Company Spotlight: Erich Thalacker (Software Developer)

In May, Erich joined our team full time after interning with us last winter.  He has really hit the ground running and cares about how our customers use the product. We asked Erich to answer a few questions so that Thrive users could know a little more about him and his contributions to the platform so far.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a 22 year old recent college grad who loves being active, hanging out with others, and continually learning. During the weekdays, when I am not at work, I enjoy reading and coding even more. I am currently reading the Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones) and I want to start Lord of the Rings soon after. I also love reading books about psychology and entrepreneurism. I am attempting to learn Swift so I can make apps for the App Store. It is nice to start from the beginning of learning a language (rather than hitting the ground running like I did at work) so I can understand the concepts more fully. On the weekends I find myself spending time with my friends and/or doing outdoor activities (currently into rollerblading and tennis). Since I am a recent college grad, I will have to adjust to not going back to school for the first time in 17 years. I am excited to see where life takes me and all the fun the future has in store.

2. What do you love most about working at Lean Tech?

I love that Lean Tech encourages an environment of freedom and personal responsibility while still providing a great support system to help you when you get stuck or need help with your work. I enjoy being able to struggle and think through problems, but when I am unable to figure out the solution, my teammates will happily come and dig into the issue with me. Coming from a non-traditional path of schooling for software development (Biology and Biochemistry majors from Central College), there are many technical terms that I do not know yet or perhaps there are other algorithms and techniques that I haven’t heard of. However, the whole team is readily available to help me learn. I feel like I have been getting a crash course on software development and it’s pretty amazing to see where I started to where I am now.

3. How would you describe the culture at Lean Tech?

I think Lean Tech has some of the best people, ability and personality wise, which makes working enjoyable every day… even through pesky git conflict issues. I feel like bigger software companies would struggle to keep friendships (workships?) alive like we have. We are all really relaxed. Additionally, I love that the work I do directly affects users rather than just working on some big program that has already been built that affects a select few. The work and development I do at Lean Tech is implemented into the product quickly and directly placed into users hands soon after. It is great to see and participate in the development process from beginning to end.

By |2018-09-26T19:22:45+00:00September 28th, 2018|Culture, People|0 Comments

Release Notes For September 2018

Release Notes for September 2018

New Features

  • Part number now in public SDS quick search
  • Real time updating of Checklists on Project Detail pages
  • Easily create a desktop shortcut to Thrive with the click of a button
  • New export feature that allows quick downloading of very large data sets as .CSV
  • Easy copying of requisitions in any state of approval
  • In Form Security, ability to copy selections and settings from an existing role into a new role
  • In Form Security Field Customization, “Field Hints” can be added to so that the purpose of form fields can display as suggested text on the form


  • “My Options” added to the user / account icon as a drop down menu and icon no longer navigates to the home page
  • Improved mobile functionality including button scaling for workflow in productivity tracking and expansion of the list of supported mobile devices 
  • Additional picklists and memos added on the Vendor page
  • Form Security now allows multi-line default values for larger form fields, such as Memo fields
  • “Field Hints” for Field Customizations so that the purpose of form fields can display as suggested text on the form
  • In User Activities, users can now reorder nodes in the Activities tree and Thrive will remember their order
  • Checklists on the Project Detail pages now have a progress bar that allows tracking of completed items
  • Related requests now appear under their respective master projects
  • In GoalBoards, hotkeys can be enabled or disabled via a checkbox option
  • New ability to view the hour by hour progress chart on a Goalboard view
  • In Goalboards, refined support for time zone differences and refined styles
  • Updated home page!
  • Project Detail pages across Thrive now have additional controls and real time update functionality
  • Added additional checklists to Project Detail pages which can now be hidden, collapsed, and refresh items as needed
  • Recordable injury and injury type selection in the Safety Occurrences page no longer change the check box selections on the page
  • Project Detail Checklists now include option to hide or show completed checklists items
  • Updated Communications module to V3 including adding option to search for communications by date range
  • Ability to grant or deny users /roles viability to documents.
  • Locations added to documents
  • Ability to search by location in public documents.
  • Added window for videos that are submitted as documents
  • Policies page updated to V3
  • Add locations to documents
  • Exporting data Thrive-wide is now easier and faster than ever with the addition of a large-format CSV export. The control panel now includes an option to change when to utilize the new large-format export
  • In Equipment Spares, new hyperlink to the last project number
  • In the OSHA 300 log, it is now possible to filter safety incidents by site and by “recordable” flag
  • User field now has binoculars search in User Accounts to make searching for employees easier
  • Database field name included in Field Security to assist with report creation


  • On Goal Boards when editing a detailed defect tracking record, the calculation for total scrap displayed on the main goal board and run details information has been improved
  • Resolved issue causing “Row not found or changed.” message that periodically appeared when saving an employee record
  • Communication detail attachments improved
  • Attachments on the communication page improved to prevent attachments from disappearing from page
  • Prevent duplicate submissions for Time Off Requests
  • Refined workflow for copying existing roles in Thrive
  • Clearer display message after copying requisition to indicate new copy has been created
  • Resolve loading circle not disappearing when creating a new Project
  • In communication page, the type column is no longer a hyperlink and images now show a preview
  • Improved ability of “Public” users to download quality documents
  • News and Events pages link now route to V3
  • Resolve Unapproved and Rejected statuses periodically appearing in Projects instead of Requests lists
  • Improved visibility of users / roles and locations section on documents
  • Ability to save a new location improved when the Cost Center / Work Center was specified
  • SMS users list improved to display all relevant users when searching for or adding users to notifications
  • Checklist checking improved on project pages
  • Thrive now features a daily background process ensuring that discussions related deleted projects are removed
  • Approval screen security improved such that the users who do not have permission cannot see the drop down approval
  • GoalBoard documents link improved to make sure directed to new file
  • Thumbnail Visibility improved when clicking the thumbnail images for Equipment, Gages, and Employees
  • Goalboard color coding logic updated to accurately reflect progress in current mode (ex. Qty vs. Run Rate)
  • Notifications created using the “Admin” account for multi-site companies now show the entire list of companies related to the notification
  • Improvement to security to prevent the modifying of administrator roles & made it easier for users to re-name security roles
  • Update to user permissions for requisition routing lists user account permissions had been granted prior to the May 2017 release of Thrive
  • Filtering on planned maintenance improved
  • Updated permissions for “Public” SDS attachments to view documents
By |2018-11-29T22:18:35+00:00September 21st, 2018|Release History|0 Comments

Company Spotlight: Sam Magee (Summer Intern)

In May, we welcomed Sam Magee to the Lean Tech family for the summer. Sam has been key in helping us complete and deliver custom projects for customers. We asked Sam to answer a few questions so that Thrive users could know a little more about him and his contributions to the platform this summer.

1. Tell us about yourself, where are you from/what are you studying?

My name is Sam Magee, and I am from Cedar Falls, IA. I am currently a junior at Central College in Pella, majoring in Computer Science. I started my internship with Lean Tech over the summer following my sophomore year in 2018. Web development and design have been of great interest to me ever since my family got our first computer at home. Something about websites and how they work intrigued me, so once I started, I just had to keep going!

2. Tell us what you do as a Software Developer at Lean Tech.

As I said, websites/web apps have always been my forte, so when I learned that there was a job like this in Pella, I knew I had to apply! I was looking to improve my skills in writing code and that is exactly what I have done as a Software Developer at Lean Tech. At first, I was a little nervous about learning a completely new codebase, totally different from anything I had ever worked with beforehand. However—the initial training, along with continued help from the team, allowed me to quickly get used to Thrive and its inner-workings. My knowledge from other personal projects I have worked on gave me insights that let me solve complex challenges—something I very much enjoy to do.

 Most working days are spent fully immersed in the code. Everyone is given their space and the time to focus on their projects. This allows us all to work efficiently with each other and on our own. Before having joined the team, I had grown used to working on my own, and I was somewhat skeptical about what it would be like to join a team (but also very excited). I was very impressed to see how well the team motivated me to work harder, and how it made me more efficient overall.

3. What did you like about a project you worked on? What did you learn?

I was given the opportunity to build out a large part of a new module, “Customers.” Starting with an estimating tool, I was able to communicate directly with the customer and get feedback, which guided me in adding all of the features involved, including a drawing tool that connects to the estimates. This specific tool, along with a new “Customer Activity” section, was built in a different way than most other pages in Thrive. This meant that I was challenged to think outside the box. Because these made me think a lot harder than I may have while working on pre-existing pages, I think it made me a better developer overall.

4. What are some of your greatest joys at work?

My favorite times at work are when I finally solve an issue that I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about and working on. The rush I get from completing a project or fixing a bug is incredibly motivating, pushes me to do more, and oftentimes allows me to reflect my solution to other areas I work on.

5. How have you enjoyed working in a small town, on a small team?

Working in a small town, on a small team has been great for me. Having lived in Pella for the better part of two years during my time at Central, I have learned a lot about the town, but working at Lean Tech, I have learned much more about the area and the community inside it.

Being part of a smaller team has made me feel like I have a bigger part in the company. I always felt safe about sharing my opinion in team conversations, knowing that it would be considered and respected by everyone involved.

6. What are your goals for the next years?

Throughout the next few years, I hope to finish up my education at Central. My main goal, however, is to continue to learn as much as possible about the industry. My experience at Lean Tech has confirmed to me that I want to remain in the web development field, as I very much enjoyed my time as an intern. In the future, I anticipate that I will continue in the industry, and I hope that my work will be put to good use in any future projects I am involved in!

By |2018-08-17T14:31:07+00:00August 17th, 2018|Culture, People|0 Comments

Company Spotlight: Michael Vander Wal (Summer Intern)

In May, we welcomed Michael Vander Wal to the Lean Tech family for the summer. He has been a valuable asset to our team and are going to miss him as he heads back to Sioux Center. We asked Michael to answer a few questions so that Thrive users could know a little more about him and his contributions to the platform this summer.

1. Tell us about yourself, where are you from/what are you studying?

My name is Michael Vander Wal. I was born and raised on a small dairy farm outside of Pella, Iowa and have lived there all my life. I am going in to my Junior year at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa and am majoring in computer science and mathematics with a minor in general business. When I’m not working or doing school work I enjoy watching and playing golf, baseball (go Red Sox!), and basketball. I also love going out with friends and playing the occasional video game, reading medieval themed books, or listening to and playing music.

2. What do you love most about working at Lean Tech?

One of the biggest things that stood out to me when I first started at Lean Tech was the people that work here. Not only are they always happy to help, but they are also enjoyable to work with and be around. Coming in to this job I was a little nervous about how I would fit in and do. With the help of the others here I got adjusted pretty quickly and have learned even more than I hoped to this summer.

3. What did you like about a project you worked on? What did you learn?

I think the best project I worked on this summer had to be the custom project for Timpte. The goal was to set up a page where they could make a schedule and then have alerts go off when they needed them to. It was very neat because we got to mesh both the stuff that we had used previously and incorporate a bunch of new things with it. It was also the first project that was built completely from the ground up. There was not really a starting point, we just had to start with a blank slate and go. I learned a lot and had fun with the challenges that it brought.

4. What are your goals for the next years?

My goals for the next few years are really to just learn as much as I can. I hope to become knowledgeable enough to make a big impact on wherever I end up and try to use my strengths to benefit others. I appreciate that Lean Tech has helped me learn so much and I am thankful for the opportunity I have had here.

5. Words to live by — What are yours?

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

By |2018-08-07T14:11:20+00:00August 10th, 2018|People|0 Comments

Company Spotlight: Andrew Gorman (Summer Intern)

In May, we welcomed Andrew Gorman to the Lean Tech family for the summer. Andrew has contributed a lot to this team with really taking lead in helping us solidify our software development process. We asked Andrew to answer a few questions so that Thrive users could know a little more about him and his contributions to the platform this summer.

1. Tell us about yourself, where are you from/what are you studying?

I am Andrew Gorman, a Computer Science and Psychology double major at Central College, and I’m heading into my senior year! I grew up on a farm in Altoona, IA, and have always had a passion for computers and coding. Some other passions of mine include: photography, drones, and graphic design.

2. What originally attracted you to working at LeanTech? How did you hear about the opportunity?

One of my best friends, D.J. Imoehl, had a summer internship at Lean Tech during the summer of ’17. In talking with D.J. about his summer internship upon returning to school, he had nothing but positive experiences to share. He loved the team, the lean focus, and the small team environment. He put me in contact with the Team as he knew I would enjoy it as much as he did.

3. What do you like most about Lean Tech? How do you like working for a small software shop vs. a large corporation?

I love the agility, focus, and interaction that a small team brings to the table. In larger companies, oftentimes teams are larger and you don’t have as much of a voice. That’s not the case at Lean Tech, here everyone has a voice, and everyone is encouraged to share their opinions and ideas regularly. When it comes to projects, often developers are distanced from the customers and distanced from really being able to understand how to best design their software. At Lean Tech we regularly interact with customers and as a result, I believe our software is all the better for it. Saving the best for last, my favorite part of being on a small team that regularly interacts with customers is being able to identify ways to streamline the process and workflow for customers, without the customer ever even having to request it.

4. What are some projects you worked on this summer?

This summer I have completed many projects, but two in particular stand out to me as ones that I am exceptionally proud of. Both of these are projects that made me realize how great it was to be a developer on a small team with high customer interaction.
One of our customers was regularly exporting large data sets using Thrive, and although our export functionality is very robust, it was still taking a few minutes for Thrive to be able to communicate with the customer’s servers and compile the data, then download it. I was able to dig into the code for the export process and develop a new method for exporting large data sets that was much more efficient and streamlined, now that same download happens almost instantly. The time savings for our customers not having to wait means employees can be more productive with their time. This feature was rolled out to customers in our June 2018 update.

My second project was a modification to the Goalboards. In speaking with customers, I found that several companies use tablets running the Thrive Goalboard system at each part station for productivity tracking. While Thrive supports mobile devices site wide, the Goalboard buttons were a slightly difficult to click when operators were wearing gloves or other protective equipment. I modified Goalboards to detect when they were being run on mobile devices and dynamically resize the productivity tracking buttons to ensure that it was as easy and quick as possible for operators to track their productivity.

5. Whats your personal developer motto?

“Software should always be a tool, never an obstacle to be overcome.”

Yet another reason I love Lean Tech, every single member of the team embodies and embraces this value more than any other software development company I know of.

By |2018-08-07T14:07:50+00:00August 7th, 2018|People|0 Comments

Release Notes For May 2018

Release Notes for May 2018


  • Spare Parts in Maintenance updated to Thrive V3
  • Spare Parts now includes the ability to add a list of related equipment
  • A new project follow-up / assignment updated notification has been added in notifications
  • Users Accounts and Roles are now up-to-date on Thrive Version 3
  • Equipment Planned Maintenance can be dual-scheduled by meter and schedule where the most current schedule will take precedence
  • Auto-complete enhancement for faster performance on fields with lookups
  • Faster transition between filters on grids
  • Task Parts now added to task filtering in all modules
  • Download tracking added for files downloaded from Thrive
  • Notifications can now be filtered by site
  • Safety Incident Investigation Form – added an OSHA 3000 tracking field in list format (defaults to the most severe of the Death, Lost Work, Restricted Work, and Other Recordable checkboxes), added the ability to track Lost work time and restricted work days by start date, end date, and total days
  • Notification templates can now be created for certain areas
  • Notifications can be managed from certain areas where they apply (ie, NCRs)
  • Notification security is now more robust
  • Email template fields for multi-table notifications are now available
  • Description Boxes enhancement to give better visibility during editing
  • In Equipment Detail, the tab order is now memorized when re-ordering
  • In Project Management, multiple project roles can be edited at once and edited in-line
  • In Project Management, link handing for assignments has been enhanced


  • Saving project completion comments now improved
  • Spare Parts in Maintenance page improved
  • News and Events form improvements allow for more reliable editing and saving
  • In meter-based projects, large meter readings placed in comments still allow comments to be displayed and do not result in blank comments
  • Grid table column headings more reliably remain at the top of the page in popup windows
  • Equipment reporting link handling improved
  • Functionality around the locations tab in Project Management Tasks now improved
  • HR Schedule Link correctly routes to HR schedule
  • Custom Tab and forms functionality improved in Form Security
  • User Accounts screen visibility logic improved when considering user role
  • Equipment History project link handling improved
  • Forms administration visibility based on role improved
  • Equipment purging logic improved
  • In Project Management, Delete logic improved for project categories
  • In Project Management, Delete icon during filter creation now visible in Internet Explorer
  • Equipment History filter button added to New Equipment screen
By |2018-06-07T15:17:01+00:00June 5th, 2018|Release History|0 Comments

Release Notes For April 2018

Release Notes for April 2018


  • Security enhancements for V3 providing more robust security administration
  • Equipment pages migrated to latest version of  V3
  • Employee picture upload capability
  • Equipment photo section update


  • Goal Board Issues Time Stamp now reflects client time zone (applicable where Thrive server located in a different time zone from users)
  • “Sent” e-mail confirmation alert in Thrive now remains on screen until closed to ensure notice does not go unseen by users
  • Calendar only shows calibrations if user has access to calibrations
  • E-mail Reports improvement shows all relevant user accounts
  • Notifications e-mail recipients lookup improved on notifications page
  • Deleting equipment improvement allows for deleting of newest version of attachments for better results
  • Project Roles link updated in main menu under Project Management
  • Project Management locations “Generate separately by location” logic improvement ensures separate location is created if start dates are different from the parent project
  • New image on Task Sets
  • Permissions improved on Project Management detail Percent Complete and Flag options
By |2018-05-08T21:12:47+00:00May 4th, 2018|Release History|0 Comments

Release Notes For March 2018

Release Notes for March 2018


  • Project Follow-Up page now automatically opens when being viewed from an e-mail link
  • Project Management: All Task Items page recognizes new assignment types when they are added
  • Assignments show Open and Complete items (filtering out Closed items)
  • In Form Security, the Default Value allows for more characters (longer default values)
  • In Gages, Job and Parts are now searchable and moveable columns in the Usage / History tab
  • The Control panel now features Debugging, SMS / Text Messaging, Real Time Updates (eg. Discussions), and Active Directory Authentication switches as well as SMTP E-mail Settings
  • New Thrive Logo!


  • In Task Sets, Category can now be saved
  • In Project Management: Project Roles, the process for deleting an employee has been improved
  • The print button window features improved compatibility with Google Chrome
  • Improved Autocomplete filtering based on the site and company in which a user belongs
  • Task file attachments security improved for ease of downloading files
  • Improved compatibility with SQL Server 2005 during updates
  • In Gages, Parts and Jobs are now visible for the Check-In / Check-Out pages
  • In Gages, the last gage location is now automatically selected when checking-in a single gage
  • Project Role binoculars lookup functionality has been improved
  • Project Request approval security improved for project approvals
  • In All Task Items, status now immediately shows “Complete” when percent complete updated to 100%
By |2018-05-08T20:34:01+00:00April 9th, 2018|Release History|0 Comments

Release Notes For February 2018

Release Notes for February 2018


  • Drop down menus now feature alternating color-coding for improved item distinction
  • Link handling logic now routes a user to their intended destination if already logged into Thrive
  • Ability to quickly clear inactive employees from the Skills Matrix
  • Faster administrative control panel performance
  • Hazard and Precautionary statements now available on the list of fields on the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) List
  • KPI tracking now available for Message History, Equipment Records, and Thrive Version
  • Assignments, Attachments, and Checklists feature the record count displayed on their respective tab headings
  • Order of calibration data requirements can now be determined via drag and drop ordering
  • Printable gage listing now exists on main Gage screen
  • “Criteria Met” column added to Project Task Items to simplify reporting for Pass / Fail criteria
  • Search fields now order results by items beginning with search term at top of list
  • Search fields option added to specify number of returned results
  • In Gages, a gage marked as “Inactive” cannot be checked out


  • Form Security button is now always visible on child forms
  • In Task Items, images are checked to make sure they are not referenced in another task before deleting
  • Gage Image upload process improved to make sure images upload consistently
  • Time Study form now displays timings even if a carriage return (ENTER) is in the Notes field
  • NCR Assignments open correctly even if accessing the assignment directly
  • Logic for updating gage numbers in Gages is improved
  • Improved File Name handling
  • When creating grid filters, the “Is Between” and “Is Today” filter logic is more robust
  • Dynamic pivot grid now produces results even when not filtering on any other criteria


By |2018-03-28T18:50:19+00:00March 6th, 2018|Release History|0 Comments

Lean Technologies Receives Farm Bureau Renew Rural Iowa Leader Award

On January 22, 2018 Sandy Ehrig of Iowa Farm Bureau and Bob Quinn from WHO Radio (The Big Show) in Des Moines visited the Strawtown Inn office complex to award Lean Technologies with the Iowa Farm Bureau Renew Rural Iowa Leader Award. Scott & Jenny Sorheim were on hand to receive the award and were joined by David Garner (Lean Tech Software Developer) and Joel Bennett (Veel Hoeden Consulting) who nominated Lean Tech for the award. A portion of the award presentation interview can be found on the The Big Show podcast. (Audio Part 1, Audio Part 2, or Full Hour Podcast)

See all Leader Award Recipients

Thank you Iowa Farm Bureau and WHO Radio for the recognition!

January 22, 2018 Award Presentation


By |2018-02-16T21:42:21+00:00February 16th, 2018|Awards, Lean Tech, Podcast|0 Comments