To Own Is To Serve

In 2010, Melink started a friendly competition called the “Good to Great Awards”, inspired by Jim Collins’s book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t”.  The goal was to challenge employees to give their best, be innovative and make Melink a great company and sustain our goals year over year.  In typical Melink fashion, we had several employees rise to the challenge and set the tone for the next 10 years.

We knew this was good, but can we make this friendly competition great?  2012 began a new approach and we transitioned to an healthy competition that focused on delivering quality products and services and continuously looking for ways to improve.  Now we were asking for employees to take ownership and responsibility to support our vision, mission and values.  Over the next few years, great ideas were born:

  • Blowing Things Up
  • Insanely Great Service
  • Purpose with Passion
  • Sow to Grow
  • Act Like a Start Up
  • Attitude is Everything

This year’s competition focuses on stewardship by an individual, team, or collective group displaying an example our newly defined core competencies and our values. Everything that we do is built on Integrity, Service Excellence, and Innovation, and this past year we have decided to take it a step further by adding six core competencies that we believe all of Melink employees should portray.

Just as we do every year, we have an abundance of nominations already. Our employees are proud to be able to acknowledge someone else’s hard work and drive that makes Melink a better place, both for our employees and for our customers. A sampling of the nominations we have received this year include:

  • “Not only does he ALWAYS do a fantastic job on all the projects he works on, he looks out for the development of the other technicians”
  • “The tech worked on a site and took the time to explain what he was working on to the onsite personnel. This did not go unnoticed, Melink was sent a glowing thank you email from the GC.”
  • “She has been above and beyond nice to me, even helped me out when my car was in the shop Monday by giving me a ride to and from work.”
  • “He has persevered through probably double the workload than he previously had. Every engineering need from the sales team has been met with timely, quality results.”

In February 2020, we will honor the winners at our annual company meeting.  It will be difficult to select a winner, but we know from this competition Melink will continue to strive for Greatness and continual improvement.

How to be an Employee Owner – with Swagger

swag·ger

/ˈswaɡər/

verb


walk or behave in a very confident way.
“he swaggered along the corridor”

synonyms: strut, parade, stride, roll, prance;

Goals and objectives are important.  They move us forward, help us believe in ourselves and each other, and the right goals hold us accountable to meeting exceeding results.  But, what good is accomplishing a goal without passion, without purpose, without style or swagger?  These attributes are, in my opinion, critical toward making work fun and meaningful.  If not, we’re just checking the box.   In fact, these attributes are not only reflected in our people, but in the products and services we offer.  We’re not looking to check the box by pencil-whipping another T&B report, or installing a basic controls system.  No, we want to provide insanely great service and do things the right way.  We want our customer’s to have a healthy and properly commissioned building.  Intelli-Hood isn’t a demand control ventilation product – it’s an energy savings solution.  And any contractor can install a Solar PV system; we’re providing renewable energy solutions that meet the needs of our customers.  So, as a 100% Employee Owned company, I asked my team, “How do you do your job with swagger?”.  Here’s what they had to say.

I try to take the time to get to know trainees on a personal level and adjust my approach to their style of learning.  This helps ensure they can retain information.  As the company’s most-tenured technician, I believe it’s my responsibility to impart knowledge and experience onto new generations of employee-owners.  I have no doubt that if they can add their own style of swagger, they’ll be fully capable of continuing to provide our customers with insanely great service.  -Darryl Stones, Master Field Service Technician & Employee Owner

Our mission is to change the world, one building at a time, by helping decision-makers implement energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions into their commercial facilities.  Confidence in this mission – as well as our values of integrity, innovation, and service excellence – are my keys to success.  I’m so passionate about the work we’re doing as well as my team, and our customers, I can’t help but do it all with style and swagger!  -Krysta Kincaid, Account Coordinator & Employee Owner

I try to lead with integrity. When asked by someone to cut corners to get the job done quicker/easier/less expensive, I take pride in telling them no – we do the job the way it’s supposed to be done. Do anything (a task, chore, errand, favor) as you’d like to do everything, in the best way possible.  -Joel Geiman, Business Development Manager & Employee Owner

I do a lot of international work.  No matter where or when a customer calls me from somewhere in the world, I know it’s my job to help address their need.  I aim to serve as their go-to subject matter expert on demand control ventilation (DCKV).  Often times I try to advise above & beyond the scope of our controls.  My goal is to ensure our system integrates seamlessly with the application, whether it be new construction or a retrofit.  Not only is the energy savings critical, but so is a cohesive and effective mechanical system that’s been well integrated with the foodservice design.  My team and I are fully committed to changing the world, one building at a time.  -Jason Brown, Senior Sales and Applications Engineer & Employee Owner

Looking polished and professional each time I go onto a job-site.  You’d think it takes a lot of effort to look like a GQ model every day.  But for me, it comes easy.  -George Cook, Lead Technician & Employee Owner

I find it especially gratifying to know that my work serves the greater purpose of making the world a better place.  So, every morning when I wake up, I pause and remind myself to aim for excellence – not because it’s easy or convenient but it’s hard and worth doing!  Also, as an employee-owner, I feel like I have the power of Thor’s hammer to make an impact.  This electrifies my drive to look for ways to improve.  In so doing, I am not just helping myself, I’m adding value for my customers and colleagues.  -Josh Gerlock, Sales Engineer & Employee Owner

Working in Solar gives me a sunny disposition and working in Geothermal keeps me grounded.  -Seth Parker, Vice President of Melink Solar & Geo

With a National Network consisting of  technicians, engineers, leaders and office staff we bring the swagger of 16 military veterans to the industry. Our veterans bring a different perspective on life, leadership, and hard work. Hiring and employing Military veterans offers Melink a chance to give back to those that have volunteered to give so much for our country. It is a mutually beneficial relationship in that the values learned in the military and the esprit de corps that those veterans are used to easily translate to the family environment and core values at Melink Corporation.   -Matt Meyer, Director of Field Service & Employee Owner

In retrospect, I was a little iffy on going through this exercise.   I wasn’t sure what I’d get back!  But, I’m glad I asked this question.  This feedback demonstrates the passion and purpose we’ve learned to develop in our work.  I hope you can see this as well.  So, if you’re looking to hire an energy solutions provider whose people walk the talk, have skin in the game, and have meaning in their work – then look no further.  But if you’re looking to check the box you may want to keep looking. 

Melink HQ2 – Our Zero Energy Vision & Strategic Plan

Melink’s second headquarters in Milford, Ohio will be one of the greenest buildings in the world.  Not only will it double the office and manufacturing space of our current 30,000 square-feet facility, it will serve as a model on how to design and construct affordable zero-energy buildings (ZEB) of the future.  Why is this so important?

Commercial buildings and homes consume over 60% of the energy in the U.S., and therefore, represent a majority of our country’s carbon footprint.  Though the building industry is on a path to achieve zero-energy on all new construction by the year 2030, it will be very difficult to convert the millions of existing buildings to zero-energy before 2050.

Unfortunately, because of global climate change, we may not be able to wait that long.  We need cost-effective solutions now.  The 17 hottest years on record have occurred over the last 18 years and the trend is getting worse over time.  Climate disasters from floods to fires are becoming more frequent and severe as a result.  In fact, more and more scientists are saying this could become an existential threat.

Yes, solar and wind power have gone mainstream over the last 10 years and that is good news.  And many utilities, businesses, schools, and government entities are starting to jump on the bandwagon.  But renewable energy still only makes up about 20% of our country’s energy mix.  Coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear make up the rest.  We need to go from 20% to 80% renewables within the next 10-20 years.

One way to speed adoption is not wait for fickle governments and regulated utilities to solve this problem.  It’s time for the business sector to lead and create the clean energy economy of the 21st Century.  This means small, medium, and large companies like ours need to start making the necessary investments now.  Together, we can and must wean ourselves from dirty fossil fuels.

To be clear, this is not just about protecting the environment.  It’s about saving our planet and life as we know it.  It’s about investing in our security, health, and economy.  Who doesn’t want to be safe from more natural disasters in the future?  Who doesn’t want to be secure from flooding coastlines and mass human migration?  And who doesn’t want more jobs and long-term economic growth?

Therefore, this epic problem should also be viewed as a tremendous opportunity for humankind to finally work together on something that is bigger than any one person, political party, or country.  We can either smartly invest trillions of dollars now … or stupidly pay hundreds of trillions and likely lose millions of lives later.  We all know what our children and grandchildren would say.    

What does this have to do with our HQ2?  Everything.  Our new buidling will not be just another green project to say we ‘walk the talk’ at Melink.  Our building will be about showing architects, engineers, and contractors how to design and construct affordable zero-energy buildings of the future.  In other words, it will be about helping revolutionize the building industry for the 21st Century.

How will we accomplish this?

We are going to show that one can invest a small premium of 15-20% over and above a conventional, code-compliant building, and make it zero-energy.  The message being: If Melink can do it, so can everyone else across the country.  I believe developers, architects, and engineers from across the land will want to see and hear how we did this.  I believe our customers will want to see and hear how we did this.  The return on investment will be too good for them not to.

How is this different than HQ1? 

We invested a slightly larger premium of 25% over and above a conventional, code-compliant building.  We also made these investments to an existing building – slowly over time as we could afford them.  This project will show we can do it for an even lower premium if we smartly design the building and take advantage of the most recent innovations.

Features will include several of the best ones we incorporated here in our HQ1.  For example, we will have an even more highly-insulated envelope; we will have the next generation of window and door systems; and we will have a larger solar canopy over the parking lot.

While we can’t share too many details at this time because of the proprietary nature of our innovations, we promise we will push the envelope in ways that will make HQ2 one of the most innovative green buildings on the planet. More details will be provided in the near future.

And we will have many other features that won’t necessarily pertain to energy, but will make the building more comfortable and inspiring.  For example, we will have more open work spaces, more windows and skylights, and a green wall or water feature.  And we will have a museum center to educate visitors on the history of HVAC because to see the future you have to know the past.  Last, we will have a spirit wear shop to reward customers with gifts to memorialize their visit. 

Timewise, the building will be completed by the end of this year and we plan to hold a grand opening in June 2020 where we can publicize our initial findings from our building.

How are we going to pay for HQ2? 

I am taking advantage of what is called a PACE loan to invest in the energy efficiency and renewable energy features of our new building.  In essence the capital is provided upfront and paid back over 25-30 years through an assessment on the property taxes.  This is a great financing tool that we also want to share with the world.

In conclusion, if we’re not part of the solution, who and what are we?  As experts in the building industry, if we don’t help raise the bar, who will and when?  We’re certainly not going to rest on past laurels and let the world pass us by.  We’re going to lead and make a difference.  

A Good Time For Technology

“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

Headquarters 2.0

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…

Melink: A Service Company

A few weeks ago my team and I had the pleasure of working directly with a customer who is expanding a very large and strategic program within their organization. I could tell the individual responsible for the program was carrying an incredible amount of responsibility to ensure this program’s success.  While we gathered information and learned more, it was apparent that for as much as this program was a challenge to our customer, it was an opportunity for Melink to provide insanely great service. So, instead of assuming our standard approach to business, we tried something different: we leaned-in, volunteered out of the box suggestions, and assumed a collaborative approach. The response from our customer was through the roof!

 

Though we are well known for leadership in sustainability, our best-place-to-work culture, and are now employee owned, Melink Corporation is, at its core, a service company.  In fact, “Service Excellence” is one of our core values along with “Integrity”, and “Innovation”.   It is our job to exude these values; to continue doing so, we need to be incredibly adaptable to meet your needs.  Have you ever heard the following expression about good Customer Service? You’ll know it when you see it. Well, when you work with Melink, I don’t want you to “see” our service; I want you to feel it. I want you to be so impressed by your experience, that you are over the moon, telling everyone you see about us. I expect nothing less than Insanely Great Customer Service… so should you.

 

So, I invite you to provide me with any feedback you might have to offer regarding your experience with us. Feel free to contact me at [email protected].

The Test and Balance Professional

The HVAC industry is vast; there are many products and services that make up the build of any one system. Test and Balance is a very important niche of the large HVAC industry. Many HVAC companies have offered test and balance services throughout the years, but very few of them have employed technicians dedicated specifically to Testing and Balancing. Enter Steve Melink, circa 1987. Steve knew there was a service gap in the HVAC industry and addressed it. Does it really make sense for an owner to allow an installing contractor to verify the HVAC system they installed is correct? Would it not make more sense if an INDEPENDENT, CERTIFIED and SELF PERFORMING entity verified that the mechanical engineer’s design was met? Of course, it would!

Fast forward 31 years and Melink Test & Balance is still going strong thanks to our dedicated team of technicians. These Balancing Professionals are dedicated to Melink Corporation’s core values of Integrity, Innovation, and Service Excellence.

What is a Test & Balance Technician and What Do They Do??

Our National Network consists of more than 30 professionals across 19 states. Our technician tenure’s range from 15 years to less than a month! 100% of Melink balancers are NEBB trained with more than half of the network being NEBB Certified Technicians. Our technician’s experience prior to Melink varies from HVAC service technicians to general contractors to aircraft systems mechanics. Our team currently services more than 50 major accounts and we are adding more every year. As you can imagine, Melink Technicians have seen nearly every type of commercial HVAC unit utilized by the commercial retail market. There is no typical ‘day in the life’ for our T&B technicians. Between the location, business type, and scope of work, every week is a new adventure!

The lifestyle of our techs is unique, but very rewarding and profitable. All techs are road warriors, traveling across the United States each week to different jobs. Melink covers all travel expenses and supplies each tech with a company vehicle. Not only does this allow the team to see the U.S. on the company dollar, but their personal expenses decrease since most of the week they are being covered by the company. Food, gas, and vehicle expenses add up!!

This position is also very independent and needs a disciplined self-starter. With most projects only needing one tech, most of the travel and work is done alone. Even so, the Melink National Network is a family. Each tech knows that a fellow balancer or office support is only a phone call or an email away if they are ever in a tight spot. Even after hours, our technicians constantly interact with one another to help each other grow and support our customers. This is not just a career or a steady job, this is a lifestyle.

On top of it all, our technicians are also partial owners of the company. Melink Corporation is now an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), which gives all Melink employees even more incentive to push the envelope with innovation and succeed as a business. Thanks to our National Network Technician team, Melink Corporation has been listed as a Best Place to Work for 3 consecutive years. Melink Corporation encourages input and recommendations for improving the business and improving the lives of the technicians. Melink works hard to address everything to better the position and the experience, for our employees. Striving for the best possible work/life balance is something very important to Melink Corporation.

One can find challenges in any profession they choose. But Melink’s National Network chooses to be challenged on a daily basis and to thrive in it! Their dedication and their commitment to service excellence is the backbone of Melink T&B!

Click here to learn more about Melink T&B.

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

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.

Sustaining A Great Place To Work

During almost every interview or conversation I have with a non-Melinker, I am asked why I love Melink. My response is always the same, the employees!I am grateful for the “Good Mornings” as employees pass my office, to hear Lorie’s laughter, the conversations at the coffee pot, and sharing thoughts and ideas with my teams.  If you know Melink, you know that we are a leader in energy-efficiency and sustainability practices, but our biggest asset and greatest advantage is our employees.

Every year, one of our top strategic objectives is to ensure our organization is considered a Great Place to Work.  I am proud to say that for the last 2 years we have accomplished that goal! It’s very gratifying to know that 93% of our employees told the institute they feel management is honest and ethical in its business practices. What’s more, 96% indicated they have great pride in who we are and what we do!

So, how do we sustain and keep that momentum?

We have to be transparent about our goals and actions, and very intentional about making sure we are meeting the needs of our employees and providing a satisfying work life, which can certainly be tricky with half of our employees being remotely located across the world. That is why I love Springtime at Melink as we approach our Annual Company Meeting.  This is our own version of a big Family Reunion! We get the chance to be together in one and ensure all voices are heard. All employees gather at our headquarters in Milford, Ohio to reconnect (or meet for the first time!), catch up, and learn more about each other.  We share thoughts, conduct training, share our hopes and concerns for the coming year, and of course have fun!  We will beat up new processes, challenge each other to meet our customer needs, and focus on delivering the best results to achieve our annual and strategic goals. It is an all-hands-on-deck, no holding anything back type of week!

Our 2018 meeting is right around the corner and the planning is almost finished. Food has been ordered, hotels confirmed, flights are scheduled, and agendas finalized. Our remote employees will start to arrive tomorrow. Our days may be packed with educational sessions, brainstorming meetings, internal presentations, and forecasting, but we have plenty of fun planned too!  This year we are excited to have Scott Tallman share his BBQing talents for a cookout, and enjoy a dinner cruise down the Ohio River (thanks Lorie!).

The energy is building and we will soon conduct our survey again. How did we measure up? How do we impact our employees? How do we continue to keep them engaged? While I have a good pulse on where we stand, I can’t wait to show the world once again how Melink stacks up as a Great Place To Work!

Melink Corporation certified as a Great Place to Work

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CINCINNATI – Aug. 12, 2016 – Melink Corporation is now certified as a Great Place to Work.

The designation recently was awarded to the global provider of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions by the Great Place to Work Institute.

 According to the research and consulting institute, 91 percent of Melink employees reported that their workplace is considered “great.”

“Becoming a Great Place to Work organization is one of our top strategic goals as a company,” said Steve Melink, founder and CEO. “It is very gratifying to know that 98 percent of our employees feel that management is honest and ethical in its business practices, and 97 percent have great pride in who we are and what we do. This allows us to attract and retain great talent and thereby provide great offerings to our customers. Excellence begets excellence.”

When asked by the Great Place to Work Institute to share examples of programs they feel capture Melink’s uniqueness, employees cited: 

  • Energy Efficiency Benefit: After completing one year of service with Melink, employees are eligible for up to a $5,000 contribution toward the purchase of a qualified hybrid vehicle, electric vehicle or solar photovoltaic system for their personal residence. 
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Melink supports employees who wish to continue their education to secure increased responsibility and growth within their professional careers. In keeping with this philosophy, the company has established a tuition reimbursement program for expenses incurred through approved institutions of learning. 
  • Company Provided Vehicle: Executive and director level employees are provided a company sponsored hybrid or electric vehicle. Melink pays for the lease, maintenance, gas and insurance.

To learn more about Melink Corporation, visit Melinkcorp.com or call 513.965.7300.

About Melink

Melink Corporation is a global provider of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for the commercial building industry, with four business offerings: HVAC Testing & Balancing, Intelli-Hood® Kitchen Ventilation Controls, Solar PV Development and Geothermal HVAC. For 30 years, the Cincinnati-based company has been helping organizations save energy, increase profits and make the world a more sustainable place. Melink’s corporate headquarters is LEED Platinum and Net-Zero Energy, and its vehicle fleet consists of all hybrid and electric cars.

Contact

Luci Feie

Marketing Manager, Melink Corporation

513-965-7300