We are so proud to support Stephanie Jallen and her journey! She’s an amazing skier, taking home bronze at the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympic Games, and an even more amazing person! We can’t wait to see her continue her journey to the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games and beyond! She is truly an inspiration!
We are all familiar with Employees of the Month and Employees of the Year, but how many of you have ever heard of Employee of the Millennium? This distinction is unique and, as far as we know, there is no other person who has been the recipient of this distinguished honor – until now. In actuality, it is our honor to have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Tony “Dino” Touch, who began working with Damage Control in 1997, before the transition into the Millennium, almost 10 years before the debut of the Smart Phone!
If you are lucky enough to know Tony, you know he is not only one of a kind but also extremely kind. He doesn’t need a Smart Phone to remember to pick you up when he sees that you need it, or add levity to a situation when things look bleak, or create a poem, or lend an ear when you need to talk, or simply dive right in when you need a hand. You see, Tony was born and raised not just to think of others but to turn his thoughts into actions and help them in any way he can. Now, I would be remiss without pointing out that while Tony is a staunch friend and advocate, he is no pushover, especially if you made the mistake of taking advantage. Tony always knew how to stand up for himself, his family and his friends. ‘Nuff said.
Whenever a new employee worked with Tony, we knew that person was going to be taught correctly and we knew that person was going to learn the core values of the company. That person was also going to learn that it’s a cinch by the inch and hard by the yard because Tony is always interested in getting the job done, one bite at a time, no matter how big the task.
There really aren’t words to express how we feel about Tony, our one and only (ever) Employee of the Millennium. Perhaps we should just say that he is and always will be a loved, family member and we hope he enjoys every moment of his retirement.
In a time where many companies are cutting out employee activities due to the economy, Damage Control knows the importance of having get-togethers to boost employee morale and foster friendships. On August 2nd, Damage Control held its annual company picnic. Employees, subcontractors, vendors, family and friends were invited to enjoy the many activities that were available. There was a bounce house for the kids, bocce ball, swimming, enjoying the scenery, feeding koi, and even petting a pig!
The technicians of Damage Control Inc have to be a unique and dedicated type of person. We have some that have been here for 16 years and others that have only been here for a couple of months. While filling the role of a technician, one has to be able to adapt to different situations and be creative in thought. In any given week they may be working on a structure that has been flooded, ravaged by fire, inundated with mold, sewage or performing a cleanup in a hoarder situation or trauma scene. During another week, the same technicians may be performing repairs on a structure.
The diversity is what most of our technicians like about the job. Each day is different and they get to use all of their skills, as they continue to learn more and more about the industry.
The technicians are usually dealing with people that have just gone through a traumatic experience, always displaying empathy and understanding. It could be a very rewarding experience as some of our clients are very grateful that we are there to help.
We certainly have some of the best technicians in our area working for us. They deal with different people and situations on a daily basis and never seem to get overwhelmed with all that they have to manage. They work nights, weekends and holidays at a job that is always surrounded by unpleasant circumstances and they do a great job in turning those circumstances around. It is always gratifying to hear a client tell of their experience as somehow made better by Damage Control because our people are caring and respectful. Even among all of the damage, we are constantly hearing about how our people made things better. We can’t ask for more than that!
We Make It Better
In another few months Damage Control will be heading into its 19th year of service to NE Pennsylvania and gratitude is the one word that keeps coming to mind. The people with whom I work have made such a difference not only in our own work environment, but also for those people that we are privileged to help. We consistently hear from clients those same sentiments about our employees — respectful, helpful, polite, courteous and knowledgeable. These are not people who work for me but rather, with me. We know that we can make mistakes but we also know that those mistakes will be promptly acknowledged and corrected. Each and every person who works at Damage Control doesn’t learn respect — they arrive with that fundamental value intact so Customer Excellence is easy to achieve after following a few of our basic steps. The cast, in order of appearance: Candy, my wife, although not on the payroll, helped to launch the business and continues to be a part of its growth, Tony T, Jose R, Mark B, Sarah C, Chris H, Sarah L, Jon F, Michael B. Garcy C, Bruce M, Justin K, Danny H, Brian E and Shawn S.
Sewage in the Basement
On July 3rd, 2014, Damage Control received a call to assist a customer with the removal of sewage from their basement. The crew arrived, met with the customer, and assessed the damages. The homeowner explained that the main sewer line from the home was blocked causing sewage to back up through the drains in the basement shower and toilet. They also explained that it has happened several times before, but never to this extent. The crew immediately devised a plan of action to stabilize the situation. This required not only dealing with the work at hand but also comforting and reassuring the customer that their property will be handled with the utmost care and professionalism. More importantly, it includes spending the time to inform the customer of what is going to happen as well as why it needs to happen. This was all reflected in an e-mail that the customer wrote to us.
If you walk into the warehouse at Damage Control, you will notice that there are signs posted throughout that read “Prepared Readiness.” These are not just mere words, but a mindset that prepared everyone for what took place on Friday, April 17th, 2014.
Damage Control employees were called by Keystone College to assist with the cleaning and deodorization of a fire that occurred in the first floor mechanical room of the Hollinshead dormitory. This in and of itself is not an unusual call for a typical business day at Damage Control. What made this call different was the timing — the call came in at 1:30AM.
The College, looking for assistance, needed crews to start working immediately so the displaced students could return to their rooms. Operations Manager, Mark Bickelman and a crew of technicians were on-site within the hour to assess the situation and come up with a plan of action. During the inspection, we were told that staff members attempted to put out the fire using eight Ansul powder fire extinguishers. Although this is something we regularly deal with, the extinguishers were discharged into the trash chute from the fourth floor bathroom, requiring our crews to think outside the box. Our duct cleaning equipment was utilized to clean out the chute in order to provide a thorough job in a very short amount of time. Even without any sleep, the crew was quick to think on their feet!
This chute is connected to the bathroom on all floors and terminates at the trash container in the mechanical room on the first floor, where the fire was contained. A sprinkler head discharged water, making clean up even more complicated as it mixed with soot and fine powder. Because our crews are trained to be prepared, there was nothing that upset them or stopped them from pushing through to get the job done.
The College needed all of the cleaning completed by the end of the day as they had scheduled air quality testing after the cleaning was completed. The crews started by removing the bulk of the Ansul powder with HEPA vacuums and dusting cloths so that all surfaces could then be washed with a deodorizing solution. The exterior grounds were pressure washed to remove fire debris and powder residue from the sidewalks and parking lot areas.
The efforts of the crew paid off as the work was completed ahead of the deadline. Air quality results came back by 3:30pm as favorable, allowing the students to return as directed by the College.
First Responders Event
Damage Control held its 4th Annual First Responders Appreciation Night on March 13th at our facility in Eynon. In its largest turnout yet, over 120 local first responders attended! Food and beverages were provided by Accentuate Catering and many local businesses donated gift certificates and gift baskets to be raffled. One highlight of the evening included Officer Munley of the Archbald Police Department who was presented with a plaque to commemorate being the recipient of the Law Enforcement Hero Award from the Red Cross. It was our pleasure to present of $500.00 check to the Mayfield Hose Company who were the winners of our grand prize donation!
It was no surprise that Damage Control, Inc. (DCI) received a call that the local NEIU 19 in Archbald was taking on water, seeing as how it was only 1 degree outside. What did turn out to be a surprise was the fact the water was pouring inside the building through a piping system that was no longer used! Water was raining inside the 34,000 SF facility through a conduit that was decommissioned years ago. It was reported that a worker was dispatched to repair a leaking hydrant outside the building and that the worker mistakenly opened up a valve sending thousands of gallons rushing toward the open pipes above the ceiling grid within the facility. The resulting flood and noise of pipes shaking and rattling the building were so violent that a maintenance worker was driven from the building.
Ceiling tiles and insulation were crashing to the floor along with cascades of water, soaking carpets and fixtures. Walls, desks, chairs, computers, boxes and partitions were all impacted by the water intrusion. Initial guesses by NEIU personnel who witnessed the deluge estimated that the building would need to be closed for a month. Fortunately, although not completely repaired, workers were back in their stations in 6 days while crews from Damage Control worked double shifts to help return the structure and the occupants to normalcy.
Safety of the occupants was our number one priority during the project. The services of Cocciardi and Associates were engaged to monitor air quality and general health and safety of the environment. Throughout the project, large air scrubbers were deployed within the structure to filter the air through HEPA filters, removing contaminants and particulates.
Our drying efforts helped to save all of the walls and wallpaper within the building while maintaining indoor quality at more than acceptable limits. Analytical reports came back delcaring that the environment was 90 times cleaner than permissible by OSHA limits and independent testing corroborated DCI’s conclusions regarding the drying progress.
Many questions and concerns were brought up during the project with numerous meetings to help keep the occupants informed and educated. “Our best way to keep everyone informed is with honest, open communication. Keeping everything transparent eliminates doubt and generates a much calmer atmosphere,” said Jeff Skrilow, who acted as Project Manager for this particular project. “It was a pleasure working with the staff at NEIU 19. They were true professionals that helped keep the project flowing smoothly.”
Employee of the Year – Sarah Lukasik
Sarah was hired to fill our Production Assistant position in December of 2011. Within a very short time, it was apparent that Sarah would not only be a perfect fit for the company, but an invaluable asset. “She was such a fast learner and was able to handle anything we threw at her,” says Executive Assistant, Sarah Cain. “She was a perfect fir for our close-knit, family-like atmosphere.” Sarah’s job title changed earlier this year to Administrative Assistant, which better reflects all of the duties that Sarah does including Accounts Payable, Payroll, ordering materials and communicating regularly with customers. Her hard work, willingness to help everyone and dedication made her an easy choice for our 2013 Employee of the Year.
Damage Control was recently called to perform some work for Keystone College. They called us in after a water line broke on the third floor of Fear Hall, sending water all the way down to the basement. Within just a few days, the DCI team had all the water damaged areas either dried or removed and ready to be restored.
Lincoln View Manor
When Lincoln View Manor in Carbondale had a dryer fire in April, they called Damage Control to help. CDI went in the day the fire happened and walked through with the facility manager and the Carbondale fire chief. We assessed the damage and began cleaning the structure immediately. They were very happy with the facility manager and the Carbondale fire chief. We assessed the damage and began cleaning the structure immediately. They were very happy with the results, as referenced by their Quality Questionnaire on page 4.
St. John the Baptist
St. John the Baptist Church in Throop had a lightning strike at the end of June that caused damage to its steeple. Damage Control immediately dispatched a crew to clean up debris and secure the scene. Then with the assistance of M J Spott Crane Rentals and Perry’s General Contracting, the steeple was promptly and safely removed from the structure.
A Big Welcome to Our New Employees
Damage Control would like you to meet some of our newer employees. In our next issue…meet our new Project Manager!
Jeff Banks, Team Leader
Jeff was hired as a technician in March of this year. He quickly showed us that he was capable of taking on additional responsibilities within the company, and was recently promoted to Team Leader.
Dan Wright, Technician
Dan is our newest employee. He started here in late April and has fit right in with the rest of the technicians, doing whatever is asked of him without complaint.
Damage Control is proud to offer courses at its facility which count as three Continuing Education credits for property and casualty license holders. Currently we offer three different courses which our President, Jeff Skrilow, teaches on a rotating basis:
Mitigating Water Damage
Mitigating Damage from Smoke, Odor and Soot
And the newly added
Understanding the Process Through the Eyes of the Insured
The courses are in the morning after which a catered lunch is provided for all attendees. A $10 fee is collected, which goes directly towards processing your credits. Damage Control submits the course information and fee to the State, and we send you a completion certificate.
We offer an average of one class per month. Michael Bracey, our Business Development Coordinator, will keep you informed of upcoming classes, but you should also ‘like’ Damage Control Inc. on Facebook for news on all of our upcoming events and CE courses.