Science & Technology
Midland Communications Fosters Technology Adoption with K-12 Schools PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by AJ Odish   
Friday, 13 December 2013 10:40

Leading Unified Communications Provider Helps Education Leverage Today's Technology

DAVENPORT, IA - November 31st, 2013 - Midland Communications, a leading provider of unified communications, announced today that the company will be launching a program designed specifically for the education market. Today's teachers are utilizing outdated technology which is not only robbing them of much needed functionality but is also incurring unnecessary expenses during tough economic times. Midland Communications is actively spreading awareness about several of today's technology advancements which increase a school's capacity to collaborate, establish continuous communication channels and most importantly, improve overall campus security.  These developments are affecting the lives of students, teachers, faculty, administrators and parents alike.

"Today's school phone system is not like our parents' phone system," stated Jason Smith, Vice President of Midland Communications. "Today, we're able to provide educators with dramatically greater levels of communication and security than ever before. Frankly, this technology simply didn't exist in years past, and we're thrilled to finally be able to bring this caliber of technology to our school systems, for a cost that they can actually afford, especially since the features are much needed."

One of the growing concerns of schools across the nation is security. With the unfortunate growth of domestic terrorism, this issue of campus safety has come to the forefront of discussion. Recent advancements in technology have given Midland Communications the ability to increase overall campus security like never before. One example is the development in instant messaging capabilities. For instance, in the event of an intruder on campus, students and teachers are now able to receive instant notification on their phones and 911 lockdowns are immediately initiated. In the event of such an emergency, two-way classroom communication allows teachers to speak back and forth with a central office than waiting for help. Such security is invaluable and provides far greater levels of comfort for parents and local district officials of schools that are deploying this type of technology.

Another far less dramatic usage for the same instant mass messaging technology, is targeted group messaging. An example of this in action would be if a basketball game were being cancelled, all patrons, students, athletes, officials, parents and transportation could immediately be notified of the cancellation, instead of having to coordinate with everyone separately. Furthermore, these messaging functions also ensure that the sent messages are delivered, received and read by the intended recipient, adding a new element of clarity.

Another in-classroom example of new technology impacting educators is the fact that teachers can now eliminate the mundane repetitiveness of taking daily classroom attendance. It is now commonplace for students to have cell phones and teachers can now take attendance with the push of a button via cell phone. "There are plenty of features and advancements to examine that enable schools to communicate more effectively, enhance security, and save time for educators and students," added Mr. Smith.


Midland Communications began more than 60 years ago in 1946 as the Worldwide Marketing Arm of Victor-Animagraph Projectors. In 1977 a communications division was formed due to a partnership with NEC America. Today, As a distributor of NEC America, for 33 years, Midland Communications has a customer base of more than 3,000 satisfied customers that include general businesses, government agencies, Universities, colleges, hospitals, and hotels.

Midland provides a wide range of communication services including VOIP, PBX and key systems, Wide Area and Local Area networking, computers, Computer integration, voice mail, CCIS, and video conferencing and paging systems. Our philosophy is simple, provide quality products at a fair price, backed by an average emergency response time of twenty minutes, and the best service in the industry. For more information on Midland Communications, call (563) 326-1237 or visit


New TV Ad in Iowa Enlists Help to Save the Renewable Fuel Standard PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Jeremy Funk   
Friday, 06 December 2013 08:50

Message: Tell the EPA to Put Family Farmers and Rural Economies Ahead of Big Oil Profits Launched

Watch ‘Simple Choice’:

Washington DC – On the same day the EPA is holds its public hearing on the proposed rule 2014 Standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard Program, Americans United for Change announced it is soon hitting the airwaves in Iowa in defense of the RFS. “Simple Choice” will air primarily in the Des Moines media market in the heart of the country where real people and their lives and livelihoods are at stake, while big oil advertises to elites in the DC market.  The ad urges the millions of Americans who benefit from the RFS – from family farmers, ethanol industry workers, secondary industries, surrounding economies, to American consumers paying less at the pump – to tell the EPA to do what’s best for rural America, not Big Oil’s bottom line.


Viewers are encouraged to visit operated by Americans United ally, the 360,000+ supporter veterans group, and sign up to be part of a team of real Americans who will communicate the importance of renewable fuels and the RFS to our nation's leaders, including those who aspire to lead the country in the future. 

Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change: "The industry that brought us the Gulf oil spill loves the new RFS rule as it stands and would love nothing more than to keep rural America quiet until the ink is dry.   That's why it's incredibly important that Americans in the heartland make their voices heard, because the strength in numbers of those who benefit from the RFS can beat Big Oil's deep pockets.  If this misguided EPA rule is made permanent, the ripple effect cannot be overstated.  As the family farmer and ethanol industry goes, so goes the positive economic growth we've seen in rural America since the RFS was established, so goes the hundreds of thousands of American jobs the industry has created, so goes the availability of fuel 70 cents cheaper wholesale than gasoline, so goes the billion dollars American consumers save every week, so goes the gains made in combating climate change and reducing dependence on oil from unstable regions overseas.   Big Oil knows that if they're successful at eliminating their cheaper, cleaner, better performing competition, then anything goes when it comes to prices at the pump.  The oil industry doesn’t care what it takes to rake in more profits, even if it means sending more of our troops, and money and jobs overseas.  This is a whole new standard in greed: an industry that can reap $23 billion in profit in one day while shamelessly collecting tens of billions of dollars in tax payer subsidies, and still want more.”

“Simple Choice”


Americans United For Change

TV  (:30) 

It’s a pretty simple choice.

Small towns?

Or Big Oil?

Jobs right here at home?

Or more jobs sent overseas?

Our economy?

Or theirs?

Family farms?

Or oil company profits?

It’s America’s energy, and it’s America’s choice.

Tell the E-P-A to stand with Iowa farmers and small towns, not big oil.

Tell the E-P-A: Don’t gut the renewable fuel standard.

Visit Save The R-F-S dot com.



















11.22.13 Big Oil Reaps $23 Billion Windfall - In One Day

11.19.13, AUFC Join Forces Against Big Oil’s Scheme to Repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard


Don’t Believe Big Oil’s Lies About Renewable Fuels: They’ll Say Anything to Eliminate the Cheaper, Cleaner Competition

FACT: Ethanol Creates Hundreds of Thousands More Jobs and Means Less Pinch at the Pump

  • According to research conducted by economics professors at the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University: In 2011, ethanol reduced wholesale gasoline prices by an average of $1.09 per gallon. Regular grade gasoline prices averaged $3.52 per gallon in 2011, but would have been closer to $4.60 per gallon without the inclusion of more than 13 billion gallons of lower-priced ethanol.  Since 2000, ethanol has kept gasoline prices an average of $0.29 per gallon cheaper than they otherwise would have been.  Based on the $0.29-per-gallon average annual savings, ethanol has helped save American drivers and the economy more than $477 billion in gasoline expenditures since 2000 – an average of $39.8 billion a year.
  • Growth Energy: “The U.S. Department of Energy estimates for every one billion gallons of ethanol produced, 10,000 to 20,000 jobs are added to our domestic economy.  According to the most recent available data by the DOE, ethanol saves American consumers more than $35 billion per year at the pump.  In 2011 alone, the ethanol industry created and supported more than 400,000 new jobs across the country that cannot be exported or outsourced. In addition, ethanol production contributed $42.4 billion to the nation’s GDP and generated $4.3 billion in federal tax revenues. Ethanol production also plays a critical role in revitalizing America’s rural areas — some of the hardest hit by the economic downturn — by stimulating economic growth.”

FACT: Ethanol Has Almost No Impact on Food Prices

  • RFA: “A recent study commissioned by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) examined the impacts of ethanol policies, including the RFS and now-defunct blender’s tax credit, on world crop prices in the 2005-2010 timeframe. Using a partial equilibrium economic model, the study found corn prices in 2009/10 wouldn’t have been any different at all with or without the RFS in place. Corn prices would have been just 3.3% lower, on average, in the entire five-year study period without the RFS and ethanol blender’s tax credit, the study found. The effect of the RFS and other ethanol-related policies on other crops is even less…The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Michigan State University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are among the many other organizations that have similarly concluded the RFS has had only modest impacts on crop prices and no meaningful impact on retail-level food prices.”


FACT: Ethanol Benefits, Not Hurts the Environment

  • RFA: Using ethanol in place of gasoline helps to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up 30-50% given today's technology. Because ethanol is made from renewable, plant-based feedstocks, the CO2 released during a vehicle's fuel combustion is "recycled" during the growth of ethanol feedstocks. Independent analyses comparing ethanol and gasoline show ethanol reduces GHG emissions from 30-50%. A study published by Yale University's Journal of Industrial Ecology found that GHG emissions from ethanol produced at modern dry-mill facilities are "... equivalent to a 48 percent to 59 percent reduction compared to gasoline, a twofold to threefold greater reduction than reported in previous studies."  New technologies, additional feedstocks, and higher blends of ethanol including E85 all promise greater C02 reductions.
  • RFA:  In 2012, the 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol produced reduced greenhouse gas emissions from on-road vehicles by 33.4 million tons.  That's equivalent to removing 5.2 million cars and pickups (comparable to the number of registered vehicles in the state of Michigan) from the road for one year.

FACT:  Ethanol Does NOT Harm Your Gas Tank; Would NASCAR Have Driven 5 Million Miles on It if It Did?

  • U.S. Energy Department: The Energy Department conducted its own rigorous, thorough and peer-reviewed study of the impact of E15 fuel on current, conventional vehicle catalyst systems. The Energy Department study included an inspection of critical engine components, such as valves, and did not uncover unusual wear that would be expected to impact performance. Rather than using an aggressive test cycle intended to severely-stress valves, the Energy Department program was run using a cycle more closely resembling normal driving. The Energy Department testing program was run on standard gasoline, E10, E15, and E20. The Energy Department test program was comprised of 86 vehicles operated up to 120,000 miles each using an industry-standard EPA-defined test cycle (called the Standard Road Cycle). The resulting Energy Department data showed no statistically significant loss of vehicle performance (emissions, fuel economy, and maintenance issues) attributable to the use of E15 fuel compared to straight gasoline.
  • NASCAR: NASCAR announced November 12, 2013 that it surpassed more than five million competition miles across its three national series on Sunoco Green E15, a biofuel blended with 15 percent American Ethanol made from American-grown corn. The five million miles have been accumulated across practice, qualifying and racing laps dating to 2011 when the biofuel was introduced to the sport. … In 2011 NASCAR entered into a groundbreaking partnership with Sunoco and the American Ethanol industry, launching its long-term biofuels program to reduce emissions of the fuel used across its three national series. The transition to the biofuel reduced on-track carbon emissions and teams report an increase in horsepower.

Quad City Engineering and Science Council (QCESC) hosting Quad Cities FIRST® LEGO® League Regional Qualifier Tournaments PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Pat Barnes   
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 08:54

Local Children Apply Research and Robotics To Explore Natural Disasters with FIRST ® LEGO®
League “NATURE’S FURY℠” Challenge

The Quad City Engineering and Science Council (QCESC) is proud to host the FIRST® LEGO® League tournaments in the Quad Cities for the 5th year. In 2009, the first tournament was held at the Putnam Museum in Davenport with 13 teams. In 2013, there will be 109 FIRST LEGO League and Junior FIRST LEGO League teams participating with 700+ students at 3 separate events. The events are being supported by 150+ volunteers including from John Deere, Exelon, Alcoa, 3M, the Arsenal, and the National Weather Service.

Area children, ages 9 to 16 (9 to 14 in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico), are among the record 230,000 children around the world who have risen to the 2013 FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) “NATURE’S FURY℠” Challenge. To successfully complete the Challenge, teams of young people must build and program a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robot to complete missions on a thematic playing surface, and conduct research to discover what can be done when intense natural events meet the places people live, work, and play. Through hands-on experience and working in teams, children have a chance to explore a real-world issue to gain an appreciation for and interest in science and technology.

Teams of 2-10 local children go head to head, putting approximately 8 weeks of research, design, and programming to the test in a regional FLL Championship Tournament to win honors and recognition. The FLL season will culminate with the FLL World Festival at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, April 23-26, 2014. Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL®) children (ages 6-9) display LEGO models and research projects based on the “DISASTER BLASTER” Challenge theme. To learn more about the “NATURE’S FURY℠” Challenge, go to .


o December 7th 7:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. at John Deere Middle School (2035 11th Street, Moline, IL) with 26 teams. This event also includes a Junior FIRST® LEGO® League Expo

o December 14th and 15th in Davenport at the Putnam Museum with 32 teams each day along with 18 Junior FIRST LEGO League Teams at an expo.

The events are free and open to the public. More information is available at including pictures from past events. For further information, please contact Pat Barnes at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (563) 370-5513.

Background of FIRST® LEGO League:
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $16 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to

The LEGO Group is a privately-held firm based in Billund, Denmark. The LEGO Group is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities through high-quality, creatively educational play materials, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: "Only the best is good enough." For more information, visit FIRST®, the FIRST® logo, FIRST® Robotics Competition, FRC®, FIRST® Tech Challenge, FTC®, and Gracious Professionalism® are registered trademarks of the United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®). LEGO® and MINDSTORMS® are registered trademarks of the LEGO Group. FIRST® LEGO® League, FLL®, Junior FIRST® LEGO® League, Jr.FLL®, NATURE’S FURY®, and DISASTER BLASTER® are jointly held trademarks of FIRST and the LEGO Group. ©2013 FIRST ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® Quad City Engineering and Science Council:

The Quad City Engineering and Science Council (QCESC) is an umbrella organization representing 36 technical societies in the Quad City area with approximately 5,000 associated members. The QCESC is non-profit and is actively seeking new society members as well as additional corporate sponsors.

The QCESC is in it's 52nd year of operation and annually sponsors events such as the National Engineers Banquet, the Engineering and Scientist of The Year Awards, scholarships to local high school students, the President's Reception for local Society President's and provides judges and volunteers for the local STEM activities including FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge, Battle of the Bridges, QC Tech Challenge, Mousetrap Car Race, and the Kids Engineering Camp.

More information about the QCESC can be found at:

# # #

Quad City Science and Engineering Council Accepting Nominations for 2014 Awards Including Engineer, Scientist & STEM Teacher of the Year PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by David Smith   
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 08:48
The Quad City Engineering and Science Council (QCESC) originally established its awards program in 1966 to pay tribute and recognize engineering, science, and technical professionals whose exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions have made a lasting impact on technology, society, and their profession. This includes helping to promote and raise the awareness of engineering and science in our local communities.

The awards will be announced at the 52nd Annual National Engineers Week Banquet tentatively scheduled for February 20, 2014.

Due Date:

All applications must be received by Friday, January 31, 2014 via e-mail (preferred) or delivered

via normal mail to the PO Box. Nominations forms are available at our website,

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or

Mail: Quad City Engineering and Science Council

Attn: Awards Committee

PO Box 1166

Bettendorf, IA 52722

General Information:

The six award categories are:

a. Junior Engineer (less than 36 years old on December 31, 2013)

b. Junior Scientist (less than 36 years old on December 31, 2013)

c. Senior Engineer (36 years or greater on December 31, 2013)

d. Senior Scientist (36 years or greater on December 31, 2013)

e. Lifetime Achievement Award

f. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Teacher of the Year

Any technical society, business, organization, or individual may submit as many nominations as they wish. Multiple nominations of the same person will not enhance the chances of winning the award. Since points are awarded for each category, it’s important that the nomination be completely filled out with the information requested in the appropriate portion of the form provided in that location. Please avoid the use of acronyms or provide an explanation of each one used. An example nomination is available on the QCESC web site to serve as a guide.

3. The nomination package must include the following:

a. Completed nomination form found at . No additional material will be accepted.

b. One color or black and white photograph (head shot) in digital form for potential use with the

press release and for posting on the QCESC website.

4. Nominations for an award will be considered for two additional years if not selected in the initial



Connect Every Iowan committee releases recommendations in broadband study PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Tim Albrecht   
Monday, 02 December 2013 15:16

(DES MOINES) – The STEM Advisory Council’s Broadband Committee today released the findings of its study on how to improve broadband connectivity throughout Iowa as part of the Connect Every Iowan Initiative.

The governor and lieutenant governor launched the Connect Every Iowan effort in September with the goal of increasing the access, adoption, and use of broadband technology throughout Iowa. At that time the governor and lieutenant governor asked the existing STEM Advisory Council’s Broadband Committee to develop legislative recommendations to encourage broadband build-out throughout Iowa, particularly in unserved or underserved areas.

The recommendations can be found at

Included among the recommendations are the following:

·       Developing incentives to promote broadband build-out, including tax incentives, loans, grant programs, and regulatory reform.

·       Moving toward “ICN 2.0” by developing a wholesale model which would allow private providers to access unused ICN bandwidth.   Such a model would facilitate broadband build-out to unserved or underserved areas and significantly reduce the level of capital investment that private providers would be required to expend to replicate existing and available infrastructure.

·       Support programs which encourage adoption and use of broadband technology, including digital literacy training, workforce skills training, and continuation of the Connected Communities program.

·       Streamlined responsibility for broadband planning and coordination with the state chief information officer, or another existing agency.

“I want to thank the chairs and committee members for devoting their time and energy to this important project,” said Branstad. “We look forward to our continued work as we expand broadband access for every Iowan.”

The committee members are as follows:

Co-Chair John Carver, Superintendent, Howard-Winneshiek Community School District
Co-Chair Robert von Wolffradt, Chief Information Officer, State of Iowa
Amy Kuhlers, Program Manager, Connect Iowa
Robert Denson, President, Des Moines Area Community College
Dave Duncan, CEO, Iowa Communications Alliance
Philip Groner, Iowa Communication Network
Karl Hehr, Director of Technology Services, Ames Community School District
Galen Howsare, Chief Financial Officer, Iowa Association of School Boards
Karen Randall, Keystone Area Education Association
Michael Sadler, Assistant VP for Public Policy

Larry Siegel, Iowa School Finance and Information System Services

Jeff Weld, Executive Director, Governor’s STEM Advisory Council

Josh Byrnes, State Representative, District 14

Steve Sodders, State Senator, District 3

“We will consider these recommendations as we develop our budget and policy priorities,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. “We believe the committee outlined some innovative solutions that will increase access, adoption and use of broadband that will allow us to become the most connected state in the Midwest.”

“The Connect Every Iowan initiative has reached an important milestone with the on-time delivery of meaningful policy recommendations on broadband access, adoption, and use for the Governor to review.  We are honored to be a part of this committee, have gone to great lengths to obtain input from all sector stakeholders, and believe these to be sound recommendations worthy of support,” said Amy Kuhlers, Connect Iowa State Program Manager.

Currently Iowa ranks 11th out of 12 Midwestern states on the TechNet State Broadband Index, behind neighboring states such as Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri and Illinois. The index is compiled from three measures: The household adoption rate of broadband, network speeds of available broadband infrastructure, and the amount of jobs in information and communication technology industries that benefit from broadband technology.

Branstad and Reynolds added that they look forward to working with stakeholders throughout the legislative process.

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