Deepwater Horizon – 10 Years Later

Deepwater Horizon

The Deepwater Horizon disaster is one of those events you do not forget, especially if you live along the Gulf Coast. For Hiller, it is particularly memorable because of the part we played in servicing the offshore supply ship, the Damon B. Bankston, whose crew was instrumental in rescuing workers from the rig.

In September 2009, the Deepwater Horizon rig drilled the deepest oil well in history at a depth of 35,050 feet approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. On April 20, 2010, a blowout caused an explosion on the rig that killed 11 crewmen and ignited a fireball visible from 40 miles away. The fire was inextinguishable and two days later, the Horizon sank. This left the well gushing at the seabed causing the largest marine oil spill in history.

On offshore rigs, there is typically a supply ship in the vicinity. In this case, the Bankston was tethered to the Deepwater Horizon waiting for drilling mud to be transferred from the rig. Crew members on the Bankston realized something was wrong when they heard the rumbling sound of methane gas and crude oil shooting up the well bore and through the rig’s riser and then the sound of the explosion.

As soon as they realized what was going on, the Bankston crew sprang into action retrieving workers who had jumped into the Gulf of Mexico from the rig to escape the fire. The crew helped rescue 115 survivors that day.

Hiller New Orleans General Manager Mike Charleville and Project Manager Chris Krider remember that time like it was yesterday.

“I came on as a service tech about one week after the accident,” Krider said. “One of my first jobs was to go down with a lead tech and do inspection and maintenance to make sure there was no damage since the vessel was so close to the rig when it exploded. I will never forget it.”

Charleville said the event was one of the most memorable of his 40-plus years with Hiller.

“That disaster will stand out forever in my career,” he said. “And ten years later, we are still seeing the impact. The area west of the Mississippi is still seeing its fishing impacted. Flounder are just starting to come back, and you still can’t catch Speckled Trout like you could before this. It was a terrible accident. Just terrible.”

Built in 2002, the Bankston was designed with Hiller-installed CO2 and detection systems. We have done the majority of service for maintenance and inspections since then.

“There is a sense of pride in knowing that we had a part in protecting the crew on the Bankston,” Charleville said. “It’s always a good feeling to know that you are able to protect people during the most dangerous circumstances.”

“We are in the business of installing systems we hope are never used,” Krider noted adding that when you work offshore, there is nowhere else to go. “When you need them, they have to work. And crews on ships like the Bankston need the peace of mind in knowing they can safely perform their duties.”

Hiller Reaps Fruits of Intercompany Partnerships with Military Contracts

Edwards Air Force Base

The Hiller Companies historically has had a strong relationship with the U.S. military. That relationship continues with our project at Edwards Air Force Base in California building four relocatable, membrane aircraft hangars alongside Cocoon Inc. These portable aircraft hangars are less expensive, take less time to build and can be relocated at a price significantly lower than a new build which makes the Hiller/Cocoon partnership and offerings appealing to the military.

“This venture is a part of our 1Hiller collaboration between our branches across the country,” Hiller Fire Protection New England General Manager Jeffrey Kidd said. “Because of the location of Edwards, it made sense to partner with American Fire Equipment, our division in Arizona, for this project. When we facilitate a project from start to finish, we are able to streamline and offer better pricing than we could with subcontractors, which makes our packages more appealing. We are starting to reap the fruits of intercompany partnerships with our growth and expansion over the last few years.”

Kidd said that partnering with other Hiller branches on projects like this one allows Hiller broader offerings across the country than one branch can offer and makes for a smoother process for clients.

“We bring together turnkey solutions which include many of our disciplines – fire alarms, mass notification, fire sprinklers, foam, fire supplies, etc.,” he said. “We create one package with one price under the fire protection umbrella. We engineer each solution before we bring it to a customer. I don’t like guessing, so we do a lot of upfront work so that we know when we bring it to fruition, it will work and meet codes.”

The Edwards AFB project includes building four aircraft hangars – two for B-52s and two for autonomous drones. The first two hangars, already constructed, house the B-52s that are a part of the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) program. This program is a rapid prototyping project aimed at delivering a conventional hypersonic weapons capability to the Warfighter in the early 2020s. The weapon system is designed to provide combatant commanders the capability to destroy high-value, time-sensitive targets. The final captive-carry test for this hypersonic weapon was conducted off the Southern California coast on August 8th.

“This is a major milestone for the program, the team and our Air Force,” Brigadier General Heath Collins, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons said in a press release. “ARRW is the first step in bringing game-changing hypersonic capabilities to our Warfighters.”

Each of the first two hangars took about 18 months to complete. This is half the time it takes to build a hard side hangar. The second two hangars will house autonomous drones and present a unique challenge because cranes must be suspended from the ceiling to accommodate the drones. The third hangar is almost complete and will be finished in record time. The fourth hangar is ready to begin construction as soon as the foundation is ready.

“With government contracts, there is a greater sense of urgency,” Kidd said. “The Cocoon/Hiller partnership was the best option for this and other military projects because we appreciate the speed with which the military needs to get things done, and we have a unique offerings that can meet that need. The military is the bloodline of what we do.”

Kidd looks forward to continuing to grow Hiller’s relationship with the military.

“We are seeing interest from other Air Force groups,” Kidd said. “Because of the quality of our work, because of our dedication to staying on budget and completing jobs on time, because of the quick turnaround and the ability to relocate these hangars in the case of base closings, we expect Hiller will have a bright future on many more projects.”

Dedicated. Tough. Skilled. Meet American Fire Equipment’s Mining Department.

American Fire Equipment’s Mining Department

American Fire Equipment (AFE) holds the unique honor of housing the only mining department in all of The Hiller Companies’ divisions or branches. And according to Mining Division Manager Dave Walters, the men and women in his department should be celebrated as warriors in the fire protection industry.

“These are the men and women who are dedicated to their jobs, to the safety of the miners they work with and the equipment the miners use,” Walters said. “When you consider the risk, the pressure and the conditions our people face every day on the job, they are definitely unsung heroes.”

The mining department is spread out across Arizona and New Mexico and supports copper mines.  The three main groups within the mining division include mines with permanent people, vehicle system technicians and roving technicians. At any given time, there can be as many as 1,000 to 1,500 people working the mines.

Walters said that the mines AFE services are as far as five hours outside of the home office in Phoenix, Arizona. Often, his miners (though they work in fire protection, they are also called miners) are away from home five days per week. The first steps out of their trucks are usually into mud, and the work is normally outdoors. Mining does not stop due to heat or rain, snow or inclement weather.

The mines operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Equipment only goes down for repairs or refueling. Most systems AFE works on are critical to mining operations, and failures could cost millions of dollars. For example, a fire on a conveyor or an electrical building may cause substantial loss of revenue as certain areas of the mine may not be able to operate. Every piece of equipment undergoes a pre-operation inspection, and most can’t be operated if there is anything wrong with the fire suppression systems.

Add to this the risk of human loss, and you have a recipe for stress. Donald Medina, a mining tech at the Safford, Arizona mine with three years at AFE, has learned to cope with the stress.

“When you first start this kind of job, there is enormous focus on the risk and the life and death of it.,” Medina said. “You learn not to focus so much on that part and just focus on what you have to do. Check the lists. Do the job. If you think too much about it, it can keep you from being able to do the job well. But on the other side, you have to fight complacency. It can become routine, and you aren’t focused enough. You have to find the balance of keeping it all in perspective – focusing on the risk but not to the point that you let it affect your ability to do the job. I think I have that balance now, but sometimes when you start a new project you have to tweak that. The ramifications are so huge – from life and death to making sure you don’t lose a contract that is in the millions of dollars.”

Medina is permanently stationed at the Safford mine, an open-pit copper mine and is responsible for maintaining fire extinguishers as well as inspecting and servicing vehicles and buildings.

Robert Swain relates to the pressure Medina expressed.

“I do the best job I can. I know everyone here. We all grew up together and are friends,” Swain said. “I do my best to keep systems up and running and make sure everyone is safe.”

Swain is a fire systems repair technician with nearly ten years at AFE and is permanently stationed at the Bagdad, Arizona mine. His responsibilities include maintaining fire suppression systems on all equipment at the mine as well as fire extinguishers. If he finds a deficiency, he fixes it on the spot.

This stress also weighs on the mind of Mike Lyon, Vehicle Systems Superintendent with 14 years at AFE.

“If I send someone to a mine, I want to know they made it home safely,” Lyon said. “What we do is possibly saving a life, and it can also be saving multi-million dollar equipment.”

Lyon has been in the mining department since the beginning and helped to set the standards used in the mines today. He manages a 6-member team to make sure all safety requirements are accounted for, schedules are met, proposals are created and installs are scheduled.

“The pressure is there,” he said. “In 14 years, I have seen fires happen. And customers will call and say that their guy got out okay. That means our system worked and did what it was supposed to do. You don’t want to see accidents or injuries, but when fire does happen, you want to know your systems did what they were intended to do. That is the satisfaction of a job done right.”

So with this level of pressure and with this kind of risk, why do miners for AFE do what they do?

It comes down to goals, a desire to support family and a love of what they do.

“Why else would you do this job?” Medina asked. “It’s all about taking care of your family. Why else would you get up every day at 4:00 am and go to a job where the potential to be crushed by 400 tons is always there?”

Medina, Lyon and Swain all agree that you have to love it to do this kind of work. They all have a love of mining – from the process to the results and from the people to the locations. They all also expressed that AFE offers them support, opportunity for advancement and a work family they can count on.

“It’s a unique life, working the mines,” Walters said. “And without the team we have at AFE, we couldn’t do it. There is a lot of responsibility at every level, but there is also a lot of reward when you know the job you have done protects the people and property you are responsible for.”

Advanced Safety Systems Integrators Continues Role as Innovators in Fire Protection Industry

Peabody Team
ASSI Team – Peabody, MA office

Since its founding in 1964, Advanced Safety Systems Integrators (A.S.S.I.) has established a proven track record of innovation, reliability and solutions-based service. Looking to 2020 and beyond, A.S.S.I. plans to continue its role in finding creative solutions for challenging problems in the industry.

“We have been in business for more than 50 years,” A.S.S.I. Vice President and General Manager William MacKay said. “The fire protection industry as we know it today is not that old. Aside from water and sprinkler systems, many of the products we use today such as dry chemicals, clean agent systems, advanced smoke detection technologies and water mist extinguishing systems have been developed within the last 25 years. And what makes us different is that we have been among the first in the industry to combine many of these technologies to give our customers the best level of protection technology can provide.”

MacKay notes that A.S.S.I. installed the first Halon 1301 system in a computer room at Harvard University in 1967. Halon was not used in fire protection until the 1960s. MacKay’s father, who founded the company, was a part of the group that pioneered the idea, design and application working with Dupont who was making Halon, and with Fenwal, the equipment manufacturer.

Daniel Mckay (founder)
ASSI’s founder, Daniel MacKay, performing a Fire Extinguisher demonstration in 1960 at the new Boston Fire Training Academy, Moon Island, Boston Harbor.

“My father was on the forefront of cutting-edge technology,” MacKay said. “And I have been lucky to have learned from him along the ride.”

A.S.S.I. was involved in the early design of VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) which was an effective technology for clean rooms and an effective detector for special hazards. They were also the first North American distributor of Marioff HI_FOG® water mist systems which opened the door to using water mist for cultural buildings, historical documents, irreplaceable artifacts and museums.

“This history of innovation gives us a depth of knowledge in products and design that is second-to-none,” MacKay said. “It speaks to the core of our business which is to produce special hazard fire protection solutions focused on the customer’s needs.”

Chief Operating Officer Bill Card added that the combination of leading-edge technology and an experienced team has contributed to the success of A.S.S.I.

“We have a very tenured team here. From Bill MacKay and our technicians to engineers and office staff, many have been here 10, 20, 30 or 40+ years. We have retained employees because we remain focused on great service and delivering exceptional product solution while taking care of our customers and employees.”

Card looks forward to continued growth in the market with support from The Hiller Companies, Inc, who acquired A.S.S.I in 2017.

Serving New-England
Proudly Serving New England as a Division of the Hiller Companies

“Hiller has provided strong executive leadership with deep roots in the fire protection industry,” he said. “There are still a lot of opportunities out there, and with Hiller, we know we have support when we need it; from the assessment of strategic growth opportunities to tactical execution assistance, we can count on The Hiller Companies.”

MacKay appreciates the benefits Hiller has brought to A.S.S.I. as well.

“The biggest benefit of working with Hiller is that we have broadened our area of experience by having an extensive, nation-wide network whose expertise we can draw on going forward,” MacKay said.

The future looks promising for A.S.S.I as it continues to pursue growth by staying true to its roots in special hazard fire protection, but also while looking for ways to expand in the market.

Assi field team
ASSI Field Technician David Marcassoli, Field Service Supervisor Kevin Hickox and Sales Engineer John Blaikie

“What’s exciting for us going into the next year and beyond, is fire protection for the lithium-ion battery storage market,” MacKay said. “We see a big need for that, and we have our toes in the water. It is something we look forward to. A.S.S.I. is always looking for the next application. We are experts at designing fire protection solutions using state-of-the-art technologies and applying them to unique and unconventional hazards. The result is a well-engineered and quality fire protection system for the customer.”

Card looks forward to continuing to find market segments that align with A.S.S.I.’s business goals.

“ASSI has a history of delivering innovative fire protection solutions, but we are also known for our loyalty to the manufactures we have aligned with and to our customer base. Over the years, we have worked with small regional firms to Fortune 50 companies. Regardless of the business size, our goal is the same – we want to earn the trust of our clients, maintain long-term relationships and keep them as customers for life,” Card said.

Systems Management Group Celebrates 10 Years

From two business partners and one employee in 2009 to 66 employees and a multi-million-dollar business today, Systems Management Group (SMG) has good reason to celebrate its 10th anniversary in January.

SMG, a division of The Hiller Companies, specializes in full-service, low voltage integration in Arizona and Colorado. Acquired by Hiller and supported by their 100-year history, SMG has a rich history of success on its own.

According to Co-founder and General Manager Terrence Kane, credit for growth and success goes directly to SMG’s high caliber employees.

“Our employees, each and every one, have created the opportunity for us to keep the doors open for the past 10 years,” Kane said. “And because of their hard work, we have had remarkable growth year over year.”

General Manager and Co-Founder Owen Myran noted that he and Kane started the company with a common goal to create a culture at SMG where not only business would thrive, but employees would as well.

“We wanted to grow a company that would take care of its employees, produce excellent customer service and deliver a superior product,” he said. “We are a people-first company. Whether you are an employee or a customer, we treat people with respect and dignity – that’s what drives our success.”

Having such dedicated employees makes the 10th anniversary special to Jenny Todd, Operations Manager.

“I am excited to celebrate our anniversary with an employee appreciation event in January. It is important that our staff knows how much we recognize their contribution to our success,” she said. “We really value times when we can build our relationships outside of the office. From the long-term veterans to the younger, more recent hires, everyone has something important to offer and to teach each other.”

The first employee Kane and Myran hired in 2009 is still with SMG and has been an example of the character of SMG and its employees.

“Gabriel Romo was our very first employee,” Kane said. “Through his dedication, character, and work ethic he has helped set the bar for the qualities we look for in employees. He also represents the opportunity employees have to advance and develop over a long-term career with SMG. He has grown over the years from our first hire into a top employee and lead manager.”

The desire for continued growth for SMG and long-term, limitless opportunities for employees was a driving factor in Kane’s and Myran’s decision to work with The Hiller Companies when Hiller acquired SMG in September of 2018.

“Hiller’s acquisition of SMG has given our employees the opportunity to grow and expand their personal well-being, to receive more training and to increase longevity with the company. It has taken them from a partnership to a career,” Kane shared.

Todd believes the opportunities with Hiller are wide open, but more importantly, the ideals of Hiller support the culture she, Kane and Myran have worked so hard to foster at SMG.

“Culture is vital,” she said. “SMG has always been a family. When Terrence and Owen were discussing SMG’s acquisition by Hiller, it was important to us to maintain that atmosphere. One thing that stuck out during the talks with Hiller was that they were very much a family as well. That’s why it was such a good fit for us.”

As for the future, Kane is excited about continued growth.

“What would make me tremendously happy would be if the company is able to continue growth and to change the core of what we do by adding other disciplines. I would love to add five to ten more locations and three to four more verticals,” he said. “With Hiller, we have a greater possibility of achieving that. I want our employees know that in 10, 15, 20 years, they can retire from a great career with SMG.”

For more information about SMG, please visit our website at

Systems Management Group is a low voltage integrator in the Colorado and Arizona markets that specializes in consulting, designing, installing, servicing, and integrating your low voltage systems; from fire alarms, intrusion alarms, access control, camera systems, audio/video systems, BDA systems, area of refuge systems, telecommunications and data systems, and more. Systems Management Group is a division of The Hiller Companies, Inc.

Hiller Celebrates 100 Years With a Look at the Mobile Branch

Mobile, AL – As The Hiller Companies celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, we are taking a look at the Mobile branch, which holds a unique place in the growth and evolution of the company.  As one of the largest and oldest branches, Hiller Systems Mobile represents innovation, experience, growth and community.

JACO main office
The 1946 office of JACO, which was later purchased by Hiller in 1981 leading to Hiller’s headquarter relocation from New Orleans to Mobile.

“Mobile is a very special place for Hiller,” Chairman of the Board Duncan Greenwood said. “We have a lot of employees with longevity here and have seen a lot of growth and change. Technology has opened the industry up for more and more opportunities, and the Mobile branch has shifted from a primarily marine-based operation to a more even distribution of marine, offshore and commercial business.”

Founded in 1919, The Hiller Companies opened its first office in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1946, Jack Cocke and Company (JACO), another fire protection company, opened in Mobile and expanded to Pensacola, Florida and New Orleans. In 1981, Hiller purchased JACO and in 1988, Hiller headquarters was moved from New Orleans to Mobile.

owner of JACO
Jack Cocke, owner of JACO, at his desk in 1967.

While Hiller is headquartered in Mobile, the local operational branch itself is one of the largest branches and employs more than 100 people. Mobile specializes in comprehensive fire detection and suppression solutions for commercial, marine, and military and government sectors.

“In the Mobile complex, we have done a lot of marine work. We are proud that our systems are on every combatant ship in the Navy,” Greenwood said. “But we have also worked on subway systems and brought Securiplex water mist technology to this branch. That has opened a lot of doors for us.”

Greenwood, who served as President and CEO from 1981 to 2013, has been with the company for more than 40 years and believes that the modernization of the fire protection industry has greatly contributed to growth and opportunity.  Bill Roberts, Director of Marine Engineering, agrees.

“I started here when Hiller was still JACO.  I was on the ground floor when computers came to pass,” Roberts said. “I helped develop flow calculations with the Walter Kidde Company so the people writing the code could write it correctly. We originally did these calculations by hand. Can you believe that? Duncan and I both did them by hand. It’s mind boggling how far we have come.”

Roberts is proud of the legacy the Mobile Branch has and his participation in it.

“I designed the fire suppression systems in the early 70s and 80s for several classes of navy ships. Many of these systems are still in use today,” Roberts said. “I am proud to be a part of our strong and enduring relationship with the military.”

The Mobile Branch is located at the Corporate Office.

As one of the oldest branches in the company, the Mobile branch benefits from many long-term, dedicated employees. Some have been with the company since the JACO days. One such employee is Marine Sales Manager Greg Bloch who has been with Hiller for more than 50 years.

“I started with Jack Cocke in 1969.  My job was the lowest you could go – pipefitter helper.  I couldn’t even see the top from there,” Bloch said. “Was there A/C in the trucks? No way! Radios? No way! I started at $2.50 an hour and worked my way up.”

“Back in the day, I knew Jack Cocke – we just hit it off.  He was a hard worker, and it wasn’t unusual to see him out on the job grabbing a pipe wrench to give you a hand. Duncan Greenwood also played a pivotal role for me. When I was uncertain of my future after Hiller bought JACO, Duncan was the one who made me a deal at a Sunday night dinner. He really knew how to bring out the best in people.”

Bloch worked his way up from pipefitter helper to pipefitter to supervisor to project manager/production manager. He has been a Marine Sales Manager since 2000, and he sees a bright future for Hiller Mobile. Duncan Greenwood agrees.

“For me, it all flows back to the people,” Greenwood said. “While modernization has made things faster and easier, without the people we have at Hiller, we would not be successful. We are always looking for that balance of youth and experience in our workforce to continue to grow.”

Mobile branch specialization
Today, the Mobile branch specializes in both commercial and marine applications, including design, installation, commissioning, training, inspection and service.

Roberts looks forward to the future and after more than four decades at the company, he still feels excited to come to work every day.

“I love my job. I love what I do, and the gratification of knowing my systems could save someone’s life keeps me vested,” he said. “I told Duncan that if I ever get unhappy or if my work stops being fun, I will shake his hand and walk away. That hasn’t happened in more than 40 years.”

The Mobile branch consistently enjoys growth year over year. Its strength and experience in the government and commercial marine industry as well as in health care and other verticals forecasts that this growth will continue. Hiller Mobile’s combination of experience and innovation ensures a strong future for both employees and customers alike.

Commemorating 100 Years, Hiller Reflects on New Orleans Roots

Store front
The original Herbert S. Hiller location in New Orleans.

New Orleans, LA – The Hiller Companies, Inc. is celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2019, and the New Orleans office is where it all began. Founded in 1919 by Herbert S. Hiller, the original shop started as a local business and has expanded to include an international presence with 20 offices across the country.

“When I started with Hiller 40 years ago, it was still a small business based in New Orleans,” New Orleans Marine Branch Manager Mike Charleville said. “It was such a close-knit family that if any of the guys were ever short on money, they would help them out. As we have grown larger, we are more of a corporation, but we are still a family.”

Charleville has the honor of being the longest-serving employee in the New Orleans branch and said with growth, there have been many significant changes.

“When you go through this kind of growth, you lose a little, but you gain a lot,” he said. “It is harder to maintain the closeness we had as a small company, but there are a lot of positive improvements. When I started, the vehicles had no air conditioner, no power steering and AM radio. Now, our vehicles and equipment are first class.”

Another longstanding employee, Danny Brown has been with Hiller for 37 years. Brown joined Hiller in 1982 as a superintendent and worked his way up to a project manager, an engineering manager, assistant general manager and finally to general manager. In 2018, he took a corporate position as Manager, Strategic Projects for the Marine Division of The Hiller Companies.

Danny Brown presenting fire ext to Butch Browning
Danny Brown (right) presenting Hiller’s 95-year commemorative fire extinguisher in 2015 to Butch Browning (left), State Fire Marshal of Louisiana

“When I started with Hiller, I thought I would be here a couple of years. My knowledge of fire protection was very limited,” Brown said. “The more I became involved and realized that I could see the country and the world, the more I liked it. Most business and residential properties require some type of fire protection. Hiller is a company that provides every fire protection system available. I saw the bigger picture and wanted to make this my career.”

This is a common story at Hiller. Not only did Brown work his way up in the company, but in 2012 he was appointed by the Louisiana Governor to the Life Safety and Property Protection Board. The board has the authority to approve all training, certification and examination requirements for licensure for The Office of State Fire Marshal. He currently serves on the Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Suppression Board, and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 301 committee representing the Fire Suppression System Association (FSSA), and is President of the Louisiana Automatic Fire Alarm Association

Brown has also witnessed many changes and periods of growth at Hiller requiring the New Orleans office to move three times during his tenure.

“The New Orleans branch is different because this is where it all started,” Brown said. “We have been through a lot in New Orleans. We survived Hurricane Katrina, we have hit bumps in the road, but we always come out stronger than before.”

With more than 60 employees, the New Orleans branch does it all, according to Brown; but, one unique service they focus on is military fire protection.

“Hiller designed a panel for fire suppression in military vehicles,” he said. “We have provided over 3,000 systems for one of the U.S. Army’s Armored Security Vehicles.”

In addition to fire protection of military vehicles, Hiller New Orleans has played an integral role in the design and fabrication of customizable fire suppression equipment, such as the USCG-approved AFFF hose reel stations. Originally designed in 1978, the AFFF hose reel stations and standalone hose reels remain a key industry offering to this day. Other Hiller innovations include breathing air stations, soda acid and foam hand-held fire extinguishers.

19th century fire extinghuisher
Mid-19th Century Herbert S. Hiller Fire Extinguisher

Brown is also proud of the way Hiller gives back to the community. In 2007, The National WWII Museum in New Orleans bought and restored the PT-305 – a boat from the mid-1940s used as a fast attack boat during the war. It took 10 years and 120,000 volunteer hours to get the boat restored and fully operational. Hiller reached out to some of its dedicated vendors and supplied the engine room CO2 fire suppression system, portable fire extinguishers, fire hoses and nozzles. Hiller donated the engineering, project management, field labor, pipe and fittings required to install and certify the systems.

“Hiller is a great company to work for,” Brown said. “They believe in giving back to the community and in strong families. These attributes combined with strong customer relations, keep business thriving day in and day out.”

Charleville agrees. “We have a lot of employees who’ve been with us for 20, 25, 30 years who really know what they are doing and are very professional. When you work with good people, you develop good relationships in the company and with your customers. Hiller is full of good people.”