Archives for posts with tag: Muscatine

HON is headquartered in Muscatine, IA

Muscatine, Iowa, home of HON headquarters – what’s it all about?

Honestly, much more than what meets the eye. While Muscatine is a town of only 22,000 people, it has a rich history and an intriguing economic background which it still maintains today. Muscatine is home to headquarters and manufacturing facilities of companies, such as HNI Corporation, HON, Allsteel, Heinz, Monsanto, Bridgestone, and Musco Lighting. These industry titans contribute to employment opportunities and economic growth today; however, it was something quite different that put Muscatine on the map many years ago…

“The Pearl of the Mississippi” was the nickname given to Muscatine in the late 1800’s when the McKee Button Factory, locally operated out of Muscatine (and producer of our Abound® Plains Tiles!), was a national leader in the production and supply of decorative pearl buttons. These buttons were harvested out of the Mississippi River. As success ensued in the early 1900’s, Muscatine was dubbed the “Pearl Button Capital of the World”. Interestingly, one of the old button manufacturing buildings has been repurposed and renovated as part of HON Headquarters.

In addition to the well-known companies, some notable figures also have roots deep in Muscatine, including Max Allen Collins, author of graphic novel Road to Perdition. You may have heard of a gentleman by the name of Mark Twain, who spent a stint of his writing career in Muscatine and had this to say about the scenery:

“And I remember Muscatine—still more pleasantly—for its summer sunsets. I have never seen any, on either side of the ocean that equaled them.”

What are some things you love about your company’s hometown?

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Beckey Bridge Muscatine, Iowa

Since its founding in 1944, HON has been headquartered in Muscatine, IA, a small city located along the Mississippi River. If you’ve had the chance to visit us in Muscatine, you may have had the opportunity to view a beautiful sunset (or sunrise, for the morning people out there!) over the river. In fact, Mark Twain, who briefly lived and worked in Muscatine, described the sunsets as follows: “I have never seen any, on either side of the ocean that equaled them. They used the broad smooth river as a canvas, and painted on it every imaginable dream of color, from the mottled daintiness and delicacies of the opal…to blinding purple and crimson conflagrations which were enchanting to the eye, but sharply tried at the same time.” Mark Twain was just one notable visitor to Muscatine, and the sunsets are just one of many things for which Muscatine is known.

Here are some other interesting facts you might not know about Muscatine, Iowa:

  1. There are no other cities in the United States named Muscatine.
  2. Muscatine is known as the “Pearl of the Mississippi” in reference to pearl button manufacturing that was once the central economic focus of the city.
  3. A wide variety of crops are grown in Muscatine, but arguably the most notable is the Muscatine Melon.
  4. HJ Heinz Company has a location in Muscatine that is the largest outside of their headquarters in Pittsburgh—check your Heinz products, you may see Muscatine as the producing location!
  5. Max Allan Collins is from Muscatine. You may know him as the author of Road to Perdition.
  6. Muscatine’s two national historic districts, Downtown and West Hill, are  listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  7. Maxwell Stanley, co-founder of HON, was also a founder of Stanley Consultants, the Stanley Foundation, and was a delegate to the United Nations.

Muscatine may not be all that big, but The HON Company is proud to be headquartered in a city that’s home to a variety of industries, historical significance, and notable residents. If you haven’t had the chance to visit us at HON Headquarters, please do! If you have been here already, what was your favorite part about Muscatine?

1944 collage

What do Diana Ross, Michael Douglas, Stockard Channing, George Lucas, Danny DeVito, and HON all have in common? They all turn 70 this year!

With World War II drawing to a close, our founder C. Maxwell Stanley foresaw a post-war housing boom. He had the idea to start a manufacturing company that would put returning G.I.s to work making steel kitchen cabinets for use in new homes. He invited his brother-in-law, Clement T. Hanson, a successful advertising executive, and H. Wood Miller, an industrial designer, to go into business with him. They called their business “Home-O-Nize,” and they incorporated in 1944.

Before we fast forward 70 years later, let’s take a quick look back at 1944 (it turns out we were in good company!):

  • #1 Song: “Swinging on a Star” by Bing Crosby
  • Best Picture at the 16th Academy Awards®: Casablanca
  • #1 Book: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • TIME Magazine® Man of the Year: Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Famous Entertainers: Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall, Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Bob Hope, Katharine Hepburn, etc.
  • Famous Musicians: Benny Goodman, The Andrews Sisters, Frank Miller, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, etc.
  • World Series Champions: St. Louis Cardinals
  • NFL Champions: Green Bay Packers
  • Wildly popular board game, Clue®, is born!
  • U.S. Forest Service creates its beloved Smokey Bear
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt seeks his 4th term in office

12 Presidents, 7 decades, and only 3 logo changes later – we’ve certainly come a long way. A philosophy of fairness, honesty, integrity, and respect have made us a leader in workplace furniture. Every moment is an opportunity to build momentum. We’ve seized each and every one to build a legacy you can be proud of and to prepare for a future that keeps getting brighter. HON is ready.

Cheers to another 70 years, and happy birthday to those that share our birthday year!

sticky notes

It’s Monday morning and the amount of projects you have to get done this week or number of meetings you have to attend is paralyzing. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but there are days you come into work and may not know where to start. This causes you to spin your wheels wasting valuable time. Try some of these strategies to get your projects and tasks organized.

Note reminders – This is a popular way to create a list or reminders of tasks to do. The physical sticky notes are nice to stick to a notebook, on a wall by your desk or even on your computer monitor to serve as an ever-present reminder of things that need to be done. They can be easily removed, added to or, my personal favorite, checked off to show what has been completed. However, in the age of technology, if you prefer not to have sticky notes draped around your workspace, most computers offer note programs that allow you to post a digital sticky note onto your desktop.

Planner or paper calendar –A planner or calendar can be carried with you into a meeting or in your workbag, allowing you to easily access and visualize deadlines or timelines. With a range of sizes to chose from, physical planners and calendars give you ample opportunity to organize important dates.

Email calendar & tasks synced to your phone – An email calendar is a great way to set reminders at specific times when a meeting or task due date are coming up. Additionally, we all are typically carrying our phones with us, so having the ability to sync our calendar straight to our phone gives us the ability to get reminders on the go.

Files for each customer or client you work with – As you work with customers and clients, the information you share with each other grows exponentially. Keeping this information organized can begin to become difficult. To keep this wealth of information organized, create a personal file for each of these customers, both in a file cabinet and digitally. This way when something from a previous project is referenced, you can quickly pull out their file and find what you need.

A final note on organizing tasks; give realistic timeframes. If you look at your sticky note or calendar and see a particular time is busy, express this and work to set a timeline that can be accomplished. At times, you may not be able to adjust a deadline, so work on a priority basis and complete the tasks with the most priority first. However, if there is flexibility, give a realistic timeline, because it’s better to deliver before the deadline than late.

The key to staying organized is to find what works for you and follow it – even if your workstation is covered in neon sticky notes.

What organization strategies do you use to stay ahead of the game?

Vacation-circled-on-calendar-jpg

It is a cold January evening in Iowa as I begin to write this post and my mind keeps wandering to my upcoming vacation.  My best friend is getting married at Disney World and I will be out of the office for a full week.  I noticed a couple of hours ago that I am quite calm.  This is a little troubling to me because it is quite different from the frantic way I usually get everything accomplished in the three days before going on vacation.  So this begs the question, “what is different this time?”

Upon reflecting, I have identified what I believe are the three contributing factors to my Zen-like state. Try using these tactics next time you plan to leave the office for a planned extended period of time:

Advance warning: My first step in preparing to be gone actually started several weeks ago.  This is when I blocked off my calendar, built my upcoming absence into project timelines, and began mentioning the dates I would be unavailable to the people I work with the most.  This advance communication has enabled everyone to plan accordingly.

Leave instructions:  My mom is a retired English teacher and I remember her writing copious notes for her substitute each time she had a planned absence.  While this may seem like a lot of work upfront, it lessened the chance that she was going to return to chaos.  I believe that we can be too focused on what must get done before leaving on vacation and not give enough thought to what is going to happen while we are gone.  This is why I have a project status sheet completed that gives a brief overview and also outlines the next steps.  I have also have scheduled a meeting on Friday to review this with my team and my manager.  This way, projects can keep moving and I will hopefully have fewer urgent requests when I return.

Remind Yourself that Vacations Help You Rest: One of my good friends has two-year-old triplets and he always struggles with taking time for himself.  He explained that he and his wife work through this by reminding each other that they are better parents after occasionally taking time for themselves.  I am not saying that being away from your family is the same as being away from work, but I do believe that the same concept can apply.  I know that I will come back from vacation refreshed and energized to jump back into my work.

I hope that you can use these tips before your next vacation to prepare yourself for a relaxing time.  And since I know you’ve been wondering . . . No, Mickey Mouse will not be attending my friend’s wedding, but we will meet him at a character brunch the next morning.

How do you set yourself up for a worry-free vacation?

Have you ever wondered why money is green or why school buses are yellow? You may be surprised to learn that there is science, not just personal preference, behind these color choices.  Color goes deeper than just all those aisles of paint chips at the home improvement store.  Color has an effect on us and our environment whether we realize it or not.

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Yellow can raise spirits and self-confidence.  It is generally happy and boosts creativity.  Yellow can help clear your head, allowing you to make good decisions and be organized.  It is also a universal sign of caution (i.e. school buses and crime scene tape).

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Red, the color of love, can raise blood pressure, stimulate the adrenal glands and increase your appetite.  Red can also incite feelings of anger or aggression.  Not to worry though, pink has the opposite effect as it is calming and nurturing.

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Olive Green can be associated with rot and can make us feel sick, but change the shade and you have a whole different effect.  Green can be calming and help us connect with nature.

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Blue is usually thought of as a depressing color, but this is only in the darker shades.  Lighten it up and it can help lower blood pressure and eliminate insomnia.

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We all know that white is the color of purity and cleanliness, but it can also aid our mental clarity and help us get a fresh start.  While these are certainly good things, white can also make us feel cold and isolated.

The next time you are creating a new workspace, renovating your office or just adding some decorations to your desk, consider the psychology behind your color choices.

What colors dominate your office?

Self-expression. What we choose to surround ourselves with makes us who we are. Hairstyle, car, and preferred Starbucks® beverage are all fine examples. I, for example, model a past the shoulders, very straight hairdo, drive a Black Ford® Fusion, and sip a Valencia Orange Starbucks Refresher™ (or a grande Blonde roast, room for cream will do quite nicely as well). I don’t know what exactly that says about me, but there you have it.

Equally as telling, is what writing utensil you choose to use. The personality of a fountain pen user vs. a Sharpie® fan may differ tremendously. How do you choose to express yourself? Read below to find out!

*Note: Statements below are the sole opinions of the author.

Fountain Pen
Fountain Pen: Elegant and sophisticated – that is what you are. You prefer a small taste of luxury in your work day. The fountain pen allows you a greater degree of personalization than your average ballpoint pen. You enjoy the subtleties of calligraphy and relish the extra flourish of a well-crafted signature. You may find that a pocket protector will serve you well.

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