Meet Ginny Long, Application Developer

May 20, 2019

Business Unit and Job Title:

BU: Corporate, Product Development

Job Title: Application Developer

What does your job entail?

I manage the data, infrastructure, and user interfaces for the internal software we use.

What is your personal philosophy?

I have four main ones that I stick with:

  1. Most problems can be solved with a task list, or a well-formed spread sheet
  2. My success is a product of my failure, so they should both be celebrated.
  3. Personal growth comes intentional discomfort.
  4. It is okay to take a different path to get where I need to go.

What did you do before coming to Melink?

I was a Full Stack Java developer for a financial institute that created mortgage, appraisal, and flood documents for banks.

What is your favorite aspect of working at Melink?

There is a sense of purpose that comes along with working at Melink. It is motivating to know that whatever I contribute to this team might have a lasting positive impact on the world.

What do you like to do in your time off?

I enjoy playing with my two dogs Gimli and Abby. I play video games with my husband; right now, Sea of Thieves and Overcooked are our favorites to play together. I paint Warhammer miniatures and play Dungeons and Dragons, along with other table top games. I visit local breweries. I sew, knit, crochet, cross stitch, and embroider. Between September and October, I will go to the Ohio Renaissance faire at least twice. I write short stories and attempt to draw. Essentially, I try new things constantly.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I am not sure I have many surprises. Talk to me long enough and you will find my lack of a filter is evident. I will tell you my whole life story if you let me.

What are you most proud of?

Pride is one of those emotions I struggle with. When I review most of my accomplishments I always think I can do that better now that I have the advantage of additional knowledge.

What are your hopes for our industry?

I hope that we can continue to help others make sustainable choices and that we can create solutions that help get rid of the excuses people make against sustainability.

Motto or personal mantra?

I have two and they are both from Disney.

  • Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.
  • Just keep swimming.

Do you collect anything?

I collect Disney movies, coffee mugs, and books of all kinds. I have also married into a collection of board games.

Specifying Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation Systems: Top 10 Best Practices

May 16, 2019

For many of us in the commercial kitchen ventilation industry, we have seen major evolutions in Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation (DCKV) over the last 20+ years. Some have been good – codes once prohibiting automatic variable-speed fans now allow them and often even require them. And some have been bad – several manufacturers have gone down-market to the point their controls are saving very little energy if any at all.

Cook using DCKV with visual optics to adjust fan speeds based on his cooking activity.

The general trend has been positive though because DCKV is no longer a niche but a mainstream solution across the U.S. and increasingly around the world. Running exhaust and make-up air fans at 100% speed all day long regardless of the actual cooking load is antithetical in the sustainability and IoT age in which we now live. As buildings, cars, and everything else get smarter and more efficient, it is only logical that kitchen ventilation systems do as well.

As the original pioneer and market leader of DCKV since the early 1990’s, we at Melink Corporation want to continue helping building owners save energy – safely, cost-effectively, and efficiently. Having installed over 15,000 systems worldwide, we have assessed the most common problems in the marketplace and feel uniquely qualified to provide the following Top 10 Best Practices for specifiers.

TOP 10 BEST PRACTICES

1. Unless the foodservice consultant has knowledge and experience with fans and motors, he/she should consider letting the consulting engineer specify the hoods and DCKV system. The reason is, DCKV is a control system for the exhaust and make-up air fans on the roof. Though the kitchen hoods are ducted to these fans, they are comparatively simple stainless-steel boxes that only contain the rising heat and smoke from the cooking operations. The actual work of removing this heat and smoke is performed by the fans and motors on the roof along with their controls. Foodservice consultants, of course, provide a vital service in specifying the kitchen equipment below the ceiling, and this can still include the kitchen hoods and DCKV system if they have the requisite knowledge and experience of the rest of the ‘system’ above the ceiling. Otherwise, costly errors such as those described below are apt to occur.

2. The DCKV drives must match the fan motor ratings on the roof. If the foodservice consultant cannot obtain the voltage, phase, and frequency information from the ‘M’ drawings, or provide the fan package along with the hoods to ensure a proper match, the wrong drives can be specified and sent to the jobsite. This often causes frustration, time delays and extra costs. Moreover, the DCKV drives should come from tier 1, brand-recognizable manufacturers that have enough confidence in their product to offer a 3-year warranty. These highly sophisticated electronic devices are the beating heart of every DCKV system and therefore should not be selected based on low cost only. Performance and reliability should be the top consideration.

3. The DCKV system must be compatible with the make-up air heating (and cooling, if applicable) system. If the foodservice consultant does not communicate the minimum speed setting of the drives or provide the fan package with the hoods to ensure proper matching, the wrong type of make-up air system can be specified and sent to the jobsite. Not all make-up air systems are capable of heating and/or cooling at low-to-medium speeds and therefore the assumed energy savings by the foodservice consultant will not be achieved for his/her customer. This often causes frustration to everyone involved, and most importantly buyer angst and future bad-will because the purpose in he/she agreeing to buy the DCKV system was to maximize energy savings.

4. The specifier should weigh the risks vs benefits of adding modulating dampers inside the grease ducts for the following reasons: a) Dampers are obstructions inside grease ducts and such ducts are better designed to be completely open for the easy removal of heat and grease/smoke; b) These obstructions add resistance to airflow which force the fan motors to work harder and expend more energy, not less; c) Modulating dampers add another level of moving parts to the system which require regularly scheduled maintenance; d) These dampers are mounted inside the duct and above the ceiling where they are either likely to be damaged by hood cleaners or never seen again and maintained; e) When–not if–these dampers fail, the consequences can be serious if the heat and grease/smoke accumulate to the point of causing a fire; f) These dampers are often used in high-rise applications where only one duct can be run up to the roof and connected to one fan – making the consequences of a fire all the greater because there is more property and human life at stake; g) If more than one damper closes, the fan can cause such a severe negative pressure inside the grease duct that it collapses and renders the entire system unusable and in need of replacement (yes, we have seen this before). Most all engineers agree these risks are not worth the potential benefits.

Please see the photo below of a damper causing almost 100% blockage inside a grease duct. Also see the photo of a hood collar and fire suppression system coated in grease which can act like a ‘glue’ to the dampers above.

5. The engineer should design a dedicated exhaust fan for each kitchen hood whenever possible to improve reliability and energy savings. This allows each hood/fan system to operate independently according to the actual cooking load. It also eliminates the risks of a multi-hood system connected to a single fan which include the following: a) There is no redundancy in the event the single fan goes down due to a fan, motor, drive, or belt failure; b) There is no justification to use modulating dampers inside the grease ducts to achieve energy savings (see above).

6. The engineer or consultant should specify direct-drive fans whenever possible to further improve reliability and energy savings. In the old days, fan and motor pulleys and belts were used to adjust the fan speed to achieve the proper airflows during the original air balance. But today, the DCKV drives can be programmed for a minimum and maximum speed and thereby eliminate the need for these pulleys and belts. This improves reliability because belts are the infamous weak-link in most every HVAC system; and it improves energy savings because belts just create additional efficiency losses in the system.

7. The specifier should consider DCKV systems with both temperature and optic sensors for maximum energy savings on Type I hoods. This is because there are two main by-products of most cooking processes: heat and smoke/steam. If the DCKV system only senses heat, it will not quickly respond to a fast-rising plume of smoke/steam into the canopy. As a result, the hood will ‘spill’ this smoke/steam into the kitchen space and cause comfort, health, and other concerns. The typical way to counter this problem is to program the DCKV system at a high minimum speed of 80-90% with a low-temperature duct-stat so that the fans operate at 100% even with the slightest amount of heat. However, this eliminates most of the fan energy and conditioned air savings that your customers want during idle-cooking conditions.

We recommend both temperature and optic sensors–to detect both heat and smoke/steam. This allows the DCKV system to be programmed at a much lower minimum speed of 30-50% with a wider temperature span so that average fan speeds can be 60-80% and quickly go to 100% only when there is cooking smoke/steam present inside the hood. Though the optic sensor adds a slight cost premium, the additional operating savings will typically more than offset this cost within 1-2 years. If designed smartly, you will only need one optic sensor per hood, not one optic sensor per appliance. And if designed smartly, you will not have to worry about the optic sensor getting fouled with grease over time because it will be out of the air stream and protected by other capabilities (ie. air-purging, auto-calibrating) to ensure maximum energy savings each and every day.

Of course, if the cooking operations are mainly ovens and do not produce smoke/steam, then the optic sensors can be deleted from the specification to reduce first cost. But optic sensors would provide future flexibility in the event new and different appliances are installed. Moreover, optic sensors are fast-acting whereas temperature sensors are slow-acting, and this complementary combination makes for a safe and reliable control strategy. The lessons being learned from Boeing’s failure to use the right number and type of sensors as well as time-tested algorithms in its new 737Max airplanes are in some ways relevant to our industry. A first-cost obsession can be dangerous.

8. The specifier should be willing and able to logically argue against efforts to reduce the first cost of the DCKV system in the name of value-engineering. As indicated, we live in a world that often thinks in terms of first-cost only rather than total life-cycle cost. And this means that sometimes the optic sensors, if not the entire DCKV system, get value-engineered out of the specification. This is another reason why the consulting engineer is often better suited to specify the DCKV system. He/she is typically better able to make an informed argument to the architect and building owner that a well-engineered DCKV system is fundamental to the safety, health, comfort, and energy efficiency of a kitchen and these should not be compromised.

Having said this, we have also worked with highly-qualified foodservice consultants who have taken the time to learn the savings, costs, risks, and benefits of the various technologies and are just as capable of making this argument.

If a first-cost mindset continues to prevail, then the engineer or consultant should rely on the DCKV manufacturer to provide a comprehensive ‘energy savings report’ to show the expected financial payback and ROI based on the pertinent operating assumptions. The architect and building owner need to understand what they would give up in energy savings if they just install a code-minimum, auto on/off system. Fortunately, the world is increasingly trying to lower its carbon footprint – and this means maximizing energy savings, not just meeting code minimums for safety purposes.

9. Specify the DCKV system to be commissioned by the manufacturer or its trained/authorized representative for every installation prior to turnover to operations. It is our experience that too many systems have not been tested to ensure the owners will ever realize the energy savings they have been led to expect. Without this service, countless systems are operating at 100% speed all day long. We have found this problem at many locations where we are called to investigate as an independent commissioning firm. Invariably, the facilities managers state the systems have run this way for years. Verification and commissioning are essential.

10. Specify the DCKV system to have remote monitoring capabilities to ensure proper operation and energy savings for the life of the system. Like a car or any mechanical/electrical system, proper operation and performance are essential to ensuring a happy customer for life. And, therefore, remote monitoring is a highly beneficial and even necessary feature. Unfortunately, very few DCKV systems are equipped with this capability and so the specifier and the customer need to know which ones are and are not. In this day and age every facility manager should be able to ‘see’ how his/her systems are performing online.

If you follow these Top 10 Best Practices, you will not only save significantly more energy for your customers and the world at large, you will likely improve your reputation as an expert and be more successful in growing your business. At the least, be mindful that DCKV systems ‘touch on’ multiple professions and trades and therefore we encourage you to help promote good communication between the foodservice consultant and consulting engineer.

DCKV as a technology has grown leaps and bounds over the last 20+ years. We hope you and your customers fully benefit from all these advancements well into the future.

Contact us here or call us if you have any questions at 513-965-7300.

Meet Natalie Heltman, Account Coordinator

Apr 23, 2019

Business Unit and Job Title

T&B Account Coordinator

What is your personal philosophy?

Wake up early and constantly stretch yourself.

What did you do before coming to Melink?

Before Melink, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mexico. I worked as an Environmental Education Facilitator, and my main project was a sustainable schools initiative, installing solar panels, rain water capture systems, and creating a community waste reduction plan.

What is your favorite aspect of working at Melink?

My favorite aspect of working at Melink is the community, everyone has been extremely welcoming.

What do you like to do in your time off?

In my time off I like to go on hikes, photography (35mm), swimming, and playing water polo.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I swam across and back in the Ohio River in about 12 minutes.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the work I was doing in Mexico. Not only was I able to enjoy tacos every day, I felt like my work was important and that I made a difference in my community.  

What are your hopes for our industry?

My hope for our industry is that more cities, states, and individuals will take the pledge to use 100% renewables by 2050 (or Before.)

Motto or personal mantra?

Be a fountain not a drain.

Do you collect anything?

As a kid I started collecting pins from the ski resorts my family visited.

Meet Alyssa Woods, HR & Marketing Coordinator

Feb 26, 2019

Business Unit and Job Title

-Corporate

-HR/Marketing Coordinator

What does your job entail?

I split my time between the HR and Marketing Teams. On the HR side I schedule interviews, onboard our new hires, recruit at career fairs, and I am on the safety committee.  On the marketing side of things, I help make the newsletter, prepare for trade shows, and order promotional items. 

What did you do before coming to Melink?

I was an undergraduate student at THE Ohio State University.  During my time at OSU, I did several HR internships, worked at OSU’s sensory lab, and was a member of the volunteer organization Alpha Phi Omega.

What is your favorite aspect of working at Melink?

My Favorite aspect of Melink is the culture. Everyone who works at Melink is very friendly, and all ideas are valued and asked for no matter what role you are in.

What do you like to do in your time off?

In my free time I like to go camping and hiking with my family. I also enjoy playing tennis, running, and going to Kings Island when it is open.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

When I was 9 I posed for a Pampers Box, and the packaging is still used today.

What are your hopes for our industry?

I hope we reach and surpass all the goals we have set as a company.

Motto or personal mantra?

“It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

                                                                                                                                                -Albus Dumbledore

Healthy Buildings by Staying PositiV

Feb 14, 2019

This week my team and I had the unique pleasure of attending the Restaurant Facility Management Association’s annual conference, RFMA, in Austin, Texas. Having a chance to reconnect with our customers and focusing on helping them solve problems is always an incredibly rewarding and satisfying experience.

In talking with so many of the customers with whom we work on a regular basis, we noticed some consistencies regarding their challenges. First, many of these Facility Managers are managing an incredibly large portfolio of stores; most folks citing somewhere between 50 and 100 under their management, offering precious little time on a per site basis. Additionally, operating budgets are incredibly thin, leaving marginal room to proactively manage facilities, and often only being able to respond to urgent matters re-actively.

As the industry leader in HVAC Testing, Balancing, and Commissioning, Melink is uniquely positioned to help Facility Managers ensure comfortable, healthy and efficient buildings. And for years we’ve been taking note of the challenges this industry faces. So, we are incredibly excited to be launching our new product, PositiV!

PositiV is a standalone, self-powered, system that monitor’s building pressure and remotely tracks building health. Think of it like a fitness tracker for commercial buildings. We believe this proprietary technology will revolutionize the commercial building industry; it’s unlike anything else you’ll find in the market.  

So what makes this tech so revolutionary? First and foremost it was designed with Facility Managers in mind, empowering them to monitor the health of their portfolio with meaningful information… not just more data and alerts. It’s entirely stand-alone; meaning there are no wires or difficult connections with your local network. Our technology is powered by solar energy (yes, even the indoor unit!) and connected to the cloud wireless via 4G. And installation can be done in less than 15 minutes. One unit is installed on the roof and another unit is installed inside. From here, PositiV tracks four key building health indicators: building pressure, relative humidity, temperature, and CO2. But we want do more than just empower Facility Managers with information – we want to help them work smarter! For example, this technology enables our users to proactively manage problems by customizing intelligent alerts and trending this information over time, which provides valuable context, as opposed to a limited snapshot in time. 

This week we heard countless real-world problems cause by sick buildings. Here are a few examples, and where we believe PositiV can help.

  1. High Humidity. A negative building pressure draws in unwanted moisture from the outside causing costly damage and potentially even organic growth (i.e., mold).  Two Facility Managers I spoke with talked about having to replace tens of thousands of dollars of woodwork as a result of high humidity warping and destroying it. Having the ability to remotely monitor building pressure will enable the industry to eliminate costly issues such as this. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
  2. Pest Control. One facility manager spoke of a facility whose operations were being threatened by an insect infestation brought on by negative air pressure. Again, having meaningful data enabling operators to respond in real-time will eradicate issues such as this. Restaurant operators have far more important things to worry about.
  3. Increased Store Comfort, Customer and Employee Satisfaction. Keeping buildings healthy will prevent air from feeling stuffy & stale, eliminate offensive odors from grease & sewage, prevent hot & cold spots in the dining room, keep smoke out of the kitchen and dining room through ensuring adequate hood capture, and will prevent the cook line from getting too hot. Any one of these issues could become a big problem. A sick building will often yield many, if not all, of these symptoms. Make operations thepriority through preventing the building from getting sick.
  4. Increasing Safety and Reducing Risk. Nobody wants to deal with the liability from a harmful “slip & fall” brought on by moisture pooling on a floor from dripping condensation. Again, the meaningful and real-time information PositiV provides will help make facilities safer and reduce these very costly risks. 
  5. Reduced Energy Costs. A sick building often has unnecessarily high energy costs due to equipment running inefficient. Frequently, this may have a chain effect causing other equipment to work harder or improperly as a result. Keeping a building healthy will keep the overall cost of energy low, thus improving store profitability.

These issues can be mitigated with the use of PositiV. By consolidating multiple buildings’ health in a single, easy-to-use dashboard, users can triage problem sites and get ahead of issues caused by negative pressure. Ultimately, PositiV will give Facility Managers peace of mind in knowing their buildings are healthy and performing effectively.

If you’re interested in getting a unit for your facilities, let us know. We’re currently finalizing our Beta testing and will be going into full production in Q2. At Melink, It’s our mission to change the world, one building at a time. I hope we can do so, together.

by Craig Davis, President and Alex Falck, Product Engineer

A Good Time For Technology

Dec 31, 2018

“Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.”  In my estimation, this quote from Ferris Bueller is more relevant now than when first uttered.  We’re in a period where everything continues to speed up and we’re all moving along at breakneck speed to get to the next task, the next meeting, the next event, that it’s often easier to keep your head down and just plow away.  The downside of this is that it’s also easy to miss (or simply take for granted) some of the amazing things that are happening in the world due to technology.

Smartphones, for example.  In the span of just a few years they’ve managed to become a nearly indispensable tool.  Gone are the days of proud parents stuffing their wallets with photos – you now have a literal gallery at your beck and call.  Simply carrying the phone gives us the ability to capture those special moments that in years past may be missed.  Try to remember what life was like travelling to a new city before we all started carrying portable GPS units in our pockets.  What would before take hours of planning is now able to be done in minutes (if not seconds).  That’s not to say that all of the consequences of these pocket computers has been beneficial, but I’d argue that the good outweighs the bad by a significant margin.

Imagine now the opportunity to create new technology.  Instead of further connecting people (like the smartphone did), think of developing the next generation of sustainability.  Advancing the capability of businesses to reduce the amount of energy they consume and to make their facilities healthier.  To help build intelligence that create win-win scenarios for companies and consumers at the same time.   Regardless of anyone’s beliefs on climate change and why it’s happening, it’s clear that the climate is changing.  Another thing that has been clear for some time is that the resources that we have on this planet are finite.  Finally, we’ve also learned that the cheapest energy of all is the energy that doesn’t get used.

Right now there is such an opportunity available.  Melink is actively searching for an Embedded Software Engineer and an Application Developer who would like to join our family as we continue our journey towards a brighter, more sustainable tomorrow.  We’re growing our sustainable offerings, which currently include energy-saving demand controls for commercial kitchens (Intelli-Hood), an innovative geothermal solution (Manifest), HVAC commissioning (Test and Balance), are about to release an innovative new building health monitor (PositiV), and have more innovation on the way.  We’re also creating an awesome Portal that will connect our employees, products and customers with a clean, intuitive interface, creating new applications to expand the reach of our hardware, and improving the work-life balance of our employees.  Help us build the new tomorrow.

Apply online here

PACE Helps Fund Melink HQ2

Dec 21, 2018

Word is spreading that we have started construction on one of the greenest buildings in the U.S.  Melink HQ2 will not only expand our corporate campus for future growth, it will also serve as a model for how to design and construct Zero-Energy Buildings.

What is lesser known is how this project is being financed.  Yes, traditional equity and debt will pay for 80% of this $5 million project.  There is no getting around the fact that concrete, steel, and glass costs money and plenty of it.

But the other 20% of this project will be financed by PACE – which stands for Property Accessed Clean Energy.  This is a smart way to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements that might otherwise get axed from consideration because of budget constraints.

Basically, PACE financing is a long-term loan that gets paid over the long term by the energy savings of the above stated improvements.  However, rather than calling it debt, it is recognized as a property tax assessment based on the increased value of the improvements.

In this example, Melink will be able to make $1 million worth of energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements and pay for them gradually over the next 30 years through an assessment on our property taxes.  In other words, the energy savings will cash-flow the incremental value.

This is important for the building industry to understand, including developers, architects, and construction firms.  The reason is, investing up to 20% on energy improvements can make the difference between a zero-energy building and an energy hog that cripples your business.

There is no personal guarantee required and no additional debt on your balance sheet.  You get a fixed rate with fixed payments that can be passed onto your tenants through a triple-net lease.

Moreover, it allows you as the building owner and/or tenant to market your sustainability mindset and accomplishments.  And with growing pressure from customers and employees to be part of the solution, there is no excuse for not doing the right thing.

For our project, Ohio PACE and CenterBank have been indispensable partners to making this financing possible for us.  In your state, it might be someone else.  Either way, if your clients don’t know about this financing tool, you need to educate them on it.

Leading by example is one of the most important things we can do.  And with PACE financing, we hope to show countless other building owners and professionals that zero energy buildings are not only proven and practical, but also profitable.  Today.

Meet Mary Stavale, Contract Administrator

Nov 26, 2018

Business Unit and Job Title

I am a Contract Administrator in the Accounting & Finance Department.

What does your job entail?

95% of my job is focused under Intelli-Hood® in which I bill all invoices, collect on any past due accounts, process lien releases, and review/negotiate any contract that comes in.

Currently, I’m also reviewing T&B’s contracts. Along with other accounting functions.

What is your personal philosophy?

I always say the classic, “peace, love and happiness” because I think that pretty much covers it all.

Peace, meaning that you should have good intentions towards others.

I understand the love part to mean, don’t be judgmental. Look at everyone with a good heart and take care of each other.

The happiness to me means you’re focusing on the positive, working towards what needs to be done in your personal or work life. If you’re focusing on the negative it’s just going to distract you and it will take you twice as long to accomplish your goal.

Just be a good person. 😊

What did you do before coming to Melink?

I’ve been at Melink for about 2 months now, prior to that I have over 12 years’ experience being a Contract Administrator for 2 different companies.

What is your favorite aspect of working at Melink?

I could tell just from my interviews that this was a company unlike any other I’ve worked for. During the interview process the leaders expressed how Melink has an open door policy and values any feedback or suggestions. Two months in and I’ve witnessed this several times.

What do you like to do in your time off?

I love the summer, although I don’t get a chance to do it very often I love to kayak on the Little Miami or Brookville River. I have a black lab/boxer named Jet, he is my baby and loves to go kayaking too. I also enjoy taking him for walks, discovering new trails to go on and I play sand volleyball.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I don’t separate my laundry according to color. It all goes in 1 load and I’ve been doing laundry like this for 18 years. Shhhh don’t tell my mom!

What are you most proud of?

In my early 20’s I started working in a bank call center which taught me a lot about how mortgages, loans, and lines of credit worked. When I was 22 I started thinking it might not be that crazy to buy my own home as I was already tired of renting, and at 23 I purchased the house which I’m still living in. I took my time and did a lot of research. It’s the best decision I ever made.

What are your hopes for our industry?

I hope that one day more builders/companies will see the value in going green.

Do you collect anything?

Dog fur… No matter how many times I vacuum it never goes away and I’m ok with that.

Headquarters 2.0

Nov 8, 2018

Another major step on our sustainability journey will be the design and construction of a second headquarters in 2018 and 2019. As Melink continues to grow, we will need more office and warehouse space than our first building can provide.

Fortunately, we have the land next to our current HQ1 in which to build HQ2. It will be of a similar size and layout – with the courtyard facing our current building. And like our first building, it will be super-green. Except our second building will take green to a whole new level!

In addition to it serving our future workplace needs, it will serve as a model Zero-Energy Building (ZEB) for architects, engineers, and contractors to learn ZEB best practices. The goal will be to show a cost-benefit analysis that will make other building owners want to emulate and mainstream ZEB.

A growing segment of the building industry is calling for all new buildings to be Zero-Energy Building by the year 2030. We want to show that this can be easily achieved, 10 years ahead of schedule, with a relatively simple design strategy.

Since the largest energy loads in most commercial buildings are lighting, HVAC, and hot water, we will focus on showing how these can be minimized – and offset by a slightly greater amount of solar PV electric generation. Nothing new, except HQ2 will do this better than HQ1.

But the main innovation will be around our super-hybrid geothermal HVAC system. Don’t worry, we’ll figure out a cool brand name for it. The point is, this new system will help advance the energy savings of geothermal without the high cost normally associated with it.

If you think we have received lots of regional and national attention with HQ1, wait until you see what happens with HQ2. Through countless tours and presentations, we will influence thousands of additional building professionals and continue building a green brand unlike any company.

By the way, if any of you would like to work in this new super, high-tech, and beautiful workplace, you better get an electric car first. Because only EVs will be permitted to drive and park on its new green parking lot of the future.

The Melink Energy Revolution is just beginning…

Road-tripping in a non-Tesla 100% EV

Sep 26, 2018

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

Abraham Lincoln

I have the unique pleasure of working with an employee-owned organization, Melink Corporation, that is dedicated toward making the world a better place. Our vision is to help advance clean energy such that it transforms the world through improving our global economy, security and environment – for ourselves, our children and future generations.

Though energy efficiency and renewable energy are at the core of what we do, sustainability is central to who we areIf we don’t lead by example, who will? So, in addition to operating a Net-Zero LEED® Platinum headquarters facility, we have a super-green fleet of vehicles. Our National Network of Service Technicians each drive hybrid vehicles. Our parking lot has over twenty electric-vehicle charging stations. In total we have over forty hybrids and seventeen EVs in our fleet driven. 61% of our employees drive either hybrid or electric.

I, personally, drive a 2018 Chevy Bolt and have done so for about nine months. The car has a 238 EPA estimated range and does not have the luxury of accessing Tesla’s Supercharging Network. I have a 45 mile commute, one-way from my home to my office. Fortunately, by driving an EV, living in a home and working in an office that are both powered by renewable energy, my ‘electric gas’ is very clean. I have three young kids, and it is very important to my wife and I, that we set a good example; not only so we guide them toward making their own integrity-based decisions as they mature, but also so in a direct effort preserve their future. As Abraham Lincon said, You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

This month was the first time I took the Bolt on a good old fashion, American road-trip. I knew it would be a challenge but as another President said, nothing in the world is worth doing unless it means effort pain and difficulty. Here’s how it was (and can be) done.

The Hardware. You’ve got to have an EV that has an extended range. Here’s a list, for your reference, of the longest range EVs on the market today. But you’ve also got to have the capacity for Level 3 charging. On the Chevy Bolt the hardware cost an incremental $750, from the factory. GM advertises 90 miles of charge in 30 minutes, up to the 80% mark and the speed begins to taper to protect the battery.

The Fuel. There are of course Plug-in Hybrid EVs such as the Chevy Volt and Honda Clarity. Those models have about 30 – 50 miles of battery capacity with traditional gasoline as a backup. This isn’t the kind of EV I’m talking about here; I’m talking about 100% electrons. And I must acknowledge that during my road trip the electrons pulled from the grid may be coming from brown-power sources; but not necessarily. Wal-Mart, for example, has solar on many of their locations. And one of the two EVgo stations I charged at was at a Wal-Mart. Nonetheless, what’s the advantage of driving an EV vs. a traditional internal-combustion engine that uses gasoline? For one, EVs convert about 60% of their energy from the grid to power at the wheels; gasoline only converts about 19% of the energy stored to the wheels. Also, electricity, even from a coal-fired power plant, is a domestic energy source. Finally, you can get your electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind.

The Apps. Before making any long-distance road trip, pre-planning the locations of charging stations (and their distances from one another), is critical. There are a number of apps you can use to see what’s out there: PlugShareChargePoint, and EVgo are the ones I use.

The Infrastructure. EVgo is America’s largest Public Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Network, with over 1,000 chargers in 66 markets. As a non-Tesla driver, this network is vitally important for the emerging EV market.

The Planning. A few days before my trip from Southwest Ohio to Eastern Tennessee, a 350 mile commute, I identified two Level 3 Fast charging stations and one Level 2 charging station for my trip. The first Level 3 charger I stopped at was only 35 miles from my house, located at a Wal-Mart in Florence, Kentucky. I topped off and drove another 239 miles to Knoxville, Tennessee… quite literally almost no margin for error between charging stations. Fortunately, during my planning I learned of an EVgo charging station that’s being installed about 3/4 that distance, along I-75 near Williamsburg, Kentucky. So the infrastructure is continuing to develop. After making it to the next fast-charger in Knoxville… I had 8 miles to spare. Nonetheless, I made it. So I charged for about one hour (180 miles). While I waited I was able to eat lunch and catch-up on some work. Then I drove another 35 miles to my final destination, which was for business purposes There I stayed for about 30 hours, plugged in to a residential 120V outlet at 12 amps. I got my charge up to about 90% before making the return trip… back to Knoxville, then to Florence, then home. Similar to my first-leg, I made it back to the Florence charger with about 6 miles to spare.

Lessons Learned. For one, my tire pressure was relatively low when I left my house. It took the necessity of my thin battery margin to realize the impact it had on my mileage efficiency. So, I filled them almost to max-pressure and the Bolt was ‘intelligent’ enough to roll this new information into its algorithm, thus giving me an increased range by about 10 miles from where I was before. Second, I noticed that by turning off my air conditioning, the algorithm gave me another 10 mile boost in my range. Also, I tried to keep my speed (on I-75, no less) at around 65 mph. You’ll notice in this chart the relationship between speed and range; the faster you drive, the less efficient your mileage.

In order to change the world, we’ve got to do things differently. Otherwise, if we continue to do the same things, nothing will change. This trip wasn’t easy. An otherwise normal five-hour trip took me about seven-hours, one way. I didn’t want to leave the house at 5am and I certainly didn’t want to get home at 2am. But I wanted to demonstrate it could be done, in the hope that just maybe it inspires others to make the leap, not only to an EV, but to a brighter future.

Be Curious

Sep 25, 2018

The older I get and the more people I meet, the more it is confirmed in my mind that curiosity is a highly desirable trait.  Curiosity is a simple recipe for improving intelligence, persevering through hard times, and achieving meaningful goals.  Without curiosity, one is too easily content to settle for the status quo and not grow – personally or professionally.

A couple years ago, an executive friend shared with me that his Fortune 500 company specifically tests for curiosity when recruiting new talent.  The idea is, candidates who demonstrate curiosity are more likely to improve their education, training, and leadership ability.  They never stop reading and asking questions; and become more effective in their line of work as a result.

Of course, being curious is also a great way to build personal friendships and working relationships.  Have you ever met someone who loves to talk about themselves and their weekend, but never turn things around and ask about your kids or whatever?  I would bet they are not on your list of favorite people.  Curious people are naturally more understanding and fun to be with.

Curiosity is getting more attention and research all the time. The most recent issue of Harvard Business Review has made it a feature article as well.  According to HBR, curiosity can improve a firm’s adaptability and performance.

Additionally, this same article posits that curiosity leads to fewer decision-making errors.  A deeper level of analysis and number of options come from asking more questions.  Curiosity also reduces group conflict and leads to more open communication.  And it can mean viewing problems more creatively – with less stress.

Some people assume that asking questions in a meeting shows a lack of understanding, or that they are not as smart as other people in the room.  But the opposite is true.  Asking questions shows you are engaged, that you want to learn, and you care about the end-result.  Don’t be a bump-on-the-log that just attends but does not participate in meetings.  This is a waste of company time.

So be curious!  Every day, with every person, and in every challenge.  Experience the joy of finding new pathways to better relationships and success.  In fact, how can we live our core value of innovation at Melink – without being curious?

We Just Became An ESOP....But What Does That Mean?

Jul 6, 2018

We want you to join our team. Not only is it a special place to work, Melink became an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 2018 and here’s what that means to you as an employee of Melink.

Melink is unique. An ESOP is a rare and valuable benefit. Melink offers this unusual opportunity for employee wealth building.

Another unique feature at Melink is that it is provided to employees with no out-of-pocket cost.  And is a qualified defined contribution retirement plan that is invested primarily in the common stock of the sponsoring company. Unlike a 401k plan, which requires an employee to contribute his or her own money, there’s no cost to employees.

Melink’s ESOP directly correlates to our company culture.  We act like a start up every day and our ESOP helps us to further build our ownership culture that rewards people both monetarily and intrinsically.  Employees are part of something bigger at Melink, because everyone is working to build his or her (and everyone else’s) successful future.  Increased company performance typically leads to a higher share price and therefore a higher balance in employee ESOP accounts. Simply put, when the company does better so will our employees. The ESOP plan provides a return on their sweat equity.

At Melink, we value our employees’ ideas, opinions and inputs to successfully serve our customers and growing the business.  Melink is building and sustaining an environment that fosters an ownership culture.

Meet Allison Sternad, Marketing Manager

May 21, 2018

Melink Marketing Manager

What is your personal philosophy?

Look for opportunities to leave the world a better place.

What did you do before coming to Melink?

I was a digital marketing manager for a software suite for the automobile industry and I was a marcom manager for a building products company. I have always had a love for communication and telling a brand’s story.

What is your favorite aspect of working at Melink?

The people and the culture hands down. It probably sounds repetitive to what everyone else said, but it is so true! We are a big family here; we support each other, challenge each other, and truly enjoy being around each other. When your office is basically your second home, it is nice to be surrounded by amazing people and a welcoming environment! It truly is a Great Place To Work!

What do you like to do in your time off?

I love to be active outside, especially with my kids! We love to play sports, go on bike rides and walks, and enjoy picnics at the park. I also run quite a bit. While I can’t say it is my favorite thing to do, I love challenging myself and running really pushes me mentally and physically. Plus, there is something amazing about touring your city during a run!

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I played ice hockey growing up both competitively and recreationally. I was even on the same team as my brother through high school!

What are you most proud of?

My kids. Watching them grow absolutely blows me away and I have learned more than I ever thought possible from them. I love hearing their views on current topics and seeing their personality blossom through conversations. Also, their perseverance and attention to detail is beyond anything I could ever imagine. That is mostly a good thing until they remember what you promised them last year! They may be young but they are mighty and I am confident they will make great things happen.

What are your hopes for our industry?

That renewable energy becomes mainstream. That people don’t stop trying to make a change because it is against the grain or “too hard”. Nothing worthwhile comes easy and we have to continue questioning, researching, and innovating.

Motto or personal mantra?

It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

 

Steve Melink presents the 2017 Xavier University Commencement Address

Aug 17, 2017

Steve Melink gives the 2017 Xavier University Graduate Commencement Address and emphasizes the importance of integrity in developing a personal brand.  Like corporate brands, nothing is more valuable and indicative of future success than one’s reputation.  Based on his experience, success and happiness depend more on living a life of integrity than chasing jobs and money.  Find your purpose and pursue it with passion.  The world needs transcendent leadership now more than ever.

 

 

Steve Melink is a national clean energy expert with three decades of successful experience as founder and CEO of Melink Corporation. He also is author of the book CEO Power & Light: Transcendent Leadership For A Sustainable World.

Greater Cincinnati businesses can lead despite Paris climate retreat

Jul 11, 2017

President Donald Trump recently withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. The backlash was immediate, significant and deserved.

The agreement was signed by almost 200 countries. This was a landmark achievement in a fractured world. More countries agree on the why and how of fighting climate change than how to battle terrorism.

Furthermore, the agreement was supported by many of the largest and most successful companies in the U.S., including Apple, Google, Microsoft, P&G and General Electric. Most major U.S. universities and many religious groups also urged the president not to withdraw from the agreement.

President Trump justified his decision by saying jobs would be lost. But the opposite is true. The greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century is a global shift to clean energy. The solar and wind power industries are growing by double digits and far outpacing new jobs in coal and natural gas. New batteries and electric vehicles are leveraging these industries. Tesla, for example, is now worth more than GM and Ford.

China, however, is leading the world in clean energy research, manufacturing and deployment. In fact, China’s leadership and investment are resulting in the U.S. becoming increasingly dependent on it. This means our national economy and security are at risk in the name of sovereignty, coal and politics.

More importantly, our global health and environment are at risk. Climate change is universal and irreversible. And it is largely caused by human activity, based on the research of 97 percent of climate scientists around the world. (Despite what they say, politicians, fossil fuel companies and the media do not know more about this than the scientific community.)

The logical extension of our planet warming 4-8 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century is that it will continue even faster next century. This will result in many plant and animal species becoming extinct and higher sea levels slowly flooding coastal cities.

What is our opportunity and risk mitigation strategy? Where government fails us, businesses can lead and win. Pivoting to clean energy will get us on the right side of history. This will make our corporate brands stronger so we can attract and retain the best talent. Renewables will also secure for us the lowest long-term cost of energy, because the fuel sources are free.

Therefore, Tri-State businesses should consider five simple strategies to successfully compete in the 21st century:

– Divest of fossil fuel and utility stocks and mutual funds that impede a clean energy future. Invest instead in clean energy stocks and mutual funds.

– Reduce your enterprise carbon footprint 50 percent by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035. This can be accomplished by investing in energy efficiency, as well as renewable energy, onsite and offsite.

– Purchase clean power rather than brown power from utilities.

Invest in workplace charging stations to promote electric vehicle use by your employees.

– Push similarly high standards and expectations on your supply chain.

Move over, politics. Businesses will step up and save the world. Future generations will thank us for this ultimate legacy.

 

As seen in the Cincinnati Business Courier.

 

 

Steve Melink's 30th Anniversary Keynote - The Clean Energy Revolution

Jun 6, 2017

Steve Melink celebrates his company’s 30th anniversary by inviting partners and friends to join the clean energy revolution. The U.S. led the flight, computer, Internet, and every other age of the 20th century, but risks losing the biggest opportunity of the 21st century to China.  The world’s population growth from 7 to 12 billion will not be sustained by fossil fuels.  For economic, security, health, and environmental reasons, the U.S. needs to pivot to clean energy.  Fortunately, the business sector is starting to lead the way to attract Millennials and build brand power.  Solar and wind energy, along with battery storage and electric cars, are the way of the future.  Kick the
fossil fuel habit and become a leader in your industry and community by doing the right thing for the planet and future generations.  Not to mention your children.

 


A Letter To Employees From Steve Melink Regarding The Paris Climate Agreement

Jun 2, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I am sure you heard that President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, and some of you may be wondering what the impact will be for Melink and other like-minded leaders in the clean energy age. The answer is none. No impact, zero, zilch, nada!

Our commitment is unequivocal. We are not less steadfast – we are more steadfast in the face of bad politics and fake news. We have to be because our U.S. and global economy, security, health, and environment depend on it. Climate change, in particular, is a growing risk and threat that we must fight today and not after it becomes too late. Our children and future generations will see this as our ultimate legacy.

The Paris Climate Agreement was signed by almost 200 countries. It is supported by many of the largest and most successful companies in the U.S., including Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, GE, P&G, Bank of America, Walt Disney, Pacific gas & Electric, Salesforce, 3M, Citigroup, Corning, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Dow Chemical, Johnson & Jonson, Morgan Stanley, Tesla, Unilever, and many others.

This is not about jobs in Pittsburgh verses Paris. This is infinitely larger. And hence we will continue our good work to ensure we end up on the right side of history. Science and data will lead us, not rhetoric and short term thinking.

We are just a medium-sized company, but our leadership and influence is critical in our state, industry, and the local communities in which we live. Thanks for living our mission and sharing this journey with me.

Back to work …

Steve Melink

MELINK DEVELOPS VAST SOLAR FARM FOR NC COUNTRY CLUB

Dec 1, 2016

We recently completed our largest solar array project to date. At 5.25 megawatts, it will produce enough solar energy to power over 500 homes annually.

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Melink is certified by the International Trade Council

Nov 18, 2016

As of August 2016, Melink is a Qualified Accredited Manufacturer of the International Trade Council.

Melink quoted in ohio renewable energy story

Oct 17, 2016

A recent article published on October 17, 2016 by Cincinnati.com titled Ohio produces less renewable energy than Kentucky. Is that okay?, quotes Steve Melink.

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Melink awarded 2016 Goering Center Award for Private & Small Business

Oct 3, 2016

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Melink Corporation certified as a Great Place to Work

Aug 12, 2016

Based on  our 2016 company-wide survey, 91% of Melink Employees rate Melink as a great place to work.

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STEVE MELINK'S 30TH ANNIVERSARY KEYNOTE - THE CLEAN ENERGY REVOLUTION

Jun 6, 2016

Steve Melink celebrates his company’s 30th anniversary by inviting partners and friends to join the clean energy revolution. The U.S. led the flight, computer, Internet, and every other age of the 20th century, but risks losing the biggest opportunity of the 21st century to China.  The world’s population growth from 7 to 12 billion will not be sustained by fossil fuels.  For economic, security, health, and environmental reasons, the U.S. needs to pivot to clean energy.  Fortunately, the business sector is starting to lead the way to attract Millennials and build brand power.  Solar and wind energy, along with battery storage and electric cars, are the way of the future.  Kick the fossil fuel habit and become a leader in your industry and community by doing the right thing for the planet and future generations.  Not to mention your children.

CEO Power & Light' intriguing new executive book

Nov 5, 2015

National clean energy expert and corporate CEO Steve Melink also is an author with an urgent global message. His book CEO Power & Light is now available and already on its way to becoming a business classic on transcendent leadership.

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Melink is presented 2015 Ohio EPA Environmental Excellence award

Oct 8, 2015

Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Bulter presented 10 Ohio organizations with Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Awards. The E3 program recognizes businesses, non-profits, and government agencies in the Buckeye State for going above and beyond to demonstrate environmental excellence.

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Melink Visited By Ukrainians Studying Green Practices

Sep 3, 2015

A delegation of Ukrainian government workers traveled to the U.S. to learn how Greater Cincinnati recycles, uses solar energy, filters water, and generates heat and electricity. They visited Melink Corporation, which sells its clean energy solutions to customers like Walmart and the Cincinnati Zoo.

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Meet Steve Melink of Melink Corp.

Jun 15, 2015

Steve Melink is featured as a person to know in the energy industry.

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Steve Melink Awarded 2015 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Ohio Valley Region

Jun 4, 2015

Steve is awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year award in the manufacturing solutions category

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Op-Ed: Utilities On Wrong Side of History

May 27, 2015

Steve Melink presents a call to action to Senator Portman regarding  Ohio’s advancement in clean energy.

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Amid energy law freeze, Ohio solar market stalls

Sep 18, 2014

Melink Corporation in Milford, Ohio, is already shifting its business focus. The company’s previous solar energy projects in Ohio include a 6,400-panel array at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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Melink Partners with Equity Industrial Partners Corp. to Utilize Extra Space for Solar Facility

Sep 15, 2014

Melink Corporation recently developed and installed the largest rooftop solar PV system in the Midwest on property owned by Equity Industrial Partners Corp. (EIP).

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Cincinnati Zoo Spotlights Solar Energy

Jul 8, 2014

A giant solar panel canopy, constructed by Melink Corporation, is exceeding expectations by cutting electricity costs for the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. At the same time, 1.5 million visitors each year get an up-close look at clean energy.

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Melink Is One of Three Clermont Companies Recognized for Manufacturing Excellence

Jun 9, 2011

The awards recognize companies that have shown success in five key areas: creating great workplaces, designing new products, making breakthroughs, charting growth, and creating jobs.  

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Melink Receives 2010 Renewable Energy Project of the Year Award

Jul 9, 2010

The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) confers prestigious awards each year to individuals and organizations that have achieved national and international prominence in promoting the practices and principles of energy engineering and energy management.

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Steve Melink Featured In Cincinnati For Being Green

Jan 1, 2010

To many, he is Cincinnati’s Mr. Green Jeans. Those in the green movement all say that Melink is the man to see. Ohio Governor Bob Taft and Ted Strickland both made visits to his Milford-based headquarters.

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