is now possible through a partnership between Tooling U and The Ohio State University Center for Corporate and Community Education.

Tooling U and OSU have joined together to offer continuing education units (CEUs). For every seven Tooling U classes a user completes, the Ohio State University Center for Corporate and Community Education will award one CEU for a minimal cost. Continuing Education Units are used nationally as a way of quantifying the time an individual spends in the classroom working on training and professional development activities.

There are several reasons why Tooling U decided to enter this arena. First, our users have been demanding it. While CEUs are not eligible to be used toward a college degree, they serve multiple purposes for both the employer and the employee. Employees are able to maintain a nationally-recognized record of their training. This will help employees who have pay incentives based on skill. Plus, many companies will pay for an employee’s training if it is attached to a CEU or college credit. Meanwhile, employers gain additional concrete metrics upon which they can base raises and promotions, or even hire new employees.

The Ohio State University was a natural choice when it came to choosing a partner for this initiative. OSU is a nationally recognized university—and conveniently located in Tooling U’s home state.

If you are interested in turning your future Tooling U classes into CEUs, contact Katie Strand in our Customer Support division. She can be reached at

Director of Content

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Eleventh Annual High School Machining Contest

I recently got the chance to travel to Rochester, New York in early May for the Eleventh Annual High School Machining Contest. The competition, sponsored by Monroe’s Community College’s Applied Technologies Center, challenged nearly 30 students to complete a lathe project within three hours, and then complete a mill project within three hours. This competition showcased the skills of students at the BOCES throughout New York. The student that placed first won a semester’s tuition to MCC.

While the students were machining, the instructors got a chance to hold a round table meeting to discuss issues each facing their programs. Some of the common concerns that were voiced included increasing enrollment, engaging students in the classroom and trying to reach academic standards for their respective states. One of the solutions to these problems is using Tooling U to upgrade theory components of curriculum and to help reach academic standards. I was proud to introduce our product to the instructors who were not familiar with it.

If your school is currently facing issues meeting state academic standards or preparing for NIMS testing, make sure to talk to me. I can help you figure out how to make your program shine.

Government & Education Specialist

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tooling U Goes Mobile

In case you hadn’t heard, Tooling U did something pretty cool this week. There is now a mobile version of our training program. Users of Tooling U can now access all training and assessment information from their cell phone. The application is compatible with all Blackberry, Apple IPhone and Windows Mobile devices. Check it out at

I got the opportunity this weekend to try it out. I have to admit – this was the first time I had ever used my cell phone for something other than “send” and “end.” Talk about technologically savvy!

Logging in was very easy. The most difficult part of the entire process was trying to navigate myself to the website. I wasn’t exactly sure how to type in the website address. When I finally managed to load the site, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to access the website. I logged in as a student without any problems, and opened a class. Despite what I anticipated, the text on my screen was large
enough for me to read and comprehend. The graphics loaded with each lesson were clear and easy to interpret.

To be honest, I think the application is pretty cool. It opens many possibilities for Tooling U users, including monitoring training from outside the office. I can’t wait for the first time I see someone taking a final exam ahead of me in line at Starbucks!

Marketing Manager

Thursday, May 15, 2008

April Showers Bring... New Hires!

The Tooling U family grew a little larger this past week as the company welcomed three new hires to the team.

Patty Szewcyk has joined Michelle and Katie in our customer service division. Patty will be handling incoming customer support issues. Meanwhile, Sarah Martin has joined the marketing staff. Look forward to seeing some great new ads in the following months! Finally, Tim Cunningham will be beating the pavement in the Southeastern United States (Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and Alabama) in search of new accounts for Tooling U.

Welcome to the team!

Director of Sales

Friday, January 25, 2008

2008 Annual Sales Meeting

The Tooling U sales staff recently held its annual sales meeting over the span of four days in Scottsdale Arizona. While initially it might appear to make most sense to hold meetings at our Cleveland headquarters, the sales staff unanimously agreed to give up low-30s temperatures, rain/snow mixes, and 2 ½ hours of daylight so that the sales team could focus on 2008 goals in a remote location free of distractions... except for gambling. That distraction was deemed allowable.

The location of the sales event was the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort and Casino, which provided comfortable rooms, tasteful dining options, and the adjacent casino for evening entertainment. Greg Herlevi, Director of Content Development, was also relieved to find out that he did not have to share bunk beds with Len Scaffidi, despite the numerous and contradictory reports made earlier from various salespeople.

The series of meetings kicked off on Thursday, January 10th with presentations focusing on updates and projections from both Content and Site Development. James Coufalik, Director of Marketing, also presented his activities for the year and unveiled the company's new logo and color scheme. Bryan Knaack, Director of Business Development, focused on the new roles of the Government and Education group, as well as training installations for new customers. The remaining meetings addressed standard processes and documentation for sales. Although the meetings were long, the ideas exchanged were very useful and engaging.

Friday night consisted of fine dining in the casino's steak house, followed by various scenes of entertainment: Toni Neary dancing, Chad Schron counting cards, and Dan Pruitt losing Mark O'Bryan's money.

Saturday afternoon, after wrapping up the group meeting sections of the agenda, the entire sales team participated in a team-building event that involved a two-hour cattle drive. Each person was paired with an appropriate horse and given the task of guiding cattle through the Arizona landscape. Hamid Farzad was in charge of guiding his horse "Rainbow" in circles, and Dan Pruitt could be viewed proudly riding his horse "Hummer H2." As is true with any team building event, the sales team learned a few key lessons: groin and glute soreness typically lasts three days, and horse droppings are green.

On Saturday night, after numerous appetizers, I presented my individual awards. Dan Sloan received the Diamond Award for Best Sales in 2007, and Cindy Bernosky, Toni Neary, Len Scaffidi, and Dan Sloan all received Star Achievement Awards for their individual contributions and superior efforts during the year. Steve Klein also received a Mediocre Fantasy Team award.

In general, the event was a noteworthy success, and the entire sales team looks to even greater successes in 2008. Thanks to all those key people who participated.

Director of Sales

The Tooling U staff continues to grow!

James Coufalik Added as Tooling U Marketing Director
Another key resolution for Tooling U in 2008 is to boost our marketing efforts. We have hired James Coufalik as our new Marketing Director. James is already working to solidify our brand identity, unveil our new logo, and plan our marketing and advertising campaign for the calendar year. James brings extensive experience helping consumer, business to business, and pharmaceutical companies communicate their brand in the US and Europe.

New Customer Service Representatives
Our customers want and deserve live support that matches our web-based training tools. We recently hired Michelle Robinson and Katie Strand as two new Customer Service Representatives. Michelle and Katie join our talented Customer Service Team and will be responsible for assisting our customers with their accounts, training new users on web site features, and working with prospects to help them identify the proper Tooling U training solution. Both Michelle and Katie will provide support for our individual customers needing assistance, as well as our corporate customers.

Gary Hill Added as West Coast Regional Sales Manager
We have also added Gary Hill as our new Regional Sales Manager for the west coast territory. Gary is excited to help increase sales and meet the unique needs of west coast manufacturers. He brings to us his knowledge and experience gained while selling training and IT technologies .

Director of Sales

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tooling U Introduces Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) Classes

Cleveland, OH – Tooling U, a provider of online manufacturing training, has developed a series of online training classes that address programmable logic controllers (PLCs). These new PLC classes will be included with other classes that address electrical systems, motor controls, and mechanical systems to provide comprehensive training for maintenance professionals.

PLCs are used in a wide range of applications for automation and electrical control over industrial processes. The PLC itself is a software-driven device that detects input signals, processes these signals with a logic-based program, and then sends signals to the appropriate outputs. This allows the PLC to control traffic light signals, packaging processes, assembly lines, or any other application demanding automated control.

PLC training is a key topic for maintenance professionals. "Many of our customers have asked about PLC training, especially for their maintenance people. As equipment gets more complicated, the people that fix it really have to keep up with the learning curve," said Chad Schron, Vice President of Tooling U. "With these PLC classes, or any of our subjects, we work with industry experts to make sure the material is relevant and up-to-date for our audience," added Schron.

Tooling U provides a wide range of online training courses for people in the manufacturing industry. These courses are delivered through a powerful Learning Management System (LMS) that allows companies to assess training needs and track performance. In addition to the new PLC training titles, Tooling U offers training packages for mill/lathe operators, press operators, and assemblers, as well as custom-created training material for Fortune 500 manufacturers.

For more information about Tooling U and the new multi-language interface, visit or contact a Tooling U sales representative at 1-866-706-8665.