Before we jump into water heaters…
As our Missouri based technician, James, prepares to return to his home state, our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by the massive floods and tornadoes across the Midwest. Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma have been experiencing tornadoes and flooding which has traversed the Midwest (as far north as the Dakotas and as far west as Nebraska) since March. Here’s how YOU can help!: The Red Cross provides communities with temporary shelters, water, and other supplies. You can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800 RED CROSS, or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. The Missouri Farm Bureau is a non-profit organization which seeks to provide resources for students, FFA chapters, and agricultural education departments via donations. If you are unable to donate, please consider sharing a donation link via social media or volunteering for the Red Cross or other organizations.
Every once in awhile, our dispatch office tends to get a dispatch that is outside of our service area or a phone call from Rheem asking that same question. Although water heater repair technicians are often not sought after until emergency situations arise, there are many areas of the United States where residential customers experience the need for emergency service, but due to the limited number of local technicians may be forced to make repairs on their own. With certain areas seeming to struggle to find certified repair technicians, we decided to venture west, in hopes of becoming the water heating solution for residents of Kansas and Missouri! This new journey is all thanks to our new Kansas City based technician, James. Our new tech is currently training with our Wisconsin-based technician, Kevin. James hopes to be hitting the road in Kansas and Missouri within the next two weeks as both a warranty service technician and an installer!
James comes from a strong mechanical background, with 15 years of plumbing experience in various settings: residential, new construction, etc. As a plumber, he has encountered many water heaters and has a strong background in installs and residential troubleshooting. In addition, he also holds a journeyman license and OSHA certification, which provides some of the crucial knowledge he will need once he attends A.O. Smith University for commercial training this summer. James does have some commercial experience under his belt, but he is looking forward to attending A.O. University and other training seminars to further hone his commercial troubleshooting abilities.
Our Goshen-based technician, Larry, joined our team this year and has not ceased to grow in technical skill and has continued to expand our company’s relationships throughout the Midwest— from his local Ace Hardware stores to various water heater manufacturers. Larry recently attended A.O. Smith University to receive a 32-hour training course on commercial and tankless units, enabling him to continue to provide excellent services: “I came away from this training feeling more equipped with knowledge and hands on experience that will allow me to be a better asset to this company as well and to the customers we serve. I networked and was able to meet individuals creating relationships that will serve me well.” As a small business, heading into its second year, U.S. Water Heating Solutions aims to develop a new standard for service and quality, which begins with the establishment of strong manufacturer relationships and training seminars like this one.
This training experience was unique because Larry is our first technician who has ever driven to training! The nearly eight hour drive to Ashland City provided a unique opportunity for our technician and the staff at A.O. Smith. This was the first time our colleagues at A.O. have had the opportunity to physically set foot in one of our active service vehicles, providing them with a glimpse of how we have created a user-friendly vehicle for our technicians, providing them access to various residential and commercial parts.
In preparation for our upcoming Family Owned Fridays (or #FOF) social media campaign, we decided to take an inside look at what it is that sets family owned businesses apart from the crowd. U.S. Water Heating Solutions may be a relatively young company, but it has been built on generations of pride and experience which have since been passed on creating an entirely new family that reaches five states (and counting!). Poet and author, Rupi Kaur’s describes her pride in her ancestors throughout The Sun and Her Flowers: “i am the product of all the ancestors getting together and deciding these stories need to be told.” Whether it is culture, business, art, or a combination of the aforementioned, our staff has found that family is the reason: the reason to get up at 4 am everyday, the reason to work hard everyday, the reason to take pride in your work.
Sure, our About Us page will summarize who we are and what we do, but it doesn’t quite capture what being a family owned business means to our employees nor how it impacts our customers. I decided to sit down with various members of our executive board, while searching for an answer. Along the way, we dug deep into the value of family and how it has enabled us to grow beyond Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Este artículo fue editado por: Doctora Munia Cabal-Jiménez
Para hispanohablantes en los EEUU, puede ser difícil llamar para solicitar servicios de arreglo en casa. Esperamos que esta guía les guíe en el mundo de calentadores de agua y en el vocabulario de la industria.
En los EEUU y la mayoría del mundo hispanohablante, el término más generalizado para referirse al tanque que calienta el agua de su casa es “calentador de agua.” En algunos lugares es común oír: calentador de lava, calefón, caldera, termo o boiler. También es lo mismo cuando se habla de piezas; la jerga que usamos en esta industria es muy complicada en español. Una cosa que puede ayudarle es leer su manual de instalación en español (ejemplo aquí).
Rheem EcoNet Products
Kevin recently serviced Manheim Milwaukee, a large scale automotive sales location based in Caledonia, Wisconsin. They are well-known for their large auto auctions, which include various makes and models, from Ford Mustangs to Teslas. Behind the scenes, water heaters are an important factor in their pre-auction cleanings and preparations. To ensure that their staff is always up to date with their water heater settings, Manheim Milwaukee recently installed a Rheem EcoNet Control Center and had some preventative maintenance done on their units. Manheim currently runs multiple tankless units and will utilize the EcoNet tool to increase energy savings and for remote control of their units.
A.O. Smith University’s campus is uniquely designed with multiple classrooms that provide examples of properly installed units and the history of water heater development. A.O. Smith staff provides in-course demos and teaches technicians exactly how to troubleshoot their units. We typically send all technicians who have not received said training prior to hire and/or do not have experience with commercial units or boilers. Technicians are sent to Ashland City for a week’s worth of training which they are then able to deploy in their respective areas. Ryan, one of our Wisconsin-based technicians, attended A.O. Smith University last week to prepare him for upcoming work on commercial units in the Wisconsin Dells area. A.O. Smith provides state of the art training workshops which have been developed thanks their historical experience as innovative leaders in the production industry, of which Ryan noted: “The atmosphere was very welcoming to learn in.” There are various stations inside the facility which demonstrate the growth of water heaters from 1950 to the present.
Two of our technicians recently had the opportunity to experience live boiler training in the field, thanks to Brandon Moma, the A.O. Smith Start-up Coordinator for Field Engineering. Technicians, Kirk and Jack, alongside George of RC Sales, went to Addison, Illinois for this special training seminar. The technicians visited Clarendale of Addison, a senior living center, which is currently under construction and set to open this Summer. This training was unique for both technicians, due to its location. Aside from being under construction, this is a rare experience “because it was local,” according to our Senior Tech, Kirk. Technicians typically fly to one of the manufacturer’s factories or headquarters. A.O. Smith runs a variety of training programs out of their Ashland City, Tennessee based factory and training facility, also known as A.O. Smith University. The training facility in Ashland City is well-developed and serves as a continuing education center for thousands of plumbers and technicians from across the United States (Our Wisconsin based tech is currently down in Ashland City and our Indiana technician will be heading to Ashland City soon, too).
In the past 14 months, we have been fortunate to establish a relationship with many of the major manufacturers, one of which is PVI Industries of Fort Worth, Texas. PVI manufactures an array of commercial water heaters and storage tanks ranging from 150 to 4500 gallons. Since PVI focuses on the manufacturing and maintenance of commercial units, which are manufactured with different materials than standard residential units. As a result, our more experienced technicians are sent to Fort Worth to learn directly from the PVI staff. As of March, we have sent two technicians and a plumber to receive their PVI start-up certification.
PVI Training | Duplex Stainless Steel
Although our technicians are officially certified to perform start-ups and service on PVI units following the class, we try to provide them with hands-on training in the field with our Senior Technician, Kirk. Our first technician to attend PVI Training this year was Jack, one of our up and coming Illinois based technicians. After heading to Fort Worth, he spoke very highly of the training program: “The PVI Training was very in depth and hands on. The instructor was super knowledgable and was able to answer every question that was sent his way. The most interesting thing I learned was about their Duplex Stainless Steel tanks and their construction. My overall experience was great.” The Duplex Stainless Steel tanks are a part of PVI’s AquaPLEX line which is built to endure years of use as “the ultimate solution to all water heating applications.” (more…)
Women’s History Month | Overview
Information from: The National Women’s History Museum
In the United States, March is recognized as Women’s History Month, an extension of the first International Women’s Day in 1911. Over the next sixty years, celebrations of women’s history expanded, beginning with the Sonoma County’s 1978 “Women’s History Week” Celebration. Eleven years later, Congress officially declared March to be Women’s History Month.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, we elected to reach out to local businesses and local business contacts to hear their empowering stories. You may be wondering: Why would a water heater repair service care about Women’s History Month? The answer is simple: women are the backbone of our company. We often forget the importance of recognizing and acknowledging the journey to success when we see a successful woman. The water heater industry is often stereotypically considered to be a masculine industry and it may surprise many to learn that our company actually has several female employees, and that there are many women employed by the major manufacturers with which we work for warranty service repairs. Despite male dominance in the water heater and business industries alike, women are on the rise and we had the pleasure to learn about some incredible women this month.