When To Ask An Expert

With the Springtime comes many outdoor activities in our house. Sometimes they are new, such as archery which just came about in our house in the last couple of weeks.  The other item that it is time for is our family garden. While we have not started any plants from seed this year, and the opportunity to get to a garden center to purchase plants may not happen, we still want to be prepared.  To do that, we prepared the same plot we have used in years past and laid down some landscaping fabric to try and kill off any unwanted weeds that have already started to sprout up through the dirt.

The next activity was to get the tiller out and perform a tune-up/maintenance on it. Sure enough, first, pull and the cord on the trusty engine lets go. The cord didn’t merely break, it looked like something from the Three Stooges as I almost fell backward from my pulling momentum and very nearly punched myself in the face. I proceeded to disassemble the pull-cord cage and found myself in unfamiliar territory.

Pull-Cord Assembly aka Punch-self-in-face-maker

Had this been another part of the engine, the carburetor, electrical kill switch, engine internals, or even the final drive to the tines, I would have been okay. Oddly enough, I have never had to replace one of these recoilers or the rope that comes on them. When you go to YouTube and search for a topic like this you will find a rather large amount of ways to perform a task like this.

Rather than doing that, I enlisted the help of a close friend who has worked for a lawn care/landscaping company for over a decade. He maintains every piece of equipment the company owns and uses. Needless to say, he has replaced quite a few pull ropes in his time.  When I called, due to social distancing we couldn’t meet in person, he, of course, asked several questions about the tiller and in the end helped me to make sure I had the correct replacement rope.

We then set off to walk through the process and the entire thing took less than 15 minutes.  When it was said and done the pull-start felt better than it had ever since I owned the piece of equipment and after sitting since last year still started on the second pull. Thank God for ethanol-free fuel that is still available at certain locations.

All repaired and ready to till!

The point of this story is, what is received and viewed as a simple task for one can be a monumental task for someone else. While my mechanical aptitude was sufficient, I lacked the training and understanding as to why you would perform this process in a given order. My friend, the expert, did not lack that at this point in time. This process was something that was second nature to him.

This is very similar to point-of-use compressed air applications and the EXAIR team. Our team has experience from a multitude of industries and we all focus on utilizing compressed air efficiently and effectively. If we don’t know the process (which is rare) we are willing to learn and ask questions until we understand enough about your application that we can make an educated recommendation for an optimal EXAIR product. We are all here to help each other and to help our customers achieve their goals, so contact us when you need an expert.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Putting In The Work: No Matter Where

Last week I was on vacation with my wife’s family.  We had the good fortune of going to Lake Norman, NC and renting a house for everyone to stay in.   While vacation was on a lake and we all had a boat load of fun (mainly because we had a pontoon boat for a week).  Work still needed to get done.   This wasn’t work from the Application Engineering position here at EXAIR.  This work was physically more difficult.

This was training for an event I will be doing hopefully within the next year.  I’ve been attending a Tuesday morning workout for the past six months or so with two other men, who are both Marine veterans and I thank them for their service.  This work we put in on Tuesday morning and a few other random times throughout the week is all for the same events.   The events are put on by a company called GORUCK.  (Yes, just like EXAIR, it is all CAPS all the time, one word.)  These events are classified as endurance events and are lead by either an active or retired Special Forces cadre.  There are different versions but they are all heald to the same standard for participants.  Put in the work, rely on your team, and everyone will get through it together.

At most of the events very few people know each other that well.  This makes forming a team within the few hours you are together very difficult.  That is until you are under a time hack when everyone has their weighted ruck on their back, you have a few hundred extra pounds of sand bags to carry and because it is fun to watch the Cadre gives you a casualty that now has to be buddy carried.  The main focus is to get people of all walks of life, all abilities, all physical aptitudes to come together, build into one another, and make sure everyone is at the end getting a patch to wear on their ruck.

This is why, on every Tuesday I try to put in some hard work mixed in with a lot of stairs.   While I was on vacation and could have easily let that weekly training go, I didn’t.  Instead I got out a deck of cards for the number of reps to each exercise, grabbed a 60 lbs and 40 lb sandbag and went to the tallest section of stairs we had close by, the dock stairs.

While going through the exercises, panting and glistening (for those that don’t know that’s the fancy word for seriously sweating), my youngest daughter came down to “help” me workout.  The look on her face was at first confusion, then after a brief talk and explaining I am trying to better myself by doing this, she switched to full on support.

Burpees have never felt so good until you have a 4 year old cheering you on.  Once I was done with all of my reps and had made over 6 trips up and down the steps with the 60 lb. sandbag I carried my sandbags and followed her in to the house for some well deserved breakfast.

This work could have been easily pushed to the side and not completed.  Instead, I embraced it and did it.  I was going to do the work even if anyone wasn’t watching because I want to better myself so that I may better any team that I am part of.

This same level of dedication is put in to everything we do here at EXAIR.  Customer service, production, assembly, product design, order entry, accounting, and marketing all dedicate to ensure that we fill the needs of our customers because we want to become a strong part of their team.   Whether it means digging deeper on testing a product in order to get some data at different operating pressure, or creating a 100% custom product that we have never manufactured before, we dedicate to the customer and ensure that all possibilities are exhausted so that the customer and EXAIR can both succeed.

If you have any questions about how EXAIR can help your team to reduce compressed air consumption, increase plant efficiency, and save energy through compressed air usage, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Helping Within Our Community

Throughout my tenure here at EXAIR I have seen the company give to many different organizations and to the team members here.   Recently we implemented a program where employees are allowed to choose a charity of their choice to go and volunteer for a day each year.  This year for my volunteer day a group of seven members from EXAIR went to help a non-profit organization that focuses on helping students and teachers in 16 local counties.

The organization, Crayons to Computers is a free store for teachers in these counties that surround Cincinnati.  The store is stocked with donations from corporate and private entities and staffed by volunteers.  Their inventory can be anywhere from classroom supplies, books, decorations, technology equipment, even stocked book bags to give to students.  The store is the largest of its kind here in the United States and has been serving the Cincinnati area for 20 years. Their belief is that a teacher should not have to spend money out of their pocket to supply students in need with school supplies and to ensure that schools in need have access to supplies that aren’t always easily available.

They have a sales floor where the teachers shop and then a large warehouse where the donations are all sorted and stocked for easy pull to the sales floor when needed.  This is where our team spent the day.  We did jobs like sorting books by reading level, organizing / packaging chair mats, unloading trucks, and finally, consolidating over 30,000 boxes of 24 count crayons so that their valuable warehouse space was being used more efficiently.  These crayons were all donated by financial institutions here locally that had challenged each other to see who could donate more.  It still isn’t the amount of crayons that they will supply to teachers within this school year, but it helps tremendously.

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By volunteering our time we were also able to give 10 teachers who’s school would not normally qualify for shopping at Crayons To Computers the ability to go and shop for a day.  This was an added bonus that we were made aware of after the fact.  This is yet another way that Crayons to Computers gives to our community.

One of the best takeaways I have from this year is that I got to give back to an organization that my amazing wife would shop at when she was teaching students in need.  It was organized by someone here on our team that had no knowledge of my personal connection. We ended up getting more done than they had ever hoped to get out of 7 volunteers.  This was all made possible by a company that doesn’t just focus on making excellent products and providing top notch customer service.  EXAIR is also focusing on making sure our team members interests are embraced by letting them choose how to give their time and the companies time to a cause they believe will give back to our local community.

If you would like to inquire about donations or how you could help Crayons to Computers, please check out their site directly.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF
1-800-903-9247

 

EXAIR & Tough Mudder Ohio 2015

Several months ago, maybe even last year, a group of EXAIR employees started joking and talking about trying to get a team together to do the Tough Mudder in 2015.  After several months of joking, things got serious and 4 of us signed up to do the event at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.   You may have seen a few of my blogs that involve Mid Ohio but they normally also involve a motorcycle.    The event was held on Saturday, May 9th, and was my first official “race” at Mid Ohio.   Prior to a few months ago, if you asked if I would ever “run” (I use the term run very loosely here.) a 10 mile race, I would have laughed in your face and said no way.   Let alone a 10 mile race with a whole slew of obstacles. Never underestimate the power of co-worker’s friendly chastising aimed at one’s toughness…

This was after the first wall during the pre race pump up speech / comedy show.
This was after the first wall during the pre race pump up speech / comedy show.

For the team, an Application Engineer (me), our CFO, and two from Shipping & Receiving.  As soon as we hit the first obstacle, which was a 6′ wall you had to clear in order to get to the starting line, our EXAIR mind-set kicked in.   There was no discussions on who would go first, who is going to take what position, or who is going to be the weak link.   It was simply teamwork.   We each helped where we knew our strengths were, anytime we needed a solid ballast, or good step off point, I was the man.   If we needed upper body strength, it was obvious that the handling of heavy freight found in shipping and receiving provided the necessary muscle – most definitely not me.

Needless to say, we made it through the entire course in less than three and a half hours which was absolutely shocking.   Not as shocking as the last obstacle, where we got shocked with 10kV before the finish line (see below).

Electroshock Therapy 2.0 - 10kV wires that will make any man scream.
Electroshock Therapy 2.0 – 10kV wires that will make anyone scream.

The fact of the matter is, we went there as a team, we conquered each obstacle and didn’t only worry about ourselves, but helped many others clear the same obstacles, and each one of us faced and conquered a personal fear.   For me, it was being able to complete a 10 mile run, and a slight fear of heights.  (You can see here that we had to jump out and grab onto a pendulum then swing and hit a bell, after which you would fall 12-15 feet into a pool of 15′ deep water. )

Didn't even come close to that bell, but I did remember to let go of the swing at least.
Didn’t even come close to that bell, but I did remember to let go of the swing at least.

The fact that people from three different departments in EXAIR worked so well together on something only one person on the team had ever done before speaks volumes to the environment and the way we conduct our day-to-day business here.

From the front offices, to the shipping dock, EXAIR is here to help you tackle any obstacle and face any fear you might have (involving your compressed air system that is).

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager
TOUGH MUDDER FINISHER
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF