Employee eNewsletter, Fall 2017
Fall into Kroeschell’s Employee eNewsletter,
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!
Click on the section below to quickly navigate to your desired content.
- Editorial: Interview with Tony
- Spotlight on Tony
- Upcoming Events
- Around the Office
- Safety Department
- Past Events
- Seasonal Report
- Take a Break
Editorial: Interview with Tony Swietek
By: Margie Musary
For this installment of the newsletter, I was given the opportunity to interview Tony Swietek, President of the Service Division. Learn more about Tony, his goals for 2018 and plans for the future.
What do you attribute to Service’s success so far?
The Service Division has become versatile in the type of equipment that we can service. Before, we strictly serviced large cooling equipment, like chillers. Now we have expanded our services to include package RTUs and are beginning to get involved in boiler maintenance. We can provide retrofits, burner replacement, commissioning and maintenance. By increasing our versatility, we hope to become more successful.
What is your personal work ethic, and how does it affect the culture of the Service Division?
I make every effort to promote all of Kroeschell’s services, not just the work that the Service Division performs. My current customer base includes both Building Engineers and Property Managers, and if they have additional work that fits the scope of our plumbing, controls, construction or electrical divisions, I will approach those divisions and get them involved. I feel that this is important because as we find more ways to work together, the stronger Kroeschell becomes. I want others in the Service Division and throughout Kroeschell to be doing the same thing, and I think that they are. When we work as a team, Kroeschell grows.
Share your secrets to what keeps you motivated.
The challenge of developing the Service Group to be the best it can be is what keeps me motivated. I want to ensure that the field employees are knowledgeable and are learning about new equipment and technology in the industry. It is important that we train our Service Techs the right way and up to the Kroeschell standard. We are utilizing our team’s knowledge of the equipment we have worked on to teach our apprentices and other techs. Watching the Service Division grow and get better keeps me motivated.
What do you love most about your job?
I enjoy the opportunity that I get to interact with the other division to accomplish the same goal. I also enjoy getting to know customers and building relationships.
What are your goals for Service in 2017 and 2018?
I have two goals moving forward.
First, I would like to work on maintaining the current customer base. Many of our customers are experiencing a change in management or are changing roles themselves. Many are even retiring. We have to work to build relationships with new contacts at some of our current sites.
Second, I want to build our customer base. There is a great deal of opportunity in hospitals and processing plants that require boiler and HVAC service. I believe we can develop that work.
How do you plan for us to achieve these goals?
We need to work closely with the Building Engineers and Property Managers to ensure that we are offering the right solutions to their needs and providing those solutions at a reasonable price. Also, we need to be transparent with customers – anticipate their needs, and identify other areas of concern that are outside the scope of work – and present solutions to those concerns in advance. Doing these things will lay the foundation to a good relationship.
What’s the biggest challenge that you feel Service faces in the next year?
The biggest challenge we face is the added competition. We are up against new contractors that might be staffing jobs differently. With many customers looking for the “best price”, we need to be open to changing the way we manage or staff a contract. We need to be versatile if we want to continue to build relationships with customers. I recently read a great quote that I think sums it up, “If you don’t take care of your customers, your competition will.”
Are you planning on taking any business risks in 2017-18? What are they?
Our biggest risk moving forward is to focus more heavily on boiler servicing. It is something that we are beginning to explore and develop. If we continue in the direction that we are headed, we will be successful.
What is Service doing to stay ahead of the competition?
Service will continue to provide what we say we will provide. We remain transparent, upfront and honest with our customers in order to build the best relationships that we can. I think this differentiates us from the competition.
What are we doing to be innovative in our industry moving forward?
We have become more involved in the rebate programs that energy providers are offering. If we can show customers how a potential rebate can help offset the cost of a job, it makes it easier to sell the project.
We are also promoting our other divisions. For example, we can get the other divisions to install equipment which helps to decrease our customer’s energy consumption and save them money.
What does Service look like in 5 years and 10 years?
In five years, I think we will be more diverse in the equipment we can service. We will continue to gain knowledge as technology and equipment change. We will stay strong and continue training employees.
In ten years, I imagine Kroeschell will continue to work together, finding more opportunities where more divisions can get involved.
Spotlight on Tony:
- When you’re not at Kroeschell, where would we find you?
In the summer, I’m on the golf course, and in the winter, I run a bowling league.
- If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Hawaii. I have never been there and my wife wants to go too. Maybe we will plan an anniversary trip.
- What are your hobbies?
Golf, bowling, cooking and spending time with my grandbaby. At this point, I feel like I must be a preferred Amazon customer because a package for the baby arrives almost every day. I might even have to add an addition onto the house just for baby toys.
- What is one thing about you that would surprise people?
I enjoy cooking. I grew up with a Mother who cooked a five-course meal every Sunday. One of my favorite dishes to cook is Shrimp Dijon. I also love breakfast, and I could eat it all day – especially eggs, crispy bacon and an English muffin.
- What is on your bucket list?
I would like to drive a Nascar on the race track, but I don’t know how to drive a stick shift. I guess I’ll have to learn to do that first.
- What is something unusual that has happened to you?
One time, four friends and I spent $20 each on a $100 raffle ticket. We won a Porsche! We each took pictures in the driver’s seat and then decided to take the cash equivalent, which was about $7,000 per person. My wife and I used the money to take our kids to Disney World.
- On Thursday, October 12, G&O Thermal will be hosting a Pig Roast at the Arlington Heights office. For more information, please contact Linda Iannino.
Around the Office
Employee Milestones and Achievements
- We’d like to congratulate to our very own Dave Mueller and the team from Kirlin Builders LLC for earning safety coins for the U.S. Army Fort Carson AHU project. Safety is a priority for Kroeschell, and our proactive safety program is based on continuous training and improvement. Check out the photo on our Facebook page.
- At the end of June, we wished Vic Benedetti a very happy retirement. We celebrated his achievement with a catered luncheon. Check out the photos on our Facebook page.
- Kroeschell opened a new office/warehouse in Peoria, IL. The new site moves Kroeschell’s Operations Division from its original Southwest Water Street location in downtown Peoria to its new facility at 458 W. Camp Street, East Peoria, IL. Read more about the move in our press release.
Safety Department: Confined Spaces
By: Mike Smagacz
8 Steps to Achieving Zero Energy State
Zero Energy State refers to the state in which all possible energy sources associated with a piece of equipment are rendered “isolated” or locked in an OFF state. This is important to the work that Kroeschell performs as it allows safe work on a piece of equipment, such as a boiler or chiller, without fear of an unexpected start-up of energy or power.
Below are the 8 steps to achieving Zero Energy State:
- Think, plan and check: Think through the entire procedure. Identify all parts of your systems that need to be isolated. Determine what switches, equipment and people will be involved. Carefully plan to ensure safe maintenance operations.
- Communicate: Notify all those who need to know that a Zero Energy State procedure is taking place.
- Identify the energy source(s): Ensure that all employees involved know about the energy sources associated with the machine. Include electrical circuits, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, spring energy, gravity systems, or any other.
- Neutralize all energy source(s): Disconnect electricity. Block movable parts. Release or block spring energy. Drain or bleed hydraulic and pneumatic lines. Lower suspended parts to rest positions.
- Zero Energy State devices: Use only locks, hasps, and covers identified for Zero Energy State purposes. Each authorized worker must have a singular identified lock.
- Isolate power sources: Isolate machine controls, pressure lines, starter switches and suspended parts. Tags should include your name, department, how to reach you, the date and time of isolation and the reason for the Zero Energy State.
- Verify Zero Energy State: Check that all workers are clear. Ensure Zero Energy State devices are securely placed on equipment. Attempt normal start-up procedures. Return controls to the off or neutral position.
- Releasing machinery from a Zero Energy State: Inspect the area and equipment. Replace machine guards. Account for all tools and place them back into the toolbox. Inform affected employees of machine start-up. Restore system connections. Remove tags and locks. Restore machinery to the original configuration. Conduct normal start-up.
- Kroeshell’s 7th annual Charity Golf Outing supporting Easterseals was held on Monday, July 31st and was a huge success. The final numbers are in, and we raised $54,000! The money that was raised goes directly to Easterseals to help them make major, positive, life-changing differences in the lives of people and families facing today’s disabilities. Check out the photos from the check presentation during Easterseals Groundbreaking ceremony.
Seasonal Report: Holiday Stress Management
With the holidays around the corner, stress can begin to build. They present a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few. The Mayo Clinic offers some practical tips that you can use to minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would. To read the entire, visit the Mayo Clinic Website.
- Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones.
- Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion.
- Reach out. If you feel lonely, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship.
- Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget.
- Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list.
- Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.
- Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
- Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
Some options may include:
- Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
- Listening to soothing music.
- Getting a massage.
- Reading a book.
- Acknowledge your feelings. If something has happened and you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.
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 Fall? Check out Choose Chicago for a full list of upcoming events and things to do. From events, dining and tours & attractions, this list has something for everyone.
- Put your brain to the test with this word game.
- Want to go see a movie? Here are some upcoming releases you may want to check out:
- Check out Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the 1982 movie Blade Runner. It hits movie theaters on Oct 6.
- Looking for something funny? Check out A Bad Moms Christmas starring Mila Kunis, and Kristen Bell. Premiers on Nov 1.
- Into superhero movies? The highly anticipated Thor: Ragnarok comes out on Nov 3 and Justice League on Nov 17.
- Are you a Star Wars superfan? Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiers on Dec 15.
- Looking for a rather quick yet interesting video to watch? Here’s one: TED Talk: 5 ways to lead in an era of constant change
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.