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Employee eNewsletter, Winter 2015 – 2016

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Welcome to the first of many 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!

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Editorial: Kroeschell’s Secret Sauce

The Comparison Between Kroeschell and Deep-Dish Pizza!

By Margie Musary

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and speak with our CEO, Ed Swietek, and it was a pleasure to do so.  During the interview, I learned the secret to Kroeschell’s 135+ years of success, the goals and challenges for 2016 and the plans for our future!

When I began thinking about how to share my interview with you, my mind wandered to deep-dish pizza (as a relatively new Chicagoan, my mind frequently goes there). As the crispy, thick crust, the glorious cheese and the mounds and mounds of toppings occupied my thoughts, I had a revelation!  My now favorite food, Chicago deep-dish pizza, can directly relate to Kroeschell’s past, present and future!  Is there a more appropriate way to share my interview with you than through deep-dish pizza? I guess I should explain…

You see, what I have learned as a new Chicagoan is that Chicago-style deep-dish pizza has this amazing foundation, the crust! And as I spoke with Ed, I discovered what attributes to Kroeschell’s success — the foundation that has been laid for the last 135 years! The Kroeschell Crust, if you will, is built on knowing our customer, learning their wants and needs, providing them solutions and always staying in touch. Deeper than that, we must be willing to do anything for our customer and never say, “We can’t”. Become a solution provider and they will remember us.

Ed has stuck to this foundation for his entire career. Even his personal work ethic contributes to the foundation and includes such principles as “always be available to help someone; never say no to a customer; if you don’t know how to do something ask questions; work together; learn together; and never say no to an opportunity to learn something new in your career.”

Ed stays motivated at work by following his work ethic and contributing to the Kroeschell foundation. He enjoys taking on problems and helping people solve them – “turn bad things into good things that lead to success.” He also thinks you must enjoy what you do and have fun at your job to stay motivated at work. For Ed, he enjoys coming to work every day, not only because he loves what he does, but also because the people around him make it fun! He hopes that he has ingrained his work ethic into our company culture and that he inspires all of us to stay motivated.

So, we have the crust. The foundation. The layer on which everything is built. And inside the crust is the next layer. The glorious cheese. The main ingredient. The part of the pizza that makes it a PIZZA! I realized that the cheese of Kroeschell is the goals and plans for 2016. They are the main ingredients that make us unique, and without them, we have nothing to base our future on.

I spent a good amount of time speaking with Ed about the goals and plans for 2016, the cheese. Since Ed is approaching his final years at Kroeschell, he wants to make sure he has all the right people in the right places. He assures, “By expanding the executive committee to include other key managers, I am confident we are on the right track for the next generation of leaders here at Kroeschell.”

Ed also knows there is an incredible pipeline of work for the next 1-2 years. He not only wants to ensure that we fulfill our work, but that we also continue to generate the right kind of new work.  “There is a delicate balance between the amount of current work and the amount of additional work we can take on. If we find that balance, we have the opportunity to be selective in the contracts we perform, and it’s a great feeling to have that stability.”

When discussing 2016, I wanted to know what some of the biggest challenges are for Kroeschell and how we plan to stay ahead of the competition. Ed said the biggest challenge is that things are going well and we can’t take that for granted. We need to stay involved, don’t lose focus on our direction and always be aware of what’s going on in the industry.

To stay ahead of the competition, Ed says, “Keep your eyes on the industry and if we see any changes that require us to adjust, we make those changes.”  How do we keep our eyes on the industry? Ed asserts, “Be out there with our customers! Learn what opportunities are available to enhance our current position and if it makes sense for our business, we do it!”

So we have our solid layer of cheese for 2016, but what about the deep-dish toppings? The part of the pizza that makes you hungry for more and gets you excited for your next bite. In Kroeschell’s case, the toppings are the future, what keeps us going and invigorates us about what’s to come. I asked Ed, “What are we doing to be innovative in the future?” The big focus is ENERGY. Ed expresses that, “We are very aware of energy credits and energy projects that save customers money. We have started our own energy team that is starting to grow at a steady pace. The idea is to bring all of our energy-minded individuals together where they can learn from and cross train each other on energy products and building automation.” With this in mind, Kroeschell is ready to take the future head on, where energy will be one of the biggest players in the industry. I don’t know about you, but that makes me hungry for more!

So there you have the topping, the future of Kroeschell. All we have left is the final layer. The sauce. The secret to the whole pizza. The final element that pulls it all together. Ed left me with an incredibly inspiring statement that I think is our SECRET SAUCE. He sums it up by saying,  

“We are over 137 years old in 2016. That’s amazing. It didn’t just happen. Continue to keep your eyes open. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Work together and listen to your co-workers. They might just have a good idea!”

It’s remarkable how you can relate a deep-dish pizza to a company’s past, present and future! I know I’ll think about Kroeschell every time I eat a slice, and what do you know, it’s lunchtime. Excuse me while I go get that delicious slice of Kroeschell… I mean pizza!
^

Spotlight on Ed:

We asked Ed some interesting questions to find out a little more about him. Here’s what he had to say:

  • When you’re not at Kroeschell, where would we find you?
    • “With my family or on the golf course”
  • What was the last book you read? Was it good?
    • “Miracle on the 17th green. A fictional book about golf.”
  • If we peaked in your refrigerator, what would we find?
    • “No leftovers. We just don’t keep anything.”
  • If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
    • “Arizona or Italy to play golf. Well, really Europe in general.”
  • If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
    • “Find a cure for cancer.”
  • What was the last movie you saw?
    • Last Vegas. I love Vegas, it’s my age group and I can relate to it. It’s about old guys trying to be young. It’s just a lot of fun.”
  • If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be? What would you ask him/her?
    • “My Dad. I was 18 when he died and didn’t really get to know him, so there would be a lot to talk about.”
  • What is one thing about you that would surprise people?
    • “I can’t swim. I never learned.”
  • What are your hobbies?
    • “Golf, travel, cooking, biking. If I were younger, I would do MS 150. However, it’s normal for me to ride 15-20 miles on a Saturday. I meet my buddies for coffee and it’s about nine miles each way.”
  • Anything you want to learn to do?
    • “Swim”
  • How many golf balls do you think fit in your office?
    • “4,572,288. I actually got it down to cubic inches and figured it out.”

Upcoming Events

  • After Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes #GivingTuesday, a global day for giving back. In our continued support of the American Cancer Society, we wanted to take a moment to share the details of this day:

Now in its fourth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. It’s a simple idea, fueled by the power of generosity, social media and collaboration. This year, the American Cancer Society is actively participating to help make #GivingTuesday a new tradition. You can help the ACS by spreading the word and donating to the American Cancer Society on December 1st. Learn More:www.Cancer.org/Giving-Tuesday

  • Kroeschell will celebrate the holidays with a luncheon catered by Buona Beef on Tuesday, December 15th at the Arlington Heights office. Please feel free to bring an appetizer or dessert to share.

Around the Office

Employee Milestones and Achievements

Kroeschell employees are making the news. Here’s who:

  • The entire team on the Naval Station Great Lakes Project received a Star Safety Award Certificate for their outstanding performance and commitment to safety. The contract recorded over 230,742 man hours with no recordable incidences and no non-compliance notices Congratulations to the entire team on their superb effort, cooperation and commitment to safe execution! To read more about the project, visit thecase study page on our website.
  • Kroeschell’s charity golf outing in support of the American Cancer Society was a huge success. The final numbers are in, and we raised $26,000! 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.

Past Events

  • Kroeschell announced that 2015 marked the 50th year of service for three of our senior level executives; Edward Swietek, Richard Pruchniak and Sidney Frisch. They have a combined 150 years of dedication and enthusiasm to Kroeschell. A celebration was held in honor of that exceptional milestone.
  • On October 21st, Kroeschell hosted its annual Oktoberfest party complete with German food from Edelweiss German-American Restaurant. Kroeschell, together with many of our vendors and customers, enjoyed an afternoon of delicious food and great company! See for yourself!
  • On October 30th, we held our annual Arlington Heights office Halloween costume contest. There was stiff competition this year, but the winner was Kevin from IT, who was Macho Man Randy Savage. Congrats Kevin! Check out all the creative costumes our office employees thought up.
  • On November 3rd, G&O Thermal, one of Kroeschell’s great partners, hosted a Pig Roast Luncheon for all the employees at headquarters. Check out the photos from the luncheon. Thanks G&O!
  • On November 4th, Gexpro, another one of our partners, hosted a pizza luncheon for the employees at headquarters. Thanks Gexpro!

Seasonal Report

Flu Season is no Fun!

Get ready, we are in flu season, says the CDC! And more bad news, we still have a ways to go as seasonal flu activity can last through late May! The timing, severity and length of the flu season varies each year, so it’s important to continue to take proper precautions right now. Here are a few things you can do. First, the CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. It is the single best way to prevent the seasonal flu. Other good health habits include:

  1. Avoid close contact with others when you or they are sick.
  2. Stay home when you are sick.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  4. Clean your hands.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  6. Clean and frequently disinfect touched surfaces at home, work, school, etc.
  7. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious foods!

If you do end up getting the flu, don’t come by the marketing department. Just kidding, if you do get the flu, there are some drugs available, called antiviral drugs, to make your illness milder and get you better faster. While it has been shown that the drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, taking them later can still be helpful. Talk to your doctor!

Do you know your symptoms?…Cold vs. Flu.
Can you match the statement to the illness?

Below are a list of statements that relate to the cold or flu, as described by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Read each one and mark which illness, cold or flu, corresponds best with the statement.

  1. ________ Sneezing is common
  2. ________ Headache and body aches are common
  3. ________ Exhaustion, weakness and fatigue are common
  4. ________ Stuffy nose is common
  5. ________ Dry cough is common
  6. ________ Caused by a virus
  7. ________ Fever is common
  8. ________ Results in more serious health problems, like pneumonia
  9. ________ Sore throat is common
  10. ________ Treatment includes antibiotics

For complete information, visit the NIAID website.

Answers:

1. Cold, 2. Flu, 3. Flu, 4. Cold, 5. Flu, 6. Flu, 7. Flu, 8. Flu, 9. Cold, 10. Neither

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!

  • Engineering is a very complex and challenging field. This flow chart should help everyone understand how it really works!
  • Do you work at headquarters and are looking for a new lunch spot? An Outback Steakhouse opened on October 28th in Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect (just five miles from the office).
  • Are you thinking about catching a movie? Here are some upcoming releases you don’t want to miss:
    • The last installment of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 was released on November 20th.
    • The much-anticipated next Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, is released on December 18th.
  • Do you need to step away from your project for a few minutes and clear your mind? Here’s a quick gamethat will help you do just that.

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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