Three Hiller Athletes Conquer Zafiro Palma Marathon

Three Hiller athletes from Mobile participated in the Zafiro Palma Marathon in Palma, Spain on October 10 courtesy of Hiller’s parent company, Pon. Pon encourages fun and fitness through their Pon Fit program, and employees often have the opportunity of a lifetime to participate in international events. We caught up with Kristen Miller, Marcus Porter and Ward Faulk upon their return from Spain to see what their experiences were like. Kristen ran the half marathon and Marcus and Ward ran the full event. We are proud of both of them for tackling this endeavor and seizing the opportunity for international travel!

What was your favorite part of the trip?

Kristen – Surprisingly enough the race itself. After a few days of meeting everyone (the rest of the Pon participants), there was such an electric feeling when you passed one of them on the course. People I hardly knew would give me this big smile, wave and maybe an encouraging word and it would just light me up. Then seeing my husband at the finish line right next to the Pon Fit crew cheering gave me this feeling of honor and pride. In that moment, I had accomplished something I never thought I could and had more support than I could ever wish to have.

Marcus – My favorite part of the trip was getting to meet more of my foreign colleagues and learn about what they do for Pon.

Ward – Tough question – As was Amsterdam in 2019, it was awesome! I really enjoy spending time with my PON co-workers and getting to know new people. Pon is a wonderful host to not only put this together but to take us to some unique places to eat and spend time with the other Pon attendees. After the event, I did enjoy handful of days exploring other parts of the island and learning more history of the area.

What is the best thing you got to see/do?

Kristen – That is a hard one! Walking through the Catedral-Basilica de Santa Maria de Mallorca and Basilica de la Sagrada Familia with my husband was a breathtaking experience. But the best thing I got to do was have dinner at the Santuari de Cura the first night with the whole Pon group. The 14th-century monastery was at the very top of a mountain overlooking the whole island. As the sun went down, I got to try new foods, listen to a wonderful little band and interact with people from different countries. I’m usually shy but Ward and Marcus encouraged me to embrace the moment, and it turned into the start of a wonderful trip of learning about others’ culture and life experiences. 

Marcus – The Chapel in Palma was tough to beat. It was an amazing place to finish a race of that caliber.

Ward – The overall experience – interacting and spending time with my co-workers from all over the world is really a great experience. I will keep up with many of them in work and outside of work. And while we all challenge ourselves to do our best in a physically challenging race, doing it together is just fantastic.

What are your thoughts on going on this trip through Hiller sponsorship?

Kristen – To be honest, on the flight over to Mallorca, all I could think was: what have I done to deserve this? Hiller gave me so much support it was overwhelming. There are very few people who would get an opportunity like this from their company. And even fewer that have the support of every single person at his or her company.

Marcus – Representing Hiller is something that our employees take very seriously, even when it falls into the “Make it Fun” category of Pon’s core values.  The variety of PON companies and personnel that were present gives us, as Hiller employees, an opportunity to showcase our professionalism and passion to perform to our foreign colleagues.  Professional presence and a willingness to approach colleagues with an open mind is a major part of these events.  Pon wants its employees to not only meet and have fun, but to brainstorm and find ways that we can work together through these new relationships to benefit everyone associated with Pon in the future.

Ward – I am 100% for it. I have believed strongly that a physically fit body leads to a healthier mind and life, which makes a happier and stronger employee. I have been pushing along for fellow Hiller co-workers to join the triathlon team. But a better fit would be for Hiller and Pon to work together and expand the “Pon Fit” to a stronger presence in North America. Marcus and I have been talking about this for a while and had the opportunity to talk to Rogier Kuiper and many other Pon members who all would love to come to the states to do marathon or some kind of race.

Hiller Comes Together for New Orleans Branch After Hurricane Ida

This has been a year of challenges across the country on multiple fronts, and Hiller has not been immune. The silver lining for Hiller and its employees has been seeing the Hiller team come together to help each other. As you know, Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast and was particularly devastating for Hiller New Orleans. In true Hiller form, branches across the country pooled their resources to help those affected begin recovering as quickly as possible.

Hiller branches and divisions sprang into action the day after the storm hit. Hiller Corporate brought a building generator to the New Orleans office so that it could be used as a respite for those without power. Employees gathered to find a cool space, and the kitchen was used to provide hot meals. Branches around the country sent supplies including:

  • Roughly 9 pallets of bottled water
  • Numerous generators for employees to use at home
  • 1000ss of gallons of gas
  • Countless bags of ice
  • Food and drinks of all types
  • Tarps, nails, gloves, etc. for repairs
  • Cleaning supplies including sanitizers, bleach, paper towels and trash bags
  • Flashlights & batteries

Today, things are relatively back to normal business at the workplace. On the home front, many employees sustained minor damage with others seeing more severe damage, so people are still working with insurance companies and hiring contractors to make repairs and/or rebuild as necessary.
 
Hiller New Orleans Marine Project Manager Chris Krider was moved by the support from his Hiller family.


“The support we received right after was awe-inspiring. Many members of my family were shocked at the rapid response and to the extent that the company provided support to the employees here,” he said. “And after receiving support just days after the storm, we continued to receive support for weeks afterward. This meant a lot to us that the company supported their employees and showed the generosity they did during our time of need. Many other companies in the area did not support their employees in the same manner that Hiller did.”

Tara Pitre, Herbert S. Hiller’s inside sales manager, echoed Chris’ sentiments.

“We are grateful for the generosity of our donors from every office. It is truly a blessing to work for such a wonderful company as Hiller” she said. “They went above and beyond any of our expectations. Not only did they help us, but they also helped our families, customers and so many others. They have no idea how many lives they have touched.”

Chris, Tara and the Hiller New Orleans branch would like to thank the corporate office for coordinating efforts.

“A big thank you from all of Hiller New Orleans to those in Corporate that made all of this happen along with all the branches that contributed,” Chris said and Tara reiterated. “I’m sure there were many more behind the scenes, but I’d like to say a special thank you to Frankie Martin, Marcus Porter, Jason Bedsole, Robert Hunter, Simon Thornton and John Cocke for their support in either delivering or coordinating deliveries of supplies to us.”

Introducing Our New Portable Fire Pump

American Fire Equipment recently launched a pilot program for a portable fire pump service. As a new offering, we are excited to launch the concept locally before rolling the service out to other Hiller branches with existing sprinkler departments.

Portable fire pumps are good solutions to take the place of fire pumps when they are being serviced or repaired. Our unit can pump 1,800 gallons per minute at idle through five six-inch pipes and is powered by John Deere turbo diesel engines. They can run for 12 hours straight on one tank of fuel.

“This is a niche market that does not have a lot of competition. In fact, there are only four other companies doing this,” AFE Sales Manager Larry Thompson said. “It really has the potential to expand to customers across Hiller regions quickly.”

Benefits of Portable Fire Pumps

  • Reduce loss of function and downtime of facility
  • Keep fire sprinkler system in compliance during repair of fire pump
  • Save money by eliminating the need for a fire watch

Why AFE?

One of the biggest benefits you, as a customer, can experience when you use our portable fire pump is that we become your one-stop shop for delivery, installation and set-up of the system on the front end. We also commission the portable systems with the cities getting necessary permits and approvals. When repairs are completed on the permanent fire pump, our technicians break down the temporary system, reconnect the permanent one and pick up the unit from the site.

“Our job is to make the customer feel like there is nothing going on out of the ordinary,” AFE Service Manager Mike Schrey said. “When we provide these pumps to our existing customers, we are already familiar with their systems, and we can generally get a system delivered within 24 hours and set up within a couple of days. With outside companies, they deliver the fire pumps, and then the customer must call someone to come install and set it up and then break it down at the end.”

If you have a large space or facility that is protected by fire sprinklers, especially a high rise, hospital or a large warehouse, you may benefit from a portable fire pump when your system needs maintenance or repair.

“This is a really exciting offering for AFE and for our customers,” Thompson said. “There is no one else doing this the way we do, and it offers our customers a cost-effective solution that minimizes downtime and keeps their system running.”

For more information, please reach out to Mike Schrey at mikes@americanfire.com or Larry Thompson at larryt@americanfire.com.

The Hiller Companies Announces the Purchase of Carolina Fire Control, Inc.

Concord, North Carolina – The Hiller Companies is pleased to announce the purchase of Carolina Fire Control, Inc. (CFC) on September 1, 2021. CFC is headquartered in Concord, North Carolina.

“Hiller is fortunate to be experiencing a growth period, and we are very pleased to expand our offerings through the knowledge and expertise provided by the great folks at Carolina Fire Control,” Hiller President Jeff Birch said. “This acquisition brings us an excellent opportunity to expand Hiller’s broader portfolio of fire protection services in the growing Charlotte market.”

Founded by John and Jeff Sossoman in 1989, CFC specializes in fire sprinklers, and they design, fabricate and install systems. From a 30,000 square foot, state-of-the-art fabrication facility, they service customers across the southeast with their NICET-certified engineering staff and offer the latest 3D building information modeling fire system designs.

The acquisition of CFC allows Hiller to expand coverage and provide a broader range of services to all customers. At this time, Hiller plans to maintain all of CFC’s management, staff and technicians. This transition will continue the dependable and professional services their customers have come to expect. 

Previously serving as COO, David Kepley will transition to the role of General Manager of CFC.

“We are excited to be a part of the Hiller team,” Kepley said. “We believe we will provide a strong presence in our region for Hiller, and in turn, we will have the support of a company with a proven record and exciting trajectory.”

American Fire Equipment Named a Winner of the Arizona Top Workplaces 2021 Award by AZ Central

Phoenix, Arizona, July 11, 2021 – American Fire Equipment (AFE), a division of The Hiller Companies, is thrilled to announce it has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2021 honor by AZ Central.

“Being named a Top Workplace in Arizona is a great achievement for us, especially since it comes from the employees,” AFE General Manager Mark Murrell said. “This past year has been a real challenge for everyone, and to have the support and positive feedback from our people is something special.”

The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 culture drivers that are critical to the success of any organization, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

“During this very challenging time, Top Workplaces has proven to be a beacon of light for organizations, as well as a sign of resiliency and strong business performance,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward. Top Workplaces draw on real-time insights into what works best for their organization, so they can make informed decisions that have a positive impact on their people and their business.”

The Hiller Companies Announces New President and CEO

In June 2021, The Hiller Companies will welcome Jeff Birch as the new President & CEO. Jeff comes to Hiller from Setpoint Integrated Solutions, also a division of Pon Holdings, where he currently serves as President & CEO. Jeff has been with Setpoint since 2016 and has also served as the company’s COO. Prior to joining the Setpoint team, Jeff was Vice President of Commercial Finance for the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and was based out of Northlake, Illinois. He earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, was previously a licensed C.P.A., and has a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Earlier this month, Patrick Lynch, Hiller President and CEO since 2015, announced his resignation. Patrick is departing Hiller to manage and develop a family enterprise. He has the greatest regard for both The Hiller Companies and Jeff. Patrick has been a progressive leader for Hiller supervising 12 multi-faceted acquisitions, growing Hiller from approximately 400 employees to over 1,300, and expanding the company’s footprint from 12 locations to 24 nationwide.

Patrick commented, “Hiller will always hold a special place in my heart. From the leadership team through to each branch and division, the Hiller employees are the best in the business. They are committed to excellence and are well positioned for continued growth and success. I wish them all the best.”

Jeff is excited to be coming on board during this period of growth for the company and looks forward to continuing Hiller’s mission of protecting lives and property around the globe.

A&D Fire Expands into Montana

The Hiller Companies, along with our A&D Fire division, is excited to announce A&D Fire’s newest location. As of March 1, 2021, Missoula, Montana is home to a new team and office serving the whole state. John Donohoe, who was brought on to run the branch and serve as Fire Alarm Project Manager, has a strong team of technicians helping him serve customers.

“I am excited to be here and to help A&D establish a presence in Montana,” Donohoe said. “We are working hard to let people know we are here with all of the services A&D has to offer. We want them to know we are their one-stop shop for all their fire protection needs.”

While the Montana branch will service a host of vertical markets, it will specifically target the property management vertical for multi-family and commercial properties.  

“We are looking to connect with people managing apartment complexes and business parks,” he said. “Montana is the third largest state in the country, so we see great potential for growth. Security is another big vertical we are looking to target.”

Donohoe is also looking forward to working as a part of Hiller and being able to leverage the strength of the company to help him establish relationships for distribution and product lines.

“With such a large state, it is great to know we have Hiller supporting us,” he noted. “And I have a strong team of dedicated techs who I trust. With combined experience of around 75 years, my team has the strength and experience to cover a big state like Montana.”