Power is Found in the Strength of the Team

Jim Rykowski is the HVAC and Service Division Manager at Cattrell Companies in Toronto, Ohio. He’s also an avid backpacker and outdoorsman, but above all things, he’s a fixer.

Jim began his professional career by accident. He had entered Marietta College’s electrical engineering. Also their broadcasting program after studying electronics in high school.

“I was always building something. Thinking I started tearing stuff apart. As soon as someone gave me my first toy. I had this need to know how it worked. Starting to build amplifiers at a very early age, and you could certainly pick me out of the neighborhood. I was the kid riding his 10 speed with a 23 channel CB attached to his bike that ran off a battery charged by the kinetic energy from my tires.”

Once in college, he took a job at a local grocery store. And like most jobs at a grocery store, this one naturally led to a job working in HVAC. 

“The store I worked in was redoing the bakery, and since I had some experience working with electrical and HVAC, I think the owner of the store saw it as a way to save some money. Well, the contractor they usually used was a local guy and one day he came in and asked them who they had contracted with, and they pointed at me behind the counter. The owner asked me if I wanted a job. I took the opportunity, and here I am.”

Jim Rykowski has been with Cattrell for eight years and says it’s interesting how everything has come full circle for him. 

“I started out tearing apart electronic equipment. And I thought that’s what I’d end up doing professionally, but life happened and I found myself working in commercial HVAC. But more and more, you can’t even check a commercial HVAC unit without a computer. It’s all electronics, so I guess, in the end, everything worked out for me.”

Jim has worked for a couple different companies, but says the way Cattrell goes about its business makes coming to work a lot easier.

See Jim’s team in action.

“I love what I do every day, and working with Cattrell makes it rewarding because they do things the right way. We always talk about family values, but it’s true. We are honest.  Doing things correctly the first time. Also we build strong relationships with our clients. I’m not saying every other construction company does things that aren’t on the up-and-up. But I can tell you that I never worry about those tensions at Cattrell Companies.”

The true power of Cattrell, according to Jim, is found in the strength of the team.

“If I’m working on an HVAC project, and I run into an electrical issue, I don’t need to find an electrical guy or go to the project manager or head of maintenance to have them find an electrical guy. I take out my cell phone and I can call Tom Schiffer, who leads our electrical division, and he’ll send someone out. There is no competition inside of our company. All we care about is making sure the company gets what they need. As quickly as possible at the highest quality of work possible. That’s what I think working at Cattrell is all about.”

Winter is Coming – HVAC

The extreme heat seems to be behind us. But while we’re enjoying the refreshing temperatures, smells, and the majesty of Ohio Valley hillsides as the leaves change color, we also need to be aware of what is around the corner and begin to prepare for it..

Winter brings chilling temperatures, as well as  blustery winds. Also environmental conditions like ice and snow that can make HVAC maintenance a hassle at best and treacherous at worst. It is much easier and more cost effective to have a trained and certified maintenance team come out when the weather is favorable. Not having them fight the elements.

Here are some things that we check and you might want to consider adding to your pre-winter maintenance task list.

It’s time for a little industrial fall cleanup.

Regularly changing your filters is the fastest and most cost effective maintenance you can do to keep air moving effectively through your HVAC unit.

In fact, we often say that filters should change every 3 months. But in reality, we have some clients that, based on their location or industry, need to have their filters changed every month.  Therefore this keeps the air moving. As well as keeping the dust and particles out of their industrial HVAC system.

Cleaned industrial condensers and evaporators are to ensure that dirt, leaves and other environmental elements are not blocking air flow. This is easily accomplished by removing the casings and hosing them down.

Industrial HVAC units should also have their flues (the duct or pipe that expels the gas and exhaust from your HVAC system) checked for blockages. It is not uncommon for birds, nests and insects to block the entrances over the spring and summer months. If the exhaust cannot be released, it can affect the efficiency of the system and eventually cause major damage.

Complete a HVAC systems check


Having a trained HVAC repair team examine your thermostat and control board. This will ensure that you are operating at your unit’s peak efficiency when you need them the most.

It’s not a bad idea to do these things more often throughout the year. But we think doing them in the spring and fall before your industrial HVAC system exposes itself to harsher temperatures is a must.

Likewise, your opened control unit HVAC unit’s belts’ checked and tightened at all times . We always keep a spare belt tucked inside the unit in case the current shows wear. By having the next belt ready to go, we can ensure that our client’s HVAC system is never out of commission because of a simple task like ordering a new belt.

Close the economizer to save

The economizer is a great thing in the summer. It uses air flow from outside to help keep temperatures down in industrial environments. By keeping the air moving, your HVAC system doesn’t need to work as hard to keep the air inside cool. This means less money spent and bigger profit.

However, in the winter, you are asking your industrial HVAC unit to do something very different. You are asking it to keep the air inside your building warmer than outside temperatures. If your economizer is open, you will be getting a constant stream of air.  This is below freezing point, coming through your HVAC system, and all of that cold air will need to heat to the temperature set on your thermostat. Close the economizer, and you are simply maintaining the temperature of the air. That is already contained in the building..

This simple step by a trained maintenance team can save your company hundreds.  If not thousands, of dollars over the course of an average winter in the Ohio Valley.

Do the little things that make a big difference

One of the things that our clients appreciate the most about working with Cattrell Companies is that we try to do the unexpected little things. That because we know that your facility maintenance isn’t about isolated systems. It’s about how everything works together.

When we’re up on a roof, we’ll often make sure that everything on that roof is ready for the winter as well. We clear debris out of drains. As well as check the roof for general disrepair. Therefore bringing potential problems to the attention of the owner or maintenance director.

If there are problems that are outside the scope of our HVAC team we are able to call in experts from the other Cattrell divisions. They can come and assess the problem. As well as we are able to work together to come up with a solution that is best for the client. Therefore saving them the pain of finding and working with another contractor. As well as the expense of having the work done in more unfavorable conditions.

 


We have a few gorgeous months before we’re dealing with extreme weather again, but it is far better to have someone out to do routine maintenance while the weather is cool and access to the HVAC unit is safe and clear. If you haven’t scheduled someone to come and take a look at your industrial HVAC system, now is the time. You’ll be happy you did. No one wants to be out on a roof in the middle of January dealing with an issue that could have been fixed on a beautiful, crisp day in October.

4 Maintenance Habits That Save You Money at Your Oil and Gas Facility

Everything you do at your oil and gas facility comes down to two things, safety and profit. The problem is that these two things are often at tension. Safety isn’t cheap. On the other hand, neglecting safety for the sake of profit isn’t ethical. Therefore this can lead to costly repairs at best and disaster at worst.

The answer is to use a maintenance plan that treats the upkeep of your facility as an ongoing operational expense. Instead of a plan to fix things after they break down.

Here are 4 tactics to build a maintenance strategy that will save you money at your oil and gas facility over time.


1. Practice Preventive Maintenance at Your Oil and Gas Facility

Your plan for an oil or gas facility should center on the type of equipment you have. As well as the age and condition of your equipment.

In the spring and summer, your preventive maintenance should include ways that center on parts that the heat might have a problem with. Or are simply easier to address in nicer weather. Typically, these activities include things like replacing filters and belts. As well as checking for leaks, lubricating moving parts. Also cleaning outdoor components and checking refrigerant charge.

Like spring and summer, maintenance in the fall and winter often center on the demands of the weather and environmental strains. As the weather gets increasingly colder you should start inspecting the ignition. As well as clearing drain lines and checking electrical connections and fan operation.

While these are a good baseline strategy, each spot is different and has different hazards and challenges to take into account. Having someone there regularly to inspect, maintain and repair parts before they become a problem saves a lot of money in the long-run.

2. Engage a Contractor to Regularly Maintain Your Oil and Gas Facility

Monitoring and maintaining an oil facility or gas facility is important. Whether that is a processing plant or a well pad takes a team of skilled, professionals.

Your contractor should thoroughly inspect your system. As well as take the time to explain what he or she did during the inspection. Be open with your contractor. If you’ve been having any issues with your equipment, tell your contractor to avoid dealing with much bigger problems down the road.

 

 

While your contractor should be familiar with your facility and notice if anything is out of the ordinary, it can be helpful to have standard reporting procedures. This will help when anyone on site notices something that might need addressed.

At any construction site—gas and oil facilities included—emergencies can happen at any time. When considering a contractor, make sure that someone from the company will be available to come to your site if an emergency occurs no matter what day or time it occurs. Your contractor is one of your main lines of defense because he or she is prepared specifically for these types of emergencies. He or she can also assist your emergency personnel if necessary and offer valuable insight into the cause of the incident.

3. Monitor Electrical Systems During Severe Weather

Severe weather is a strain on all of your equipment and facilities, but storms can be especially hard on your electrical systems.

Summer thunderstorms in particular and the lightening that often comes with them, can damage and cause a complete failure in a facility electrical system that has not been properly maintained and buffered against the threat of a severe storm outage.

Make sure that your oil and gas facility’s maintenance plan includes regular and rigorous testing and inspection of all electrical equipment and systems by a team of certified electricians. It is a good idea if the contractor also has skill in other areas of construction and mechanical systems since a strong electrical system maintenance program often overlaps with these areas.

If your contractor can service and coordinate among all of these different service offerings, you will save yourself the headache and money of hiring and figuring out the efforts needed to make sure your facility stays up and running.

4. Trusted Faces Cut Down on Time and Cost

It might seem smart to bid out each project and repair as it occurs in order to save money. However in the end, this practice only leads to more money by ignoring facility up keep. As well as additional time billed for each contractor to get familiar with your setup.

Instead, by hiring a single contractor you know that they are serving you well. You are able to establish a relationship with your contractor. This leads to a more streamlined process and a trust formed over time.

Regardless of who you employ, your up keep contractor should be willing to sit with you. As well as explain what he or she did during service calls. The contractor should also explain how the problem was fixed. As well as review any possible issues that might require your input. A vendor that spends more time at your place typically does more thorough service.


Oil and gas up keep is a costly but important part of your operations budget. A cost reduction happens when systems are well maintained. As well as when potential problems get caught early. This allows you to operate safely. And give you the knowledge that you are running at an acceptable level of efficiency. By paying attention to these four things, we think you will have a strong foundation. This will keep your equipment operational and your business keep making money.

Come See Us!

When you are in the need for any of these types of services call us! Cattrell will get keep all your parts up and running. All of our team is here to help you. In the event that you are looking for this, come to us. Contact our offices today. You can see the difference that Cattrell brings. We are your one stop construction shop.Get in touch with us today!