Monday, October 17, 2011

Monsters of Design Award Winner

Last Friday, DI won a Monsters of Design Award for the HyVee Hot Zone Project at Arrowhead Stadium.  This project was in collaboration with Populous in the Large Group Category.

The Hy-Vee Hot Zone was to be a built extension of the Hy-Vee brand as a destination
location for fans and has been a huge success. 

It starts with brainstorming, collaboration and sketches:

The Hotzone...The concourse ceiling is outfitted with illuminated red ovals and infrared heaters
that connect the space to the sport

 The stage and the band that brings you in from the tailgate and into a fan experience
”Mobile Hotzone” - the ultimate tailgating & game viewing experience...

It was a great night and we appreciate the recognition by the Young Architects Forum and the AIA. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DI Team Supports Trolley Run

Team DI took to the streets, with over 11,000 other runners, for Kansas City's Trolley Run this past Sunday morning. Although our team didn't break any records, we did manage to cross the finish line to receive our donut and a beer.

Incriminating race photos have not been posted yet...but we're sure they are soon to come!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dimensional Innovations Downtown Library Book Bindings Featured on MSN Homepage

The Kansas City downtown library parking garage book bindings seem to always pop up on the world's quirkiest of lists - and today is no different as it appears on the homepage as one of the world's most bizarre buildings. Although this renowned project was completed over seven years ago, the Kansas City library parking garage book bindings still stands as one of Dimensional Innovation's most recognizable projects. Image and story are number 2 of 5 at the top of the homepage.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jim's Climb 4 SMA

I returned home on January 24th after successfully summiting Aconcagua. Good food, a warm bed, clean clothes and showering had been put on hold for the past 21 days and it was a delight to back among the things we so take for granted.

The trip ended up being a psychological challenge every bit as much as physical. Hiking almost 40 miles in the first three days, and that was just to reach base camp. Then as we began climbing we used a “carry and move” process for ascending the mountain. The first day was the “carry”. We would “carry” approximately half our gear up to the next camp and “cache” it, then descend back down to the camp below. This “climb high and sleep low” was a key component of our acclimatization. The following day we would pack up the remainder of our gear and “move” to the next camp. This process was absolutely necessary because in the beginning our packs would have weighed more than 90 pounds. As it was, 45 lb. packs were plenty heavy at those altitudes. The mental part was having to fight the battle twice to achieve the next camp. The “carry and move” process was repeated three times as we ascended to Camps 1,2 & High Camp. We began the climb at roughly 8,000’ climbing to 22,830’. Since we climbed from Base Camp to High Camp twice, in total we climbed about 21,000 vertical feet.

An average day, we would climb 2,000’ of elevation and do so in 5 or 6 hour long “pitches”. On “carry” days, we then would descend back down in about 1/3 – 1Ž2 the time. It made for 6 – 9 hours per day of extremely vigorous exercise. For me, I didn’t have too much problem climbing. It was descending that really wore me out. It was harder on my joints and muscles. That’s why I grew to like “move” days better. Even though we had to set up our tents and make camp, I preferred it to descending back to the lower camp.

Aconcagua is a very dry, rocky, and completely void of plant or animal life once you get above base camp. You might as well be on Mars. While there are many beautiful views of distant peaks, ridges, glaciers, and the like, most of your day is spent looking at the ground directly below your feet. You spend hours focusing on the climber’s feet ahead of you, mimicking their steps and trying to stay in precise rhythm with them. Physically, you’re pretty much at your “redline”. Your focusing on your breathing and foot placement to not miss a step and fall behind. When the air is that thin, slipping just one step, takes a lot of effort to catch back up. Literally, I would spend an entire “pitch” and only look up two or three times. No way do you have time to stop and take a picture.

We battled four of the nights in very tough windstorms. After working that hard to climb, crawl into you sleeping bag exhausted, and then be greeted by a howling windstorm all night was not fun. At times, we had to sit up and brace the tent to keep it from collapsing. In fact, several tents from other groups did collapse with those folks having to pile in with others in their group. The flapping and whipping of the tent fabric kept us all awake for most of the night during these storms.

After we made our “move” to high camp at just below 20,000’, it was very cold and windy. The weather reports indicated that we were in for another windy night and our prospects for a summit attempt the next morning were looking dim. That meant that we would have to spend another day and night at that altitude. The entire time we were on the mountain, our guide Larry, told us to not put much stock in the weather reports. The jet stream often made it path directly over the mountain and weather was just too unpredictable to count on. I told my tent mates to stay positive and be prepared to climb because I had a good feeling. We were all so exhausted that we would have been happy to just stay in our bags and sleep it out.

Sure enough, about 6 am, we heard our guides telling us to get up and get ready. Already, other groups had started up the mountain. It was so damn cold, that I could not tie the laces on my boots. Aike, the assistant guide had to put on my crampons. But we were on our way. I can tell you from climbing four other mountains, that the first 30 minutes of summit day are filled with anxiety and fear. Your mind is finally waking up to the fact that your physical body has somehow willed itself toward the summit in spite of all of the logical and rational arguments your mind has been making. “Holly shit Batman! We’re really going to do this!” Your heart starts pounding, you can’t catch your breath, you don’t look up. You don’t want to see how far you have to go. “It’s still dark!” “For crying out loud, why am I doing this?” Then after about 30 minutes you calm down, focus on your breathing, focus on your steps, find your rhythm and settle into your groove. You try not to think that you’ve been exhausted climbing six hours a day and now today your going to climb ten hours and atmuch higher altitudes.

Summit day for me was like a two-way conversation with the two of me. One of me was determined focused and in the groove. Fearless, calm, & positive. The other me was cooking up creative and clever ways I could call it quits and still save face. Yeah, I probably considered quitting about 50 times that day. My lungs were working at capacity, my legs at times were not placing my feet securely, and I was convincing myself that I would not have enough energy or strength to get “down”. I am not an overly religious person, but I said at least 51 prayers that day. I prayed for God to give me the “strength, courage, lungs, and legs” to make the summit and return. I was on a mission to Climb4SMA. I needed to summit. I reminded myself many times that Jadon spends every day of his life fighting for his breath. And he does it with a smile on his face. I told myself if he can find the strength, I can take one more step. The last 100 meters from the summit, one of our team turned around. As crazy as that seems, I understood and did not judge him. I was taking four breaths per step. It took that many lungful’s of air to get sufficient oxygen to my legs for another step.

Jadon’s spirit was my constant companion in that last hour. Reaching the summit a wave of emotion came over me. I had just summited; a huge personal achievement but more importantly, I was now able to show the banner of all the generous companies and individuals who joined Tony, Kristin, Jadon, and me in raising more than $45,000 to help find a cure forSpinal Muscular Atrophy. I felt good that I was able to keep my promise and deliver a summit and help generate more awareness towards ending SMA. I am deeply appreciative to all the support I received and thank everyone who helped us raise the money.

Climb4SMA is not over. Next June, my partner Tucker, Justin our VP of Sales, Garrett, my son-in-law, and Bill Spillar with JE Dunn will climb Mt. Rainier. Of course, Climb4SMA will be a part of that event and we will extend opportunities for others to contribute.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We have a SUMMIT!!!

Jim Baker, DI CEO, was able to summit Mt. Aconcagua last week. The fight against SMA has now been taken to 22,840' above sea level. What an amazing journey and amazing clients, vendors and friends who have have helped support the Climb for SMA.

World's Largest Hockey Mask Installed for Pittsburgh Penguins

Check out this link to see a video of the world's largest hockey mask build by Dimensional Innovations and installed at the new Consol Energy Center for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins hired a local Pittsburgh artist to create artwork on the exterior of the mask.

Monday, January 10, 2011

AMC's Cimena Suites Roll Out

AMC's Dine In Theatres lead the way in the new age of the movie going experience. Dimensional Innovations designed and fabricated the tray table system which AMC is rolling out to numerous theaters as they add Cinemas Suites. Check out this article to see one of the newest installations and this new theater industry trend.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pittsburgh Penguins hockey mask submitted for Guinness Book of World Records

Not only do we build cool stuff but often times we also build very large stuff. Recently we shipped out a replica of a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey mask which was 8' x 12'. The element, which was sponsored by Bayer plastics, was designed for fans to be able to walk inside and take pictures. The mask was constructed of hard coated foam inside and out with face constructed of bent tubular aluminum. The mask is currently being submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Stay tuned for a larger than life hockey stick that is still in production...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CEO Takes SMA Fight to a New Height

Dimensional Innovations CEO, Jim Baker, has created the Climb 4 SMA to raise awareness and funds for Spinal Muscular Atrophy research. Jim will climb Mount Aconcagua in Argentina in January with the goal of raising $50,000 leading up to his climb. The climb was created in honor of Jadon Burks, the son of a Tony Burks, an employee of Dimensional Innovations. Jadon was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at six weeks old. SMA is the number one genetic killer of children under two years old. Jim was so inspired by the Burks' courage and passion to fight this disease that he wanted to help. He chose to combine his passion for mountain climbing with his desire to help Jadon and other children with SMA. Below is a link to a news story feature on Jadon and the climb.

Contact Jim Baker or Jennifer Corwin at 913-384-3488-2126 for further questions or opportunities to get involved.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Populous and Dimensional Innovations design for a cause

As part of the DIFFA fundraising even this past weekend, Populous and Dimensional Innovations teamed up to create a Wonderland themed table. Our teams had a great time putting this project together; we hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dimensional Innovations honored with Most Admired Alumni Award

Dimensional Innovations was honored last night by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and Intrust Bank as the Most Admired Alumni from the Top 10 Small Business from the past 24 years. DI was honored to receive this award among a prestigious group other Top 10 Small Business Companies. Thank you to all of our clients who support our company and have allowed us to succeed as a small business in Kansas City!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sport Business Journal Features DI

Dimensional Innovations was featured in the Sports Business Journal this week in the article Sponsor Integration Takes flight. Justin Wood, VP of Business Development, was sited for his extensive work in sponsorships with HyVee at Arrowhead Stadium and also with the Pittsburg Penguins.

Read Article

Congressman Moran Tours DI

After Jim Baker, CEO, made a trip to Washington last month to meet with Congressman Moran to discuss continued funding and support of the Mid America Manufacturing Center (MAMTC), Moran asked to visit Dimensional Innovations. Today, Moran toured the company and was able to experience first-hand how MAMTC has positively impacted our operation.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

From Washington

Jim Baker, Dimensional Innovations' CEO, returned from Washington this week after meeting with our Kansas Senators and Congressmen to lend his support for continued funding of The Mid America Manufacturing Center (MAMTC). It was a great opportunity for him to meet our legislators and explain what an important role MAMTC provides to manufacturers and lobby for their continued support of the program.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dimensional Innovations donates solid surface drink rail to Kemper Crossroads

Dimensional Innovations in collaboration with CORIAN, DuPont and Colt Industries donated their time and materials to create this 30 feet long by 18 inches wide drink rail for the AIA Design Week Party. This LED backlit illuminated piece was constructed from 1/2 inch thick Glacier Ice Corian. This piece transformed a white wall into a functional food and drink rail as well as adding visual depth to the space.

Click here to learn more about our new Solid Surface Division.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dimensional Innovations wins awards for Signs of the Times

Dimensional Innovations won First Place, Exhibit Graphics - University of Kansas Hall of fame and Second Place, Sign Systems - AMC Mainstreet Theatre. Look for these write-ups in the upcoming Signs of the Times Magazine.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Jim Baker Appointed to MAMTC Board of Directors

December 22, 2009 — Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (MAMTC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Jim Baker of Dimensional Innovations (DI) to its Board of Directors. Baker is the CEO for Dimensional Innovations, an award-winning, multi-disciplinary firm that creates custom installations for businesses throughout the United States. DI has worked in many market segments including: cinemas, casinos, sports facilities, retailers, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, entertainment venues, museums, zoos, libraries and government. “Jim will be a great asset to our organization,” said MAMTC CEO Sandy Johnson. “He understands the challenges manufacturers are facing firsthand and has created a very dynamic successful business,” continued Johnson. “His expertise will be invaluable to us as we continue to work to help Kansas manufacturers grow.” Headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (MAMTC), a not-for-profit organization, has a proven track record of improving performance and enhancing profitability of process-driven businesses in Kansas. With many in-house experts and services providing guidance in Lean Enterprise, product development and testing, quality management/ISO/AS, Six Sigma and more, MAMTC has helped clients increase profitability and decrease costs while creating and retaining thousands of jobs. MAMTC is an affiliate of the NIST-MEP network and the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation. For more information, visit

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Core77 lists DI in its favorites from 2009

Dimensional Innovations made the list for this year's Best of Core77 - their favorites from 2009, for the Kansas City Public Library Garage Book Bindings.

Check it out.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Take a look at last year's Beer Wood Baby (Beer, Pinewood Derby, Baby Shower) event to get a glimpse of what's to come at the DI Derby for SMA Friday, November 13th.

Join us this year for the DI DERBY for SMA.

Tony Burks is a friend and team member of Dimensional Innovations. His son, Jadon, was recently diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1. This degenerative neurological disease does not allow the body to produce a certain protein required for muscle production and is the #1 deadliest genetic disease of children under the age of 2. There is no cure for SMA and no proven treatments to help slow the progression of the disease. To look at Jadon, you would never know he had SMA - he always has a smile on his face and loves to "talk" to you.

The DI Pinewood Derby for SMA is a benefit to assist with the uninsured portion of Jadon's medical expenses as well as benefit the Families of SMA organization (

This will be a great event for a great cause. We hope you can join us.

Please contact Jennifer Corwin for more information. 913-744-2126 or

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Truck Stop Renovation

Part of what we love about our jobs at DI is the fact that every day we get to do something different. Each day there is a new project with a a challenge we have never faced before. One of our latest projects is no different (but it is very different)! Our team at Dimensional Innovations is in the final weeks of constructing a train for a transportation themed restaurant and truck stop in Alabama. The train we are building will be crashed into the side of the truck stop and will function and as restaurant, Derailed Diner. The interior of the truck stop also includes varying forms of themed transportation.

Check back to see the final installation.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Because we love donuts?

Friday mornings at DI always begin with a snack and socializing. However, this Friday morning we decided to raise the bar with a powdered sugar donut eating contest. Why? Because it seemed like a good idea...
Eight contestants, five minutes and 144 donuts later -

Jason Rucker- 27 donuts
Jason Heath - 25 donuts
David Ortiz - 20 donuts
Trent Zagorsky - 20 donuts
Chadd Lowderman - 17 donuts
Adam Stevens - 14 donuts
Justin Wood - 11 donuts
Monty Colvin - 10 donuts

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What happens when rock star design goes too far?

When you see some things for the first time they just make your stomach turn...why mess with a good thing and try to over style something that is sacred and should be left alone. Well I guess the answer lies in the shapes of Budweiser, red stripe, mickey's big mouth, and the thousands of other choices we are fortunate enough to have. In their market launch I can almost hear the crying of the loyal followers thinking the world is ending with the introduction of a new shaped bottle.
Soon this will look like it fits in as well, after all Stark designed it.
On the other hand when you see something that needed some help and it turned out just right you also know it....

Monday, July 20, 2009

DI’s CEO Jim Baker Climbs Kilimanjaro

Jim just returned from making his second summit of Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain at 19,340’. After first climbing Kili in 2007, Jim returned for a second time joined by his son-in-law Garrett, one of his best friends Kent Farney and his two sons. “This time, we took the longest and most difficult route.” The eight day trip included sleeping four nights nights above 16,000’ with the final night at 18,700’. “It’s hard to describe the satisfaction and exhilaration of climbing Kilimanjaro. Physically, it is the most demanding thing I’ve ever done, but the beauty and incredible views make it all worthwhile”.

We then spent five days on a photo safari touring Lake Manyara, The Serengeti, and Ngorongoro crater. We were able to get up close and personal with lions, cheetas, leopards, elephants, hippos, giraffes, and just about every other African animal you can imagine.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Royals Hall of Fame Opens Today

Here's a sneak peak of the No. 5 display as it was installed this week at the Royals Hall of Fame. The ribbon cutting is this afternoon at 4pm. Check back to see final installation photos.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Premium Innovation Award

Our team at DI along with the Indianapolis Colts was presented the Premium Innovation Award this month at the Association of Luxury Suite Directors annual Conference and Tradeshow for our interactive Sprint East Gate installation at the new Lucas Oil Stadium. Click here to view information, images and video of the project.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Royals Hall of Fame Blog

The Kansas City Royals blogged this week about the work we are doing at the Royals Hall of Fame which will open to the public July 17th. Click here to check out their photos. Once the protective case you see in their picture is gone, we promise you'll want to check back to see the final result.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Shift in Value

Times have changed. As we all know, the economy has changed the way we all do business at a very fast pace. I’m sure all of us have sat wondering…what is next? We recently attended the SEGD Design Conference and heard a speaker say what used to be: “speed, quality, and price, pick two,” has changed to “speed, quality, price, pick three.” There is no question this is true. Clients are demanding better pricing, better design, better quality and they want it done on shorter timelines. So is our industry up for it? All clients are getting more pressure than ever to make sure they are getting the best value. Is that value being delivered?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Value of Design?

“Wait a minute, Doc. Ah…are you telling me that you built a time machine out of a DeLorean?”

“The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine, why not do it with some style?”

Ok…so if you don’t know where these quotes came from, you need to zoom back to 1985 and watch ‘Back to the Future’ (again). Being an 11-year-old boy at the time, it was one of those amazing films that molded me into the industrial designer I am today. Even then, I understood that ‘style’ helped influence the experience of the film. Imagine how boring it would be if the time machine looked like a hot-wired lunch box? Marty McFly would not have crashed into the barn claiming to be Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan. The DeLorean set the pace, and it was one of the key reasons the film was a success.

So it’s obvious that design influences the ‘cool’ factor, but does it contain measure able value on other levels? It’s a question that continues to stump designers and big business alike. Most designers claim that you can’t, at least not in any standardized way. No one seems to agree weather design metrics are meaningful, and if so, which ones to use. The hard part is explaining what design is (and what it is worth) in terms executive management can understand. It can be frustrating for everyone involved. Designers see themselves as true visionaries, or problem-solvers, not cubical-dwelling mathematicians. Yet management finds it hard to justify something they can’t formulate. We would all love to say, “Great design equals this much profit.” In order to bridge this gap, it’s important for designers to educate themselves about business issues.

With this in mind, it’s very important to have a clear design strategy. It’s not good enough to expect clients to believe that a great design will shoot unbelievable amounts of cash into their wallets. It’s important to constantly use the growing body of data that shows how design can have a positive impact on business. I have found that the best way to communicate this is by example. Being a big fan of 3D animation, I always like to use the example of Monsters Vs. Aliens. In a highly competitive 3D movie market, Dreamworks invested an additional 13 million to make their latest 3D film ‘3-D’, complete with 3-D glasses to improve the moviegoers’ experience. The 3D experience had a ticket price of $3-$5 more than a traditional ticket, and 56% of their total ticket sales were for 3-D tickets. Does this mean moviegoers were willing to pay more for a special experience that they could not get at home?....absolutely.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Inspiring Students

Last month DI opened its doors to the youth of the Kansas City area. We have been trying to do our part in inspiring students to seek a career in manufacturing by showing them what really happens in a firm like ours. Ben Brown, DI engineering manager, has been leading the effort with several initiatives.
The engineering and manufacturing team ran a half day session where students and teachers from schools in the Shawnee Mission School District came in to try their hands at manufacturing. Students and teachers alike had the opportunity to make a small assembly using DI engineering CAD software and the manufacturing computer controlled routers. The aim of the session was to show students how they could be successful in whatever career they choose by developing their soft skills alongside technical skills.
The day was a great success and we are hoping to do more in the future.

Check out the article written by the Overland Park Economic Development Council about Dimensional Innovations partnership with the Shawnee Mission Schools (p.11)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Intelligent manufacturing in Architecture

Is it possible to create unique, beautiful structures in a fast and efficient manner? If you look at the world of architecture, most likely, the answer to that question would be no. Most new builds are assembled incrementally and entirely on site.

However if we look at the world of manufacturing, we can see that it is possible to create highly customised products on a production line. This can be achieved by decentralising the assembly process. Just look at the range of options available when you buy a new car. There are hundreds of possible configurations. If each car had to be built from scratch to order, auto manufacturers wouldn't be able to offer this service. It would take too long and be too costly. Instead they make the car up of many modules which are often subcontracted to other specialist manufacturers. These can then be combined in many different configurations on the assembly line as orders come in. This speeds up the process and enables more flexibility.

With a product as complex as a car (or a building) this is only made possible by the use of design software. This software allows products to be built virtually, with part and module interfaces modelled well in advance of assembly.

Here's a great example of decentralised manufacture in the building industry:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Do you like cars? Do you like beer? Do you like explosions? A little pork butt? Top it off with a few baby showers and you got Dimensional Innovations’ 2009 BEER WOOD BABY event on May 15th.

For the second year in a row, DI will be having its employee Pine Wood Derby; this year with a “Traditional Regulations” race and the new “Open Division” race. In the Open Division anything goes!!!!!!! (almost).

Same as last year, the expert chefs within each department will be suiting up in the early morning hours to face off on who makes the best BBQ. Same as last year there will be two categories “Pork” and “Not Pork”.

Also, we are planning a baby shower for Trent Zagorsky – Project Manager, Tony Burks – Project Manager, Ben Brown – Engineering Manger, and Brian Georgie – Production Supervisor; all key members of the DI team; all who have additions to their family on the way this summer-ish.

Stay tuned to this blog for video feeds documenting this historic event and breaking developments as they happen!!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

This week saw five of the DI crew going to ShoWest in Las Vegas. It’s an annual conference and trade show for the theatre industry and it’s the first time we have exhibited there in some years, so it was exciting (and a little nerve racking) for us. On reflection, we had a great show. We saw lots of familiar faces and lots of new ones too. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to talk to us at the DI booth.

The emphasis on new products from other exhibitors seemed to be almost entirely on 3D visuals. There were quite a few offerings including some from big names. All require you to don a goofy pair of spectacles while watching a large screen. The effect is very impressive and in some situations really added to the experience. But some of the extreme examples were a little disorientating. I especially didn’t like the part where a snakes tongue whipped just past my nose, but I suppose that was the desired effect! I want to post some links here so you can go and experience this for yourself, but it would be like trying to show you color on a black and white TV.

Even after a hard day’s work, we didn’t waste the opportunity to explore some of Las Vegas’ casinos. Lots of walking, Vegas is BIG. I will also take this opportunity to point out that we didn’t get up to any mischief, and even if we did, we wouldn’t post it here!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The joke was on us

Late on Monday afternoon a small group of rogues at DI (who shall remain anonymous) began a very exciting internal project. Tuesday marked the birthday of Jason Grove, our VP of Operations (Happy Birthday Jason!), and in preparation, Project Baked Potato began!

The result of the project was a new-look non-stick office:

As you can see, Jason was a big fan, so the new interior remained.

Meanwhile frustrations elsewhere in the office mounted as the wifi network malfunctioned. No one could quite work out why we couldn't connect to the web. Then came a bolt from the blue... maybe it was something to do with the radiation proof cell that had been erected the night before.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Set your DVR

Catch DI featured in CNN’s Economic Report: Tuesday, 3/24 @ 8am on TCN – The Comcast Network or Thursday 3/26 @ 7:30am on TCN – The Comcast Network.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Adapting to a new environment

I am extremely tempted to write this post about adapting to the new economic climate. I was going to write about framing this period in a new way, as a huge opportunity to be creative, as opposed to an obstruction in our path.

But... I am sure you have heard enough about the economy, so I would like to tell you about a completely different situation where innovation has conquered constraints.

In Dover, KS there is a truly unique place. Home to Ed and Dianna Peden, Subterra Castle is a nuclear missile launch station that they have converted into their home! I am going to quote from their website because I don't think I can describe it more effectively: "Once, an Atlas E intercontinental ballistic missile with a 4 megaton warhead was housed in the protective underground cavern. Now the missile is gone and the launch control structure is converted into spacious living space with an eclectic spirit of peace."

Here are a couple of pictures:



Who would have thought you could house a New Age drum den in a Cold War missile bunker?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Turning on a Dime

We’re working towards a solution that involves a GC to build a small exterior structure that we would then clad and “theme” to meet the project needs. We started exploring what would be a typical approach to this project, when out of the blue someone mentioned SIPs (structural insulated panels). This is certainly not our usual bailiwick, but clearly of interest to a number of us in the meeting. Within minutes, we have shifted gears (really turned on a dime), and have an architectural expert and commercial SIP supplier on a conference call. We spent most of the day on Friday continuing our research and coming to the conclusion that our new approach was hands down the best way to move forward.

This entry isn’t intended to be about the use of SIPs on architectural installations, but more about the excitement of the opportunities in our industry to be agile and adaptive. My very favorite part of my job can be summed up by that meeting: just having the chance to sit around a table full of a bunch of men and women, all brilliant at their jobs, and come up with solutions that are new, and are a stretch, and that keep us excited to come to work each morning. Last week it was SIP panels, next week it will be something else, but the recipe of collaboration and the final outcome of a good solution are always the same.

Even though I said this isn’t about SIPs; if you would like to learn more, check out their webiste @

Check back and we promise to show you our actual fabrication process for this project.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dimensional Innovations Uses Flexible Thin Film Solar Panels to Create a First-of-its-Kind Application for Standalone Off the Grid Solar Signage

Overland Park, Kan. – Dimensional Innovations, a specialty design and fabrication firm, collaborated with Green Duck Energy Solutions, Inc. and Green Light Initiative to produce a new prototype solar sign solution. This solution eliminates the need for large photovoltaic (crystalline) panels and instead integrates new flexible thin film solar panels that are applied directly to the top or sides of the sign.

“This application is a breakthrough in solar signage. We are now able to construct signs, while keeping the original design intent intact and providing our clients with the optimal green alternative to their signage needs,” said Curtis Shaddox, research and development specialist for Dimensional Innovations.

By implementing this solar solution into the design of a sign, the costs of installing and operating a sign become significantly reduced; eliminating utility bills, qualifying for tax credits and energy grants and reducing the users’ carbon footprint. A Federal Government investment tax credit allows users to receive an automatic 30% tax incentive off of the sale price.

Rather than dig trenches, add a new breaker and get an electrical permit to run wires to distant signs, a solar sign is a cost-effective and green solution. A solar sign is a self-contained system which powers the sign directly from the sun, stores the power in batteries and disperses it, to power the highly efficient LED lights on a controlled basis. The sign is powered by a standalone off the grid solar system.

The thin film solar panel array charges the battery during daylight hours and the battery supplies power to the loads when needed. The charge controller terminates the charging when the battery reaches full charge. The system will maintain a reserve capacity for up to three days with little to no direct sunlight. At times the thin film panels can double the amount of electricity-producing hours.

These thin film solar panels are the most reliable, durable, and lightweight of its kind on the market. The thin film solar panels are made with professional marine-grade components and rugged UV-stabilized materials and perform well in diverse environments.

“Dimensional Innovations has always been a leader in innovative design. We are proud to be on the cutting-edge of developing this application of flexible thin film solar panels for the signage industry,” said Jim Baker, CEO of Dimensional Innovations.

Visit our solar web page for pictures and more information.