For more than 90 years, Berwick Electric Co. has enjoyed a solid reputation in the Colorado Springs community. And, behind such consistently great work is a very talented team of individuals. Today we have the privilege of shining a “spotlight” on BEC staff member Susie Kellogg. For nearly 21 years, Susie has honed her skills as BEC’s payroll specialist. We invite you to get to know Susie better by following along with our conversation below.
|BEC Payroll Specialist Susie Kellogg
Berwick Electric Co. (BEC): Where are you originally from?
Susie Kellogg (SK): I’m originally from Ludington, Michigan. I moved to Colorado Springs in 1982.
BEC: What do you enjoy about your position at BEC?
SK: I enjoy interacting with everyone, including the electricians; I like keeping them happy.
BEC: Outside of work, how do you like to spend your time?
SK: I like quilting, camping, attending church functions, and traveling.
BEC: Is there anything else that you would like to share?
SK: I’m going to miss all of the retirees! We have so many of them this year.
Need quality, reliable commercial or residential electrical service? Berwick Electric Co. would love the opportunity to serve you. Please call us at 632.7683 or click here to request service.
Today is a day to pause and reflect on the many blessings that you, your friends, and your family encounter on a daily basis. Waking up to another day is an opportunity to express gratitude for things large and small, and maintaining a grateful heart is actually shown to reduce stress and boost health. Below, you will find some thoughts from BEC staff members about what they are thankful for, as well a special blog reader offer! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
“I am thankful for Berwick Electric Co., who has provided me with 36 years of steady employment.” Because of this, I will be able to retire at the age of 58.”
-Clay Gafford, project manager
“I’m thankful to have the Lord in my life. And, I’m thankful for a healthy family since my daughter has overcome her breast cancer.”
-Susie Kellogg, accounts receivable specialist
“I’m thankful for our employees and the culture of respect, honesty, and professionalism that they have helped create and maintain at Berwick Electric Co. For three generations, it has been the employees that continue to build our reputation. I feel blessed to be surrounded by individuals who have become my second family and shareholders who strive to perpetuate this incredible culture.”
-Doug Berwick, owner/treasurer
And now, to express our gratitude for our blog readers and customers, here is a special offer just for you. Click on the image below for a printable version of the coupon.
Like many other Americans, the day after Thanksgiving may be your chosen time to decorate for the holidays. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, roughly 200 people per day are injured during the holiday season. To help you avoid becoming one of them, we've put together some very simple tips to help keep you safe this season. Simply click on a photo in the gallery below for a Christmas décor safety tip!
If you have any other helpful safety tips, we encourage you to share them in the comments box below! In the meantime, safe decorating!
The holiday season. It’s a time of joy, rest, relaxation, and family. Wait, what? Although extra rest and relaxation during the holidays is an ideal scenario, it rarely seems to be reality. According the American Psychological Association, 69 percent of people feel stressed by a lack of time and money during the holidays. So what can you do to take back the joy of the season? For starters, take a breather. Then, read the simple tips below for a reminder on how to slow down and gain perspective during the upcoming busy season.
1. Take stock of time you spend online. While most people feel strapped for time during the stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, many people don’t realize how much time they actually spend online. According to this infographic, Americans spend an average of 32 hours per month online, with 22 percent of that time spent on social networking sites. That’s nearly an entire workweek spent online! Whether connected via a traditional computer or a mobile device, intentionally taking time to disconnect frees time and space for other things. Or, with that extra time you could take a power nap and simply relax.
2. Lower your expectations. A major cause of stress and anger is blocked goals. And, during the holidays, blocked goals abound! From long shopping lines to family stress, when things don’t turn out the way you pictured them in your mind, it’s hard to enjoy the season. At the outset of the holidays, take time to realize that you can’t control everything. Some things will not go as planned. Lowering your expectations helps you live in the moment and appreciate what’s important this season.
|Feeling stressed this season? Don't. Instead, make a plan and relax.
3. Volunteer. It’s long been documented that taking time to give back to others not only lowers stress, but it also makes you feel great about yourself. Making time to give back during the holidays takes your focus off of yourself, reminding you about what’s important. For a list of ideas for how to give back this season, click here.
4. Journal. In her Huffingtonpost.com article, Carolyn Ziel explains the stress relieving benefits of journaling. Rather than keeping all of your thoughts and emotions mind-bound, find release by getting them out on paper. Fitting with the theme of this time of year, Ziel also suggests starting a gratitude journal. Focusing on the things for which you are thankful helps boost your attitude. And, a positive, relaxed attitude almost always benefits those around you.
5. Plan for enough exercise and rest. Rather than planning holiday menus and finishing shopping at the last minute, plan ahead. Spending even 10 to 15 minutes prioritizing and planning when things will get done helps prevent you from skimping on sleep and exercise in a last-minute crunch to get everything done. Lack of rest and exercise tends to make everything feel harder. So plan wisely! For tips and ideas on how to plan ahead this holiday season, click here.
This holiday season, we hope that you choose to focus on the joy of the season, rather than on all of the to-do’s. Do you have any other helpful, stress-relief tips? If so, please share them in the comments box below. We wish you and your family a healthy, stress-free holiday season!
From work that will help support counter-terrorism operations, to replacing transformers and boilers at Ft. Carson and Peterson Air Force Base, Project Manager Andrew Maestas and BEC electricians have their hands full. Even with such a full schedule, Berwick Electric Co.’s (BEC) project teams look forward to finishing 2013 with excellence and attention to detail. Take a peek into some of BEC’s recent projects below.
Special Operations Command North
| U.S. flag at SOCNORTH
In an activation ceremony for the Special Operations Command North (SOCNORTH) on Tuesday, November 5, General Charles Jacoby, commander of the Northern Command (NORTHCOM), presented the SOCNORTH colors to Rear Admiral and SOCNORTH Commander Kerry Metz. Approved in December 2012 as a subordinate unified command center under the U.S. Northern Command, SOCNORTH is scheduled to achieve initial operational capability in 2014. In addition to enhancing the command and control of special operations forces through the NORTHCOM area of responsibility, SOCNORTH will also improve support to interagency counterterrorism operations. BEC is pleased to contribute to the goals of SOCNORTH by serving as a subcontractor on the construction of the new commands headquarters.
Ft. Carson Chiller Plant, Boilers, & Transformers
| The BEC crew working on switchgear
BEC electricians Chris Bowlby, Brian Miller, Tony Pisaneschi, Lon Graham, Gary Kuhfeld (a.k.a Toad), and Ray Rincon have worked diligently to replace and build the 480V 2000A service at the Ft. Carson Building 1864 Chiller Plant. Close coordination between Brian Miller’s team and the plant operations team was critical, as many of the building’s systems remained functional during the project. BEC is also scheduled to replace the utility transformer before the end of 2013.
Continuing their work at Ft. Carson, BEC electricians Tony Pisaneschi, Brian Miller, Chris Bowlby, and Don LaRoe helped to complete the replacement of 15 boilers and their associated controls at 11 buildings. This replacement equipped the NEC with the ability to monitor the boilers remotely.
| The new gear in the chiller plant at Ft. Carson
|Michael Lucas, Brad Burket, & Paul Heinzen
haul a transformer up stairs at Ft. Carson.
In addition to boilers, BEC electricians have been hard at work on Ft. Carson transformers. During one particularly long workday, Michael Lucas, Chris Noel, Brad Burket, Ken Brumley, Dave Lenz, Josh Maul, and Paul Heinzen strategized to get a 1300-pound, 225kVA transformer up two flights of stairs while hauling the old transformer out of the building. The new transformer went in with one-quarter inch of space between the door frame and each side of the transformer.
In similar fashion, Building 9633 at Ft. Carson also required a transformer replacement. BEC electricians Michael Lucas, Chris Noel, Brad Burket, and Paul Heinzen replaced a 150kVA transformer on the second floor of a helicopter hangar. Since the building had no elevator, the BEC team hauled the transformer up the stairs.
Work at Peterson & Schriever Air Force Bases
BEC’s project teams have also been busy at Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases, troubleshooting problems and replacing boilers. Don LaRoe, Chris Bowlby, and Demetrius “D” Ledezma did a great job replacing the boiler at PAFB’s Leadership Development Center.
| Don LaRoe replaces a boiler at PAFB.
|Setting light poles at SAFB
Out at Schriever Air Force Base (SAFB), BEC electricians have been hard at work to install a variety of new lighting. In addition to installing 38 induction type light fixtures, Bob Palmer, Brandon Prime, and Michael Lucas also set two new light poles for a parking lot expansion. Due to the project requirements, some of the work was accomplished at night. Our electricians enjoy a challenge!
When it comes to providing electrical solutions for the military, BEC is pleased to do great work. Learn more about Berwick Electric Co.’s services by clicking here.
As the days grow shorter with the approaching winter season, chances are that your energy bill may grow as well. If you’re not already using energy-efficient light bulbs, now is the time to make the switch. New energy standards, which were rolled out in 2012, call for light bulbs to use 25 percent less energy than traditional, incandescent light bulbs. Using inefficient light bulbs is like choosing to throw money away, and who wants to do that? To help you avoid this pitfall, here are three energy-efficient light bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs.
|Energy-efficient CFLs use about 75% less
energy than incandescent bulbs.
1. LED light bulbs. LED stands for light emitting diode, and these bulbs work by using semiconductors that convert electricity into light. According to energy.gov, LED light bulbs average about 75 to 80 percent energy savings over their lifespan, and they last up to 25 percent longer than incandescent bulbs. To learn more about how to choose an LED light bulb, click here.
2. CFL light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lamps, known as CFLs, utilize a long tube fluorescent light that is wound up in the bulb. In his article on CFLs, William Harris explains that CFLs are more energy efficient, because they use an entirely different mechanism than incandescent bulbs to create light. Instead of the glowing filament that is used in incandescent bulbs, CFLs use argon and mercury vapor in a spiral-shaped tube. A ballast in the bulb creates an electric current that passes through the vapor and creates ultraviolet light. Next, the ultraviolet light stimulates fluorescent coating on the outside of the bulb, which then emits visible light. These bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and, according to ENERGY STAR, if every home in America swapped out just one incandescent bulb for a CFL, we would save about $600 million in annual energy costs.
3. Halogen light bulbs. In terms of energy efficiency, halogen light bulbs are somewhere in between incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Designed to replace inefficient incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs use a gas from the halogen group. This howstuffworks.com article explains that when the gas in halogen light bulbs heats, it combines with atoms from the tungsten filament. It then deposits them on the filament, enabling the filament to last much longer than an incandescent bulb and averaging an energy savings of about 28%. To learn more about energy-saving halogen bulbs, click here.
When it comes to saving energy on lighting costs, making the switch to energy-efficient bulbs is a must. And, with new energy standards and a variety of bulbs from which to choose, the switch has never been easier. For more insight on which bulbs might work best for you, check out this article from The Daily Green, which compares the light quality of LED, CFL, and halogen bulbs. In the meantime, we hope you choose to light your life wisely!
Berwick Electric Co.’s staff is a very talented group of individuals. Not only are they good at what they do, but they are also passionate! Today we have the privilege of highlighting BEC Front Desk Administrator Kathleen Kisseberth. Kathleen is likely to be the first person that you speak with when contacting BEC. We invite you to follow along with our conversation below.
Berwick Electric Co. (BEC): How long have you worked with Berwick?
Kathleen Kisseberth (KK): I actually just reached my one-year anniversary on Friday, November 1.
BEC: Are you a Colorado native?
KK: No, I was born in Utah. However, I claim Maryland as home, because that’s where I grew up.
BEC: What do you enjoy about what you do?
KK: I really enjoy answering the phones! But seriously, I like helping potential customers, suppliers, and repeat customers get the help that they need. Making a great, helpful first impression is so critical to maintaining the wonderful reputation that Berwick Electric Co. already enjoys.
BEC: What do you like to do outside of work?
KK: I love to spend time with my children, and I enjoy attending their marching band and orchestra events. I also like needle point, model rocketry, and cooking.
BEC: Is there anything else that you would like to share?
KK: While I may be one of Berwick’s newer employees, I’m glad to be here. I genuinely enjoy trying to find ways to help anyone who calls for information. And, if I can’t help, I’m happy to find somebody who can!
If you are looking for excellent commercial or residential electrical service, Berwick Electric Co. would love the opportunity to serve you. Please call us at 632.7683 or click here to request service.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work with electricity all day? Today we have the pleasure of taking a peek into the average day for BEC Electrician Michael Lucas, a.k.a. Lucas. From juggling a busy schedule to working safely with electricity, Lucas rarely has a dull moment!
| BEC Electrician Michael Lucas
Berwick Electric (BE): How long have you been an electrician?
Michael Lucas (ML): I’ve been an electrician for a total of eight years; four of those years were spent as an apprentice, and I’ve been a journeyman electrician for the last four years. Before I was an electrician, I was in theatre for 12 years. Very different industries! The apprenticeship is essentially your schooling as an electrician. The next designation after journeyman electrician is master electrician. This designation enables an electrician to do more design and build work, which is more focused on the technical aspect of the electrical process.
BE: What do you like about your job?
ML: There are a lot of things that I enjoy about my job! As a service driver, I enjoy the challenge that each different job provides. No matter what the electrical job is, I really enjoy meeting new people; there are a lot of fun people out there! Whether I’m hunting down a loose neutral, or installing an outlet or a switch, I generally enjoy what I do. I also like the fact that you really have to know what you’re doing. Working with electricity is dangerous; if you’re not careful, there’s always the possibility of injuring yourself or others. Electricians have to be smart workers while watching out for other people. The electrical field is always growing, so there’s always something new to learn.
BE: What is a typical morning like for you?
ML: Well, my mornings are pretty average. I usually arrive to the shop early to enjoy a cup of coffee, talk with the guys, and finish any paperwork from the previous day. After that, I’m usually out in the service van on my way to the day’s jobs. It’s not necessarily exciting, but that’s generally how a typical morning goes. Once the day starts, the morning and the afternoon tend to blur together. I usually get in the zone, and the days fly by.
BE: What are some of the challenges of your job?
ML: Being an electrician is definitely a challenging job. Solving electrical problems can be like playing detective. For example, if a loose neutral is causing a problem, finding the loose neutral can be quite a challenge. A loose neutral is literally a neutral wire that has gone loose somewhere in the house and is wreaking havoc with the voltage in the rest of the house. These aren’t easy to find, as they can be located in the switchbox, an outlet, a light fixture, in the attic, in the panel, at the meter, or even out by the city. As an electrician you really have to think logically in order to figure it out.
Balancing a busy schedule can also be interesting. Emergencies often pop up, and you have to find creative ways to deal with them. In one such case, a large, telecommunications facility lost power to an entire building when one transformer blew and took two other transformers with it. We had to figure out a way to get the building up and running in a safe, temporary manner until we could find a permanent solution.
BE: Do you have any funny stories from your service calls?
ML: One time a customer and her husband thought that their garbage disposal had quit working. They purchased a brand new garbage disposal and called me to wire it. In the process, I discovered that their current garbage disposal simply needed to be reset. Many people aren’t aware that most garbage disposals have reset buttons on the bottom. When a garbage disposal is too full, the motor has trouble moving and it overheats (called thermal overload). Usually all you have to do is push a reset button!
Another time I solved an electrical problem for a customer in five minutes. Because she paid for an entire hour, I asked her if she needed help with anything else. She handed me a broom, and I swept the kitchen and dining room.
BE: What does continuing education look like for electricians?
ML: After the four-year apprenticeship (or 8,000 hours of on-the-job training), you can go on to become a master electrician. There are also a wide variety of specialty certifications that you can obtain, such as motor controls, photovoltaic solar panels, working with hot gear (while the electricity is active), and many more. You really have the opportunity to specialize in one niche, or you can become a “jack of all trades.”
If you need quality, reliable electrical service, contact Berwick Electric Co. at 719-632-7983. You can also click here to request service online.
Berwick Electric Co. is proud to honor the American Medical Response (AMR) team as October’s public safety employees. During the Black Forest Fire, AMR was an essential emergency responder, helping families quickly evacuate.
For more than 30 years, AMR has provided 9-1-1 emergency services, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. AMR pursues its mission of caring for people in need by meeting patients’ unique needs and by giving back to the community. You can learn more about AMR by clicking here.
The sun is powerful; in just one hour, the sun provides more energy to the earth than the energy produced by all nations in one year. With a rising need for energy sources that are both cost-effective and environment-friendly, harnessing the sun’s massive energy output is at the forefront of renewable energy. And, for energy pioneers in the Colorado Springs community, solar energy has an important place in increasing efficiency while reducing cost. Keep reading to learn more.
Local Solar Energy Gardens Ease Energy Loads
| Solar panels at Venetucci Farm.
When a region reaches its peak power demand, solar power helps by contributing power back to the grid for that specific area. To help ease power loads in densely-populated areas of Colorado Springs, Berwick Electric Co. (BEC) had the opportunity to partner with other contractors on local solar garden projects.
“We’ve (BEC) contributed to two solar garden projects, one at Venetucci Farm and the other located at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church,” BEC Project Manager James Rockhill said. “These solar gardens are self-power-generating systems that funnel energy back into the power grid to reduce the demand in those areas.”
Strategically set in rural areas outside of the city, each solar garden is comprised of solar panels made of photovoltaic cells. Each cell generates a certain amount of watts, and each panel is wired together into a series that harvests a specific amount of power. Next, an inverter collects the power and converts the direct current to usable, alternating current. The result is a reduction in consumer energy loads.
“Before implementing the solar gardens, we conducted a geographic survey to determine the best location,” James explained. “We worked with engineers to select locations near the power grid, where the cells receive sun exposure 90 percent of the time. The engineers were also an integral part of garden design process,” he added. “Each garden produces approximately 500 kilowatts.”
Solar Energy is Clean Energy
In addition to easing the load on heavily-burdened energy grids, solar power is also a clean, environmentally-kind energy source. “Solar energy systems help lower pollution. One major way they do this is by reducing the amount of coal consumption,” James said.
| Solar panels at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church.
According to Travis Hoium’s article for finance.com, one kilowatt of power generated from solar panels is so energy efficient that it prevents 150 pounds of coal from being mined, 300 pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted, and 105 gallons of water from being consumed. If this is the benefit from just one kilowatt of solar-generated energy, imagine the cumulative impact on the environment with increased reliance on solar energy! And, we may continue to see solar power become a viable source of energy, as studies show that the cost to install a utility-scale solar system has dropped 45.8 percent since 2010.
Even though solar energy still has a long way to grow, more people are choosing to take advantage of its benefits. “In the last five years, we’ve seen an increase in the use of solar energy,” James explained. “In addition to the two solar gardens that BEC has helped create, the Air Force Academy also utilizes a solar garden. There are also a few businesses downtown that have solar panels on their rooftops.”
As we look for more efficient, cost-effective energy sources, solar power may emerge as a strong contender in the years to come. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of solar energy, check out this article. What are your thoughts about using energy efficiently? We encourage you to share them in the comments box below.