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Employee eNewsletter, Winter 2017

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Welcome to 2017
and Kroeschell’s Employee eNewsletter, Winter Edition

Welcome to the next installment of our quarterly employee e-newsletter, your source for all things happening in and around Kroeschell. From important information coming out of the executive meetings to photos from recent events, we have it all for you right here!

Newsletter Content

Click on the section below to quickly navigate to your desired content.

Editorial: Q&A With Dave Stavropoulos, EVP, Corporate Risk Manager

By Erin Swanson

1. How did you get started in risk management/safety at Kroeschell?

I received my undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University from the Department of Engineering Technology with an emphasis in Safety. In my last semester of school, I was completing an internship at a drywall company whose worker compensation insurance carrier was the same insurance carrier for Kroeschell at the time. The Business Manager at Kroeschell reached out to that carrier and asked if they knew of any safety people looking for jobs. That carrier reached out to me and so the history goes. I’ve been working at Kroeschell since July 12th, 1993.  

2. What do you attribute the safety department’s success to so far?

A lot has to do with the organization’s commitment to safety. We have a safety driven culture that is instilled in our employees from day one.

3. What is your personal work ethic?

I believe it’s the same as several other employees at Kroeschell… “Whatever it takes to get the job done”.

4. What keeps you motivated?

It really is about the people you work with. So much of our time is spent at work and away from home that it’s important to be around people that share common goals, interests and values. The people I work with keep me motivated and make that time away from family much easier. 

5. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Again, the people that I work with and the fact that my job is different each and every day. Even though my core responsibilities are the same, there are many different areas at Kroeschell that I’m involved in, that no day is ever the same.

6. What are your goals for the safety department for 2017?

It is more easily stated and even more of a challenge to execute, but our goal is to always have zero injuries and zero incidents.

7. What are we doing to be innovative in safety moving forward?

We want to utilize technology much more in the future. Within the last few months, we started using a service called Canvas that allows our safety managers in the field to complete safety audit forms on their smartphones. This service makes it easier to distribute the audits via email. As we get more comfortable with the safety form, we will start putting all of our other safety forms on the app.

8. What is the biggest challenge you feel Kroeschell faces this year in regards to safety/risk management?

I think our biggest challenge is going to be those external forces and unknown risks that we can’t readily manage. At times we find ourselves having to be reactive to situations, rather than being proactive in those circumstances. I believe Kroeschell is well positioned to mitigate such unknowns, but it has been and will be a challenge as changes in our marketplace, regulation and litigation continue to occur.  

9. What is our safety department doing to stay ahead of the competition?

The safety department doesn’t have the same external competition that engineering, service and operations have. Ultimately, our customers are our employees and we want to give our employees whatever they need to succeed and be safe. Keeping the safety department current and keeping our employees informed and trained is key to our success.

10. Is there anything else you would like to share with the employees about plans and goals for 2017?

Again, more simply stated than necessarily executed … Be Safe.

Spotlight on Dave:

  1. When you’re not at Kroeschell, where would we find you?
    You would find me parenting my three young daughters.
  2. What was the last book you read? 
    I read a marketing book, All About Them, which explains the importance of focusing your brand or service on the customer’s needs for the current ‘smartphone, instant-response-age’.  
  3. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Why?
    I would probably like to go on an African safari, Bora Bora or Australia/New Zealand. 
  4. What are your hobbies?
    I really enjoy traveling with my family. Last summer, we rented an RV and drove over 3,000 miles to visit Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone. It was an amazing trip. 
  5. If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be? What would you ask him/her?
    I’d have dinner with my family. Every night at dinner I ask them one thing that they learned that day. 
  6. What is one thing about you that would surprise people?
    Although my job is pretty serious, I’m the funniest person at Kroeschell. 
  7. Anything you want to learn to do?
    I would love to have more time to learn more about and work on cars. 
  8. What is an interesting story about a customer interaction you had?
    In my first year at Kroeschell, we had a couple of pipe fitters completing work at the Field Museum. They were installing a very large register on the end of some very large ductwork. As they were installing the register, the air handler that supplied air to the register turned on. The register blew across the room they were working in, landed and smashed the skeleton of a
    20,000+ year old beaver. When I showed up at the Field Museum to see what was going on, there were several paleontologists and our pipefitters standing around the remains of the beaver.  As I walked up and was standing next to everyone, which the paleontologists all seemed to be in mourning over the smashed beaver, I said, “Well at least we didn’t kill it”. I think the fitters appreciated my comment, the paleontologist, not so much.

^

Upcoming Events

  • Mark your calendar, the annual Kroeschell St. Paddy’s Day Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, March 14th at the Arlington Heights office. Employees, customers and vendors alike look forward to this event each year. Lunch will be catered by Harrington’s and will begin at noon.
  • Our partner, the American Cancer Society, is always looking for volunteers to help make a difference in the community. Want to do a lot of good with a little of your time? Whether it’s giving a cancer patient a ride to chemotherapy, putting together a team for Relay For Life®, or sending an email to friends and family about our cancer screening guidelines, there are multiple ways you can join the fight against cancer.
    • Road to Recovery: Drive cancer patients to and from treatment, or help coordinate transportation for cancer patients. 
    • Hope Lodge: Make cancer patients feel at home in one of our lodges.
    • Cancer Resource Centers: Provide cancer patients and caregivers with information about cancer, resources, and support services.

Around the Office

Employee Milestones and Achievements

  • Kroeschell was recently recognized for our outstanding safety performance and zero recordable injuries at Abbott Lake County and AbbVie Lake County for 2016.
  • After 41 years of service, Al Sobus retired from the Service Department on December 31st. On December 20th, Kroeschell celebrated the holidays and Al’s retirement with a catered luncheon from Gianni’s Cafe. Check out our Facebook page to see the photos from the event.
  • Peter Kaczor and wife Magdalena celebrated the birth of their third child (a baby girl) on Tuesday, November 29th.
  • Kroeschell’s charity golf outing in support of the American Cancer Society was a huge success. The final numbers are in, and we raised $36,052! The money that was raised goes directly to our community to help fight back against cancer. Check out the photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Do you have any achievements to share with us? Please submit them to Margie at marjorie.musary@kroeshell.com.

Safety Department: Ladder Safety

When Should You Use a Ladder?

When you want to reach a higher work area, think about the best equipment to use. While a ladder or stepladder is commonly used, it may not always be the best option. Ask yourself these questions before deciding on a ladder:

  • Will I have to hold heavy items while on the ladder?
  • Is the elevated area high enough that it would require a long ladder that can be unstable?
  • Will I be working from this height for a long time?
  • Do I have to stand on the ladder sideways in order to do this work?

If your answer is yes to one of the above questions, consider using something other than a ladder. If possible, bring in other equipment like a scissor lift. However, if you must use a ladder or a stepladder, take note of the safety advice below:

  • Use the right ladder for the job. For example, ensure the ladder is high enough for you to reach your work area without having to stand on the top rung.
  • When using ladders to access another level, secure and extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the landing point to provide a safe handhold.
  • Use only Type 1A Heavy Duty ladders.
  • The base of the ladder should be secured.
  • Place the ladder on stable and level ground. DO NOT place it on an uneven surface.
  • Ensure that the ladder is fully extended before starting work.
  • Prevent passersby from walking near ladders in use by using barriers or a lookout.
  • Do not work on the top rung of the ladder.
  • Maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times
  • Do not lean away from the ladder to carry out your task. Always keep your weight centered between the side rails.
  • Try not use ladders near doorways, but if you need to, make sure that the door is locked.
  • Do not use a ladder if it is bent, missing a step, or spreader bars do not have a locking mechanism.

Past Events

  • On Tuesday, October 11th, Kroeschell held its annual Oktoberfest party at the Arlington Heights headquarters. Employees, vendors and customers gathered together to celebrate the fall season and enjoyed a traditional German meal catered by Edelweiss German-American Restaurant. Check out some of the photos on our Facebook page.

Seasonal Report

5 Winter Health Tips

Here are five ways to make sure that, even when your body is telling you to hibernate, you can keep healthy and fit, no matter what the weather’s like. Read the full article from the National Health Service.

  • Eliminate your sleep debt. On average we sleep six-and-a-half hours a night, much less than the seven to nine hours recommended,” says Jessica Alexander, spokesperson at The Sleep Council, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep for health and well being. But in winter, we naturally sleep more because of the longer nights. “It’s perfectly natural to adopt hibernating habits when the weather turns cold,” says Jessica. “Use the time to catch up.”
  • Drink more milk. You are 80% more likely to get a cold in winter, so making sure your immune system is in tip-top condition is important. Milk and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt are great sources of protein and vitamins A and B12.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. When it’s cold and dark outside, it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food, but it’s important to ensure you still have a healthy diet and include five portions of fruit and veg a day.
  • Try new activities for the whole family. Don’t use the cold winter months as an excuse to stay in and lounge around. Instead, get out with the whole family to try out a new activity – maybe ice skating, or taking a bracing winter walk on the beach or through the park.
  • Have a hearty breakfast.  Hearty breakfasts such as oatmeal and omelets give you energy and help you feel fuller for longer, stopping the temptation to snack mid-morning.

Take a Break

We are all busy but occasionally we need a diversion from our day-to-day activities and simply take a break. We created this section, well, just to help you take that much-needed break. This collection of information includes amusing, challenging, helpful, or just plain interesting things. Feel free to submit items for this section of our next issue. For now, kick back and enjoy!

  • Are you looking for some fun things to do around Chicagoland this winter?
    • In the heart of downtown Chicago, with the City’s skyline as a backdrop, a ribbon of ice winds through a rolling landscape providing an ice skating experience unlike any other. Experience the skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park through March. 
  • Put your brain to the test with this word puzzle
  • Want to go see a movie? Here are some upcoming releases you may want to check out:
    • Who doesn’t love a Matt Damon action film? Check out The Great Wall, in theaters on Friday, February 17th. 
    • If you’re looking for a family-friendly film, the live-action, Disney movie Beauty and the Beast is out Friday, March 17th.

Do you have something to share?

Do you have news to share with your co-workers? Feel free to submit completed projects, company awards, personal and professional milestones or achievements or anything else that you’d like to share with us. Just email marketing at marjorie.musary@kroeschell.com.

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