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Meet Bruner’s Service Estimator Team!

Similar to our employee spotlight that we have each month, this month we will be highlighting two of Bruner’s service estimators – Lowell McElroy and Steve Price. Both Lowell and Steve estimate equipment repairs for the service department based on site visits, call-in business, and preventative maintenance or service call recommendations from a technician’s suggestions. They have also worked with engineers to help strategize for job preparation and execution. Let’s dig a little deeper in to each of their individual fun facts!

Lowell McElroy:

Lowell is going on his 14th year here at Bruner, and his favorite part of the job is that most days are different and he gets to meet and talk to new people. In his free time, he enjoys a little R&R, travel baseball, boating, and spending time with his family and friends. When it comes to food, he “likes it hot!”. Lowell cheers for the Steelers and his favorite season is fall. Surprisingly, his favorite vacation spot is home, but he also enjoys traveling to Tennessee and on occasion the beach.

Steve Price:

Steve has been with Bruner for 4 years, and his favorite part of the job is that it has allowed him to morph into many roles. Another aspect that he enjoys are the great co-workers that he gets to work with every day. Steve is currently enrolled as a full time student as well, working towards earning a degree in psychology. While he has been in customer service positions for half of his life, he can’t wait to get into psychology because it is something that has always been a dream of his. Steve’s favorite sports team is the Ohio State Buckeyes, and his favorite day of the week is Saturday. Lucky for him, his favorite holiday is just around the corner as it is Halloween. On a final note, Steve believes trust is an important value and is sure to instill this in is daughter as he watches her grow up.

5 Workplace Trends in 2012

As the workplace continues to evolve, be sure to keep up with your competitors by considering the following new trends in the workplace! For most companies, these new trends have potential to evolve into growth of your company.

1. Movement from management to leadership values – Employees can determine when an organization’s walk doesn’t fit the talk, and they are getting impatient working for managers who are less self-aware than they are. Instead, individuals today must lead with values such as collaboration and shared purpose. By engaging the workforce in a compelling shared vision and engaging their hearts as well as their minds, leaders can reap the best results.

2. A focus on workplace culture as a means to grow the business – Dedicating time, energy, and resources into creating a sustainable culture can eliminate money spent on marketing (think Google, Panera). Customers patronize businesses that care about their employees, and will even pay more if they believe their values are shared by the company.

3. Diversity makes a comeback – Today, organizations have a renewed interest in diversity, and it has to do with the customer and shareholders. From a customer relations perspective, companies need people inside their organizations who are representative of the people they are trying to reach outside.

4. Rise of virtual work relations – Although they can make it seem like you’re connected to the workplace 24/7, sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn makes it easier to retain relationships with current and past co-workers. This allows for greater amounts of information and expertise to be shared and leveraged which is always a benefit!

5. Organizations are getting flatter – Instant access technology means that employees are not as dependent on the hierarchies of the past for information. With that being said, managers can expect a new definition of team work. Instead of playing your individual role in the team, it’s all about what everyone is chipping in to accomplish what is needed.

Boiler Replacement: Start to Finish in 4 Days

On Friday, February 17, around noon, Service Technician Steve Haag received a call from the Kroger regional office in Westerville indicating that they had a leak into the first floor offices below the mechanical room. Haag’s immediate action was to find the leak and identify its cause. Once at the Kroger office, he found that the leak was coming from their thirty-year-old Ajax fire tube boiler.

Project Engineer Chip Neville was contacted to come up with options for which to rectify the situation. “A repair of that style boiler requires special certification welding that only a couple of people in central Ohio have,” Neville said. “Unfortunately, our certified technician was out of town on another service until late the following week.” By the time he arrived at the Kroger office at about 2:30pm, Haag had the system opened and they found more than just a few tubes were leaking.

The two deduced that a repair was not an option and turned their focus toward a new system. Neville had checked options on his way over with Kevin McGovern Associates and Herbert & Conway, and while on site, he received pricing from both. With those costs in mind, the Bruner team discussed options with Kroger representatives with regards to equipment availability, efficiency, cost, and timing.

By 5:00pm that day, Neville presented firm budgets and a recommendation to Kroger’s Senior Engineer, Eric Wagonknecht, with a target of having the new boiler in place by the end of the following week.

Wagonknecht asked the Bruner team to proceed with a modular boiler option called EVO by Hamilton Engineering. Thanks to Kevin McGovern and the late night put in by the Hamilton Engineering team, the boiler was ordered and its assembly started by 6:00pm.

After tremendous effort by the entire Bruner team, the system was ready to be started by the end of the day Thursday – less than one week after discovering the problem. By 10:00am on Friday morning, the Bruner team had the heat back on in the building just as outdoor temperatures dropped. The replacement even managed to increase system efficiency from 76 to 95 percent.

Thanks to the Bruner team for their incredible diligence and efficiency in delighting our customer with excellent service: Steve Haag, Larry Carver, Don McNeal, and Rocky Carr, with assistance from Kevin McGovern Associates and Hamilton Engineering.

If you’re worried about your mechanical systems, check out our e-book for 9 tips to keep them in tip-top shape!

Fast Track Prefab for Scioto Downs Casino

The Scioto Downs Casino is a fast track project. The construction of the building must be concluded in six months, with all HVAC and plumbing finished in months two and three of the project.

Bruner Corporation has performed many fast track jobs in the past, but not as short as this. In order to accomplish this task, prefabrication was a necessity. Bruner developed an aggressive plan that entailed the prefabrication of all ductwork and plumbing fixture rough-in piping systems in our shops. The fixtures would subsequently be shipped to the project on a just-in-time basis.

The prefabrication process consisted of 60,000 pounds of ductwork and 2,500 feet of waste and vent, and domestic water piping. Modular restroom assemblies were prefabbed for 161 fixtures. Twenty-one batteries were shipped to the project, rolled in to place, and finish piped in four weeks.

Bruner met our commitment to our customer with the detailed planning and coordination between our fab shop and field teams.

Thanks to all those who made this project a tremendous success.

Supporting our Soldiers

During the month of February, Bruner employees came together to gather donations for Josh Hughes, a service technician for Bruner, and his unit currently serving in Afghanistan.
“The response from Bruner employees has been impressive,” said Renna Schafler who organized the effort, “and the encouragement I have received from the places I went to help make this happen was humbling.”


The thirty-seven soldiers will receive multiple boxes containing the following items and then some:

  • Baby wipes
  • Book lights (donated by Staples)
  • Safety glasses
  • Candy and gum
  • Plastic storage bags
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Body wash
  • Books (sold at a reduced rate by a local Half Price Books store owner)
  • Games
  • Fire-proof gloves (donated by Air Gas)
  • Coffee
  • Lotion
  • Pen and paper (donated by Staples)

This effort was so successful in part because of the generosity of Bruner employees, the great community support we received, and a few great coupon-clippers. Bruner employee’s Renna Schafler, Leslie Brungarth, LeeAnn Lynn, and Sarah Campbell combined efforts and used their coupon-savvy to turn an $85 donation into $300 worth of items to be sent overseas.

“The feeling of pride has washed over me countless times during this experience,” said Schafler. “To know we are supporting our troops and one of our own coworkers in the way we have is extraordinary.”

A huge thanks to all that contributed!

Employee Spotlight: Rocky Carr

Rocky Carr

Purchasing Manager Rocky Carr has been with Bruner Corporation for 12 years and has worked in the industry for 35 years! Day-to-day, Rocky’s role includes purchasing materials and equipment for our projects, as well as managing the warehouse operations here at Bruner.

When he’s not working, Rocky enjoys traveling, golfing, and spending time with his wife. Together, they take pleasure in traveling, with one of their favorite spots being Outer Banks, NC. Rocky also undoubtedly delights in traveling to see his three children who live in some of the United States’ most desirable vacation spots: New York, California, and Hawaii. Rocky’s son living in Hawaii is currently serving in the United States Army.

As one of Bruner’s most smiling faces, Rocky’s favorite part of his job is working with our people and key partners. “I truly enjoy working with people and finding solution to the challenges we encounter,” Rocky said.

If Rocky sounds like a person you’d love to work with, contact us! We’d love to do business with you.

Performance Solutions Group: Taking Action Together

For years the Bruner Performance Solutions Group (PSG) has been saving our customers boat loads of money by evaluating their energy consumption and developing a mechanical solution to their excessive energy use. In 2011, Bruner PSG saved our customers 2,431,986 kWH. By submitting 60 applications throughout the course of the year to AEP’s gridSMART program, our customers received more than $300,000 in incentives.

I know what you’re thinking. “That all seems really great, in theory, but how much time am I going to have to put into this?” or maybe, “How do I know if doing an energy conservation program is going to be worth it?” Those are all great questions, and we’ve got the answers!

The implementation of your program can be started in three easy steps:

  1. Develop an energy analysis.
    The Bruner PSG team performs supply and demand side analysis from your utility bills, evaluating current conditions (usually from two historic years), and then assembles projections.
  2. Provide a feasibility study.
    From surveys of equipment, systems, and operations, the Bruner PSG team provides a study of the feasible solution to reduce consumption costs.
  3. Provide an investment grade audit to implement the program.
    With approval of the feasibility study, final implementation cost and specific plans are provided to enact, administer, and implement improvements.

And guess what else? You can enter a program where the up-front analysis costs can be deferred or waived altogether based on the project and level of implementation chosen, making your investment nearly risk-free and all the more rewarding.

So take action with us, and together we can reduce consumption and make the world a greener place!

Contractors: Learn How to Boost Productivity and Lower Expenditures

“Companies that manage their labor and their inventory effectively are among the most profitable,” says Ruth King (@RuthKing) in HVACR Business Magazine. King used her wealth of knowledge and 25+ years of experience in the HVACR industry to share with HVACR Business readers how the contracting business can increase profits without increasing prices. The solution: productively manage your labor force.

Here are ten ways to do so:

  • Lock up your warehouse and parts room
  • Make sure that charges for nitrogen use, silver solder, vacuum pump (and the oil change after each use), reclaim units, and leak testing are included in your flat-rate pricing or added to the invoice
  • Add a charge of $0.50/pound for refrigerant disposal
  • Say thank you to your installers and service technicians by bringing them a soda or hot drink on the job
  • Create a sheet and have the customer sign off that they understand how to use a programmable thermostat
  • Use tickler files
  • Say, “It’s time for your prepaid maintenance check” instead of spring/fall tune up
  • Keep the second call of the day open
  • Use the camera in your phone or keep a digital camera in your truck
  • Track productivity

For further explanation of these guidelines, visit HVACRBusiness.com.

Building Good Business Relationships Begins with Internal Teamwork

Before we, as business leaders, can build lasting relationships with our customers, we must first nurture internal relationships based on mutual respect and trust. While this is a gradual process, the benefits of collaborating as a team are seen immediately.

Courtesy of Rhonda R. Savage, D.D.S. (@rhondasavage), and HVACR Business, here are some tips to foster teamwork within your organization as you strive to facilitate accountability and build trust among your team.

  1. Define duties with teamwork in mind.
  2. Be clear with prospective employees during the interview process
  3. Define your expectations in an office policy manual
  4. Determine time commitments and plan adequately for each task
  5. Don’t overload your staff with too many commitments or too many interruptions
  6. Follow through by putting a note on your calendar to check on progress of tasks
  7. Avoid showing favoritism toward specific team members
  8. Encourage your team members to stand up and lead
  9. Open the lines of communication by having an open-door policy
  10. Ask your team members to fully support one another

For further explanation of these guidelines, visit HVACRBusiness.com.

Promoting a Culture of Servant Leadership

As Bruner strives to grow as a business, we have adopted several practices to help propel us toward an employee’s first, customer-driven culture. One of those practices is the notion of Servant Leadership.

What is Servant Leadership, you ask? It’s a culture of serving those you lead; it’s a distribution of power and responsibility to allow employees to make their own decisions; it’s seeing things through the eyes of those you lead; it’s putting yourself in others’ shoes; and it’s keeping the well-being of fellow employees in mind.

Servant Leadership is not just a practice – it’s a culture of leading by example, which can be applied to both personal and professional lives. By embracing the role of a Servant Leader, you are choosing to uphold and embody the Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership. You seek lasting change, create authentic relationships, persevere with a non-anxious presence, invest in motivated people, and focus less on doing things the “right” way and more on doing what is right.

By empowering people and creating a positive work environment first, profits and success will follow.