Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Adventure Cove Region

As the HVAC and fire protection contractor for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s new Adventure Cove Region, TP Mechanical had the rare opportunity to work on a project to improve the comfort and safety of sea lions, harbor seals, stingrays and an immersive mixed-species habitat.

Adventure Cove consists of several habitats, including Stingray Bay, Animal Encounters Village and the sea lion holding and habitat pools and underwater viewing building. The HVAC for these new areas in the zoo will provide heating and cooling to keep visitors comfortable, while using heat exchangers to regulate water temperature in the habitats. For our team, one of the most exciting parts of the project was seeing the underwater viewing structure come together. Guests will now be able to walk through a comfortable, conditioned space while watching sea lions and harbor seals interact from above. 

Working within a zoo environment presented new and unique project challenges. In the Animal Encounters Village, exhibit and interpretive designers created an immersive street scene. The detailed exhibits required TP’s fire protection team to work closely with inspectors and designers to ensure equipment provided adequate coverage. With safety as our top priority, our team also guaranteed the sprinkler system was code compliant while maintaining the aesthetic appeal of this habitat.

The project first began in mid-2018 and was completed in July 2020. Our team is excited to have put the TP footprint into this magnificent new region of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Other Team Members:

Smoot, Construction Manager

TP Team:

Joel Walter, Project Manager

Evan Reed, Assistant Project Manager

Boiler Replacement at a Large Manufacturing Facility in Southern Ohio

A 900,000 square foot manufacturing facility in southern Ohio recently hired TP Mechanical to replace two, 70-year-old boilers. TP not only completed this project in six weeks, but during the demolition and installation, there was no disruption to the manufacturing facility’s production.

TP replaced dated, inefficient boilers with a new hydronic boiler and steam boiler. The two boilers deliver energy efficient coverage for the entire facility, including a manufacturing area and several offices.

One benefit of the new steam boiler is during the winter months, the equipment can be easily be converted from burning natural gas to propane. This was a unique project requirement as during heating season, the owner will switch to propane for significant energy and cost savings due to the size of the facility. 

The Cincinnati service team did a phenomenal job keeping the project on track, while combatting shipping delays caused by the pandemic. Under the leadership of project manager, Scott McEvilly and lead pipefitter, Tony Schroder, the team overcame any obstacle they had little control over to complete the project in six weeks.

TP Team:

Scott McEvilly, Project Manager

Russ Shively & Adam Luensman, Sales Representatives

Tony Schroeder, Lead Pipefitter

Dennis Meredith, Equipment Tuner

TP’s Quality Workmanship, Refrigeration Experience and Excellent Safety Record Leads to a New Project

TP Mechanical is part of the design-build team constructing a distribution facility addition featuring refrigerated storage for Team Modern in Somerset, Kentucky. Jordan Lewis, project manager for Denham Blythe – the design firm in charge of the project – engaged TP Mechanical in part to our team’s proven experience with Denham Blythe on a 2016 project for Senko. Pride, quality workmanship, refrigeration experience and an excellent safety record were all phrases used to describe TP’s successful involvement on the Senko project.

Team Modern is a supplier of snacks, cold drinks, ice cream, and other inventory to a wide network of convenience store clients throughout southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee. In addition to installing air rotation and exhaust fans for the entire 110,000 square foot facility, our crews will install 12 walk-in cooler condensers and 23 cooler evaporators in order to chill the facility’s 13,000-square foot freezer, 8,000-square foot cooler, and 4,000-square foot refrigerated dock.

The same, agency-wide defining characteristics that describe TP’s involvement on Senko will shape and define our work on the new Team Modern project, of which we’re proud to be a part.

Unique Needs Call for Custom Solutions through Retro-Commissioning

Shortly following a remodel of Indiana Farmers Insurance office, located in Carmel, Indiana, the need arose to upgrade the building’s dated HVAC equipment. Due to the enormous size of the existing air handling units and the expense associated with removing the units, TP Indiana’s General Manager, Mark Hunter, and the TP Mechanical Indiana team, worked to propose a creative solution through Retro-Commissioning.

“Taking something old and making it new is an excellent option to avoid unnecessary time and expense,” says Hunter. “Re-purposing older air handling units and re-engineering major components provides an efficient system that operates like new.  Additionally, this retro-commissioned equipment is covered under a new equipment warranty and helps with lowering maintenance costs for the coming years.”

For Indiana Farmers Insurance, TP completely replaced the system components on (4) air handling units to include a new blower motor, blower wheel, bearings, blower shaft and pulleys. Additionally, the old R-22 evaporator coils were replaced with custom built R-410A coils and the (4) old roof mounted condensing units were replaced with new energy efficient condensers as well.

TP Mechanical’s team was able to save Indiana Farmers Insurance time, frustration, and a large sum of money by eliminating office demolition which would have been required to entirely remove the old units.

Building a Customer Service Culture

Last year, teams at TP Mechanical embraced a new goal: developing a stronger customer service culture. TP recently created a client-focused training program to help our team members who interact with customers the most, including sales reps, dispatchers, service techs, and project managers.

Spearheaded by TP President/CEO Bill Riddle and implemented by TP’s Business Development Leader, Matt Anderson, and Learning and Development Manager, Vanessa King, the training helps TP staff approach their jobs from the customer’s point of view. TP’s goal has always been providing first-rate, quality-driven work exceeding our clients’ expectations. This new initiative builds on our already strong foundation, ensuring our commitment to customer service is industry leading.

Half-day trainings incorporating exercises with real-world scenarios began in 2019 and will continue with teams throughout our markets in 2020. Additionally, TP’s construction and service teams will continue with our existing CARE (Customer Appreciation Retention Escalation) and Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs – which help teams evaluate how we are performing on projects and how we can improve customer experience.

“We always want to do what’s right for the customer,” said Anderson. “By training to put ourselves in our clients’ shoes, we’ll strengthen our reputation as a very customer-service focused culture.”

TP Mechanical Employee Spotlight: Ben Handley

Now in his fourth and final year with TP Mechanical’s Apprenticeship Program, Ben Handley is a rising star both in the classroom and in the field. Currently the lead operator of the Trimble® Control Unit (TCU) on our Big Walnut High School project in Sunbury, Ohio, Ben also holds down a 98.9% GPA in his coursework and serves as an ambassador for TP’s Apprenticeship Program. In this role, he travels to local high schools and career centers to speak about the advantages of working with our company.

At the Big Walnut project, Ben’s work on the TCU provides essential GIS (geographic information system) mapping details, which enables TP teams to properly design and position the project’s plumbing and HVAC systems. Ben is so skilled at using the TCU technology, he now trains other team members on its operation. Last year, Ben worked in the mechanical rooms at TP’s Covelli Arena project on the campus of The Ohio State University, learning to weld in the process.

We feel fortunate to have Ben serving as an ambassador for TP’s Apprenticeship Program – an industry-leading training program including 8,000 hours of on-the-job training plus 576 hours of classroom learning across four years. Ben truly has a passion for working with our company and serves as a shining example of the talented, new generation of skilled team members we have in our ranks.

TP Mechanical Completes HVAC Rooftop Unit Installation at Pivotek

Pivotek – a prefabricated, modular bathroom manufacturer – recently turned to TP Mechanical to replace 30 rooftop HVAC units at its Milford, Ohio location. Pivotek has partnered with TP’s commercial construction division for several years; however, this installation marked Pivotek’s first project using our service division.

Having just moved into the facility six months prior, Pivotek leadership hoped to replace all of the aging rooftop heating and cooling units – which were original to the plant – at the same time. To provide a seamless installation, TP account manager Russ Shively, project manager Scott McEvilly and Clay Smith, operations leader for TP’s Cincinnati group, worked to ensure correct measurements for the new units were taken and curb extensions – required for some units due to new roofing which had been installed – were utilized when necessary.

All 30 units were strategically placed on the rooftop in a single day using a crane and then systematically installed. Because the units varied widely in size, TP team members were careful to tag and match new equipment with existing equipment, to ensure proper placement in the appropriate rooftop locations. “Every unit had some customization to it, so every unit had to go into a specific location,” explained McEvilly. “We worked to make sure every item was carefully labeled and identified.”

TP Mechanical team members completed the placement and installation of all 30 units within one month, operating only on Sundays to avoid disrupting the six-day-a-week manufacturing schedule at the plant.

Employee Spotlight: Kelly Wilson, Director of Human Resources

Since joining TP’s leadership team in 2015, Kelly Wilson, Director of Human Resources, has worked to oversee new talent acquisition – as well as employee relations, leadership development, and performance management for TP Mechanical’s roughly 500 employees. Prior to her move to TP, Kelly worked in HR in both healthcare and distribution logistics.

At TP, she makes it a priority to integrate on-the-job training opportunities like the Rising Leader program, which develops current employees into future leaders, and a highly sought-after Apprenticeship Program.  The Apprenticeship Program is accredited through Columbus State and consists of a minimum of 8,000 on-the-job training hours and 576 hours of classroom learning over the course of four years. “We try to promote from within as much as we can at TP,” Kelly says. “It’s a place where employees can find not just a job, but a real career path.”

One of Kelly’s challenges is finding enough skilled workers to fill the demand of available positions. In addition to her involvement with the Apprenticeship Program, Kelly works hard to establish relationships with area schools and speak about the numerous opportunities for plumbers, HVAC technicians, pipefitters, and more. “These jobs are in high demand,” she says. “Every company needs them. The biggest challenge is shifting the perception many people have regarding a four-year college as the only path to success.”

Kelly feels a sense of pride driving by buildings TP employees constructed, knowing her fellow team members helped bring those assets to the community. “I’m proud to work at TP Mechanical,” Kelly says. “Every day I try to pass my excitement and pride onto my colleagues and potential employees.”

Employee Spotlight: Brittany Knue, Safety Specialist, Kentucky Region

Brittany Knue began at TP four years ago as an administrative assistant and was quickly promoted to assistant project manager.  Last year, she was again promoted to her current position as TP Mechanical’s Kentucky Region Safety Specialist. For Brittany, safety is more than just a job – it’s a calling. “It takes everyone at TP Mechanical working together as a team to reach the safety goals and to achieve our level of safety culture,” said Knue.

As Safety Specialist, Knue plays a central role in continuing TP’s longstanding mission to make safety the top priority on every project. As proof of TP’s commitment to injury-free projects, Knue lauds the company’s longstanding safety protocols, which go well beyond minimum OSHA standards and are some of the most stringent in the industry. She also points to the company’s EMR rating* of 0.65 – 35 percent lower than the industry average of 1.0. As a company, TP Mechanical has worked more than 5 million hours without a lost-time accident.

In her current position, Knue is following in the footsteps of her father, who was also a corporate safety director in general industries. As Safety Specialist for the Kentucky Region, Knue oversees safety on all of TP’s Kentucky projects as well as some in Cincinnati. Her main priority: ensuring all TP employees go to work in a safe environment every day. “It’s a challenging job, but there is a large amount of satisfaction making sure the guys go home safe to their families each day,” she said. “There’s no greater feeling than to know you are a part of a safe return home!”

*Modification Rate, or EMR, is used by insurance agencies to measure a company’s past cost of injuries and risk of future on-the-job injuries.

Employee Spotlight: Mark Hunter, General Manager, Indiana Service Division

General Manager Mark Hunter has brought an energetic leadership style to TP Mechanical’s Indiana Service Division, and his vision has helped take the Indiana office to new heights in a short time.  Ken Wood, TP’s Director of Service, attributes “Mark’s leadership as general manager is one of the big reasons for the Indy office’s vision and growth.”

Since becoming General Manager of TP Mechanical’s Indiana Service Division based in Indianapolis, Hunter has taken the office from a team of two to 15. “We’ve tripled our staff in four years and built a good team,” said Hunter, whose previous professional background includes all aspects of the mechanical contracting industry, from HVAC to refrigeration and field technician to sales manager.

Hunter said his favorite part of working at TP Mechanical is the family atmosphere the company maintains – even though the staff now includes nearly 500 total employees across all locations. “You can open anyone’s door and walk in and talk to them anytime,” he said.

TP’s Indiana Service Division has developed a key niche in refrigeration, and unlike other companies, TP’s crew includes an in-house electrical team, ensuring work is done reliably and cost-effectively. “In some ways, we stick to an ‘old way’ of doing business, where customer service is our top priority,” Hunter explained. “I like the fact that we are helping people. When emergencies strike, we’re driven by an urgency to get things handled for our customers as quickly as we can.”