The Republic from Columbus, Indiana on August 2, 2009 · Page 11
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The Republic from Columbus, Indiana · Page 11

Columbus, Indiana
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Page 11
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THEf REPUBLIC SECTION World news Headlines from around the globe. Page B6 Markets roundup 1 2-month daily doses for the week ending Friday, July 3 1 : Dow Jones Industrials 9,171,61 6000 ASONDJFMA Nasdaq 1,978.50 1.000 ASONDJFMAMJ J Standard and Poor's 987.48 1.500 ASONDJFMAMJ J Wall Street's numbers for Friday, July 31 : Dow Jones Standard and Industrial Poor's NYSE index 9,171.61 987.48 6,424 American Stock Russell Nasdaq Exchange 2000 index 1,978.50 1.709.37 556.71 Unemployment rates for April "Columbus Indiana U.S. 11 a 8 E a. c 3 7 i i i i Jan. Feb. March April May June Month Source: Indiana Department of Workforce Development Grmn Die k Today's Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick will air at 11 a.m. on WISH-TV. JUT US , B Sunday, August 2, 2009 X East grad's design for new yo-yo in motion By Chrissy Alspaugh Recent Columbus East High School graduate and yo-yo designer Charlie Weikert has received a rare honor: His yo-yo design will be licensed by Duncan Toys Co. "It's ridiculous that this is actually happening," he said, grinning. "I'm just ecstatic, it's unbelievable." Mike Burke, national sales and marketing manager at Duncan, said Weikert 's yo-yo is more sophisticated than any the company currently produces. The 18-year-old said he needs to refine the prototype before it's ready for production, but Burke said Duncan is excited to get the design into the market as soon as it's ready. A new kind of yo-yo As far as yo-yo players go, Weikert is new to the game. He began fooling around with one of the toys about a year and a half ago during a swim meet but soon found himself consumed by mastering tricks. "The problem with even performance yoyos is spin time," he said. "Friction is needed to return the yo-yo to your hand, but friction slows them down." Since Weikert needed to invent and prototype a product for his senior engineering design and development class, he set out to design a yo-yo that spins longer than any he'd ever used. Stretching the project's usefulness, he decided to learn about marketing and business and pitched the product to a manufacturing company. His final yo-yo design combined technology from two of the most complex yo-yo systems on the market: a bearing transaxle with a clutch system, which increases or decreases friction based on the yo yo's speed. The result is a yo-yo with the potential to spin longer than with a traditional transaxle or clutch system. "I really think this yo-yo can ':v7'';V?-. revolutionize the indus- x 1 ' i ! 1 JOL PHIUPPSiN Th Republic Recent Columbus East High School graduate Charlie Weikert performs a few yo-yo tricks in The Republic's photo studio. Weikert has recently pitched a prototype yo-yo to Duncan Toys Co. Revolutionary yo-yo Recent Columbus East High School graduate Charlie Weikert has invented a new kind of yo-yo and received a licensing agreement from Duncan Toys Co. The product, when finished, has the potential to spin longer than those on the market. Here's how: Traditional yo-yos have a string directly connected to a solid axle that links the body's two halves. The majority of trick yo-yos have a bearing transaxle, where the string is wrapped around a spinnable bearing. The most complex system uses a clutch transaxle, involving counterweights that disengage the axle when the yo-yo spins fast enough. When the speed slows, the axle engages and returns the yo-yo automatically. Weikert's yo-yo combines a bearing transaxle with a clutch system. Whereas existing clutch systems bring the yo-yo up as soon as the axle engages, his continues spinning. try," Weikert said. He already has obtained a provisional patent on the technology, which he be lieves will benefit beginning to professional players. Duncan Toys listening With guidance from Columbus-. based Analytical Engineering Inc., Weikert milled and lathed an aluminum prototype. He also conducted market research with more than 200 yo-yo players to verify interest in his product and begin establishing a price. Ready to pitch the yo-yo, Weikert dis-couragingly learned that few companies will review outside inventors' products. Then he found Duncan, a division of Flambeau Inc. which has a production facility on Middle Road. "It is common for people to submit ideas to us," Burke said. "It is not common for us to license them. "Charlie's presentation was far better than what most regular inventors ffj. submit. Some inventors only see money on the horizon, but Charlie has passion for what he's inventing." Weikert said he assumed the project ended after his pitch. "The day I sent it, by lunch people at Duncan called and said it was awesome," he said. "I thought it was my friend prank-calling me. at. ' ; 1 C f See YO-YO on Page B3 What do companies do to lower expenses? By Stephen Manning Associated Press For anyone looking for signs that the recession might finally be giving up its firm grip on the economy, the steady stream of quarterly earnings reports coming out of the nation's companies could offer some signs of hope. To be sure, big companies like General Electric, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Yahoo and drug maker Merck are showing the pain, with sales and profits dropping as the recession eats away at demand for their goods. But many are still managing to post earnings that don't look so bad considering the economic stress they are under. So what's going on? How can companies still be treading water when the whirlpool of the recession constantly tugs them down? A close look at the quarterly earnings reports rolling out this month reveals a common theme cost-cutting. Like a household budget, corporations try to maximize the money they bring in while minimizing their expenses. With sales sagging, companies are turning to the cost side of their budgets to find savings and keep profits up. It's paying off for many less than a fifth of all companies are losing money despite the worst downturn since the Great Depression, according to Cary Leahey, an economist with Decision Economics. But what are the long-term effects for4hose companies and the broader economy? Here are some questions and answers about what companies are doing to keep those costs down. Q: Big layoffs have been all over the news this year. Where do those factor in? A: Job cuts are a huge part of the way companies save money. Often when companies mention "cost-cutting," that's actually a nicer way to say layoffs. Employee expenses are one of the biggest costs that com panies face. The combination of salaries, benefits like health care and pension plans, and the costs of paying for offices or factories where those employees work, adds up to a big part of corporate expenditures. Overall, about 60 to 70 percent of corporate expenses are connected to labor, estimates Brian Bethune, the chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight. The painful truth is that the quickest way to reduce costs when a recession takes hold is to slash jobs, reduce benefits or cut wages. In this recession, many companies acted swiftly as the recession grew worse. Huge lay offs came from companies like Boeing, Citigroup and AT&T during late 2008 and earlier this year. It's no surprise that unemployment has now pushed up to nearly 10 percent. Q: How have cuts played into company earnings? A: Some of those savings are starting to show up on balance sheets. Take Yahoo, for example. The Internet company has suffered through a drop in advertising sales but reported second-quarter earnings last week that grew by 8 percent. Most of that gain came from reducing operating expenses by about $150 million from a year ago. That included the effects of work force reductions Yahoo now has 9 percent fewer employees than it did at the same time in 2008. Automaker Ford, which is suffering through one of the worst downturns ever for auto sales, reported a head-scratching $2.3 billion net profit last week. Q: What other cost-cutting -moves have companies taken? A: A big option is to cut operations. The logic is fairly simple: If there is less demand for your product, '(.'j make less of it. That means you don't need as many factories or to spend as much on other costs like transportation.

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