Every year, Gaughan Companies hosts an annual team building event for all of its employees. This year, we took a day during the week to go to Big Thrill Factory in Oakdale with the whole company.
After an address from the company president, Patrick Gaughan, the attendees ate lunch and gathered into smaller groups in order to connect one-on-one with their coworkers. Our staff is growing, and with many of them at locations throughout the Twin Cities, it is important for us to take the time for these team building activities.
We participated in activities like go karts, laser tag, a ropes course, indoor zip line, and other events, like the Gaughan Jeopardy game. The atmosphere was filled with good spirits and friendly competition!
We appreciate our employees and all that they do for our company and our community. We are blessed to have a wonderful group to work with!
On Saturday, December 3, a group of volunteers from Gaughan Companies, the Forest Lake community and area youth gathered together to begin demolition at the site of the Lakes Area Youth Service Bureau’s new space. LAYSB is moving from their current building to the Town Center building in the heart of downtown Forest Lake. The plans for the new space include an education center, group rooms, counseling room, office spaces, reception and staff areas. Gaughan Companies is excited to help LAYSB be able to continue their mission to help the youth in our area.
LAYSB began in 1976 by local law enforcement, teachers and concerned citizens in the Forest Lake, Minnesota community in an effort to help young first time offenders from violating the law again. Since its creation, “the programs have evolved to include Youth Enrichment & leadership, Jobs Plus Programs, Mentoring and Family Support in addition to early intervention for youth, ages 9 to 18 years.” The bureau serves the Forest Lake School District and all of Chisago County.
Gaughan Companies has a long-standing relationship with Sharing and Caring Hands, a non-profit organization, and with the founder Mary Jo Copeland. I have been volunteering at Sharing and Caring Hands for over two decades. I now bring my children to volunteer, too.
Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sharing and Caring Hands provides assistance for those in need. It was established in 1985 by Mary Jo Copeland and provides services such as meals, clothing, showers, shelter, transportation help, rent deposits, rent help, medical assistance, dental care, furniture, school expenses, and other miscellaneous needs.
Twelve employees from Gaughan Companies (and a few of my children) volunteered at Sharing and Caring Hands on Monday, November 14 by preparing and serving the lunch meal. Before every lunch meal, Mary Jo Copeland gives a sermonette and a prayer over the meal. On this day, in the midst of thanking us, she said to those in need, “[Gaughan Companies] came here and made this food for you because they love you. I love you. God loves you.” She encouraged everyone to not lose hope and to forgive those who have wronged them.
Arriving at 9 AM, the preparation team rolled up their sleeves and began rolling utensils and napkins for those partaking in meals that day. Once the breakfast crew had moved out of the cooking space to serve the first meal, our preparation team jumped in to cook the lunch meal. On the menu was tater tot hot dish, salad, fruit and cookies.
Our serving team arrived at 11 AM while the hot dish was cooking, and they also began rolling utensils. They enthusiastically filled over two large containers full of utensils. After a tour of the kitchen and a rundown of the serving team’s duties, each volunteer donned aprons and plastic gloves and were ready to give back to the community.
At noon, those there for the meal, nearly 200 people, made an orderly line in front of the serving stations to receive the food and milk. The other volunteers and I were frequently thanked and blessed by those receiving the food. Giving back to the community in a tangible way is an important mission of Gaughan Companies.
Another mission of ours is building and supporting strong communities. This process begins by helping those who don’t have the means to help themselves currently. We at Gaughan Companies hope that the meal we prepared and served was a step in the right direction for at least one of the recipients.
To learn more about Sharing and Caring Hands, visit http://www.sharingandcaringhands.org/.
According to studies compiled by Markit Economics, U.S. manufacturing is down for the months of August and September. The recent news of Brexit and the fact that China has reached a slump in their economy is causing slower manufacturing and spending around the world. The U.S. is only at a two percent growth rate for the year.
Minimum wage earnings are down for Americans compared with where they were about fifteen years ago, and the hiring trends by companies have also slowed. If Americans can’t spend, the economy can’t grow.
Economists have estimated that the average age that it takes to double the standard of living for the average American is now up to about seventy years. This inability to change one’s circumstances within a short amount of time has led to the baby boomers not having enough to retire on, so a lot of them go back to work. However, due to their age, they are usually stuck in dead end jobs that pay very little.
Young people who would ordinarily be graduating college, then landing that first job, buying that first home, and starting their family, are now moving back into their parents’ basements in droves. If they are lucky enough to land a great job, they are not getting great offers that the grads of twenty years ago did. In addition, the Federal Reserve is starting to increase interest rates, which makes it harder to purchase homes and automobiles.
There are several things in development here in the U.S. that are also causing our economy to be sluggish in growth. It doesn’t help that the unrest and attacks overseas have caused Americans to think twice or pause for longer periods of time before booking long awaited vacations to foreign countries. So the travel and tourism industries are suffering. In turn, those countries that might ordinarily have great products or services to export, may be suffering from a lack of workers and facilities because of war and civil unrest.
It also doesn’t help that we are all waiting on the results of the Presidential Election. The fiscal policies, public investment and structural reform that the new President will put into place will greatly affect our economy and cause ripple effects around the world.
The U.S. manufacturing companies are watching all of this unfold around them. With the advancement of the ease of deliveries, many Americans are using their purchasing power to order from overseas companies who are marketing cheap products and sometimes lesser quality to Americans who want to get the most for their dollar.
This in turn affects local suppliers who have slowed in their production times because the orders are not coming in. Many of them prefer to make items in bulk quantities, so they are hesitant to fire up the assembly lines and employ workers who many not have much to work on. The U.S. manufacturers are also hesitant to have a lot of inventory laying around, especially those who work in food services, because they know there is a shelf life to their product. They don’t want to have it still sitting in their warehouse when it’s close to expiration.
The U.S. dollar is strong right now too, and even though some countries are catering to Americans, others can’t afford to. This lessens the global demand for U.S. goods and services. However, it is estimated that nearly half of all U.S exports go to countries that we have free trade agreements with. Also, when the U.S. plants do fire up their assembly lines, it is estimated that they use about thirty percent of the nation’s energy supply in order to run their operation. So, that is good for the energy industry.
No one knows what the answer is to get the world economy moving again. Several theories have been tried and discarded. The only thing that seems to make sense is for industry leaders to invest in better training for their employees, study the competition abroad, increase funding for STEM related fields, and find ways to make great products at affordable prices.