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Monday October 13

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Moderated by Richard Starr (The Enterprise Corporation, Twinsburg, OH and David Bavisotto (Illingworth Corp., Milwaukee, WI)

Monday October 13th

Jeremy Kellogg – Ferris State University

Coopetition in the new economy is all about networking, learning, and growing though your competitors and peers. Our round talked about new and innovative ways to run your business along with tips on how to run a company better, whether it be though finances, innovations, labor, technology, and growth in any facet of how your business is run. The grouped shared there prospective and new techniques on how their business is running, and asked about ways to stay competitive in the hard time we are facing in our economy today. One of the most talked about things were how to competitive companies can work together and share their strengths as a company to finish a specific job so that both companies will come out on top and make to most money as possible while still keeping the customer happy. To summarize our round table discussion networking, learning, sharing, trusting, and using each other resources are the best way to stay competitive in our new tough economy.

Fleet Management

Moderated by Ed Llosent (Air Tech, Miami, FL) Kelly Bryson (JCI, Shreveport, LA) and Charlie Butts (Indoor Environmental Solutions, Sacramento, CA)

Wednesday October 15th

Victor Ventimiglia – Ferris State University

  • Contractors discuss how GPS systems on vehicles stop employees from doing dishonest things with there vehicles.

  • High gas prices were a big concern with contractors.

  • Contractors had training on hard acceleration and idling also discuss to importance of driving slow.

  • 13% average fuel savings as a result.

  • As a result of GPS overtime was cut by 30%.

  • Wex smart was a popular brand of GPS.

  • GPS lets you know when its time to change your oil.

  • Most employees tend to come on board with the GPS quickly.

  • Contractors discuss that it is a good idea to put the GPS on vehicles from the top of the company down.

  • Most contractors use a fuel ser charge.

  • Some contractors discuss the idea of use of cell phones for GPS.

  • Contractors likes to Chevy HHR for there controls guys.

  • Most contractors use the Chevy Silverado ½ ton.

  • Weighing of trucks is important to save gas.

  • Most contractors keep trucks up to 200,000 miles.

  • Oil changed every 5000 miles for conventional oil and up to 9000 miles for synthetic.

  • Most employees take home there work vehicles.

  • Trucks are washed daily to weekly.

  • Some contractors are leasing trucks on a two year 100,000 mile lease.

  • Most contractors have a parts runner to save fuel costs.

Local Recruiting Efforts

Moderated by Steve Allen and Frank Bellosi (UA) and Mike Belcher (P1 Group, Lenexa, KS) and Jeff McCoy (Mechanical, Inc., Freeport, IL)

Monday October 13th

Victor Ventimiglia – Ferris State University

  • Contractors have trouble finding qualified employees.

  • Some locals have a five year program offering night classes for new hires.

  • Tests are given to new hires to place them in a general area and classes are given as needed.

  • Contractors want employees to tell them what they know not lie about knowledge.

  • Contractors discuss problems local unions have with communication with other locals.

  • Oversight committees have a lack of meetings.

  • Contractors hold job fairs, post ads on the internet, hold a open house with contractors to recruit new employees.

  • Contractors noted the differences between residential and commercial contractors.

  • Contractors noted that combined service meetings are needed.


Moderated by Scott Berger (Arista Air, Long Island City, NY) and Thom Brazel (Hill York, Sarasota, FL)

Robert Arlt – Ferris State University

-USGBC-Non political, funded by organizations and corporations

-ASHRAE-forming committees to make standards more stringent

-Making a building labeling standard that show there energy usage and there potential energy usage. The labeling system that ASHRAE wants to put in to place is already effective in Europe.

-ASHRAE does not communicate with green, ASHRAE sets the standards and they say that is how they do business.
-MSCA feels they should be driving the LEED industry; there is a lot of business involved in it.
-It is a good idea to take the LEED NC test before 2009 because you will be considered LEED AP Certified.

Also the NC part of the test goes over a lot of the sections.

-LEED EB & O&M, components on new test

-energy efficiency, water efficiency, & green cleaning

-Green PM helps customer maintain LEED certification in building

-Companies can offer this to bring in a lot of revenue

-it can also help a company get certification
-LEED Business Brochure about sales and helping out customers

-Model Green Preventative Maintenance Plan

-USGBC says you need an integrated design to have a really good LEED building, which takes a team process for contractors and an educational process for owners of the building. The owner needs to stay on top of education for the building to stay LEED Certified.
-Talk to organizations to get into the facilities management part of a project
-LEED Certification

-certified 40-49 points, silver 50-59, gold 60-79, platinum 80+, possible 110 points.

-Independent Engineering company checks contractors work to make sure the project is actually LEED Certified. You also have to have proof, for example, utility bills.
-Should apply for 10% more LEED Credits then the building actually has
Energy Star has a website for EV where you put your new and old energy bills in and if there are good enough savings then you can get accreditation.
-PPP, Profit, People, and Planed is a good sales pitch to become EB LEED Building.

-This could also help the productivity of the employees, Example CO2 levels

-LEED disadvantage is that once the building has the status it keeps the status for five years without any preventative maintenance program, after five years the building has to get recertified.

-for any disadvantage in LEED there is an opportunity for service contractors to correct the problem.

-Service techs are pushing the Green Movement. They are asking what more can they do to help.

-Service Techs use check sheets to document what they did for LEED Buildings and the green movement.

-A lunch n’ learn is a good way to educate customers and get business on preventative maintenance plans
-PECI website resources for commissioning, start-up procedures, life cycle cost
-ASHRAE has a website to calculate lifecycles for energy use of equipment

-you can look at payback and average working time of equipment


Moderated by Richard Starr (The Enterprise Corporation, Twinsburg, OH and David Bavisotto (Illingworth Corp., Milwaukee, WI)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Robert Arlt – Ferris State University

-New Economy involves social capital, networks, shared norms, and trust.
-Stories about companies that are working together but also competing on other projects
-Some people look at coopetition as companies helping other companies out by looking at how both companies run their businesses.

-how, who, what does your company do and how could I implement that into my company?

-Watch what competitors are doing to make you company better

-Look at what competitors do and ask yourself why did they do what they did and how not to do that.

-Companies sending information and presentations to each other

-Example) A company have a green presentation out West and then sending the presentation to a company in the Midwest.

-Some customers hire unlicensed contractors and then the unlicensed contractors have to hire the licensed contractors.

-Example) a contractor not being licensed for that state.

-Mechanical contractors working together with engineering contractors and making creative ideas on how they can work together better.
-Maybe opportunities to get LEED points for reclaiming and recycling refrigerant.
-Have agreements between companies that they won’t go after each others competition.
-Best alliances are often with manufactures
-find companies with certain niches and have them be your alliance

Example) HVAC and Sheet Metal Contractors

-MSCA Stars working with other MSCA Stars
-Get with BOMA and try to get good contracts
-Form a green team such as electrical, plumbing, plowing, landscape, and HVAC Contractors.

-Contact companies about LEED and Green and educate them about it

-Sell Green Maintenance Agreements

-Look at Green PM Agreements on MSCA website

-Talk to gold customers who think about life cycle and tell them about green P.M. agreements
-Green Plumbers, a great seminar
-BOMA is changing rating system for classes of offices for future which means buildings will have to be LEED Certified to have for example a Class A office.
-Get green star certified to be cutting edge.

Financial Selling / Payback Analysis

Moderated by Bill Flynn (Mallory & Evans, Scottdale, GA) and Gregg Perry (IES, Sacramento, CA)

Monday October 13th

Darren Cunningham – Ferris State University

The first round table discussion I attended was Financial Selling / Payback Analysis. This discussion was about how to sell energy saving equipment. The moderator started to direct the group towards conversation of how everyone differentiated their company from their competitors. When selling improvements to a customer, show the payback and efficiencies verses the old equipment. Showing savings data will show the customer that they will be saving money in the long run. The group also talked about the two different types of customers. There are clients that look for quality when choosing a mechanical contractor and there are some that only look at the bottom line. Most mechanical companies want to work with the client that is willing to pay more upfront with the assurance of payback and quality. Yet every company deals with customers that are only looking at the initial cost. The moderator, Scott Perry from Indoor Environmental Services shared their project sales call checklist with the group. Scott showed how his firm gathers information from their potential clients. It has questions that cover everything from the clients address to measures taken if the client does not have the company backing to proceed with a project. This is a useful tool to decide what type of design will pass with a customer. Scott also mentioned that his company tracks their proposal verses approval rating with each customer to help them make judgment of customers’ tendencies in future proposals.

The remainder of the discussion was about selling preventive maintenance contracts. The group concurred that educating the customer on their equipment is key to selling a contract. When selling a contract it is prudent to get to know the customer and ask them questions of what they would like to achieve with their system. A salesperson will try to ask the current cost of repairs, contract cost and will help establish goals with the customer. Once the sales call checklist and a sit down with the customer are completed, the firm can prepare a proposal. Based on the input a salesperson can strive to meet the customer’s needs. The quality customer will be more open to equipment replacement and the salesperson should prepare lifecycle and energy saving data to help sell the job. On the other hand, the bottom line customer is looking for only basic care. A salesperson must know how determine what each customer is and capitalize on both types.


Moderated by Bob Lake (Mesa Energy/EMCOR, Irvine, CA and Brian Hughes (Hughes Environmental Engineering, Montvale, NJ)

Wednesday October 15th

Darren Cunningham – Ferris State University

The second round table discussion I attended was on benchmarking. This group was lacking in attendance so it was more of a conversation verses a directed discussion. Our group talked about GPS in service vans. We concurred that GPS is a useful tool to track your fleet and employee activity. The question of the topic is how much the service manager should track vehicles and how to act upon wrongdoing. We concluded that managers should not consume their time as a big brother but it should be used as a management tool. The habitual speeder is someone to confront but someone that drove 70mph for a few seconds should not be bothered with. The trucks are company assets and billboards and therefore should be tracked. GPS does not create problems when used in the correct manner. For the rest of the time of the discussion our group had a short discussion of jurisdictional disputes of different union locals in a small area. Our conclusion was that the union officials should revise something with the contractors to allow a contractor more movement by either merging locals or by letting locals cross lines in closely divided locals.


Moderated by Wayne Turchetta (HMC Service, Louisville, KY and Todd Carver, Adrian Mechanical, Adrian, MI)

Andrew Delonge – Ferris State University

  • Criteria for MSCA Star

    • Safety

    • Truck Program

    • Training

    • UA Star

    • Drug Testing

  • Use MSCA Star for a tool when bidding – Talk to Wayne (He has a spread sheet he built from MSCA Star to use with a RFP)

  • There are a total of 105 contractors that are Star Qualified

  • MSCA Star is a stepping stone to becoming Green Star

  • It is a great way to differentiate your company from others, it is also great for marketing – Start a marketing agenda (this really helps promote the company)

  • Promote the UA the MSCA Star test to your Journeymen Technicians because 25% of them must pass the test for the company to become a STAR

  • It is a good idea to make the MSCA Star test a requirement for turnout of the apprenticeship

  • They are looking at changing the Star test; for example taking out old technologies like pneumatics and replacing with newer technology and Green practices

  • A benefit of being MSCA Star is the opportunity of going to the Star Summit where you can learn from other contractors and share ideas.

  • You have to be MSCA Star qualified to attend the Star Summit

  • Once customers find out the benefits of hiring a Star contractor, it will really become much more beneficial to the contractors

  • There are study module available for the MSCA Star test that you can give to your technicians

  • A good strategy is to send one person to take the class on MSCA Star, review and take the test. Then have that person bring it all back to help the rest of the technicians study for the test

  • Market MSCA Star more by sticking it on your service vehicles and on the company website

  • Also look into the Mentoring Program to become MSCA Star – Ask Barb

Green Means Business

Moderated by Woody Woodall and Steve Mack (W.E. Bowers, Inc., Beltsville, MD) and Pattie Krippendorf (Mechanical Inc., Freeport, IL)

Andrew Delonge – Ferris State University

  • A “Lunch and learn” can be used to educate customers on what is means to them to make their business LEED. Just sit down with them over lunch and describe all ways they can make their building LEED certified.

  • MSCA is putting together modules for the lunch and learns

  • During the lunch and learn find out how serious the customer is about turning their building Green, do a walk through and see if they want PM, retro-commissioning, controls….

  • Look at the Green PM plan and model that, it can be downloaded on the MSCA website

  • It is a good idea to form a “Green Team” within your company and designate those people take care of all the LEED projects, this way not just one person has to do it all.

  • First step to jumping into Green Star is to become a member of the local USGBC Chapter

  • There is a Green Awareness guide, download it from MSCA website

  • Tell customer that even though making their building Green has a higher initial cost, there will be payback in the long run with energy savings

  • Also tell the customer that employee productivity should improve because one of the goals of LEED is human comfort and comfortable employees are productive employees

  • Look at the easiest LEED points available for your customer’s building

  • It is a good idea to do a walk through of the customer’s building to see how many LEED points can be acquired, then setup the lunch and learn to explain it to them

  • Take a look at the local area on different incentives that might be available to them if their building is Green

  • Think outside the box on your marketing, it is not just saving the customer energy savings,

  • Look at different companies mission statement and if they say anything about being environmentally conscious you can use that in turning them Green

  • Go down the USBGC check list for EB with your customer

  • There are 6 LEED points available through retro-commissioning alone, there is about 63% of the points available through mechanical alone with EB

  • Hurst has most of their Green projects through manufacturing companies

  • The Green Means Business Webinar is a good tool; download in on the website

  • Requirements for Green Star

  • 25% of employees trained for Green

  • Involved with LEED program

  • Need 1 LEED AP

  • MSCA Star Qualified

  • Your building itself must be sustainable in some way

  • Need to be involved with a LEED project

  • To get started appoint one person to be in charge of making the company MSCA STAR, then the same for GREEN STAR, but overall you must have full commitment of the owner

  • Utilize the Green Trailer to show what you can do, get the news involved with politicians to draw attention

  • Look for customers that have these three things in mind

    • Profit

    • People

    • Planet

  • When replacing equipment don’t just drop in what was there before, give the customer an alternate maybe Green replacement like geothermal. Give them the payback time of the equipment

  • Try to do Green things at home where you can learn more about it and tell your customers about how it works

  • Look for people who can do energy audits and retro-commissioning

  • Focus on getting your people up to speed with LEED, even your service technicians should be Green Aware

  • If interested in becoming a Green Star contractor look into the mentoring program – Ask Barb

Principals Focus

Moderated by Mark Kerney (Hill York, Ft. Lauderdale, FL), Don Batz, (Pleasant Hill, CA) and Frank Hughes (Hughes Environmental Services, Montvale, NJ)

Monday October 13th

Jamie Ambeau – Ferris State University

  • Talked about disasters/emergencies and how they effect the business

    • Have companies for crisis management

    • Have good insurance agent

    • Negatives move to positive steps

    • Voice over internet voice systems giving generators to gas stations for backup electricity to run pumps for service vehicles

    • Name tags and uniforms---Professionalism

  • Talked about what to do if for illnesses

    • You become very vulnerable for someone else will take over your job for the time being

      • Sometimes can be a good thing however

    • Possibly keep those in company, don’t bring people in

  • Talked about what to do in Family Succession


    • Successor needs to go somewhere else first

      • Needs to prove themselves

    • Give kids a chance if they want

      • See if its fun for them

    • Need to be able to GIVE IT UP. Give up control of business

    • Somehow needs a boss of some sort if more than one sibling



Moderated by Bob Lake (Mesa Energy/EMCOR, Irvine, CA and Brian Hughes (Hughes Environmental Engineering, Montvale, NJ)

Dave Feutz – Ferris State University

Benchmarking is difficult to do because of the vast differences in every company. Companies are different sizes, in different locations, do different types of work.

This discussion was based off of questions from the MSCA survey.

#2: 10% use wireless devices vs. 90% use service tickets.

  • Many of the contractors are thinking about switching to wireless, they just have not done it yet.

  • Benefits include:

    • No office clutter

    • No waiting for the tickets to get turned in.

    • No unreadable handwriting (also many wireless devices have a spellcheck feature).

    • Service ticket can be printed from the truck for the customer.

    • If you work on various islands, it helps communication greatly.

  • It is expensive to implement, both in cost of purchase and time training and getting accustomed to it.

    • Training takes about ½ a day, and after a week everyone seems pretty comfortable with it.

  • Each software is different, everyone has pros and cons. Make sure to pick one that is good for your company.

  • Theft has not really been an issue with wireless devices for any of the contractors.

  • Lifespan of devices is 3-4 years, maybe more.

#5 6% let all their technicians quote vs. 62% let some technicians quote vs. 32% don’t let any technicians quote.

  • In residential, in most cases, anything up to replacement is quoted by the technician.

  • Most agree that anything large needs to be called into the office to be quoted.

  • Always quote high, it’s much easier to knock money off the bill rather than add money to the quote.

  • Quoting works in favor of the customer, try and get things approved without a quote.

#6 80% do not use GPS vs. 20% use GPS (to clarify, we’re talking about truck mounted GPS, not the kind that gives you directions. Many service technicians are buying their own personal GPS system for navigating)

  • It is crucial to sell everyone in your company on the idea before you implement it. If not, you risk losing a lot of employees.

  • Once people figure out they cannot get away with things, they will stop trying.

  • If someone is complaining about it, they are probably a “trouble maker” anyway.

  • Can be used to defend billed time if a customer questions it. (This can go both ways, the customer can ask to see where the truck was for every hour he was billed for.)

  • Be careful not to overuse this tool. Like any other tool, only use it when you need to.

  • One company increased 3mpg and drastically decreased on the time the trucks were idling.

  • Some people have had problems with people tampering with the systems (cutting antenna, putting system in an empty chip bag.)

#9 66% have technicians OSHA 10-hours trained vs. 34% do not.

  • Many have a few technicians trained.

  • One company made it mandatory for the employees to do it on their own time. Everyone of them did it without any problems.

  • Sometimes you can find courses online.

12# 42% lease vehicles vs. 66% purchase vehicles.

  • Companies can get from 190,000 to 270,000 miles out of a truck (till it explodes).

  • Leasing can help with insurance (example from New York).

  • With 100 or more trucks, have insurance through your own company.

  • Diesel Sprinters get 20-22 mpg, however are expensive to maintain, unless you have your own mechanic.

  • Ideal situation is to buy trucks and have your own mechanic.

#22 Average number of scheduled preventative maintenance hours per service technician annually

Less than 300: 22% 300-600: 39% 600-800: 16% 800-1,000: 19% over 1000: 5%

  • There are very many variables that go into this.

  • Most companies do not have a sales team for selling maintenance only.

  • Many try for a 3:1 Service to PM ratio.

  • Whether or not the maintenance is all inclusive plays a big role.

Financial Selling/ Payback Analysis

Moderated by Bill Flynn (Mallory & Evans, Scottdale, GA) and Gregg Perry (IES, Sacramento, CA)

Dave Feutz – Ferris State University

  • A construction contract doesn’t always guarantee a service contract.

  • Often venders can figure out payback, so that you don’t have to.

  • Leasing programs work well for:

    • Non-profit organizations.

    • Multi-tenant building whose owners pass costs on the tenants.

  • Typically good financial salesmen are not highly technical people, they do not try to explain everything in technical terms to the customer

    • Financial market personnel have made good maintenance salesmen

  • When making a sale, find out who the customer is, what exactly they want, and where the money is coming from.

    • Find out what the reasons for the project are (trying to save money or just replace an old unit?)

    • Why have they not replaced it before? Maybe they have gotten bids before and they are could be wasting your time.

    • When are they hoping to have the project completed by?

    • Find about what their allowable payback time is, and be sure that you can meet it.

  • Make sure that you are selling to the right person (don’t try to sell a major maintenance contract to a building facility manager).

  • Keep everyone in the decision making progress, but focus on who is in charge.

  • If they already have a contract with another company, ask why they would consider switching to you. Basically find out if you have a chance at the sale.

Green Means Business

Moderated by Woody Woodall and Steve Mack (W.E. Bowers, Inc., Beltsville, MD) and Pattie Krippendorf (Mechanical Inc., Freeport, IL)

Tom Fath – Ferris State University

  • Discussed how all clients don’t want LEED status

  • Discuss where contractors will be a year from now.

    • Give the customer the opportunity to see what they are saving.

    • How to get to the next step

      • Webinars – Need to train employees

      • Experience

      • Green education for entire service department

    • LEED certified buildings can improve productitity

      • Use examples to explain to customer

      • Do not promise anything to customer

    • Need to get a group of employees together to help your company go green

    • Resources

      • Can’t go in blind to a green job

        • Get help when needed in order to complete project on time.

    • Become LEED certified!

  • Discussed the purpose of goals and why we need to live out those goals

    • Don’t sit talking about what you want to do to go green…go do it.

Creative Sales in a Tough Economy

Moderated by Nancy Bandy (Trainsitions, Inc., Mission Viego, CA)

Tom Fath – Ferris State University

  • Discussed what companies were doing to help sales

    • Stay involved with sales reps

  • Discussed how to show customers the difference between good quality and bad quality

    • Look from the customers perspective

      • Green selling

      • Incentive programs need to keep customers as well as get customers

    • Build maintenance base

  • Discussed how to keep customers as the economy gets worse

    • Deliver what we promise

  • Discussed how to get sales managers out of their comfort zone

    • Putting someone where they are not comfortable is not a good idea

      • Customers want someone that has the background, personality, and knowledge in whatever situation they are in

  • Discussed commissioning – maintenance based – maintenance sales representatives

    • Use commissioning as an incentive, but have a group work towards a common goal

      • Have commissioning split evenly throughout the group

    • Look into hybrids

    • Need commissioning to get employees the incentive to work

  • Recruit good sales people

    • Don’t throw away a resume

      • Look anywhere and everywhere

    • Tests new recruits

  • Discussed sales meetings

    • Agenda

    • New Leeds

    • Go through reports

      • Give employees more responsibilities

    • Go over concerns, old business, and new business

  • Discussed how effective salespeople are at taking full advantage of the internet to research the customers before the first call

    • It is very effective to research a company to make sure they are large enough to do business with.

  • Discussed how to get sales people to develop expertise in selling ”green.”

    • Green Star

      • Focus is to show engineers and architects that they can ask us questions

      • Send press releases to capitalize

    • Go to the personal level and show presentations

  • Discussed how effective salespeople are at positioning MSCA STAR certification

    • Use against open shops

      • Show that company is more qualified

      • Need more contractors to have the MSCA STAR to make it more effective

      • Put summary about the MSCA STAR certification on the back of proposals

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