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Building the Future: 2014 Scholarship Awarded

Both Berwick Electric Co. (BEC) and the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region have been integral parts of the local community for decades, and BEC has the privilege of offering an annual scholarship to one worthy high school senior who is involved with the YMCA. We recently had the honor of awarding this year’s YMCA James D. Berwick Scholarship program recipient, Kaylee Marquez, with the much-deserved award.

A 2014 graduate of Palmer High School, Kaylee plans to major in criminal justice at The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the fall. She has been a member of the YMCA since she was 11 years-old, and she became a YMCA lifeguard in April 2012. “I have gained valuable life experience during my time at the Y,” Kaylee explained. “I always enjoyed the programs and the friendly atmosphere that the YMCA presented. I have also learned valuable lessons such as the importance of patience, acceptance, caring, teamwork, leadership and responsibility.”

YMCA BEC Scholarship Recipient
Palmer High School graduate Kaylee Marquez
receives the 2014 YMCA James D. Berwick Scholarship.

Kaylee’s involvement with the YMCA has given her the opportunity to work with people from a variety of backgrounds. The YMCA’s partnership with the Deaf and Blind School provided Kaylee with the opportunity to work with this population, influencing her decision to minor in American Sign Language.

The YMCA provides an excellent environment for youth development. We are pleased to award Kaylee with this year’s YMCA James D. Berwick Scholarship, and we wish her the best of luck with her studies in the fall.


VA Clinic Set to Open in August

Image of COS VA Clinic under construction

After over a year of hard work on the new Veterans Affairs Clinic, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) took possession of their new clinic, owned by US Federal Properties, on June 12. Located at the corner of Centennial Boulevard and Fillmore Street in Colorado Springs, Colo., the 96,000 square-foot clinic, with a maximum occupancy of 1,322, is set to open for services in mid-August. With the clinic’s opening, veterans can expect state-of-the-art medical care set against awe-inspiring views of Pikes Peak; the famous peak is framed by the clinic’s elevator lobby atrium.

Berwick Electric Co. (BEC) is proud of its involvement in installing the variety of electrical, data communications, life safety and security systems associated with the new clinic. Those who have given so much for our country will have access to radiology/biomedical, counseling, behavioral health, rehabilitation, physical therapy, optometry, audiology, dental and pharmaceutical services. “There were a lot of additions to the project, and yet we were able to finish on time with no added delays,” Jacobsen Construction Superintendent Markel Massey explained.

To help meet the diverse client needs, visitors will check in at one of six kiosk units in the main lobby. From there, they will be directed to the appropriate services area of the building; each suite has its own reception and waiting area.

Image of VA Clinic Coffee Shop Entrance

All of this activity will be supported by a 3,000 amp 277/480 volt electrical service, including nine electrical rooms, an emergency generator for the smoke evacuation system, mechanical equipment and a sophisticated lighting control system, as well as other electrically-related items. The electrical service will also support the radiology suite, which includes three x-ray rooms, MRI, CT, and mammography equipment and site lighting.

For the majority of the project, BEC General Foreman John Travers oversaw a very challenging, on-site electrical installation. Great thanks go to BEC General Foremen Dale Butterfield and Dylan Alley, who contributed detailed technical systems support and finished the project when John was pulled to start another project at the Pueblo Chemical Depot. Throughout various stages of the project, BEC Foremen Ryan Hurless and Eric Norman provided additional supervision and support. Several other key members of the installation included BEC Electricians Glenn Kapu, Matt Hall, Travis Smith, Amber Weems, Roger Ross, Lynn Cleveland, Jonathan Fugate, Dan Sternthal, Tony Pisaneschi, Brian Miller, Brian Riggs, Collan Krzywonski, Zach Williams, Nathaniel Cinocco, Josh Rincones, Tyler Patzner, Michael Fernandez and Paul Heinzen.  

The VA Clinic’s data communications system is supported by six large data communications (DataComm) rooms that boast extensive copper and fiber cabling. BEC’s DataComm Division team, led by Shane Gebbink and Paul Brumley, did an excellent job overseeing the installation. BEC DataComm Technicians Anita Ternyak, Ken Brumley, Wade Sims and Tyler Lundgren completed installation work that is said to be the best and neatest designs that the VA Information Technology professionals have ever seen.

BEC Electrician Tobi Collins spearheaded the installation of the fire alarm system, as well as the integration of the sophisticated smoke evacuation system. The smoke evacuation system, which is controlled by the fire alarm system, proved to be a challenge to install. Controlled by the fire alarm system, the smoke evacuation system is also integrated with the mechanical, door security, and door operator systems; it's quite a sophisticated system.

BEC’s contract also included security systems, mostly subcontracted by BW Systems. The installation included access control, motion intrusion detection, hardwired duress, wireless duress and a few select, monitored area security cameras. “System pathways and power connections could not have been better; their (BEC’s) attention to detail is phenomenal,” Steve Cress of BW Systems explained. “This challenging project was made much more manageable due to the excellent leadership and quality work provided by Berwick Electric Co. The Colorado Springs VA Clinic project required a tremendous amount of up-front and ongoing engineering to provide systems that would integrate with the primary head-end system located at the Denver VA facility,” he added. “As the team leader, Berwick coordinated the much-needed customer meetings to flesh out the details of the installation to provide optimum system integrity.”

BEC is proud of the excellent work contributed by its general foremen, foremen, electricians and DataComm employees.  BEC looks forward to the benefit that the VA Clinic will provide for the community; those who have served and sacrificed so much for our country deserve the best.

We invite you to take a peek at more of the new clinic by clicking play on the slideshow below.

10 Fun Facts about Electricity

Electricity is a staple of modern life. Beyond lighting rooms and powering devices, electricity is pretty interesting! Here are some fun and interesting facts about electricity.

Image of lightning

1. Electricity travels at the speed of light -- more than 186,000 miles per second!

2. A spark of static electricity can measure up to 3,000 volts.

3. Lightning is a discharge of electricity in the atmosphere. Lightning bolts can travel at around 130,000 miles per hour and reach nearly 54,000 °F in temperature.

4. Electric eels can produce strong electric shocks of around 500 volts for both self-defense and hunting.

5. Have you ever wondered why birds sitting on a power line don’t get electrocuted? If a bird sits on just one power line it is safe. However, if the bird touches another line with a wing or a foot, it creates a circuit, causing the electricity to flow through the bird’s body. This results in electrocution.

6. Two positive charges repel each other, as do two negative charges. On the other hand, opposite charges attract each other.

7. Coal is the world’s biggest source of energy for producing electricity. Coal is burned in furnaces that boil water. The steam from the boiling water then spins turbines that are attached to generators.

Image of power line

8. Did you know that electricity plays a role in the way your heart beats? Electricity causes muscle cells in the heart to contract. Electrocardiogram (ECG) machines, used by medical professionals, measure the electricity going through the heart. As the heart beats in a healthy person, the ECG machine displays a line moving across the screen with regular spikes.

9. Electric fields work in a similar way to gravity. Whereas gravity always attracts, electric fields can either attract or repulse.

10. Benjamin Franklin carried out extensive electricity research in the 18th century, inventing the lightning rod amongst his many discoveries. In the event of a lightning strike, the lighting rod conducts the strike through a grounded wire, protecting the building.


9 of the Punniest Electrical Puns

Sometimes, you just need a good laugh. Just in time for the weekend, here are some of the silliest electrical puns we could find. We hope that you enjoy!

Q: What would a barefooted man get if he steps on an electric wire?
A: A pair of shocks.

A sun-tan lotion is a solar insulator.

The foolish gardener planted a light bulb and thought he would get a power plant.

A successful politician is a power transformer.

image of smile
Sometimes you just
need a good chuckle.

Wind power is very popular because it has a lot of fans.

Have you heard about the nuclear physicist who went fission (fishing)?

Q: What is an electrician's favorite ice cream flavor?
A: Shock-o-lot!

Watt are you doing?

You seem so well grounded.

If you’re looking for quality electrical service that you can trust, contact Berwick Electric Co. Give us a call at (719) 632-7683 or request service online by clicking here.


4 Signs You Need a New Electrician

It’s easy to find an electrician. It’s not so easy to find an electrician that provides excellent work at a great price. To help you separate the great from the not-so-great electricians out there, here are four things that should stand out as red flags.

image of electrician
Safety and cleanliness are
signs of a great electrician.

1. Lack of safety. If the electrician overlooks simple safety measures such as wearing safety glasses and maintaining a clean work environment, chances are that he or she may not be working in the safest manner possible. Attention to detail and safety are the mark of a great electrician.

2. The company charges you for an estimate. If an electrical company charges you for an estimate, it may be a sign that they aren’t looking out for your best interest. Complementary estimates are a sign of excellent customer service.

3. The company’s customer reviews aren’t up to par. Although this may seem obvious, it’s worth mentioning. Before hiring an electrician, take the time to do a bit of research.  Your local Better Business Bureau (719-636-1155), Angie’s List and Google Reviews are three good places to start. Look for a consistent trend of excellence in their reviews.

4. The company lacks integrity. In line with number three, a great electrical company works with integrity. Some signs of integrity include arriving to work within the expected time frame, returning phone calls promptly, honoring quoted prices, treating you with respect, answering your questions honestly, and overall, treating you the way they would like to be treated.

Quality electrical service is a priority at Berwick Electric Co. You can learn more about our service department by watching the video below. Also, check out our Ten Commandments of Customer Service -- our guarantee of what customers can expect from our staff and electricians.

If you’re looking for an electrical company that consistently delivers excellent work, we encourage you to contact us at 719.632.7683. You can also click here to request service online.   

Community Partners: Special Kids Special Families

For Sarah, a single mom to a typically-developing daughter and a son with Asperger’s, Special Kids Special Families (SKSF) has been a life-saver. Because her son cannot attend traditional daycare, Sarah relies on respite care simply to be able to work. Her son is able to attend Zach’s Place, a program of SKSF, and Sarah is able to work and provide for her family.

Image of SKSF volunteer and child
SKSF provides important services for
special-needs individuals and their families.

Stories like Sarah’s are what make SKSF a vital part of the community.  Founded in 1999 by two mothers of special-needs children, SKSF has since grown to play an integral role in the community. In 2013, SKSF served 265 individuals. With a variety of programs to meet the individual needs of families, SKSF exists to promote, strengthen, and support individuals with disabilities and their families.

BEC assisted SKSF by remodeling and then leasing a portion of the Berwick office building for SKSF to use as their adult services facility; we enjoy sharing the same building with such a great organization.  As one of SKSF’s community partners, we encourage you to learn more about this important organization below.

A Helping Hand

One of the primary programs offered by SKSF, Zach’s Place is a day respite care that typically serves 15 to 22 children between the ages of two and 21 each day. Respite care is exactly that - a break or respite from providing care for another. Families are able to drop off their child, knowing that the child is in capable hands, so that they can run errands, attend appointments, or simply take a break. “We had a mom who came into Zach’s Place one morning looking very exhausted. When she returned looking refreshed, she explained that she had visited a day spa, taken a bubble bath and read a book,” SKSF Development Manager Gregg Doan explained.  “When she returned, she was ready to be a mommy again. This type of break is absolutely necessary for our parents to continue being great parents.”

Image of child at SKSF
Zach's place serves
15-22 children every day.

While at Zach’s Place, the children are not only looked after, but the well-trained staff also strives to help the children reach their full potential. “For those who are able, we try to get out in the community and participate in enriching activities. We also have a mix of both fun and educational activities for all of the kids, whether or not they’re able to be out in the community. Gregg said.  

The staff at SKSF is currently looking to expand the program. “Zach’s Place is one of two centers in Colorado that is licensed to provide childcare for children with disabilities,” Gregg explained. “We are currently in the initial phases of expanding the program to be able to serve more families.”

Unique Families, Unique Programs

In addition to children, SKSF also serves adults through its adult services programs. There are three main program branches of the adult services: Host Home, Joey’s Place and I-CAN. Host Home is essentially an adult foster care program. “We work with families that take in special-needs adults who have nowhere else to go,” Gregg explained. “This program is great, because these individuals are able to be a part of the community while living in the host home.”

Joey’s Place is for those individuals who stay in-house due to medical issues or other physical limitations. Although they don’t venture out into the community, they do take part in a variety of activities that teach them about other cultures, plants, arts and more.  

Image of adult services at SKSF
Adults in the SKSF program enjoy time in the community.

Those who are in the I-CAN program are able to get out into the community and volunteer. They often volunteer at Silver Key. “It’s important to realize that people with special needs have dreams too, and the I-CAN program is one way of helping them realize those dreams,” Gregg said. “Volunteering helps them to experience integration with others while also helping them to find purpose.”

Participants in both Joey’s Place and I-CAN are exposed to a wide range of programs. “We’ve held a variety of different classes from art, to dancing and yoga,” Gregg said. “Last winter, we hosted a dance presentation by local dance company Ballet Emmanuel, and they [program participants] just loved it,” he added. “One non-verbal young man in a wheel chair just about jumped out of his chair in response to the movement. Others who have a very hard time sitting still were in awe and calm. It was a very neat experience.”

Further, SKSF offers a program called SIBSHOPS for siblings of children with disabilities. “It’s often the case that these siblings don’t receive as much attention as the special-needs children,” Gregg explained. “Once a month, these siblings get together with one another as a means of support and also to celebrate what it’s like to be a sibling to a child with special needs."

Image: Playing with a parachute at SKSF.
SKSF hosts fun nights and themed parties.

To complement such great programs, SKSF also hosts teen nights and social fun nights at the adult center. Fun events like karaoke and seasonally-themed parties are just a few examples. “We have a youth group that has been volunteering at these events for the past couple of months, and it’s been great to see typically-developing kids form relationships with the special-needs kids,” Gregg said. “It’s one way of de-mystifying what life is like on both sides; the typically-developing learn about the special-needs kids, and vice-versa,” he added. “These fun nights are also another opportunity for parents to have time for refreshment. They can drop off their kiddo from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. on a Friday night, go out for dinner, and then return to pick up their child.”

Education & Advocacy

SKSF is a multi-layered organization; in addition to serving those with special needs, it also aims to educate the local community. One way SKSF accomplishes this is through its KOSCOVE Kids program. Named after Koscove Metal, who generously donated life-size puppets with disabilities to the program, SKSF uses the puppets to help de-mystify what it’s like to live with a disability. For example, one puppet is in a wheel chair and has spina bifida. Many people don’t realize that for those in a wheel chair, the chair is actually an extension of that person.

“In the same way that you wouldn’t want somebody you’ve never met to walk up to you and touch your arm, a person in a wheel chair may not appreciate you leaning on or touching their wheel chair,” Gregg explained. “Another misconception is that all people with a disability want your help. In the same way that you’d ask another adult if it’s OK to help out with something, you should also extend those with a disability the same courtesy. Many of them are actually quite independent individuals.”

How to Help

Image of SKSF cooking activity
Donations enable SKSF's multifaceted programs
to continue helping those who need them most.

If you are interested in the work that SKSF does in the community and you want to help, there are many ways to get involved. Those interested in volunteering should contact Christy Haggard at (719) 447-8983 or

In addition to monetary donations, SKSF also relies heavily on in-kind donations. “It’s amazing how much donated items such as office supplies, puzzles and crayons help out. They really help us to keep money in our programs,” Gregg said. “Each program has a wish list posted on the website for anyone who wants to donate to a specific program. We are very privileged to be able to serve the community in the way we do.”

Interested in SKSF and want to learn more? You can find program specifics, as well as information on how to get involved at

BEC Sponsors 7th Annual Defenders of Freedom Ride

This past weekend was Armed Forces Weekend, and Berwick Electric Co. (BEC) had the pleasure of being a premier sponsor of the 7th Annual Defenders of Freedom Veterans Recognition Ride. The longest law enforcement-escorted ride in Colorado, all proceeds from the ride will go to benefit The Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF).

The SOWF’s mission is to care for severely wounded or killed in action special operations personnel and their families. The ride also serves to recognize and honor American service members who serve, have served, have been wounded, or lost their lives in service to the United States. The ride also recognizes the major military bases in our community (Schriever Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base, Fort Carson and the U.S. Air Force Academy). You can catch some highlights from the event by clicking play on the video below.

Public Safety Employees Rescue 2 Trapped in Car

Berwick Electric Co. is pleased to salute this month's public safety employees - Fire Fighter Eric Riker and Paramedic Jason Veit of the Colorado Springs Fire Department. These men responded to flooding near a local drainage area, and rescued two young ladies trapped in a car. Thank you for the selfless service you both provide!


Love Inspiration? 3 TED Talks That Feature Electricity

So you thought electricity was boring? Whether or not electricity is your “thing”, these TED Talks are sure to interest you. From nano-electric power generation, to using electric fields to fight cancer, these ideas are truly remarkable.

TED Talks Feature Ideas Worth Spreading
TED Talks feature ideas worth spreading.

TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. Their goal is to make great ideas accessible and spark conversation. Check out the TED Talks below, and be inspired. And better yet, share them with others.

The Future of Nano-Electric Power Generation
TED introduces this video by saying, “What would happen if we could generate power from our windowpanes? Nano-electric power generation is based on mastering the electron to create power.  Click here to watch.

Using Electricity to Treat Cancer - Tumor Treating Fields
An electric field is a field of forces that act on and attract bodies that have an electric charge. Learn about how Novocure is researching ways to utilize electric fields in the battle against cancer. Click here to watch.

The Missing Link to Renewable Energy
Donald Sadoway, a materials engineer, is working on large-scale batteries that can store renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Click here to watch.

Community Partners: Colorado Springs Therapeutic Riding Center

For special needs individuals and their families, Colorado Springs Therapeutic Riding Center (CSTRC) is like a bright light. Located at Mark Reyner Stables in Colorado Springs, CSTRC opened in 2008 to provide therapeutic riding for individuals with special needs. These individuals may be living with physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral and learning challenges related to various forms of trauma, developmental delays, autism, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, batons disease and cancer.

Colorado Springs Therapeutic Riding Center 1

“Mark Reyner stables has been a part of the local community since 1954, and my husband and I have owned it since 1975,” CSTRC CEO Nancy Harrison said. “We’ve always worked with special needs individuals, but we wanted to do more. So we opened CSTRC. We started with three people, and now we work with around 100.” BEC is proud to partner with CSTRC, and we invite you to learn more about this wonderful organization below.

Hippotherapy: A Healing Bond

CSTRC’s primary goal is to provide equine-assisted therapy for people with special needs. “In hippotherapy, the horses are a powerful tool,” Nancy explained. “We also move those in therapy toward the goal of being able to ride a horse independently.”

Hippotherapy consists of three main steps. First, those in therapy work with an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, or a speech therapist, and then the therapist uses the horse to do the therapy. Next, the rider moves into therapeutic riding, taught by instructors who are certified in working with special needs individuals. The final goal is to get the rider to ride independently, while continuing to develop core strength, eye coordination, color recognition and memorization. After learning how to ride independently, the rider’s next step is to take lessons with others who are able-bodied.

Colorado Springs Therapeutic Riding Center 2

“The bond that both children and adults develop with the horses is incredible, because the horses don’t judge them,” Nancy said. “We have one horse that, prior to working with a child who has Down syndrome, was never very social. The horse really connected with this child, and would come trotting over to the gate in response to this child. It was really something! The horses can tell who is on their backs.”

In addition to connecting with the horses, riders also gain physical benefits from hippotherapy. “Riding a horse is the closest thing to walking for those in wheel chairs,” Nancy explained. “The motion of the horse walking creates a neural pathway in the brain that assists in learning to walk,” she added. “The horse is more than just a buddy; it also helps those with special needs to develop physically in ways that they might not otherwise develop.”

Community Minded

Colorado Springs Therapeutic Riding Center 3

CSTRC has proven to be an important part of the local community. “We partner with the Down Syndrome Association, and they send us children who need therapy. We also work with the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, homeless groups, as well as other groups,” Nancy said. “We also have teens from a local, alternative high school who volunteer to help clear horse pens every week. It’s great for helping these teens to build self-esteem. We are pleased to be able to help the local community.”

CSTRC largely relies on volunteers to help sustain its work in the local community. “We need three people per rider, especially when they first begin riding,” Nancy explained. “We hold quarterly trainings, but that doesn’t mean that those interested in volunteering have to wait. We’ll pair them with a seasoned volunteer so that they can shadow and learn that way. Then, they can complete the next available major training. The volunteers genuinely enjoy working with the riders!”

To learn more about CSTRC, or how you can volunteer, click here.

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