By on June 29th, 2015 | Comment on this post

This post is sponsored by Drexel University.

 Transitioning from a horizontal world of technical expertise to one of business management is no small feat for engineers. John Via, director of engineering management at Drexel University, outlines why many engineers can become successful business leaders and what they will need in order to successfully make the transition.

Engineers are naturally technical, innovative thinkers and methodical problem solvers. How do these skills enable them to be effective leaders?

 If you look at Harvard Business Review’s Best Performing CEOs, you will see that 24 out of 100 are engineers. In both engineering and non-engineering firms, executives with a background in engineering tend to excel because their creativity and practical, pragmatic approach lends itself well to leadership positions.

What soft skills do engineering leaders need?

 While engineering leaders need the same soft skills as any other leaders, there are subtle differences. First, strong communication is critical in leadership and for engineers; it’s about organization and methodology.…

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By on June 29th, 2015 | Comment on this post

Two years ago, bean chips were one of the hottest snack foods at the Summer Fancy Food Show. Now we’re seeing the actual roasted chickpeas, the latest step in the evolution toward healthier, more natural snacks, said Louise Kramer, communications director for the Specialty Food Association.

“Retailers want what’s new and healthy, less-processed and with simple ingredients,” she said. “And people want food with stories behind them. The products have to talk themselves off the shelves.”

U.S. specialty food sales hit a record $109 billion in retail and foodservice channels last year, and there’s no shortage of stories in the new-brand pavilion at the New York City show, which started Sunday and runs through Tuesday, from a pair of nuclear power plant engineers who created an unsweetened carbonated tea brand to a mom with two sets of twins who launched a vegetarian soup business.

Gina Stryker began making vegetarian food 12 years ago for her yoga-instructor husband’s retreats, and eventually the students told Stryker she should bottle and sell her soups.…

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By Kenneth Wilson on June 29th, 2015 | Comment on this post

textbooksSmartBlog on Education will highlight summer learning and enrichment for educators during June. In this post, Kenneth Wilson, director of staff development and teacher evaluation for a South Carolina district, shares his district’s model for summer PD.

With a new school year quickly approaching, it’s my job as director of Staff Development and Teacher Evaluation to make sure our staff has the opportunity to continue their professional development throughout the summer months. Our goal is to provide meaningful PD that a large number of staff members find valuable. One of the best ways to ensure that these offerings are effective and successful is to use data and technology to inform your planning strategy. Here are three ways we put data and technology to good use when building our PD programs.

Survey data

Surveys are a great way to get feedback from your staff and learn about the success of your previous PD offerings.…

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By on June 26th, 2015 | Comment on this post

badgeSmartBlog on Education’s monthly content award recognizes content written by educators, for educators that inspires readers to engage, innovate and discuss.

SmartBrief Education editors and writers sift through thousands of sources each day, reading a variety of content, including blogs and commentaries written by you and your peers.

In an effort to recognize some of the innovative voices in the field, we’ve asked our team to nominate their favorite content each month from which we’ll choose two winners for the Editor’s Choice Content Award. These award winners are then in the running for our annual Educators’ Choice Award.

Meet this month’s winners:

May winners:

April winners:

By on June 26th, 2015 | Comment on this post

Security, simplifying the user experience and improving the IT and end user relationship were among the top themes discussed at IMCCA’s “UCC Summit 2015: State of the Industry Lunch and Learn” panel event at this year’s Infocomm conference in Orlando, Fl. The 10-member panel included executives from Acano, AVI-SPL, Cisco, Dimension Data, Jupiter, Kraymer, Microsoft, PEXIP, Polycom, Revo Labs, Smart Technologies and Videxio. The discussion, moderated by IMCCA Chairperson Emeritus Ann Earon, offered these insights on unified communications (UC) and collaboration in the enterprise.

Unified communications is an outcome, not a technology. Moving organizations toward a smarter, better use of UC and collaboration means changing their perceptions of these approaches, said Scott Cruikshank, director of communications at Dimension Data. “UC is not a technology—it’s an outcome,” explained Cruikshank. “It’s an application. The more we educate customers in the industry to get them to start thinking that way, we’ll have more success.”

When it comes to security, follow the leaders.

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