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Flagship showroom in Fulton Market District highlights Sloan’s full suite of aesthetic, hygienic commercial restroom products. Chicago—On a dreary Tuesday morning in early May, Sloan sparkled by holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its flagship showroom and office space in the Fulton Market District. The flagship showroom highlights Sloan’s full suite of aesthetic Read more

Flagship showroom in Fulton Market District highlights Sloan’s full suite of aesthetic, hygienic commercial restroom products.
Chicago—On a dreary Tuesday morning in early May, Sloan sparkled by holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its flagship showroom and office space in the Fulton Market District.
The flagship showroom highlights Sloan’s full suite of aesthetic, hygienic commercial restroom products, which are on display for architects, designers, engineers and contractors so they can experience first-hand the entire suite of Sloan’s fixtures, colors, branding, new technology, etc.
Sloan Showroom, Fulton Market District, Sloan Valve, plumbing, commercial plumbing, sloan flushometers, sloan sensor-activated faucets

Taking part in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new space were Graham Allen and Kirk Allen, Sloan co-presidents and CEOs and fourth generation descendants of company founder William Elvis Sloan.

The project represents Sloan’s largest showroom in North America and complements Sloan’s existing Mobile Showroom, as well as its Charles S. Allen Design Center in Andover, Mass., and Stone and Steel Showroom in Mesa, Ariz.
Sloan Showroom, Fulton Market District, Sloan Valve, plumbing, commercial plumbing, sloan flushometers, sloan sensor-activated faucets

The Hub’s John Mesenbrink took part in some AR technology from the showroom.

Located on the building’s 10th floor, Sloan’s showroom space represents a return to the company’s origins, as Sloan was initially founded on nearby Jackson Boulevard prior to moving to its current Franklin Park headquarters in 1975. The new building features an office space and showroom, while Sloan’s manufacturing and corporate headquarters remains in Franklin Park.

“Sloan has been synonymous with Chicago since the company’s inception in 1906,” said Kirk Allen. “Today’s ribbon-cutting is a historic and exciting event as we expand our Chicago-area footprint with our new showroom and office space in the Fulton Market District, while returning to our roots where the company was built.”
Sloan Showroom, Fulton Market District, Sloan Valve, plumbing, commercial plumbing, sloan flushometers, sloan sensor-activated faucets

The showroom features a wide range of Sloan products and innovations, including flushometers.

“The opening of the new Chicago office is an important component of Sloan’s continuous efforts to retain and attract new talent with state-of-the-art amenities, multiple locations, and flex working policies,” said Kim Darke-Miller, Sloan senior manager of strategic accounts. “With a cutting-edge collaboration center, product showroom, and offices, the Fulton Market District location enables Sloan to offer new and existing employees an amazing building and workspace.”
Sloan Showroom, Fulton Market District, Sloan Valve, plumbing, commercial plumbing, sloan flushometers, sloan sensor-activated faucets

The showroom features a wide range of Sloan products and innovations, including sensor-activated faucets.

The showroom features a wide range of Sloan products and innovations, including sensor-activated faucets, soap dispensers, hand dryers, and flushometers, as well as its array of special finishes. The new venue enables Sloan to enhance its engagement with architects, designers, and engineers, as well as general and plumbing contractors and the wholesaler community.

It was the most impressive gathering of young people interested in joining the trades that I have seen in quite some time. Iowa Skilled Trades (www.iowaskilledtrades.com), in conjunction with Home Builders Association of Des Moines (www.dsmhba.com) and the Skilled Trades Academy at Central Campus Des Moines Public Schools (https://centralcampus.dmschools.org/skilled-trades/), organized the very successful Iowa Build Read more

It was the most impressive gathering of young people interested in joining the trades that I have seen in quite some time. Iowa Skilled Trades (www.iowaskilledtrades.com), in conjunction with Home Builders Association of Des Moines (www.dsmhba.com) and the Skilled Trades Academy at Central Campus Des Moines Public Schools (https://centralcampus.dmschools.org/skilled-trades/), organized the very successful Iowa Build My Future event.

Iowa Build My Future event, Iowa Skilled Trades, Skilled Trades Academy, skilled trades, Central Campus Des Moines

More than 5,000 students attended the Build My Future event held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.

Held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, the third such event held live since its inception, Iowa Build My Future far surpassed any past events with more than 5,000 middle school, high school and other students—from more than 120 schools from across the state of Iowa—bussed in to take part of this career day, industry showcase and hands-on trades expo held April 13.

Iowa Build My Future event, Iowa Skilled Trades, Skilled Trades Academy, skilled trades, Central Campus Des Moines

Students from across the state of Iowa participated in the hands-on Build My Future event, which included testing tools, working with ropes, roof building, excavating demos, and much more.

Iowa Build My Future event, Iowa Skilled Trades, Skilled Trades Academy, skilled trades, Central Campus Des Moines

Brandon Patterson, architect of the Build My Future event in Iowa, is all smiles as the event went off without a hitch.

“The goal is to have the students get their hands on things they’ve never done before. Maybe they don’t have shop class, maybe they’ve never understood of any careers in manufacturing. We are letting them have a hands-on experience with these different careers,” says Brandon Patterson, workforce development, HBA of Greater Des Moines, the driving force behind the event.

Those different careers include plumbing, HVAC, electrical, carpentry, masonry, welding, and more. Housed inside and out, hands-on activities included soldering, roofing, welding and jobsite excavator demos, rope climbing with harnesses, and much, much more.

Iowa Build My Future event, Iowa Skilled Trades, Skilled Trades Academy, skilled trades, Central Campus Des Moines

Students getting ready for the letter of intent signing.

During the show, there was a Letter of Intent signing, indicating that students intended to enter the trades after high school. “We are actually going to do a signing day for kids that are going into the skilled trades industry, most likely construction. We want to showcase these kids and show them what it’s all about,” says Patterson.

Iowa Build My Future event, Iowa Skilled Trades, Skilled Trades Academy, skilled trades, Central Campus Des MoinesThe letter also was co-signed by Iowa Governor, Kim Reynolds, who was in attendance for the Build My Future event. “I want to congratulate the students here today for taking the initiative to jump start your careers in apprenticeships that gives you an advantage; it gives you hands-on experience, a chance to earn while you learn, and it’s exciting,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds continued, “I’m excited about the growth in Iowa’s registered apprenticeship programs. In 2021, we received 181 new programs in our state, the most ever in a single year and it puts Iowa as the national leader … we are going to continue to work with the kids, business, construction and the trades and we are going to transform the state of Iowa.”

Iowa Build My Future event, Iowa Skilled Trades, Skilled Trades Academy, skilled trades, Central Campus Des Moines

Students were given plenty of swag from the event.

The letter signing was supported by RIDGID, Pfister, Iowa Skilled Trades and American Plumber Stories, and some key swag was given away at that time.

The Build My Future event left quite an impression on those attending, especially Mechanical Hub’s Eric Aune. “I wish I had something like this when I was in high school,” says Aune.

Prior to the Build My Future event, Mechanical hub was treated to a tour of the Skilled Trades Academy at the Central Campus in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Tour guides Dan Knoup, executive officer, HBA of Greater Des Moines and Gary Scrutchfield, Lumberman’s Drywall & Roofing Supply, who are both active with the Skilled Trades Academy.

Iowa Build My Future event, Iowa Skilled Trades, Skilled Trades Academy, skilled trades, Central Campus Des Moines

The Academy is open to 42 school districts and offers 89 various program courses from agriculture to electrical to plumbing to automotive to carpentry to marine biology. Yes, marine biology. High school students are transported there for a minimum of 90 minutes per visit to get them educationally on the right trade track.

Iowa Build My Future event, Iowa Skilled Trades, Skilled Trades Academy, skilled trades, Central Campus Des Moines

The Hub’s Eric Aune interviews Mike Murphy, a former U.S. military serviceman, heads up the plumbing and mechanical department for the Skilled Trades Academy.

Central Campus complements and extends the programs of Central Iowa Schools, offering unique academic and career opportunities that direct, inspire, and motivate a diverse group of students.

Located at the heart of the model district for urban education, Central Campus offers hands on, real world work-based educational programs to a highly diverse community and surrounding areas. One of our greatest strengths is the friendships and networking of students from diverse backgrounds and communities. Des Moines Public Schools dedicates itself to excelling at unique and technologically advanced opportunities for all learners. Central Campus commits itself to providing equal access and prospects through rigorous academic and career training experiences for all.

Iowa Build My Future event, Iowa Skilled Trades, Skilled Trades Academy, skilled trades, Central Campus Des Moines

Fun fact: the building was an assembly plant for Ford’s Model T.

The New England Patriots create a green dynasty at Gillette Stadium. In addition to being the home of the New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium is a world class entertainment facility that hosts everything from international soccer matches to concerts by Jay Z, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney. During what they call a full-stadium event Read more

The New England Patriots create a green dynasty at Gillette Stadium. In addition to being the home of the New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium is a world class entertainment facility that hosts everything from international soccer matches to concerts by Jay Z, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney.

During what they call a full-stadium event, nearly 70,000 people crowd the stands—and use the restrooms.

Since 2009, Gillette Stadium has used XLERATOR high-speed, energy efficient hand dryers to cut costs, meet sustainability goals, promote restroom hygiene and improve the guest experience.

XLERATOR high-speed energy efficient hand dryers, hand dryers, plumbing, hand dryers, restrooms, kitchen and bathrooms

“The XLERATOR is a win-win-win-win for us,” says Jim Nolan, Chief Operating Officer. “First, it’s better for the environment. Second, we are saving money while our staff is spending less time cleaning paper off the floor and refilling dispensers. Third, staff is freed up to respond more quickly to fan issues. Fourth, and most important, fans prefer it to paper, giving them a better experience.”

Big Money Player

Originally equipped with paper towel dispensers, the stadium used an average of 6,264,000 paper towels per year, at a cost of more than $50,000 for paper, maintenance and waste removal. In September 2009, Gillette installed more than 125 XLERATOR dryers featuring exclusive, custom digital imaging cover technology throughout Gillette Stadium.

When you do the math, that means 125 XLERATORs do the work of 6 million paper towels.

“The XLERATOR hand dryers reduce the cost and maintenance associated with paper towels in the stadium’s restrooms,” says Jim Nolan.

XLERATOR high-speed energy efficient hand dryers, hand dryers, plumbing, hand dryers, restrooms, kitchen and bathrooms

The XLERATOR represents a 95% cost savings when compared to paper towels, eliminating their labor, maintenance and waste. It is the only hand dryer Made USA Certified® with a dry time of 8 seconds* — tested to guidelines from the Global Hand Dryer PCR published by UL Environment — and it uses 80 percent less energy than conventional hand dryers. The XLERATOR is BuildingGreen Approved and helps facilities qualify for the most LEED credits.

“We want to make sure our operations are as efficient as possible,” says Jason Stone, Senior Director of Operations. “Having the XLERATORs, we’re able to be more efficient in the bathrooms and provide our customers with a great experience.”

A Strong Defense Against Dirty Restrooms

In addition to cost savings, the XLERATOR has helped increase restroom cleanliness and hygiene—while freeing maintenance staff to focus on other areas.

“With the XLERATOR hand dryers, we’re not finding paper towels all over the floors, toilets, urinals and sinks,” says Stone. “We had to have staff continually monitor the bathrooms. Now, if we have a spill out in the concourse area or in a seating section, they’re able to get to those issues a lot quicker and enhance the experience of our guests.”

While the XLERATOR hand dryers make the restroom experience faster, cleaner and more efficient for fans, they also hold up like workhorses against high traffic and usage.

XLERATOR high-speed energy efficient hand dryers, hand dryers, plumbing, hand dryers, restrooms, kitchen and bathrooms

“One thing we really like about the XLERATOR hand dryers is that they’re very reliable,” says Stone. “With the millions of people who have come through the facility, we really haven’t had to change any of the units out since they were first installed. We’ve just changed the covers on them, from a branding perspective, but the main components have not been switched out.”

Gillette makes great use of Excel Dryer’s custom cover option—keeping the branding fresh with updated designs and communicating their sustainability mission to fans. Excel Dryer’s cover finish options are the most diverse in the industry, including custom cover options for corporate branding or environmental messaging. Exclusive patented Kolorfusion digital image technology is used to customize covers with graphics, team colors, corporate logos, green messaging or any other high-resolution image.

Championing Sustainability

From the stadium’s inception, the designers and contractors focused on long-term sustainability, energy efficiency and ecosystem management. In 2002, they won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England Environmental Merit Award for the stadium’s design.

“When we built Gillette Stadium, we used a lot of recycled materials, from concrete to steel. We daylighted a portion of the Neponset River that was going through the horse track that was here,” says Jason Stone. “Sustainability and green initiatives are a big part of our operation.”

Gillette Stadium employs several cutting-edge sustainability practices, including:

• Timing devices installed on the electrical distribution system that enable all nonessential lighting after hours to be automatically shut down, minimizing energy use.

• An on-site wastewater treatment facility that treats the stadium’s sanitary drainage such as wastewater generated from hand washing, laundry and bathing. This water is then reused in thousands of toilets throughout the facility, saving millions of gallons of water annually.

• During the construction of the stadium, more than 130,000 cubic yards of blasted open rock was processed through on-site crushers and reused on site. This process resulted in more than 90% of the residual product being reused as opposed to being added to the region’s diminishing landfill capacity.

• A photovoltaic power system that generates approximately 525 kilowatts of clean, renewable solar power at Patriot Place, the 1.3-million-square-foot entertainment, retail and dining destination adjacent to the stadium. The system supplies approximately 30% of Patriot Place’s power and approximately 2,800 crystalline photovoltaic panels span seven building rooftops at the complex.

The facility management team at Gillette Stadium continues to search for new ways to expand its conservation efforts. “Some of our latest sustainability initiatives include our food waste diversion program where we recycle approximately 200 tons of food waste per year,” Stone says. “We send that off-site where it gets converted to electricity. We’ve also incorporated LED lighting throughout the facility, including converting the lights that illuminate the game field to LED.”

“While our primary focus remains on creating the ultimate fan experience, we’re continually looking for new areas to make environmental improvements,” says Jim Nolan. “Updating the restrooms with XLERATOR hand dryers represented another large step in reducing our carbon footprint.”

A Bright Future in the NFL

“The NFL currently has XLERATOR hand dryers installed at its New York headquarters, NFL Network Studios in Los Angeles and is encouraging the use of high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers at stadiums as part of the league’s ‘Green Initiative’,” says David Krichavsky, Director of Community Affairs, National Football League.

“We are proud of our relationship with one of the most respected organizations in professional sports,” says William Gagnon, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Excel Dryer. “The Kraft Group has created the model franchise in the NFL. Its team, operations, business and green initiatives are a proven blueprint for success.”

“If pipes are involved, it’s my specialty,” says Matt Benevides, owner of Benevides Plumbing & Mechanical Inc., New Bedford, Mass. A self-proclaimed workhorse, Matt’s journey didn’t quite start off working with pipes. Benevides went to a vocational school for welding and sheet metal, got a job hanging duct work in schools for about three years Read more

Benevides Plumbing & Mechanical Inc., Matt Benevides, plumbing, piping, boston_plumbing_monstahs, plumbing trade“If pipes are involved, it’s my specialty,” says Matt Benevides, owner of Benevides Plumbing & Mechanical Inc., New Bedford, Mass. A self-proclaimed workhorse, Matt’s journey didn’t quite start off working with pipes. Benevides went to a vocational school for welding and sheet metal, got a job hanging duct work in schools for about three years until he eventually got laid off. “My grandmother kept telling me to be a plumber like her father; that way I’d never get laid off. I took her word and jumped,” says Benevides.

Benevides started his apprenticeship for a large outfit just outside of Boston in 2006. “They hired me with no experience, no apprenticeship card—probably hired me because I broke out my funeral suit for the interview,” says Benevides.

When Benevides thinks back, he realizes that the opportunity doesn’t happen very often where a company takes a chance on someone and provides them with in-house schooling for three years—as long as you passed. “Once I received the ticket, my next goal was to work my way to foreman,” says Benevides.

Benevides Plumbing & Mechanical Inc., Matt Benevides, plumbing, piping, boston_plumbing_monstahs, plumbing tradeBenevides worked his way to become the lead guy on projects until the company had the confidence in him to run small projects. They then gave him a van and he ran small commercial projects and commercial service. “Once I grew out of that spot, I knew I wanted to run larger projects so I switched companies to run larger projects like schools and a marine biology center, for example.”

Once Benevides figured out he could do the work, he was looking for something else and started doing residential side work at night and weekends. “After a year, I was able to take off on my own, and now I’m on year two.”

Benevides Plumbing & Mechanical Inc., Matt Benevides, plumbing, piping, boston_plumbing_monstahs, plumbing tradeLeading the Way

Benevides owes a lot of his work ethic and drive from watching his dad his entire life. “My dad owned and operated his own landscaping business, and seeing that made me want more.” As far as the trades are concerned, Benevides had a foreman named Steve Lima who started with him as a 2nd year apprentice and followed him around. “He showed me the ins and outs of plumbing and running commercial jobs. I called him my ‘plumbing father,’” says Benevides.

Benevides says that he wants to pay it forward through his Instagram page (@boston_plumbing_monstahs_). “I would hope that I’m making the trade more enjoyable so visitors to my page can see the ins and outs of plumbing rather than a plumber equals a plunger,” says Benevides. “Social media is the way to kids these days so I’d say we are on the right road.”

Benevides Plumbing & Mechanical Inc., Matt Benevides, plumbing, piping, boston_plumbing_monstahs, plumbing tradeMoreover, the Instagram page has recently led to some local jobs and the opportunities are endless, says Benevides. “You never know who will see something you post.”

Balancing work with leisure time is not always that easy. Beneivdes’ spare time is dedicated to his family, if I’m not working, I’m trying to be there for my wife and four kids. “I do my best to be there when my family needs me, and I take at least one day off a week. When the weather gets warm again, I make sure to bring the kids outside as much as possible. Other than that, I plumb.”

Benevides Plumbing & Mechanical Inc., Matt Benevides, plumbing, piping, boston_plumbing_monstahs, plumbing trade

 

The importance of inventorying the right tools + supplies Last year, Keefer Rader, owner of Albuquerque-based Outlaw Mechanical, a shop that specializes in light commercial work, including kitchens, had one of those experiences that confirmed the value of an investment he’d made just weeks earlier. Well, he didn’t buy cryptocurrency or Spotify stock at just Read more

The importance of inventorying the right tools + supplies

Last year, Keefer Rader, owner of Albuquerque-based Outlaw Mechanical, a shop that specializes in light commercial work, including kitchens, had one of those experiences that confirmed the value of an investment he’d made just weeks earlier.

Well, he didn’t buy cryptocurrency or Spotify stock at just the right time if that’s where your imagination was going with it.

The event that triggered confirmation of a diagnostic tool’s purchase was a visit to a popular wedding venue in Colorado, a full day’s drive (or night, in this caser) from his shop.

Keefer Rader, owner of Outlaw Mechanical.

350 miles from home base

Several years before he founded Outlaw Mechanical at the age of 21, Rader worked in remote Colorado, maintaining the property and mechanical systems on a private ranch – a destination that’s won recognition as a luxurious wedding/events venue.  Though his firm – now 15 years old – has won recognition as the “Number Two-rated” mechanical firm in Albuquerque, he’s maintained ties in Colorado.

“My family and I love the area, and there are still folks in Colorado who insist that I serve as their mechanical systems pro – even at a distance of 350 miles,” he said.  So it wasn’t a complete surprise to hear from a man who manages a mountaintop wedding venue outside of Durango, CO – just several days before a large gathering was to lease the facility for a ceremony.

Apparently, a large kitchen broiler – “absolutely needed by the caterer,” he said – wasn’t performing well.  The new manager was instructed to get Rader out to fix it.

The Watts/Dormont Flo0Pro-MD is protected by its own hard case, and is easily portable.

“I tried to help him diagnose and trouble-shoot the problem, but I quickly learned that they’d already attempted to solve the problem [to no avail],” said Rader.  “So, with less than a week before the large group arrived for the wedding – and with plenty of work to do in Albuquerque – Rader swept his schedule to allow time for a Friday night drive to Durango, hoping to have the problem solved for a drive home the next day.

“The challenge with remote site work is the need to pre-think everything,” he added.  “Would I have the right materials and supplies and spare parts with me, and anything else I might need to complete the job in one trip?”

By Friday afternoon, Rader visited a local supplier, buying some spare parts for the large, commercial kitchen broiler.  He ran between the truck and his shop’s well-stocked shelves a dozen times before his departure and was soon on his way, driving most of the distance that evening.

Keefer Rader, owner of Outlaw Mechanical, retrieves the FloPro-MD from his truck.

The next day, Keefer drove the last 20 miles to the wedding venue.  “Just after sunrise, the site was open just as the manager promised,” said Keefer.  He quickly found the griddle and set to work.

“I found that the broiler worked, but not well enough.  It needed more [LP] gas for more heat,” he explained.  Rader was unable to use a conventional manometer as the broiler didn’t have the test ports that he typically used for diagnosing hydronic boiler problems.

He went to the truck for the FloPro-MD diagnostic tool.  “It’s now one of my go-to tools for gas appliance work,” he said.  “The FloPro showed that the pre-regulator gas flow and pressure were good, but on the regulator’s other [outgoing/supply] side, I began to see my problem.”

The Watts/Dormont FloPro-MD is a portable 3-in-1 gas flow meter, digital manometer, and calculator that helps service technicians and installers perform equipment start-ups, commissioning, and quickly diagnose gas flow or gas pressure issues with gas-burning appliances.

Among the supplies Rader learned long ago to keep in his truck:  several gas regulators.  “The FloPro made it perfectly clear that the broiler’s regulator had failed.  Once connected, the new regulator provided greater gas pressure to the broiler which worked as intended, with plenty of heat for the caterer set to arrive that afternoon.”

Rader explained that, as the tool is connected to the gas line, and is out of the way, he especially likes the [FloPro-MD’s] ability to diagnose problems while the appliance is operating.  “Managers at most commercial kitchens refuse to allow trouble-shooting or maintenance work during hours of operation because of the need to shut the appliance down – or, even worse –  to cut gas service at a manifold to several gas appliances.  Not with this tool – it’s designed to work while the appliance is in use.”

The FloPro-MD performs its diagnostic tasks, and provides useful data, while in-line (as gas courses through it). Here’s the device, in place, while flames heat the griddle following Keefer’s successful fix.

“The FloPro does the work of a variety of other tools,” added Rader.  “It offers the function and intelligence of a manometer, and a gas flow meter, too.  It offers precise diagnostics, with plain English on the screen.  My hat’s off to the [tool’s] designer.  The FloPro now has a permanent place in my truck.”