“Hi! Steve Kowalski…”

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                                                                                                                                                                  Our old phone system.

One of the projects we’ve recently completed here at Kowalski Heat Treating is updating our phone system. Like many of you have likely discovered at your place, our phone system and actual phones themselves were dated and not performing very well. So we met with a bunch of vendors, talked about options, features and cost savings, installation, and a whole host of options: IOP, VolP, cloud-based mobile integration, 3rd generation this, A2DP that, HSCSD’s, Multi-Touch, USB ports WAP, call forwarding, and more. Eventually, somehow working through all the options, we “pulled the trigger” on our new system.

And boy, I’m glad we did. We now have an integrated system, with more “do-dads” and buttons than I care to understand (still working on that “interoffice instant messaging” thingie).

But with all the new features, something that hasn’t changed is me answering my phone when it rings. Since I’ve been in business, I’ve always enjoyed picking up the phone and talking with customers, vendors, and friends. It may seem a bit old-fashioned, but I never want to stop doing this.

Unlike emails, calls for me are immediate, “real-time”, more personal and most often center around helping customers solve their PIA (Pain in The @%$) Jobs! I love it. Phone calls allow me to focus, listen, advise, problem solve, chit chat and best of all, just let out a good laugh.

So next time you want to talk, have a heat treating problem, need to connect with someone here at KHT, or just wanna catch up, do the old fashioned thing and give me a call. I’ll make sure I set aside what’s on my desk, and spend some good old-fashioned phone time with you.

216-631-4411 ext. 2211




A Prize in Every Box

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One of the driving forces here at Kowalski Heat Treating is “working to delight our customers”. It’s woven into the fabric of the company Dad started over 40 years ago, and it’s still around today. More than just processing your work, treating metal and delivering goods, we like to add a little extra to what we do – whether that’s nailing a delivery promise, finding a new and better way to finish products, or just treating you with fun and respect. We think of it as “our little prize”.

When I was a kid, I loved Cracker Jack. Not just the tasty snack, but digging in and “discovering” the prize inside. I always got a kick out of finding the card, ring, tattoo, or little plastic figurines. I enjoyed the feeling I got when I found it and like to share the same with you.

I did some internet digging, and discovered today (Feb 19th) is the anniversary of “the first little prize inside” (thanks Wikipedia!). So, for all my trivia buffs out there, here’s some facts and tidbits to share:

  • Cracker Jack is an American brand of snack food, consisting of molasses flavored caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts, first registered in 1896, considered by some as “the first junk food”
  • Frederick William Rueckheim (Fritz), a German born immigrant sold hand-made steamed popcorn on the streets of Chicago beginning in 1871. Later joined by his brother Louis, (family business YEAH!) they first presented a popcorn confection to the public at the 1893 World’s Expo/Fair.
  • After adding a small quantity of oil to his mixture to separate the “chunks”, Louis created his first batch of what they called “Cracker Jack”, after a sampler said “that’s a cracker jack” (meaning of excellent quality) and the name was born.
  • In 1899, Henry Eckstein developed the famous waxed sealed packaging to retain freshness and moisture protection.
  • “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, a song written by lyricist Jack Norworth and composer Albert Von Tilzer, gave Cracker Jack free publicity when it was released in 1908 with the line: “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack!” – and we still sing it today.
  • Cracker Jack’s Mascots Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo were introduced as early as 1916 – (modeled after grandson Robert and a stray dog named Russell).
  • The Cracker Jack Company began advertising on television in 1955. appearing on CBS-Television’s On Your Account. The actor who appeared in many commercials was Jack Gilford – Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop were Cracker Jack spokespersons in the 60’s.
  • The prizes attained pop-culture status with the catch phrase “came in a cracker jack box” applied sarcastically to engagement and wedding rings of dubious investment.
  • Many attempts were made to extend the line, including a caffeine infused product called Cracker Jack’D.
  • Statisticians say if you stacked all the Cracker Jack product that’s been manufactured, it would circle the globe over 65 times – (that’s a lot of Jack!)
  • Now – can you sing the jingle?? “Candy coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize – that’s what you get from Cracker Jack.” (great – now it’s stuck in your head too!!)




A Day Just for Love

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I love my family
I love my business
I love my life
But most of all
(if you couldn’t guess)
I love my wife.


Sunday is Valentine’s Day (don’t panic) – a time for
us to show our loved ones just how much they mean to us. For
those stuck for ideas, here’s just a few to get you started.

Gifts – just go traditional – visit a candy store and pick up a nice box of chocolates (Dark) – don’t go overboard, as you’ll loose points if you buy too much. Swing by grocery store or flower shop and pick up some roses/flowers. Then, visit a dept. store and get cologne or lotion. Top it all off with a nice card and candle! Have it all ready come Sunday morning.

Cook – spend the day pampering your spouse. Start out making breakfast, and include some fun Valentine’s Day foods. Make pancakes, trim sausage patties and cut bread in heart shapes, serve strawberries dipped in chocolate, and add a little cinnamon to the coffee for an extra touch. For fun, add some food coloring to scrambled eggs to turn them pink, or make a healthy smoothie shake using red fruits. When lunch arrives, try a simple salad of greens and strawberries and tomato soup and trim the sandwich bread into heart shapes. For dinner, just make his/her favorite – or better yet try a new recipe or a new restaurant and splurge a bit on dessert or a bottle of wine.

Get Out – so much to do in town, so hit the streets – art shows, concerts, shopping venues, or just a ride in the country. Find a nice antique shop an hour or so away and combine it with lunch. Angie’s List is a great resource. Buy something silly to remember the day. If you are movie buffs, hit the matinee, and then get into the city and find a corner shop for tea or coffee.

Family – make it a day to get the family together. Stir up a big pot of chili or spaghetti sauce and invite the gang. Don’t go nuts on the details, just make it casual and fun. Keep the TV off and put away the cell phones – break out the cards and board games and enjoy the company. Surprise everyone with small, simple Valentines Day gift bags from the thrift store. Serve red velvet cake with cream cheese icing or heart shaped brownies – YUM! Cinnamon ice cream too!

Community – after church, swing by the retirement home or senior center and drop off Valentines Day goodies – small chocolates and cards. If you have time, walk the halls and visit the residents. Visit the food kitchen in town, spend some time serving meals and pass out little candies too. Get the kids involved and make it a fun outing.

Overboard – nothing like BIG surprises – airline tickets, cruise bookings, weekend getaway – if you have the means, and want to do something special …. Go for it!!





Finally – Super Bowl 50.

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For some of us, it’s hard to imagine the Super Bowl has been around for fifty years.  Seems everyone loves to watch the Super Bowl, so in Kowalski Heat Treating fashion, we thought we’d give you some Super Bowl Trivia (SBT) trivia to use during the game parties, along with some “oh yea, But Did You Know” (BDYK) come back “Cliff Claven Style” nuggets to really impress.  Enjoy!

SBT:  Super Bowl 50 will feature Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers vs. Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos.
BDYK:  Newton became just the third player to win the Heisman Trophy, a College National Championship and be the NFL’s No. 1 overall pick in the same academic year. (other two are Leon Hart ’50-Notre Dame/Detroit Lions and Angelo Bertelli-Notre Dame/Los Angeles Dons ’44).  Peyton Manning, also chosen #1, wears #18 in honor of his older brother Cooper who he idolized in HS, and comes from a quarterback family – Dad Archie, New Orleans Saints, originally drafted for pro baseball, and his #1 NFL pick brother Eli Manning of the NY Giants).

SBT:  Odds: The Panthers are favored by 4.5 points with the over/under set at 45 points.
BDYK:  The largest spread was 18 points when the SF 49ers met the SD Chargers in SB 29.  The 49ers covered it with ease as Steve Young threw six touchdowns, a SB record, and San Francisco blew out San Diego 49-26 – the teams’ 75 total points is still a SB record.

SBT:  It’s estimated Americans will consume 1.5 billion chicken wings. (Yes, billion!) Don’t worry I do my part!
BDYK:  The creation of “Buffalo Wings” (1964) was at the Anchor Bar on Main Street in Buffalo, NY-when Teressa Bellissiomo threw left over wings into hot oil, doused them with Franks Hot Sauce and butter, and served them with blue cheese dip to cool the heat.  Today, Chef Ivano Toscani, a classic collector car and motorcycle buff, keeps the tradition alive, serving 4-5,000 pounds of wings each day.

SBT:  The Super Bowl is second highest snack day to Thanksgiving. Wings are #1, followed by pizza (50 million orders), chips (12 million pounds), pretzels (5 million pounds, and over 120 million pounds of avocado dip, followed by salsa and candy.
BDYK:  The Snickers bar was named by Franks Mars after his favorite horse;  Pringles chips only contain about 42% potatoes, and a typical serving of avocado (100 g) is moderate to rich in vitamins B, K, C, E and potassium – known to help resist drunken Broncos fans.

SBT:  It’s estimated over 325 million gallons of beer will be consumed during the game.
BDYK:  It’s also estimated over 7 million people will not show up for work on Monday.

SBT:  First teams to play: Green Bay Packer v Kansas City Chiefs.
BDYK:  No network footage exists of Super Bowl I. It was taped over, supposedly for a soap opera.  Most recently, the game has been “recreated” by NFL films, pasting together all 135 plays from original film footage recovered in the archives – now called SB 1 – “The Lost Game”

SBT:  A 2016 :30 commercial costs about $5 million, and about $1 million to make.
BDYK:  The first super bowl game was actually simulcast on CBS and NBC at the same time.  Back then, TV commercials only cost about $40,000 each for an audience of about 51 million viewers.  Pepsi owns the Top 10 “Best Ever Commercials” honors (six times) with the #1 best ever in ‘95 when a little boy (Jake Schuttler) gets sucked into a Pepsi bottle. Jake went on to be an actor and star in a ’96 movie called Mother.

SBT:  Coldest Super Bowl – 39 degrees in New Orleans 1972
BDYK:  Classic coldest NFL football game on record – Green Bay vs Dallas ‘67 – Bart Star keeps ball to score winning touchdown (-13 degrees, wind chill -30+).

SBT:  Coin flip history – 24 heads, 25 tails – and one of the most popular SB sports bets.
BDYK:  Craziest coin flip ever – when a dead woman (Katherine Dunton), who had just died of cancer in 2006, won re-election to a school board in rural Alaska after her opponent (Dona Highstone), called heads and lost a coin flip meant to break a tie.

SBT:  First player to say “I’m going to Disney World was Phil Simms in 1987.
BDYK:  Simms wasn’t being candid (he was paid $75,000.)   Jane Eisner, the wife of Disney CEO Michael Eisner, supposedly concocted the idea.  And, the unseen voice posing the question is Mark Champion, currently a popular radio play-by-play voice in Detroit.

SBT:  Pittsburgh, Dallas and now Denver will each have appeared in SB 8 times.
BDYK:  Cleveland fans still hate Pittsburgh, followed by Dallas and Denver – coincidence?  (Yankees too!)