Melink Volunteers: Giving Back Through Board Service

The Melink family feels strongly about green causes and serving others. As servant leaders, several Melink Employee-Owners give back to the Cincinnati community by volunteering their time on advisory boards.

Goering Center

Angela Bradley, Director of Human Resources — Board of Advisors

Goering Center logo

The Goering Center is affiliated with University of Cincinnati’s Lindner College of Business. The center brings together a community of experts and peers to support, train, and educate small and private family businesses. Educational events and workshops are held to promote development and collaboration. The Goering Center has a board of community leaders that provide their expertise and support. Bradley has been an advisory board member since 2018.

“The Goering Center’s mission and vision resonate with my own vision for service and stewardship. As an HR professional, I want to be of service to my employees and provide support and guidance to create a positive work environment. Through the Goering Center’s efforts, any small or private family business can impact our local community, retain top talent in our area, and elevate economic growth in the Greater Cincinnati area,” said Bradley.

Sonlight Power

Angela Bradley, Director of Human Resources — Board of Trustees
Craig Davis, President — Board of Trustees

Steve Melink, CEO & Chairman — Advisory Board

SonLight Power designs and builds solar energy solutions for community venues (schools, medical clinics, orphanages, community centers, churches, water-pumping stations) in remote locations. Work is conducted through mission trips where solar panels are installed. Not only are regions connected with electricity, but residents are trained on how to install solar power systems and how to care for them.

Green Energy Ohio 

Green Energy Ohio Logo

Green Energy Ohio (GEO) is a statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting clean energy practices through education, outreach, and representation. Miles serves on GEO’s Board of Directors.

Clermont Senior Services

Janice Scheid, Controller — Board of Trustees

Clermont Senior Services is a non-profit organization committed to serving adults age 60 and over in Clermont County, Melink’s home. The non-profit provides and coordinates in-home and community-based services with input from its board of trustees, in which Scheid serves.

Green Business Council of Cincinnati

Joel Geiman, General Manager — Board Member
Allison Sternad, Director of Marketing & Sustainability — Board Member

The Green Business Council of Cincinnati (GBC) helps local business leaders collaborate on sustainability initiatives, such as energy benchmarking, waste management, and composting. To help guide the council’s direction and offer their expertise, Geiman and Sternad are part of the GBC’s Executive Board.

Working in Neighborhoods

Steve Melink, CEO & Chairman — Board Member

Working in Neighborhoods Logo

Working in Neighborhoods helps to revitalize Cincinnati’s low- and moderate-income neighborhoods through home building renovation and financial literacy training. Steve Melink has served as board member for the organization.

‘Hire a Veteran Day’ is Every Day at Melink

July 25 is National Hire a Veteran Day. At Melink Corporation, we have veterans at nearly every level of our business, and we make hiring veterans a priority year-round.

Currently, there are 12 military veterans in the Melink family. Four are in leadership roles and eight serve in roles ranging from sales to field service, via Melink’s national network of technicians. In total, veterans comprise approximately 12% of Melink Employee-Owners.

National Hire a Veteran Day - Statistics for Melink's military veteran employees

We have found that our military veterans are loyal, hardworking, and have a strong sense of integrity. They bring a different perspective on life, leadership, and hard work. Hiring and employing veterans offers Melink a chance to support those that have given so much for our country. It is a mutually beneficial relationship, and our veterans’ military values easily translate to Melink’s core values.

How We Hire Veterans

To help us get matched with veterans, we work with a couple recruiting firms. Originally, we started working with the firms to find the right type of candidate to fill the challenging role of a Melink Field Service Technician.

For this role, veterans seem to be a natural fit and are drawn to the position. The role requires travel, a self-reliant work ethic, and adherence to a specific code of conduct. Plus, a technician is often away from his or her family for an extended amount of time.

For me, hiring veterans is rewarding on several different levels. I feel that we understand the capabilities of these individuals and that we can translate their military experience into the civilian job market.

Because several of us in the leadership team are veterans ourselves, we have a unique advantage when hiring veteran talent. We truly enjoy the chance to provide opportunities to those who have also sacrificed and taken up the call to serve our nation.

Meet Our Veterans

We are proud of our veterans and stand by them:

Army

Jon Sawyer

Matt Meyer

Mark Goodhind

Melink Navy veterans
Navy

Schyler Forcier

Jason Eckel

Air Force

Jonathan Perry

Ralph Conti

Eric Kelly

Kent Edmonds

Marines

Michael Berry

Larry Moore

Derrick Prince

Professional Development: ASHRAE & Melink

Melink Corporation is passionate about supporting the HVAC industry through its clean energy solutions. To share our field knowledge in commercial kitchen ventilation, as well as test and balance, several employees serve on professional boards like the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

ASHRAE logo

What is ASHRAE?

ASHRAE is a professional association to advance the design and construction of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. The international group has more than 50,000 members in more than 130 countries. Most members are building service engineers, architects, mechanical contractors, building owners, and equipment manufacturers. ASHRAE is known for supporting research projects, offering education programs, and publishing technical standards.

Overall, ASHRAE’s technical standards support safety, occupant health, and energy efficiency. These standards establish consensus for testing methods for use in commerce, as well as the performance criteria to guide the industry. ASHRAE publishes the following three types of voluntary consensus standards:

  • Method of Measurement or Test (MOT)
  • Standard Design
  • and Standard Practice.

ASHRAE does not write rating standards unless a suitable rating standard will not otherwise be available. ASHRAE is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and follows ANSI’s requirements for due process and standards development.

Melink & ASHRAE

Jason Brown
Jason Brown

For many years, Melink Corporation has supported ASHRAE. Employee-owners, including CEO Steve Melink, have written journal articles, technical standards, and presented at conferences. Most recently, Jason Brown (Senior Sales & Applications Engineer) and Bryan Miller (Vice President of Technology) have volunteered their time and expertise.

Here’s a closer look at Melink’s support of ASHRAE:

Bryan Miller
Bryan Miller
  • ASHRAE operates through committees. Through the committee structure, members decide policy, develop procedures, and direct the organization’s activities. Brown and Miller have been active for several years on two ASHRAE committees. Brown is a voting member of the following committees, meaning he has influence on what does and doesn’t pass in the committee proceedings:

    Technical Committee on Commercial Kitchen Ventilation (TC 5.10) Technical Committees (TC) are responsible for identifying research topics, proposing research projects, selecting bidders, and monitoring research projects funded by ASHRAE. Information about research programs is discussed at each TC meeting and at the TC’s Research Subcommittee meeting. For instance, the TC 5.10 Committee, in which Brown serves, is concerned with the design, construction installation, commissioning, and sustainable operation of code-compliant commercial kitchens. The committee is also involved with revisions/updates to model codes such as the International Mechanical Code (IMC) and writing/revising ASHRAE Standards. Additionally, the TC develops sessions for ASHRAE’s winter and annual conferences.

    Standards Committee for Commercial Kitchen Ventilation (SSPC 154) This Standards Committee provides design criteria for the performance of commercial cooking ventilation systems in regard to kitchen hoods, exhaust systems, and replacement air systems. Serving on this committee primarily has entailed attending and participating in meetings that occur twice per year.
  • Brown and Miller have assisted with updating sections of the ASHRAE Handbook. The ASHRAE Handbook is a series of four volumes covering HVAC Applications, Refrigeration, Fundamentals, and HVAC Systems 7 Equipment. One volume is revised each year, ensuring that no volume is older than four years. In relation to the committees previously mentioned, TC 5.10 is responsible for Chapter 34 (Kitchen Ventilation) of the ASHRAE HVAC Applications Handbook, which was last revised in 2019. The chapter focuses primarily on kitchen ventilation systems in restaurants and institutional food service facilities. Brown and Miller provided content and graphics about demand control kitchen ventilation (DCKV) systems and variable frequency drives. In addition, for other handbooks, they have provided content on HVAC test and balance commissioning.
Excerpt from 2019 ASHRAE Handbook
Graphics example from 2019 ASHRAE Handbook
  • For further professional development, the Melink employee-owners have attended ASHRAE’s conferences. “Normally we meet biannually for a few days in conference settings, but we have a few virtual meetings in between to vote and discuss topics that are requiring attention in the industry,” said Brown.

Read more about other ways Melink employee-owners volunteer their time and expertise.

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

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.

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.

Melink Volunteers: Green Business Groups of Cincinnati

Supporting green business groups and clean energy initiatives is important to Melink as a company, and many employees have made a personal commitment to such initiatives as well. Melink employee-owners donate their time and expertise to serve on sustainability groups, advisory board committees, or professional boards at the local and regional levels.

Green Business Council of Cincinnati 

Joel Geiman, General Manager
Allison Sternad, Director of Marketing & Sustainability

The Green Business Council of Cincinnati (GBC) was founded in 2011 by several Cincinnati area corporations to help local business leaders collaborate on sustainability initiatives, such as energy benchmarking, waste management, and composting. The council meets on a bi-monthly basis to help guide its members to apply best practices for delivering a better social, economic, and environmental future. Melink employees not only offer their expertise on renewable energy and LEED building certification but also share their experience with their own internal sustainability programs.

Melink is also part of the GBC Executive Committee, which meets on a monthly basis. “Melink’s responsibility on the committee is to manage the list of all council members, keep members accountable on attendance requirements, and to help set expectations for new members in the GBC’s mentorship program,” said Geiman, who has been volunteering his time with GBC for about a year.

Beyond 34

Joel Geiman, General Manager
Allison Sternad, Director of Marketing & Sustainability

Beyond 34 Logo

Through the GBC in early 2020, Melink became involved with Beyond 34, an initiative facilitated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Beyond 34’s goal is to increase the current 34% recycling rate in the United States through a multi-stakeholder approach. An implementation model was created for a pilot city (Orlando, FL) to increase and improve its recycling and recovery rates. The test program was successful in Orlando, so the U.S. Chamber Foundation chose Cincinnati in 2019 as its second region to apply its model.

Green Energy Ohio 

Randy Miles, Vice President

Green Energy Ohio Logo

Green Energy Ohio (GEO) is a statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting clean energy practices through education, outreach, and representation. GEO has presented testimony to Ohio legislators in support of policies and projects that advance the development and deployment of clean energy. Melink’s Randy Miles serves on GEO’s Board of Directors. Annually, Melink participates in the Green Energy Ohio Tour, which showcases renewable technologies in homes, businesses, and public buildings.

Green Workplaces Cincinnati

Natalie Heltman, Account Coordinator
Allison Sternad, Director of Marketing & Sustainability

Green Workplaces Cincinnati is a program through the Hamilton County Waste and Recycling Office. The group consists of sustainability committee leaders from local businesses. Through monthly meetings, the program gives members a chance to connect to outside resources and share best practices. Great Workplaces Cincinnati supports the 513 Green Workplace Certification, a sustainability designation that recognizes businesses in Hamilton County that voluntarily operate in an environmentally friendly manner.

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful

Melink supports Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, an organization that focuses on building community through neighborhood revitalization and education. The organization is active in each of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods and sponsors the Great American Cleanup where participants pick up litter, plant flowers, paint buildings, and more.

GoZERO Composting

Matt Meyer, Director of Field Service

GoZero Compost Collection at Melink Corporation

GoZero is a Cincinnati non-profit that provides food waste collection and compost delivery services. Its main goal is to divert food waste from landfills as a self-described “compost courier.” Essentially, GoZero organizes residential and commercial drop-off sites for food waste collection, picks up the waste, delivers it to a site to be composted, and then delivers the cured compost once ready for application. Melink has had a GoZERO food waste compost drop-off station on its campus since 2016. Area residents can subscribe to get a collection bucket and start dropping off food scraps from home. Learn more.

EV Cincy, Cincinnati Office of Environment
& Sustainability

Nate Schmidlin, Account Specialist

EV Cincy is a project out of the City of Cincinnati’s Office of Environment and Sustainability. Increased adoption of EVs reduces local air pollution, improves public health, and slows climate change. Schmidlin serves as an ambassador to educate others about the benefits of electric vehicles. However, due to the pandemic, original outreach plans like going on test drives are on hold.  “COVID-19 has forced us to switch gears from our original outreach plan. Now it’s all about getting the EV awareness message out on social media to help people stay informed,” said Schmidlin.

Green Umbrella 

Green Umbrella logo

Green Umbrella is the regional sustainability alliance of Greater Cincinnati with more than 200 member organizations, including Melink Corporation. Green Umbrella facilitates collaboration among non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, and governmental groups. The organization hosts the annual Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit and serves as a thought cultivator for sustainability initiatives in Cincinnati’s Tri-State area.

Cincinnati 2030 District

Cincinnati 2030 District Logo

Facilitated by Green Umbrella, the Cincinnati 2030 District’s goal is to create healthy, high-performing buildings in Cincinnati. Members, including Melink Corporation, make a commitment to reduce their buildings’ energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions 50% by the year 2030. The company is actively helping Cincinnati meet its 2030 goals by providing industry expertise (through events like educational seminars) but also building data to help the city understand what can be accomplished and how.

Home Sustainability Projects

Melink Employee-Owner Natalie Heltman offers tips for home sustainability projects.


At work, I’m a member of Melink’s Sustainability Committee. We are a group of approximately 10 employee-owners working toward community involvement and education related to sustainability. Our team focuses on initiatives like ensuring our fellow Melinkers are educated on recycling and composting best practices. We conduct a monthly waste audit at our facility. We’ve set up initiatives to recycle items that typically aren’t recyclable, like toothpaste tubes and Plastic #5 items. Being part of the committee made me wonder how I could incorporate sustainability into my home life, too.

I began thinking of ways to add green infrastructure to my house. Based off electricity stats sent by my utility company, my house is ranked among the most energy efficient in the area. So instead of thinking inside my house, I wanted to “green” aspects on my home’s outside.

DIY homemade sustainability project rain barrels at gutter downspouts

DIY Rain Barrel

So, I decided my first project (thanks to YouTube university) would be a set of three 55-gallon rain barrels to use in the summer when Cincinnati goes through its driest months. Full disclosure: Making a rain barrel is noted on most DIY sites as an easy project. I am not a handy person; I had never picked up a drill before this, and I was able to complete the project in about a day.

Rain barrels are an interesting project because there are many options. There are kits sold at home improvement stores, or you can reuse food-grade 55-gallon drums as an inexpensive alternative. With sustainability in mind, I went for the reusable option and was able to buy my drums online from a soy sauce wholesaler for around $10. Also, I purchased spigots to install on the barrel to give us the option to use a drip hose on especially dry days.

I use the collected water for watering my lawn, vegetable garden, and hanging flower baskets. I haven’t noticed a return on our water bill, but I do feel less guilty watering my lawn and garden when I’m using water from the barrels.  

However, having large, blue barrels near our downspouts is not the most aesthetically pleasing look for our backyard. Before starting this project, especially if you live in a neighborhood, check to see if there are any restrictions. I followed our subdivision’s guidelines by installing the barrels on the back side of the house behind a fence. Make sure to reach out to your local officials to confirm any guidelines on water capture.

If you’re ready to get started, I recommend this video.

DIY homemade compost bins

DIY Compost Bin

Since the rain barrels were so easy to make, I decided to step up my green infrastructure game with a second project. We already had a couple of compost boxes, but I wanted to try building rolling compost containers. This project required a few more tools but was also very simple. 

If you’re a gardener, composting is a great way to boost your soil and, ultimately, your harvest. Composting enriches the soil by helping to retain moisture and suppressing plant diseases and pests. It reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.

I made two rolling compost bins, using two additional barrels I purchased online. I am able to move them around the yard to add compost to our vegetable garden and potted plants. Compost is the “black gold” of soil. My vegetables grow really well with the compost, and there is almost no need to use any fertilizer.

This video gives a nice overview on how to build your own compost bin.

My Future Home Sustainability Projects

The great part about both of these home sustainability projects was how I was able to reuse items. Materials that might be deemed “trash” or unwanted were saved from going to the landfill. I was able to build both projects with materials I had around the house or from the barrels that had already served their purpose.

What’s next? During my time in the Peace Corps, I focused on community gardening and that is something I would like to revisit now. I think my next project will be a raised vegetable garden — maybe a keyhole garden with compost in the middle.

Melink envisions clean energy transforming the world by improving our global economy, security and environment — for ourselves, our children and future generations. “Walking the Talk” stories showcase Melink employee-owners that are making sustainable choices in their personal lives.

Melink 2025 Pledge

Happy Earth Day 2020!  Though we are living through a pandemic that is killing thousands, sickening millions, and affecting billions of jobs, we need to have a vision and purpose beyond this time that gives us hope for a better world.

Earth Day gives us the permission to think big again and to imagine the bold goals we have long supported finally being implemented and realized.  However, since government often lags rather than leads when it comes to the environment, we need individual action more than ever.

Sure, the clean energy movement is well underway.  Countless government, business, and education leaders are investing in solar and wind farms across the United States and around the world. Electric cars and batteries are slowly but surely going mainstream.

But certain headwinds are preventing this clean energy movement from becoming a revolution.  Yes, the current administration is one of them.  And the fossil fuel industry and climate change deniers are another. And, to some extent, so are you and me.

How many of us complain about someone else not doing their part to lead on climate action, and then fail to do so ourselves?  For example, is every one of us buying clean energy from our utility? And is every one of us at least planning to upgrade to an electric car in the future?      

It is in this spirit that I make the Melink 2025 Pledge. Though our company has long been a pioneer and leader in clean energy solutions and Zero-Energy buildings, we have typically allowed our employees to make personal choices that run counter to our mission.

Now that we are an ESOP and every employee is an owner, it is more incumbent than ever for us to walk the talk on our vision and mission. The world already has enough headwinds. But Melink shall continue to lead and live up to its calling even during the hardest times.

Melink 2025 Pledge

  • Every Melink employee-owner shall select the clean power option from his/her utility. (The average monthly cost of doing this is a Starbucks cup of coffee).

  • Every Melink employee-owner shall drive an electric car using clean energy. (Our EV incentive, leasing program, and lower market prices should make this possible).

  • Melink Corporation shall give everyone five years to transition to this commitment. If there are personal financial reasons preventing this, we will support him/her.

To further leverage this pledge, we ask that other local, regional, and national partners or stakeholders join us.  It’s a small premium to do the right thing, and it’s getting smaller every day.  Let’s create more demand so that in five years it’s cheaper than doing the wrong thing. Like the pandemic and any war, we can only win if we all do our small part. Let’s create a better world for our children and grandchildren — all of us, together.      

Sincerely,

Steve Melink signature

Steve Melink
Chairman & CEO
Melink Corporation

 

A Day in the Life of a Melink Engineer

Engineers serve a variety of roles at Melink Corporation — application, project, tech support, product design, and field service. In honor of National Engineer Week (Feb 16-22, 2020), Melink employee-owners are sharing what they do. Read along in a day in the life of…

Tom Critchfield
Quality Engineer & Field Service Engineer

I am currently in a dual role at Melink. As a Quality Engineer, I typically wake up early and log on to our internal server to see the Test & Balance queue status. I’ll catch up on emails and have a check-in phone call with the Field Service Manager to see if there is anything urgent from the customer service team or field technicians. The rest of my day consists of reviewing submitted reports, providing feedback to technicians, and planning potential quality assurance audits for the following days or weeks. Depending on the day, I will also be involved in meetings and technician education programs.

Then, as a Field Service Engineer, a large chunk of my time is spent traveling and getting to the various T&B job sites. This includes driving, flying, and speaking with border agents to gain access to Canada. Once on site, I speak with the site superintendent, mechanical contractor, electrical contractor, and anyone else I’ll need to be working with to complete the job. This is followed by data collection and report construction. The rest of the time is just balance completion and finishing the report.

Josh Gerlock
Business Development Manager

With my engineering degree, I have become a technical sales consultant for Melink. I often start my day studying industry news and learning about the latest technology trends that my customers are following. From there, I check for any emails that came in the night before while I was not at work and take care of any pressing replies. Next, I move on to new projects by finalizing proposals and creating an energy analysis. The energy analysis is used to show our potential customers how much energy and money our Intelli-Hood® system can save them. On any given day I could be presenting the analysis to customers through a webinar or over the phone to help make sure they understand everything. Part of the day involves being reactive as well by fielding calls and answering customers’ questions. With products that are very technical, there are plenty of times I do not have all the answers, but I always know where to go to make sure I find them or connect my customers with someone who does. Almost three years in, I am still learning new things, so I am always on my toes!

Anna Rusconi
Account Engineer

The Account Engineer role at Melink varies from day to day from working with the customer to working with the technicians to collecting data analytics.  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. 

Also, when we visit customers or have customers visit our office, we provide them with an overview of their project data from the previous years. 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. 

Darren Witter
Vice President of Human Resources

Earlier in my career, I applied my engineering education to more “traditional” engineering vocations. These included product development, manufacturing, design, commissioning, and green building construction and operation. These experiences were incredibly valuable, and I enjoyed them immensely. Now, after more than two decades into my profession, I apply my engineering principles and training in other ways. Though different from what I first envisioned as an engineering student, these ways are equally exciting, challenging, and fun! I help fellow Melink employee-owners with career development by providing training on technical concepts, soft skills, company values, and lessons from my personal experience. I meet students and prospective employees and explain our unique company mission and culture, our products and services, and career opportunities.  I provide tours to visitors of Melink’s Zero-Energy headquarters, one of the greenest buildings on the planet, and inspire them to be more sustainable in their lives. I seek ways to improve processes and strengthen our businesses. And, most importantly, I help to care for our greatest asset at Melink… our employees. Years of solving technical problems as an engineer have helped prepare me to now solve business challenges, to guide and mentor others, and to make the world a better place!

Sarah Evans
Embedded Software Engineer

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.


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