Monday, July 14, 2014

5 Ways to Fundraise for Your FIRST® Team (or any school program!)

Being sponsored by a big name corporation like Apple, Google or Boeing can be an awesome achievement for your FIRST team, but sponsorships like these are difficult to obtain. Unless you know someone within the company who can point you to the right people, you may get the run around which can waste your time and cause unnecessary frustration. While persistence is key, what happens when you still can’t through to these companies? You may be asking yourself are sponsorships the only way to raise money for my team?

The simple answer is no. There are other ways to raise money for your school program besides fishing for well-known companies. Here are 5 ways to fundraise for your FIRST team:
  1. Research Crowdsourcing Opportunities: You can crowdsource through various websites like crowdtilt or kickstarter. These websites were created to help collect, fundraise or pool money. It’s easy to start these webpages and you can easily share these through social channels like Facebook, Twitter and email. While there is a small fee that you have to pay to the websites, which usually is 2.5-5% of the funds raised, the physical work required to raise money is minimal.
  2. Host an Event: Whether it’s a carwash, talent show, dance show; the sky is the limit on what type of event you want to host to raise money! Invite your family, friends and neighbors to attend, reminding them that the proceeds are to help your school program. You can also maximize the funds collected by selling water, snacks and other goodies at your event!  
  3. Coordinate an Electronic Recycling Drive: There are recycling facilities that are willing to buy your e-waste. Invite your community to donate their electronics to your school. Not only are you funding your program but you’re helping out the earth!
  4. Partner with Local Companies: Eat for a cause. Team up with your local restaurant that can host a fundraising event on your school program’s behalf. Some chain restaurants that offer school fundraising opportunities are: Panda Express, Chipotle, Chili’s and more!
  5. Have a Garage Sale: Ask family and friends to donate goods they no longer need or want. In-kind donations (physical items) are just as good as monetary donations!

Lastly, don’t lose hope or give up on your fundraising efforts. It’s not an easy task especially if it’s your first time! What successful fundraising ideas are you using to raise money? Please share by commenting below!

Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG) embraces and promotes initiatives focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).  These programs are vital for increasing the vibrancy of the American economy and our industrial manufacturing base. Organizations such as FIRST help to bridge the gap between education and the business world by engaging participants in hands-on learning challenges. BWG provides consistent and increasing support of FIRST since 2007 through support of the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), and we are proud to continue our support of FIRST future seasons!

If you're interested in being sponsored by Bishop-Wisecarver, please check out our corporate sponsorship page!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Four Keys that Every High School and College Graduate Needs to Know for a Successful Job Interview

It’s that time of year where students are throwing their caps in the air as they celebrate their graduation.  Although there is so much joy found in graduations, it can be a scary time for graduates as they prepare to interview for their first job or internship. In today’s competitive job market, job seekers are expected to possess the knowledge, skills and relevant job experiences that will set them apart from other applicants.  It is also very important to have a great interview to land the job or internship.
Here are 4 tips every High School and College Graduate Needs to Know for a Successful Job Interview:

1) Research the Company

Before you go on a job interview, it’s important to find out as much as you can about that company. By doing this research, it will help you prepare to answer interview questions and to ask the interviewer questions.  Also, research the location of the company and where you will be having the interview. Map the route you will take to get to the interview ahead of time and keep in mind any traffic or construction that you may encounter that can affect your travel time.

2) Dress for Success

Make a lasting first impression. Don’t wait until the last minute to make sure your interview clothes are ready.  Dress accordingly in business attire; make sure it fits well, looks professional and is wrinkle free.

3) Practice Interviewing

Take the time to practice answering interview questions that may be asked during a job interview. Ask a friend or family member to perform a mock interview so you can framework your responses. By doing so, you avoid scrambling for an answer during the interview.

4) Say Thank you

Follow up your job interview with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the position. Consider this thank you letter as another form of letting your interviewer know your interest in the job and how you will make a significant contribution.

You are sure to have a successful interview if you follow these four tips. Good Luck!

Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG) is an advocate of partnering with and supporting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, non-profits and their community, which in turn, helps them become a better company. Last month, BWG was involved in several local career preparation events in the San Francisco East Bay Area to help students prepare for job interviews:

Laney College Manufacturing Career Fair - Oakland, CA

Pittsburg Chamber Interview Project – Pittsburg, CA

Junior Achievement Job Shadow – Pittsburg, CA
Bishop-Wisecarver also offers internships in Engineering. Please fill out an application for more information about the  Bishop-Wisecarver internship program.   

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Influencing STEM Education in Africa

A once in a lifetime experience of Bishop-Wisecarver sponsored candidate Janelle Jolley

Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG), a woman-owned family of WBENC certified companies that strive to support students, women, and programs related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, recently has sponsored Janelle Jolley on a 2 week tour to influence STEM in Africa.  Take a look at Janelle’s journey to promote women empowerment and STEM education.

In an act of camaraderie and collaboration, a group of female change-makers across technology and the social impact space embarked on a two week innovation excursion across Africa. The uplifting journey promoting women’s empowerment and global entrepreneurship granted the women and other distinguished guests the opportunity to meet with fellow entrepreneurs, attend pitch parties and government meetings, enjoy cultural excursions, and connect with innovators across Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. Bishop-Wisecarver was involved by being a sponsor of Janelle Jolley, a trip nominee and attendee.
Janelle Jolley is the CEO and Founder of Sidewalk District, a social enterprise connecting local independent retailers with their consumers through an eCommerce marketplace in order to increase their impact on hyper local economic development. She has a background in journalism and public policy, but eventually found her way to technology. Her passion for local independent retailers and their ability to spur economic development in communities across America is what led her to pursue the Sidewalk District platform.

One of Jolley’s biggest takeaways from her experience in Africa was the opportunities for technology/IT solutions across all sectors that are endless throughout the continent. Africa is ripe for disruptive technological solutions as well as technological solutions which make entire business sectors more efficient and modern.

Jolley also discovered that just as in the more modern West, the pipeline for STEM & technologists needs to be diversified throughout Africa. More women and people of color in Africa need to be made aware of and trained in STEM so that they are the driving forces of the change and wealth creation happening throughout the continent.

Lastly, iHub, Nariobi’s innovation hub for the technology community, has built the most impressive startup ecosystem she has have ever seen anywhere in the world. Jolley has never seen as comprehensive an approach to an end to end, integrated organization for startups ever in her life. There is literally anything that anyone would ever need to build and grow a successful company at iHub.

Jolley’s overall experience was a wonderful and educational experience. With her efforts and the efforts of all STEM influencers, there are hopes to increase the awareness of STEM education for women, minorities and youth across all continents.

Check out some of the photos below captured from her trip:


The group's first full day in Lagos, Nigeria. This morning, group attendees Claire and Yasmin are outside of the hotel waiting on transportation recapping some of the opportunities for business which they identified in Accra, Ghana which was the first stop on the expedition.

Hassan and Caleb at the headquarters of one of Nigeria's biggest tilapia farms. Saheed Olakunle is the owner of the headquarters and founder of the Nigerian Tilapia Association. He is a STEM success story and applied his knowledge and training in aquaculture to make Nigeria one of the biggest players on the global scene for farm raised tilapia.

DeShawn Jenkins of the Africa to Atlanta initiative at Georgia Tech and Sandra Hirschberg of GirlTank sitting and discussing the ecosystem being developed at Co-Creation Hub in Lagos with Femi Longe, their Director of Programs.

Monday, March 10, 2014

“Make Mistakes, Learn From Them and Move Forward”

Q&A with FIRST Team 3470 President Logan Dorsey

Bishop-Wisecarver, a Diamond Supplier of the FIRST® Robotics Competition, is committed to inspiring future innovators and supporting Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) by sponsoring three local teams in Northern California. In this blog, we are proud to feature President Logan Dorsey of Heritage High School Robotics FRC Team 3470, The Patriots, located in Brentwood, California.

A senior at Heritage High School, Logan has participated in his school’s robotics program since his freshman year.  As if this wasn’t impressive enough, Logan has interned at Google in the video production department, and currently works on side projects that involve programming and building robots. He aspires to attend Yale this fall to study computer science.

Logan, without a doubt, has the talent to be a future innovator in his field of expertise. Learn what he had to say about what it takes to be the President of a FIRST robotics team.

Question:  We understand that the FIRST program has a lot to offer. What do you think about the program and what skills have you gained from it?

LD: I think it’s a great and rewarding program. I have been a part of the robotics team for four years and I’ve gained a lot of skills that I can apply to both school and home. To name a few, I have learned to manage my time, be patient and maintain a good worth ethic. I’ve even gained the skill set to open my own software company.

Question: What challenges have you run into as President of Heritage FRC Team 3470?

LD: When I was appointed as President, I didn’t realize how challenging the position would be. I was the team’s software engineer before taking this leadership role, so I had no idea where to start. Thankfully, I had the guidance from our coach/mentor Mr. Pardi. He’s taught me the importance of team work, how to manage a small team and coordinate the many processes that needs to come together to building a robot. Mr. Pardi has encouraged my own personal growth as well as our team’s that we had him nominated for the FIRST Compass Award, which recognizes his outstanding guidance and support. We were ecstatic that he won!

Question: As much challenges your team has run into, what would you say your team’s greatest accomplishments are this season?

LD:  With scheduled restrictions and commitments it has been very hard to get the team together, however, we’ve taken long strides since we started this season. We’ve improved our building process from building one part of the robot at a time to dedicating different members of the team to sections of the robot. We’ve change an important mechanism of our robot in three weeks and we placed 14th out of 36 teams at the Northern California FTC Championship on February 22nd in Newark, CA.
Question: With this being your last year, what would be your advice to your teammates?

LD: Make mistakes, learn from them and move forward.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"Lean" Principle 5S is More Than Just Cleaning House

Aside from being a "lean" principle, what exactly is 5S?

1. Sort
2. Straighten
3. Systemize
4. Standardize
5. Sustain

While there are many tools in the lean “library” of applicable principles, 5S would seem to deliver the largest impact in the shortest amount of time, making it an ideal choice for the quick-moving environment at Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG). BWG is in the process of making factory upgrades in the form of adding production floor space and capacity. 5S is also the simplest principle to implement, involving the least amount of training and multiple staff can conduct it at the same time. Many times, and definitely when it comes to lean, it would seem that simpler is indeed better!

The implementation of 5S instills a sense of pride in one’s work center and work environment. Staff participate hands-on in the Kaizen activities associated with 5S and subsequently work to sustain these principles. Normally, after 5S is initially implemented, others within the organization will begin to request that their work area has this principle applied to it as well.

5S can be closely approximated to spring cleaning – most people dread it, but when the end result is evident, everyone is generally more upbeat, positive, and energized to return to their work processes which can now be conducted in a manner that is cleaner and more efficient than ever before. As BWG is upgrading its technology as well as the capabilities of the production floor, making room for new equipment and new processes, simultaneous advantages begin to emerge that ensure a more optimal internal process, as a greater value available to the customer.

Monday, November 25, 2013

“Woman-Owned”: Expanding the Possibilities for Professional Diversity and Moving Beyond Gender Bias

The WBENC, or Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, certifies woman-owned businesses for their increased ability to compete for business opportunities provided by WBENC corporate members and government agencies. The WBENC certification can provide a tremendous advantage for those women business owners and leaders who aspire for greater visibility and success.

Because let’s face it: the statistics surrounding the rise of women in the modern day workplace are not as favorable as many might think. 

Women currently hold about 15% of executive positions at Fortune 500 companies, while only about 18% of US congressional representatives are women. Let’s not forget, in addition, that full-time women workers still earn, on average in the US, 82¢ for every dollar earned by their male counterparts (Forbes 2013).

Yet, on the flipside, the number of woman-owned firms continues to grow, and even beyond that remains the fact that within the past six years, since the depth of the U.S. recession, the only businesses other than large, publicly traded corporations that have helped employment grow are privately held majority women-owned firms (American Express Open 2013).

When we look yet closer at the available data on women as business owners, however, we see that despite the fact that the number of women-owned firms continues to grow at a rate exceeding the national average, and now accounts for 29% of all enterprises, women-owned firms only employ 6% of the country’s workforce and contribute just under 4% of business revenues—roughly the same share they contributed in 1997 (American Express Open 2013).

The disparity between the desires and, perhaps even pressures, for women to succeed in business, and the reality of the ease with which a woman can ascend the ranks in the business world, calls into question how much we are still evaluating performance on the unspoken basis of gender, rather than skills and abilities. But perhaps yet, if we more closely examine our cultural values, we should ask ourselves this question: are we raising our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, sisters, and goddaughters to overperform while underanticipate?

Globally as well as nationally, in order to overcome gender biases we require a system that compensates fairly on an equal basis.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

5 Reasons to Celebrate Woman-Owned Small Business — Especially in Manufacturing

Though the glass ceiling remains overhead, as evidenced by pay disparity between genders and the percentage of female CEOs out there, women in business have made tremendous strides. Their hard work is paying off, particularly in the traditionally male-dominated world of manufacturing.

With CEO Pamela Kan at the helm, Bishop-Wisecarver Group is proud to be a certified woman-owned small business. As such, we're thrilled to celebrate other women in small business this October for National Women's Small Business Month. In honor of the occasion, we culled together several reasons to invest in woman-owned small business:

1. More women are starting small businesses. The latest U.S. Census Bureau stats show that there were 7.6 million woman-owned firms in 2007 — 90 percent of them small businesses. Between 1997 and 2007, female-run firms grew at double the speed of their male-owned counterparts, according to a 2010 report by the Economics and Statistics Administration.
2. That means women are creating jobs. For a picture illustrates the impact of women in the small business sector, take a look at this interactive graph on the White House website. Over the past 27 months, the American workforce has added 4.3 million jobs, and women, the White House says, are leading the way. According to Forbes, women will create more than half of the 9.72 million new small business jobs by 2018. That's remarkable. We wonder, how many of those jobs will be in manufacturing?

3. Women in charge change long-entrenched gender dynamics in the world of manufacturing. Picture an old manufacturing company. What comes to mind? Gears, gadgets, mechanical parts and a guy in charge, right? That's an image that various industry groups are trying to change by encouraging more women to get involved in the industry. Unfortunately, women lost more manufacturing jobs than they gained between 2010 and this year, according to a recent Forbes report. Forbes credits some of the loss to perception. Because people generally have an outdated idea of what manufacturing is, they shy away from it. As a woman-led manufacturer, we continually do our part to promote STEM education to young women and support women currently in a manufacturing role by networking and doing business with them.

4. Small businesses owned by women are more likely to get SBA-certified loans. Women have the opportunity to apply for loans inaccessible to others, not just through the Small Business Administration, but through other government entities as well. Bishop-Wisecarver Group is certified woman-owned through the Women's Business Enterprise Council (WBENC), which trains companies like ours on how to apply for opportunities in government contracting reserved for woman- and minority-owned businesses.

5. Woman-owned business generates enormous revenue, spur economic growth. American Express in March estimated that woman-owned businesses in the United States employ 7.8 million people and generate $1.3 trillion in revenue. That's incredible, and incredibly encouraging when you realize that since 1997 woman-owned businesses have increased by 59 percent.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Is Manufacturing Really All That Important?

If the Great Recession taught us anything, it's that sustainable wealth creation and the jobs that come with it don't come from Wall Street, but from the actual creation of goods. We were reminded that our recovery and economic health depend on the middle class, which has historically driven an innovative manufacturing sector. With every job created and innovation introduced by these companies, we're reminded that manufacturing is the engine that drives this economy — and the rest of the world — forward.

That's why we'll join thousands of others to commemorate this year's Manufacturing Day, October 4. The mission of the day is to address common misconceptions about the industry by opening our doors to the public — to show people what manufacturing is and what it isn't.

We can talk about how we contribute to the economy — both here at home and abroad. Manufacturing pumped $1.87 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2012, up from $1.73 trillion the year prior, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). That was 11.9 percent of the GDP, by the way. For every dollar spent in the industry, $1.48 goes to the economy, making it the most tangibly productive economic sector.

We can talk about jobs, how manufacturing sustains about 17.2 million in the U.S. That's one in six private-sector gigs. Some 9 percent of the workforce are employed in manufacturing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We can talk about pay. We can remind the public that the average manufacturing employee in America takes home $77,060 a year with pay and benefits, per the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Compare that to the average across all industries: $60,168. The higher pay makes our nation's manufacturing sector the most productive in the world, NAM says, leading to higher wages and higher quality of life.

We can talk about innovation, and how U.S. manufacturing — which, taken alone, would stand as the 10th largest economy on the planet — is responsible for two-thirds of all private-sector research and development, making it more innovative than any other sector, according to the National Science Foundation.

We can talk about the skilled labor gap, how about 600,000 manufacturing jobs remain vacant across the U.S. We can talk about the need to fill them, but also about some of the barriers. Sure we need more people with the right skills to keep up with the ever-evolving industry, one that's becoming increasingly high tech. But we can also look at the shorter-term causes, like how some companies embattled during the recession cut training budgets and learned to get by with less human capital.

We can talk about the future, most of all. How do we convince the next generation to get educated, pick up the advanced skills they need to staff our companies in the future and come up with brilliant ideas that galvanize manufacturing, that make it such a great field to be part of?

For more information about Manufacturing Day, go to

And remember to tweet #MFG, #CA, and #BWGmfgday, especially on October 4 - Manufacturing Day!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Building a Strong U.S. Economy Through STEM

“STEM”, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics has certainly become a buzzword, and like many trendy acronyms, it may become confused or lost potency over a period of time. But if STEM supporters, and industries that require these disciplines (a large majority of U.S. businesses), have anything to do with it, STEM is here to stay.

Of the 1,650,000 bachelor's degrees conferred in 2009–10, the greatest numbers of degrees earned were in the fields of business, social sciences and history, health professions and related programs, and education, according to data published in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Education. The number of engineering degrees rose 12% from 2004-2010, which could indicate that interest in this field is growing. However, we are unclear on what proportion of these graduates are international students migrating to the U.S. to pursue technical education, who return to other locations to work in their foreign economies. Additionally the percentage of students who initially begin college with an engineering major is still dramatically high, hovering at around 40%.

Why, as a society, have we grown to avoid the very fields which uphold our country and help us attain prosperity and economic stability? Can we find fault in our education system, or is there a perception that these fields are dull? Perhaps our dilemma is more culturally rooted, in the notion that our society thrives primarily on the sensationalism evident in our news sources, which hype glamor, social drama, and interpersonal conflict. In fact, it is possible that as a culture we are no longer compelled by data and information, so much as subjective media and opinion-based sources.

Another theory is that we have failed to place an importance on multidisciplinary education and as a result we lack a sufficient means of translating the subjects of engineering and mathematics into practical applications and in terms which many people can understand.

A broader focus on multidisciplinary education is emerging with initiatives such as STEAM -- Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. And after all, the U.S., and the global economy at large, operates by the articulation of highly technical, specialized information and data. Dr. Pamela McCauley Bush, a Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Central Florida, addresses this very issue on her blog, which addresses focused on the question of “Why Are Engineers Boring?” whereby she explains that while most engineers are very bright, few may be inclined or challenged within our educational system to adopt the common language of the local economy or the business world and that this commonality is oftentimes magnified within by our society.

The most compelling reason is that more than 50% of our sustained economic expansion is contributed by only 5% of U.S. workers employed in fields related to science and engineering, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (Forbes 2012). It is clear that most jobs in the future will require a basic understanding of math and science according to 10-year employment projections by the U.S. Department of Labor. These projections show that 15 out of the 20 fastest growing occupations projected for the coming year require significant mathematics or science preparation.

STEM is important to our present, and it is ultimately a huge factor in the outcome of our future.