Maintaining Perspective (For a Better Future)

Colleagues, Team Members, Friends, and “Family”:

Global pandemic.  Divisive rhetoric.  Recession.  Systemic racism.  Civil unrest.  Climate change.  On their own, each issue represents a monumental challenge for the United States of America — let alone the global community.  Yet, here we are, faced with the totality of these seemingly insurmountable problems. As with any challenge we are faced with, we have a choice to make: Lay down and surrender.  Or, stand-up and work the problem.

Despite the perpetual drumbeat of bad news, we must be intentional and work hard to maintain perspective. For without it, we are subject to become victims of circumstance, insecurity, desperation, and anxiety. Reason yields to emotion. Our thoughts become overwhelmed and critical thinking, cloudy. Therefore, let us seek perspective.

  • Historical.  For nearly 250 years, America has persevered from one crisis through to the next:  war, depression, pandemic, natural disaster, gun violence, etc.  Has it ever been easy?  Certainly not.  The night is darkest just before the dawn.  Though it may be challenging to see, we will emerge stronger than ever before. 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis.  In incredibly short order, we have made massive societal adjustments to manage the impacts.  The growth clip of the pandemic is slowing.  And there is a tremendous amount of investment, research, and development, with some of the best minds in the world, working to minimize and hopefully eradicate this disease. 
  • These are times of divisive rhetoric, a crisis of culture.  Fortunately, 2020 is an election year.  Soon we shall have a meaningful opportunity to exercise our vote and drive whatever change it is we want to see.  Debates on social media will only get us so far.  Elections matter.  Vote.
  • We are in a recession, an economic crisis.  Businesses are re-opening and people are getting back to work.  The impetus of this recession was an unpredictable, catastrophic event; not part of a normal cyclical downturn.  Our new normal may be different, but consumers will consume.  Things will get better.  
  • Systemic racism is, at its core, a crisis about the soul of our society.  We, along with many of you, are disturbed by the injustice that plagues our country.  Clearly, the national conversation has been elevated and this problem is being given the attention it so desperately needs and deserves.  In the spirit of seeking a better world, for ourselves, our children, and grandchildren, we pray that these events shall not go by in vain.  Rather, that as a nation we may fulfill the concept of ‘Equal Justice Under the Law.’ 
  • Prior to the pandemic, the cause, risks, impacts, and remedies of climate change were beginning to garner regular mainstream media attention.  This is a crisis in slow-motion that will hit public health, the economy, culture, society, and most certainly human rights.  The good news is not that the tide is turning – it has turned.  For the first time in 130 years, renewable energy production in the United States has surpassed coal.  And more electric cars are being sold than ever before.  We have a long, long way to go to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, but this is progress; net-zero energy is coming.  Through our continued innovation and deployment of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies and services we will continue transforming the world.

Still yet, you may remain daunted by the scale of these issues. If so, we offer the following actionable items, for your consideration. First, as a reminder, maintain perspective and look for the good.  Do not be naïve, but staying positive requires choice, intention, and critical thinking. Second, carry your world on your shoulders, not the world. That is, to say, do not worry about things beyond your control. Someone once said worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due. Your resources are limited. Focus them in areas where you have control and, or influence. Similarly cut out the noise. Seek truth when you absolutely need to be but be judicious in so doing. Apply yourself where and when it matters most. 

Finally, beyond their respective magnitude and impact, I believe each of these issues has one more critical attribute in common:  they are incredibly complex. We cannot solve them if we remain entrenched and endeavor for our respective “side” to win.  We can and will continue solving complex issues if we remain open minded, empathetic, collaborative, and firmly commit to a better future. 

To our children, and grandchildren,

Craig M. Davis
President & Employee-Owner

Steve Melink
Chairman & CEO

Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy: Fighting Climate Change with a One-Two Punch

To invest in energy efficiency or renewable energy? A question often pondered by building owners, design engineers, investors, energy engineers, performance contractors, and anyone in between who has a say deciding how to invest money to make the strongest financial and environmental impacts. In an ideal scenario, one can invest in both efficiency and renewable energy.

Integrating Efficiency and Renewable Energy

When it comes to the materials we use in everyday life, we have all heard the phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Well, there is a reason why reduction is mentioned first! It can be argued that the most sustainable energy source available is the energy that we never have to use.

Of course, there will always be energy used no matter how efficient a building is. But, in the energy spectrum, renewables reduce the cost for the electricity that must be used. Renewables also offer many other benefits, such as protection against fluctuating energy costs, incentives like federal tax credits, net metering, shaded parking lots… the list could keep going. And research confirms that investing in both energy efficiency options and renewable energy is a smart move. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) collaborated in a 2007 study, reporting that investments in both energy efficiency and renewable energy are essential for the United States to create a secure energy future.   

Boxing gloves

Creating an Energy Synergy

Think about it like this… If a boxer has a great right hook but a poor defense, he may win some fights but could easily lose to an opponent with a solid defense and a timely counterpunch. Combining two strengths to be stronger overall is called synergy. That is when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. When energy efficiency and renewable energy are combined, they complement each other in a way that can maximize the total impact, both environmentally and economically. Consider this…

Right hook: An upgraded utility plan to reduce HVAC costs.

Left jab: Intelli-Hood®, Melink’s demand control kitchen ventilation system to further reduce HVAC costs.

And for the knock-out uppercut: A solar array made of super-efficient photovoltaic modules that meets the entire energy load of the building (taking into account the reduced energy usage from the previous energy efficiency measures).

And what’s even more of a win? By reducing the facility’s entire energy load, the upfront cost of the solar array is reduced. Plus, the quick payback as a result of the energy efficiency measures creates additional cashflow to help pay for a renewable energy source, like solar array (or even geothermal!).

Accounting for Energy Opponents

But what if? Let’s say that the uppercut was blocked in this scenario because, in many cases, the availability of renewable energy is limited due to geography and available space. For example, in the hills and valleys of Southern Ohio, wind energy is not going to be near as effective as compared to the plains of Northwest Texas.

Or, while solar performs well in Ohio, a building could have very limited space for an array. For the counterpunch here, one could implement new energy efficiency technologies and maximize efficiencies on existing equipment. Then, for the knockout, a smaller solar array like a parking canopy could still be very impactful.

The bottom line? There are many options at play when it comes to the powerful combo of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Together, this combo helps to reduce peak demand charges, which can be astronomically higher than off-peak charges. For example, if a new energy-efficient HVAC system is added to an office building, that building will still see high peak demand charges (although lower than before the upgrade) from the utility. However, capturing a renewable energy source, like wind or solar, can greatly reduce the impact of peak demand charges.

Renewable energy wind turbine power

Winning the Fight on Climate Change

In summary, combining energy efficiency and renewable energy delivers the greatest environmental and economic benefits. Melink Corporation can help building owners, engineers, and designers with both energy efficiency and renewable solutions. We know this combination works from experience, too. With our own Zero Energy Building and another LEED Platinum building, Melink does not just talk the talk, we walk the walk.

Contact us today to protect your business from the volatile energy market, commit to sustainability, reduce utility costs, and fight climate change.

International Women in Engineering Day

Now in its seventh year, International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is celebrated annually on June 23. The day celebrates the accomplishments of women engineers and raises awareness of career opportunities.

Currently, Melink Corporation employs four female engineers.

“Our goal is to enrich and strengthen our teams with a more diverse workforce that can lead to better innovation and effective leadership, while improving our company’s overall performance,” said Angela Bradley, Melink Corporation’s Director of Human Resources.

Meet Melink’s women in engineering…

Sarah Evans

Embedded Software Engineer

Degree: BS Computer Engineering

As an engineer at Melink, my job is to take the ideas for what we want PositiV® or Intelli-Hood® to do and implement them. Since I started working at Melink, my main focus has been on PositiV, our building health monitor system. My work includes programming the PositiV devices, maintaining an application for setting up the devices, collecting and analyzing data, and testing. While all these tasks involve software development, each problem is unique and can require a number of different solutions. Essentially, my day-to-day includes solving puzzles, which I really enjoy.

Krysta Kincaid

Sales Engineer

Degree: BS Industrial and Systems Engineering

My day-to-day in sales at Melink is not necessarily predictable, and for that I am grateful. I support the sales team by creating test and balance proposals and managing projects for new customers. The majority of my time is spent evaluating mechanical plans and developing potential scopes to create proposals for prospective customers. When we win the project or program, I run point with the end customer and site contacts. This includes reviewing the contract, scheduling our technician with the jobsite, securing rental equipment, communicating with our technician on site, distributing any necessary information to the customer in real time, and ensuring the customer gets the final report. I will then help answer any questions the customer has about the findings. In my role, I collaborate with almost the entire sales, national account, and network leadership teams on a daily basis. I truly enjoy the human interaction with my colleagues, as well as our customers. At the end of the day, all of our efforts at Melink go toward trying to save the environment, and that gets me out of bed every morning.

Katherine Moeller

Quality Assurance Engineer

Degree: BS Industrial and Systems Engineering

My role in quality assurance is to ensure that the products Melink produces, as well as our internal processes used to create those products, function properly and efficiently. Daily, my role can vary from creating process documentation to testing firmware to verifying data accuracy. I help connect what is created by the product development team to something that can be replicated easily by our production team. I support the production team by providing the materials they need to create and test a high-quality product, prior to sending it to the customer. Something I really enjoy about my job is that each day is different and I get to work with multiple stakeholders across the company.

Anna Rusconi

Account Engineer

Degree: BS Mechanical Engineering

My role varies from day to day. When we receive a test & balance quote request from one of our national accounts, I look through the mechanical prints to prepare a quote. The quote covers the scope of work for the visit, as well as the estimated time needed for an on-site technician. Before our technicians visit on site, I make sure they are equipped with all the information they need to successfully complete the job. If the technician has any questions while on site, I work with them and our site contacts to ensure the visit goes as smooth as possible. Once the T&B is completed and the final report is sent to the customer, I will work with the customer to help them understand the information. We provide our customers with an overview of their project data; I work with the National Account Manager to pull data to present to the customers. I really enjoy this position because each day is different, and it is rewarding to help the customers and the internal team. 

About International Women in Engineering Day

INWED was launched in the United Kingdom in 2014. Since then, the day has grown significantly and was recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2016.

Intelli-Hood in the Indian Market

Melink’s Intelli-Hood® demand control kitchen ventilation (DCKV) system has long been a global product. But, more recently, we introduced Intelli-Hood in the Indian market.

Developing a New Market

We have officially been working in India for 2.5 years now, but it is still a fairly new and developing market for us. Introducing a company into an already mature market with similar products is very challenging. It takes attention, care, and a product that adds more value than its competitors’.

Before committing to the Indian market, we did our homework. We researched the competitors, key differentiators, competing products, and how we could best offer customer support. We put ourselves in our customers’ place to really understand their needs so that we could ensure we had a valuable product and support team that could help them meet their goals.

If we felt our customer service would be compromised by distance or communication barriers, we would not have entered this market. Melink Corporation prides itself on being a customer-focused service company. From the beginning, it was important to have someone on the ground in India to speak with customers, visit sites, and work with the home office in the United States. (That’s where I come in!)

Speaking of the home office, a critical component to entering the Indian market has been the support of the Intelli-Hood’s U.S. team. They have worked continuously with promptness to provide all the technical details that our customers need, which is the biggest boon to earn customers’ trust. I am really thankful for all the team members who supported the launch of Intelli-Hood within my region. Together, we are bringing an end-solution to save energy in our global environment.

Early Success in India

Because of all the behind-the-scenes work to enter the market, we have seen success.

One of our biggest Indian projects that has been successfully retrofitted with Melink’s Intelli-Hood system is a project in the operation kitchen of a large resort. The kitchen contains all kinds of cooking appliances to prepare food for different cuisines, like Indian, Chinese, Italian, etc. For almost a full year, we have continuously monitored the system from Day 1 of installation and commission. With these real-time result readings, we were able to prove the benefits of our product in regards to energy savings and return on investment, which has paved the way for the approval of many other projects.

Here are examples from this project. You can see the energy savings:

Main Kitchen – Fan Speed Profile
1/1/2019 to 12/31/2019
This kitchen includes five hoods and two exhaust fans. With Inteli-Hood, the customer gained an electrical savings of 1,17,496 kwH/year.

Intelli-Hood in Asian Market Case Study example 1

Secondary Kitchen – Fan Speed Profile
1/1/2019 to 12/31/2019
This smaller kitchen includes two hoods, one pizza oven, and one exhaust fans. With Intelli-Hood, the customer gained an electrical savings of 25,077 kwH/year.

Intelli-Hood in Asian Market Case Study example 2

Based on this information, we are working with the client to analyse more data to help them to be more energy efficient and to lower their operating costs.

What’s Next for Melink in the Indian Market?

Moving forward, we are working with our partners to customize Intelli-Hood system designs to meet their site requirements. We look forward to future projects in existing kitchens (retrofits) and also new projects spread across Asia.

If you have a project in India and would like to learn more about Intelli-Hood, please contact me. I live and work in India full-time, and I would welcome the chance to introduce you to Melink’s products. Email me at [email protected].

Becoming an Intelli-Hood Sales Engineer (During a Pandemic)

Sales Engineer. These are two words that most of us have very clear ideas of what they individually mean. But what about when they are put together? Well, I was not exactly sure what to expect either, but it sounded like a challenge, and I like those. I am new to the Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation (DCKV) industry but well-versed in technology and mechanics due to my background. So, when I took on the role of a Melink Intelli-Hood Sales Engineer, I felt well prepared.

Then, enter COVID-19

Onboarding plan? Derailed. Customer visits? Cancelled. Installations with field service techs? Not attending. How was I supposed to embrace my role and be a valuable addition to the team? 

What Next?

That is where my Melink family stepped in. To continue on with business “as normal,” we, like most other companies, took full advantage of virtual meetings, trainings, lunch-and-learns, and other digital tools that were not thought about or utilized even just 10 years ago! As the pandemic began to unfold and our work continued on thanks to these digital tools, I immediately saw the value in my new role and especially Melink’s value to its customers.

For instance, indoor air quality became a topic of daily conversation. Essential facilities like grocery stores and hospitals were now on the front lines, and I was helping to get Intelli-Hood® kitchen ventilation controls into these areas to ensure first responders had healthy air.

You see, Intelli-Hood learns how to best optimize your kitchen ventilation by using temperature probes partnered with infrared optical sensors. The optics pick up on the presence of airborne contaminants in the form of smoke and then drive the exhaust fan’s variable frequency drive (VFD) to the appropriate speed to ensure adequate evacuation of the effluent. Smoke being present does not have to mean that heat is, which is one more way that a Melink Intelli-Hood control system ensures continuous capture of all effluent. As if that was not beneficial enough, the system is also ensuring that more of the pre-conditioned air is staying in the occupied spaces instead of being wastefully exhausted from the kitchen due to continuous discharge ventilation.

Melink Intelli-Hood System

Looking to the Future: Customized Solutions

Pre-COVID-19 and now, I spend each day as a Sales Engineer building customized quotes for our customers’ unique needs. As requests for new construction sites roll in, I work with my Business Development Manager to go through the plans for each site, reviewing the kitchen designs and ventilation requirements, as well as requirements that have been called out by general contractors and food service consultants. Every job requires different exhaust hood types; fan types and horsepower; and temperature monitoring preferences, as well as the possibility of tying the system into a building’s BACnet. All of these items and more are taken into consideration when preparing an accurate, customized quote for our customers.

Thus, these last few months of working in Virtual Corporate America have helped me realize just how adaptable our team at Melink — and our Intelli-Hood controls — really are. COVID-19 or not, these control systems are improving the health and wellness of employees and customers in thousands of locations worldwide, all while being the most energy efficient DCKV system on the market. And the umbrella of Melink solutions extends to other areas, too. When you pair an Intelli-Hood control system with solar panels, a PositiV® unit to monitor building health, and a high-quality Test and Balance plan, you really cannot ask for a more efficient and energy-saving space.

I may only be finishing my first quarter here at Melink as a Sales Engineer, but already I have felt the satisfaction of knowing that what I am doing is making a difference.  We really are making the world a better, greener place, one building at a time.