Apply Now for TP Mechanical’s 2019 Apprenticeship Class

TP Mechanical will be taking applications April 22 through May 3 for the 2019 Apprenticeship Class. Positions will be open at each of the four offices and include:

  • Plumbers—Kentucky office
  • Plumbers and sheet metal—Cincinnati office
  • Plumbers, sheet metal, and sprinkler fitters—Columbus and Dayton offices

What is the Apprenticeship Program?

The Apprenticeship Program is an important feeder for TP’s workforce. An Accredited Apprenticeship Program through Columbus State, it consists of a minimum of 8,000 on-the-job training hours and 576 hours of classroom learning over the course of four years. The best leaders and the best results come from the program – a direct result of TP’s investment in its employees and the future. The Apprenticeship Program is the key to recruiting and filling the field jobs; it enables TP Mechanical to educate their own employees and guarantees the highest quality employees.

The Apprenticeship Program is also an important part of TP’s history. In place since the 1980s, the Apprenticeship Program is where many of TP’s leaders got their start. This includes President and CEO Bill Riddle, who joined TP Mechanical 34 years ago as the company’s 38th apprentice.

Mike Kelley, who completed the program in 1987 and now holds several master licenses, says the program instilled a major passion in him to give back and teach others. “This is a very worthwhile program to go through,” he says. His wife, Teresa, joined TP Mechanical in 1999 and is now the Apprenticeship Coordinator. “Not only did the Apprenticeship Program give my husband an avenue to provide for our family, most importantly, TP Mechanical provided him with that opportunity to learn and grow in a skilled trade,” she says. We both are very thankful for that and hope we can pass along what our family gained from this program to the next generation.”

You can be part of the next generation of TP Mechanical Apprentices.

No qualifications are needed to join the Apprenticeship Program. We’ll teach you valuable, hands-on skills and you earn a paycheck as you learn.

The four-year program is held in sessions, one night a week, from August through May, at our Kentucky, Cincinnati and Columbus locations. Class sizes are small and made up of approximately five to eight apprentices. Classes are taught by TP employees, including superintendents and project managers—many who came up through the apprenticeship program themselves.

You learn all the technical code required for your particular skill, as well as other important topics for acquiring your licenses, such as:

  • Welding
  • Refrigeration (basic knowledge of systems)
  • Hydronics
  • Steam systems

In just four years, you can have your journeyman’s license in HVAC, plumbing and sprinklers and be on your way to a fulfilling career.

To learn more about the program, contact Teresa Kelley at 513-372-6210 or apply online by visiting https://www.tpmechanical.com/apprenticeship-program-detail/

 

Project Spotlight: Norwood Middle School Renovation for Norwood City Schools

 

The original building of Norwood Middle School, which houses students in grades 6, 7 and 8, was built over 100 years ago, in 1914. Although the school was renovated in 1965 and again in the mid-1980s, the school began another major renovation to update facilities in early 2018.

Charles Douglas, who happens to be a Norwood alumnus (‘91), serves as the onsite superintendent for TP Mechanical. The TP team, including Douglas and project manager Michael Schneider, started with demolition of the existing mechanical systems followed by new duct work and the installation of a VRV system. This project is a significant upgrade as prior to this renovation, the 148,000 square foot school building used steam radiators for heat and was without central air conditioning.

The age of the building has revealed several unknowns and challenged the team to think creatively. SHP, the architect & engineer, and Monarch Construction continue to help provide imaginative and cost-effective solutions enabling the team to stay on schedule and minimize disruptions to the occupied facility.

Currently TP Mechanical is about 80% complete on this project, with full completion of the renovation in the west wing and nearing completion of the east wing in March. Part of the project involved completing the field house during phase two—just in time for basketball season.

This was TP’s first project with Norwood City Schools; we have built strong relationships and look forward to future projects within the district. Norwood City School District has been providing quality education in the Greater Cincinnati area for more than 100 years and includes three elementary schools, one preschool and one high school in addition to Norwood Middle School.

TP Mechanical Team:

  • Project Manager: Michael Schneider
  • Site Superintendent: Charles Douglas
  • Sheet Metal Foreman: Josh Schaffer
  • Sheet Metal Team: Jacob Stauffer, Robert Gilley
  • Refrigeration Lead: Greg Porter
  • Refrigeration Team: Matt Halusek

Project Partners:

Spotlight: From Apprentice to President and CEO

When Bill Riddle joined TP Mechanical 34 years ago, it was through an opening in the apprenticeship program. At just 19 years old, he started as TP Mechanical’s 38th apprentice.  

It’s uncommon for a company CEO to come from a field background, and as such, Bill flips traditional management on its head and leverages success from a “field-first” point of view. He understands and relays to the entire team that quality work in the field is the lifeblood of the company. Bill himself also takes daily calls from TP customers to personally address and help solve their needs. This innate ability to roll-up his sleeves, help and resolve issues for clients is a value instilled all those years ago in the apprenticeship program.

After completing his four-year apprenticeship, Bill became a project superintendent and later earned his plumbing license. He moved from the field into the office in 1996 following a performance review during which he mentioned his interest in becoming a  project manager. Bill later became a VP Regional Manager for Cincinnati operations until 2011, when he was named company president.

His current role as president and CEO began in 2015. Much has changed since Bill was an apprentice, including the work capacity of TP Mechanical. What hasn’t changed is the priority to get the job done right; to stand behind the people; and set a high bar for quality work in the field.

About TP’s Apprentice Program

The apprentice program is an important feeder for TP’s workforce. It consists of a minimum of 8,000 on-the-job training hours and 576 hours of classroom learning over the course of four years. The best leaders and the best results come from the program – a direct result of TP’s investment in its employees and the future. The apprentice program is the key to recruiting and filling the field jobs; it enables TP Mechanical to educate their own employees and guarantees the highest quality employees for the future. Learn more about the program by visiting https://www.tpmechanical.com/apprenticeship-program-detail/

 

 

 

People Make the Difference in Our Quality-Driven Fabrication Process

Producing and assembling pre-fabricated items for construction requires a smooth, streamlined process.  Unlike other shops that rely on the sole use of machinery to build pre-fab materials, the TP Mechanical Fabrication Shop is automated by people.  We build every component of our systems in the controlled environment at our 45,000 square-foot and ISO 9001:2015 certified fabrication facility. The result is enhanced quality and consistency along with accelerated construction timelines.

Our 21-member team is organized into work groups spanning three types of positions—laborers, welders and plumbers. Each technician is highly trained in the production and assembly of a specialized unit or module, securing singular focus and attention to detail at every step of the process.

Specifically, laborers are responsible for cutting pipes, cleaning fittings and all other aspects of preparing materials for the plumbers. The welders join the parts together and the plumbers build the Carrier systems, including the frame, piping and connected fixtures. Together, the team produces high quality, pre-fab products to save time and money on complex projects.

A Streamlined Process

The pre-fab team is an important part of an overall process we employ to provide high-quality equipment. When a project kicks-off, Jerry Klein, manager of the pre-fab shop and distribution center, sits down with the CAD department and the project management team to come up with a fabrication plan with a comprehensive schedule. Once the CAD drawings are completed and approved for production, they are released to the purchasing group, who orders the necessary materials.

The ordered materials then arrive at one of our two distribution centers, located in Cincinnati and Columbus, where they are confirmed and prepared for the pre-fab shop. The pre-fab team members then begin producing the components, providing on-site vacuum testing for any leaks or other issues. Once the team is confident the product is the highest quality, the components are returned to the appropriate distribution center where they can be stored in a clean, controlled environment until the installation date.

When a product leaves one of our distribution centers it is fully ready to be installed. We check for quality upfront, ensuring orders are accurate, full and delivered on-time with little jobsite disruption. It’s all part of our innovative mechanical fabrication process to provide customized solutions to every project and saves time and money on construction.

The success of our unique pre-fab process means more demand, so TP Mechanical is looking to double its current pre-fab team. After all, a dedicated and talented pre-fab team is what makes it all possible. We are currently seeking team members who enjoy variety in the workplace and working on something new each day.

A Top-Notch Approach to Complex Renovations: Spotlight on the Enoch Grehan Building Renovation for the University of Kentucky

TP Mechanical Team:

  • Project Manager: James Randall
  • Pre-Fabrication Shop Leader: Jerry Klein and Nicole Holland
  • Site Superintendent: Greg Jordan
  • BIM Coordination Team: Kameron Bledsoe, Zack Campbell, Randy Tillet, Jeremy Hassman, Mayur Kadakia and Greg Dennison

Project Partners:

When the University of Kentucky wanted to renovate the Enoch Grehan Building in the core of academic campus, we knew it would be a complex project requiring smart scheduling.  As a testament to our impressive project partners, we are currently ahead of schedule.

We thrive on complex projects with coordination challenges, like this one. To succeed, we look to our synchronized divisions —the BIM team, self-performed pre-fabrication, off-site distribution team and our installation team— to come together and provide high-quality systems.

Our process starts with the BIM coordination team developing detailed models to ensure the pre-fab systems are built to precision.  The models are the road map, guiding system fabrications to the final connections in the field.  Once the model for Grehan was created, the fabrication team took ownership of their scope.  On this project, the Carrier system prefab saved two to three days of site work.  We also used prefabbed systems for the sewage ejector pump and the 12-amp chilled water piping serving multiple buildings. By having this piping ready to set in the tunnel in the heart of campus, we saved the university from having to shut down the area for a week.

On this project, multiple trades were on-site at once, working in the same areas. By building much of the systems off-site, we were able to avoid working in and around other contractors. Not only does pre-fab keep our on-site team safer, because they don’t have to go into small, confined or subsurface areas, it also provides a huge time savings.

Our distribution center also played a key role in keeping our scope ahead of schedule.

UK’s campus is a flurry of active construction projects.  We knew the project would come with storage limitations on site.  The ability for TP to store equipment at our distribution center until the systems were needed on site, proved to be an invaluable asset.

The University of Kentucky is known for its sophisticated approach to building renovations. This project is a wonderful opportunity to show potential higher education clients our capabilities. We are proud to be working for the University and our project team.

 

 

 

Service Success: Comprehensive Preventative Maintenance Plans Save Time & Money

Hocking College, located in Nelsonville, Ohio, needed an HVAC expert to respond quickly to their campus just before the start of the fall 2018 semester. Bryan Lutz, newly appointed Executive Director of Facilities at Hocking College, wasn’t sure who to call, but found TP Mechanical in the database from previous plumbing and HVAC projects at the college. TP Mechanical sent over two technicians right away and were able to resolve the HVAC issue within one week.

Lutz was impressed and asked Wayne Eriksen, in New Business Development for TP Mechanical, for a proposal to provide comprehensive preventative maintenance services for all of Hocking’s campuses.  TP Mechanical now provides complete service and maintenance on all of Hocking College’s air-cooled chillers, gas fired boilers, large AHU’s and Automated Logic controls system. TP’s involvement saves the college time and money, by keeping all systems up to date and running smoothly.

TP’s service performance at Hocking College, led to our involvement on the construction of the Sylvania Analytical Lab, a high-level testing facility.  Our team provided HVAC and fire protection as the mechanical contractor.  Now in operation, the high level testing lab building is part of our service and preventative maintenance scope on campus.

 

 

 

A Culture of Safety

At TP Mechanical, safety is paramount and a fundamental part of our company culture. Since 2000, we have received 92 safety awards and have a current EMR rating of .79 which is well below the national average. When it comes to safety and OSHA ratings, we are in the top one percent of any comparable contractor in the U.S.

Our safety culture starts with our CEO Bill Riddle and spans amongst every single employee. “Everyone goes through orientation and goes through a preview of what safety means,” said Jamie Absher, Safety Manager for TP Mechanical. The importance of safety isn’t just something the top executives hand down—the culture of safety is contagious, and employees know the CEO has their back when it comes to working in a safe environment. If something isn’t working, safety-wise, the entire team brainstorms ways to improve the process.

The company recently launched a “Why Safety Matters to Me” program and asked employees to contribute. Overwhelmingly, the answer to that question came back to getting home safely to family. A five-member team, including Jamie, Rick Absher, Corporate Safety Director for TP Mechanical, and three safety specialists (Ben Smith in Columbus, Brittany Knue in Kentucky and Bob Campbell in Dayton) helps keep TP Mechanical on track for high safety ratings and most importantly, helps team members return home safely each night to their families.

Another way TP Mechanical ensures company-wide safety is by going above and beyond OSHA requirements. “We’re always looking for the constant improvement and wanting to be proactive,” said Jamie.  The team asks questions, such as, “What can we do to ensure our people aren’t getting hurt?” and “What can we do as a team?”

TP Mechanical provides field training with any new policy or product so every member of our team understands its importance and impact on safety. It helps foster a company culture where everyone has a voice and ideas are heard and respected. “Employees may find a better tool or improve a work process,” said Jamie.  “We look at the employees and their specialty to make it safer in their expertise. Our goal, DAILY, no matter what, is for everyone to go home whole. You can’t put a dollar or schedule above that.”

Spotlight: Bob Stiens Elevates Design Build Arm to New Success

When Bob Stiens came to work at TP Mechanical almost 3 years ago, the company saw an opportunity to grow in the Design Build market. “Bill Riddle had approached me to come on board to develop the design build market here at TP Mechanical,” said Stiens. Within the first two and a half years, the Design Build sector of the company has been very successful, securing projects for commercial buildings, manufacturing plants, residence halls, multi-family housing buildings and schools.

Stiens began his career at the young age of 15, installing and servicing HVAC systems. Later, he attended technical college to seek a degree in air conditioning technology. “While in college and being exposed to the many facets of the industry, I decided to follow my enthusiasm for designing systems,” he said. He was hired by a contractor as a draftsman, at about the time Design Build was taking off in the Cincinnati market.  At that time, before computers were used, drawings were still done by hand. “I still have all my old drafting tools to draw with,” Stiens said.  He also learned to run loads, design systems and estimate—skills he is still using forty-three years later.

“Most all of my training (in the HVAC industry) has been through hands on life experiences, manufacturer’s seminars and introductions to new products that they introduce,” said Stiens. “Keeping ahead of your competitors and introducing those ideas to customers is what helps us successfully secure projects.”

One of the first plumbing design build projects under Stiens direction was at a tissue manufacturing plant in Circleville, Ohio, where TP Mechanical designed and installed the plumbing systems on the 1.4 million square foot facility. “With a team effort of the Columbus estimators, operations, and our professional engineer, who educated me about the plumbing systems I was able to sell the project” he explained.

Another big win for the TP Design Build team came with a renovation for the Tri-Health Corporate Headquarters in the Baldwin 200 Building. This project involved renovating eight out of twelve floors in the building. Many challenges were met due to the existing building occupied spaces, limited floor heights as well as client-desired architectural features. TP Mechanical worked with James Hunt Construction to successfully install all new AHU’s, ductwork, VAV boxes, registers and piping.

For Stiens, the challenges are one of the things he enjoys most about Design Build. “It’s all part of the process and finding the best solution,” he said. He enjoys the creativity of the process and affirms that to be an exceptional Design Build engineer, you have to be creative, diligent, honest and have good customer relationships – all characteristics of the current TP Mechanical Design Build team. “Many more exciting opportunities await us in the future as we grow the Design Build market segment of the TP Mechanical business,” Stiens said.

Office Products with Impact

When TP Mechanical needs office supplies, they turn to a company that isn’t just providing pencils and pens—they’re making a difference. VIE-Ability.org offers over 40,000 office products and all of its office supply operations are run by people who are blind or have severe vision loss. TP Mechanical orders paper, folders, tape, pens, staples, staplers, post it notes pads, scissors, calendars, white out, and other office supplies through VIE-Ability.

The Cincinnati Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired (CABVI) launched VIE-Ability in 2013 to provide more professional-level job opportunities to people who had established careers, but unexpectedly lost their vision. The company enables visually impaired community members to use their abilities through tasks such as checking inventory levels, managing logistics and providing customer service. They do all of this with the help of advanced computer magnification and screen reading software.

VIE-Ability relies on steady orders from its customers, including TP Mechanical, to keep a consistent work load for all of the employees. TP Mechanical has been using VIE-Ability for all office supplies in the Cincinnati office and will be converting the Columbus and Lexington offices over in the new year. Aside from the social impact purchases make, TP Mechanical also receives competitive pricing on over 40,000 high-quality office supplies with free next-day delivery on all of their orders. The relationship is truly a win-win for all the companies involved and our community members.

Three Tips to Prevent Heat Stress and Heat-induced Illnesses on a Jobsite

Safety First, Always First.

With summer upon us and temperatures rising, it is important to understand the risk factors of heat stress and take precautions to avoid it and other heat-induced illnesses.

Heat stress generally occurs when spending long periods of time outside in excessive heat, and symptoms typically include physical exhaustion, cramping, rashes and dehydration. In the most severe cases, heat stroke may occur, which can result in confusion, irrational behavior, loss of consciousness and even death.

“Heat stress is certainly something we take seriously,” says Jamie Absher, Safety Specialist at TP Mechanical. “Our employees are outside on jobsites daily during the warmer months, and their health and safety is our foremost priority.”

There are a variety of factors that put anyone at a higher risk of experiencing heat stress, including:

  • High temperatures and humidity
  • Direct sun exposure
  • Not drinking enough fluids (dehydration)
  • Physical exertion
  • Limited air movement
  • Bulky or heavy personal protective equipment or clothing
  • Radiant heat sources (vehicle and equipment engines, hot manufacturing processes, etc.)
  • Certain medications (e.g., diuretics, antihypertensives and anticholinergics)
  • Physical conditioning and health conditions (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular disease, influenza, etc.)
  • Lack of recent heat exposure (not acclimatized)
  • Age of 65 or higher

To mitigate the above risk factors and prevent heat stress, here are three strategies to employ on your jobsite:

  1. Implement a heat safety plan. It is important to train workers on the risk factors, symptoms and health effects of heat stress, as well has how to respond to a heat illness incident. Establishing someone as a heat safety leader on the jobsite to manage the heat safety plan and monitor workers is another way to be proactive. When possible, it is also beneficial to utilize modified work schedules to schedule more physically demanding and non-essential outdoor work during cooler times of the day.
  2. Stay hydrated. NIOSH recommends that for moderate activity in moderate conditions, each worker should drink one cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Keep fluids – especially water – readily available to workers on the jobsite. Employers should also consider providing urine color charts near toilet facilities so workers can monitor their hydration level throughout the day.
  3. Keep cool. Our bodies naturally produce heat, even during rest, so being sure to cool off during physical exertion is key to avoiding heat stress. Regular breaks should be taken in air conditioned or shaded, breezy areas. Avoiding non-essential bulky or heavy clothing and equipment can also reduce the risk for heat stress, and employers should consider providing cold packs or cooling vests to workers on particularly hot days.

To learn more about our commitment to workplace health and safety, visit http://www.tpmechanical.com/about-tp/safety/.