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Alphatraz

4 Feb

Yes you read that correctly, Alpha-traz.

If you’ve ventured to the bottom of AlphaUSA.com’s FAQs you may have wondered at the question “How can we get Alphatraz to play at our next event?” 

AlphaUSA is lucky enough to have several musically talented employees (yes, engineers can rock out too) and they have formed their very own rock band Alphatraz.  Many Alpha employees have taken part and our own President & CEO, Chuck Dardas,  is often playing bass!

Alphatraz has played events such as Alpha’s “Rock-tober Fest” and loves to host jam sessions with musicians from across the country (and across the border) with recent guests from places like Philadelphia and Toronto.

How’s that for “after 5”?

 

Chuck Dardas – Bass Guitars & Vocals, Susan Parker Stewart – Vocals, Harmonica, Chuck Shimco – Drums, Vocals, and Robert Stewart – Guitars

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Alpha’s Going Lean

11 Dec

Lean is all about being organized and more efficient, using less work to maintain or exceed the same quality product.  AlphaUSA is continually transforming our work areas and processes to be lean.

Long time Alpha employee, Mike Hootman, is championing this lean movement. Along side Production Manager Doug Prime, they are continuing to make sure that our facility is becoming  more efficient and safer day-to-day.  Alpha has even brought in a new set of eyes, the Lean Learning Center (LLC), to push us further.  The LLC has been hosting monthly labs for our Alpha employees onsite, enabling us to learn lean right on our own equipment, and in our own offices.

The rules of lean are simple: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.

Take some time to use the “5 S’s” in your life, and you’ll see how helpful a little lean can be.

Over 300 New Backpacks for Livonia Kids

6 Sep

Years ago, when they were running Wright’s Hardware on 5 mile, Livonia Treasurer Dennis Wright and his wife started a back-to-school initiative to supply needy Livonia children with school supplies. Since then, the program has grown, and the Wrights now partner with Livonia’s Goodfellows and City Hall.  This year, a whopping 320 kids received new backpacks, shoes, and other supplies thanks to donations from many local businesses and organizations including Valassis and The Livonia Youth Commission.

Alpha was excited to take part in a program with so much hometown pride–the donations were raised in Livonia, the supplies were purchased here, and everything is given to kids of our local community. We hope all have a great school year!

AlphaUSA leads effort to Save The SS United States

3 Jul

Photo courtesy of Nick Landiak and the SS United States Conservancy

60 years ago today, the SS United States, the greatest ocean liner ever built, departed on a record-breaking maiden voyage. A week later she returned home to a hero’s welcome and ticker tape parade. Once air travel became the preferred means of transportation, the SS United States was eventually taken out of service. She has passed from owner to owner and now sits in Philadelphia, slowly deteriorating. Once the pride of a nation, the vessel is close to being lost forever.

In February of last year, the president of Philadelphia-based TurnaSure introduced AlphaUSA’s president, Chuck Dardas, to the SS United States Conservancy‘s  “Save Our Ship” movement to preserve our nation’s flagship.  As a company we were immediately drawn to the superliner and her story.

The famed naval architect William Francis Gibbs designed the superliner. Constructed entirely in the United States she served a dual-purpose.  In peaceful times she would be the world’s finest passenger liner, but if called upon,  she could be converted to a troop carrier in two-days time, transporting 10,000 troops anywhere in the world.  The ship that bears the name of this great land became an inspiration to this veteran-owned company.

The ship was built to be a “super” liner, at the cutting edge of technology — the largest ocean liner constructed almost completely of aluminum and she broke speed records on her maiden voyage. To this day, the SS United States still holds the record for fastest transatlantic passenger travel, and to this day she is a manufacturing and engineering marvel.

Feeling a strong affinity for the industrial-know-how and American Pride that went into creating the SS United States,  AlphaUSA took on the Conservancy’s effort as its own.  Charged by our attendance at TEDx, and moved by local Detroit crowdfunding efforts, we suggested a unique online fundraiser. The Conservancy liked the idea, and looked to AlphaUSA to turn it into a reality.

For over a year now, AlphaUSA has been leading the design and outreach efforts for Save the United States, a national campaign to restore America’s Flagship, a groundbreaking fundraising experience that will teach new generations about the ship and allow supporters to take part in her restoration in a very personal way.  After all the hard work, we can’t believe it will finally launch to the public this month.  AlphaUSA is proud to be a part of this historic effort and looks forward to inviting our local community to get involved in her restoration.

ster•e•o•li•thog•ra•phy

7 Mar

If you are an engineer, you likely know what stereolithography (SLA), rapid prototyping and 3D printing are. If you are a recently graduated psychology major working in the PR department, chances are you do not.

A few days ago, I saw a part sitting on the desk of Alpha Engineering Director and Resident Genius (RG) Stew, and it caught my eye. Plastic rapid prototypes of parts are often created before making the real deal out of steel. Like a printer, SLA works layer by layer, but instead of using ink, it’s done using liquid UV-curable photopolymer, which is basically liquid plastic. Using a computer program you give the machine a blueprint (the “math data” in Stew speak) of what to make. A laser plots the dimensions layer by layer, heating up the plastic (aka curing the photopolymer) and creating a solid version of the 3D form designed in the computer.

Interestingly, on a side note, there is a whole community of DIY-ers who make 3D printers at home. These self-proclaimed makers are creating everything from door knobs to baby shoes. Currently this involves a little more know-how than Microsoft Word, but in theory someday, anyone may be able to print physical objects from their own computer. It seems like the stuff of the Jetsons, in the future you may be downloading everyday items, like dishes or even washing machine parts, the way you download iTunes. Need a toaster? There’s an app for that.

 

 

Over $137,000 in support

15 Feb

We continue to follow the story of Larry Nehasil, the fallen police officer who served Livonia for over 20 years.

Larry’s death has been met with an outcry of support for the family and many efforts to show appreciation for Larry as well as our Police force and Firemen. Even weeks after the tragedy, support for the family is still going strong:

  • Last week, a Livonia resident and former classmate of the officer, presented the idea that a park be named after Officer Nehasil.
  • Last Friday, February 4th, the Livonia Jaycees hosted an event at One Under Bar and Grill, with all proceeds benefitting the Nehasil Family. It was easy to see the community support from the many attendees to the multitudes of donated silent auction prizes.
  • Last Saturday, February 12th, more than 500 people attended the In Memory of a Hero benefit for Larry’s family.
  • This coming Friday, February 18th, at the Livonia, Brighton, and Canton Buffalo Wild Wings 20% of sales from all three stores will be donated to the memorial fund (promotion must be mentioned for donation to be counted).

The Larry Nehasil Memorial Fund has over $137,000 in it already, with many more fundraising efforts ongoing.  To get involved, click here.

Honoring Officer Nehasil

28 Jan

Last week,  Livonia Police Officer Larry Nehasil was killed in the line of duty, investigating a burglary.  Larry followed a suspect into the backyard, shots were fired, and both officer and suspect were found dead.

The loss of Officer Larry Nehasil has struck a heartstring with many in our community, and has reminded us that our police force takes the risk of life for us every time they go to work.

The community has reached out in a multitude of ways offering support to Larry’s family. Read about these heartwarming community efforts in today’s Observer.  Alpha is taking part in the efforts of the Livonia A.M. Rotary and Chamber of Commerce, who have worked together to organize the PATROL for Us (Police Always Taking Risk Of Life for Us) pledge-a-thon challenge. The pledge-a-thon is designed with a snowball effect in mind. Each participating organization impacts the amount the other organizations will donate, growing and growing a larger overall donation (to take part click here). Some organizations have already stepped up to the challenge. Among the first were Merribowl LanesMid-5 Auto Supply, and Big Boy.  In March, we will be wrapping up the Pledge-a-thon at Merribowl, where they will be hosting an event in support of the Larry Nehasil Memorial Fund.

We encourage you to get involved with these efforts and to keep a look out for more updates!

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