In February 2019, FortisBC announced the launch of a new prescriptive rebate offer with the aim of encouraging the adoption of high-efficiency steam boiler technologies in BC’s industrial and commercial sectors. It joins a host of other rebate programs that contribute to FortisBC’s overall objective of improving natural gas efficiency across the province.
We’re thrilled to announce that Raven Supply as FortisBC’s Conservation & Energy Management Commercial Partner delivered its first instant point of sale rebate to a customer using the new steam boiler rebate offer. FortisBC offers several prescriptive rebates that can be used towards the purchase of a new steam boiler or upgrades to existing systems meeting certain eligibility criteria.
The Commercial Partnership agreement allows Raven to assess customer eligibility during the sales process and deduct the rebate value straight off of our customer’s invoice, so customers can benefit from the savings immediately with zero uncertainty and minimal paperwork. This makes it very easy and approachable for end-users to take advantage of the program.
This customer chose to purchase a Fulton VMP-49.5 HP high-pressure steam boiler to replace their existing Fulton ICS-60 HP. This vertical tubeless boiler packs 49.5 horsepower into a heating surface area of less than 10 square meters, so the customer is not required to register the boiler plant or employ any Power Engineers under BC laws. This fact alone represents a huge cost-saving for most organizations, making the VMP-49.5 a tremendously popular boiler for process plants in British Columbia.
Because the Fulton VMP comes standard with parallel positioning controls, the customer’s invoice was instantly reduced by $9,000. In addition to the rebate savings, these features will save the customer thousands more in fuel costs due to higher operating efficiencies and reduced cycling losses. Jermin Hsieh, Conservation & Energy Management Program Manager at FortisBC provided feedback that Raven Supply provided excellent customer service by educating the customer on energy-efficient options and tying in point of sale rebates.
Looking to replace, upgrade, or make additions to your steam plant? Our engineers will work with you to determine the best solutions according to your needs while ensuring that you reap the maximum benefits of the FortisBC rebates. Contact us to get started!
Do you use natural gas to power your steam boiler systems as your only fuel during normal operations? Then we’re happy to be the bearer of some great news!
FortisBC is rolling out several prescriptive rebates that are applicable to the purchase of new steam boilers or upgrades to existing steam boilers meeting certain criteria. A policy in place since February 2019, The new steam boiler rebate structure makes it considerably easier for customers to take advantage of modern steam boiler technologies that can yield reduced operating costs, reduced maintenance requirements, lower carbon emissions, and improved reliability.
Raven Supply is proud to be a FortisBC Commercial Partner. We’re happy to assist you in determining which steam boiler rebates you might be able to obtain in your next steam boiler upgrade, replacement, addition, or new construction project. Call us today for a free consultation!
To be eligible for these steam boiler rebates, you must be a FortisBC customer using natural gas as your only fuel during normal operation. This includes dual-fuel burners used for emergency backup. For a complete list of criteria, visit the FortisBC website or call Raven for more information.
FortisBC offers rebates for steam boilers for four key technologies that can either be factory fitted on a new steam boiler or retrofitted onto an existing steam boiler as an upgrade:
Parallel positioning (often referred to as “linkage-less” control) is a precise, repeatable method of controlling the flow of fuel and air through a modulating burner. The fuel control valve and air damper are each moved by their own dedicated stepper motor actuators, each of which is electronically controlled by an air-fuel ratio controller.
On the other hand, a “linkage” burner uses a single servo motor to modulate both the fuel valve and air damper which are mechanically connected together by a series of adjustable jackshafts and linkage arms. The difference is similar to how modern electronic fuel injection systems compare to carburetors in automotive engines.
When air and fuel flow are parallel position systems, so when these elements are accurately controlled, a well-designed burner can be precisely tuned to minimize leftover oxygen in the exhaust throughout the full turndown range. This leftover oxygen in the exhaust is referred to as “excess air” and is inversely proportional to combustion efficiency. That means that lower excess air means lower fuel consumption.
There are many factors that can affect the net fuel savings realized by switching to parallel positioning controls. A typical estimate would be 5%, although savings of 15% or more are quite possible in certain circumstances. Linkage-less platforms like the Weishaupt W-FM and Siemens LMV are generally known to be safer, more reliable, and require less maintenance over time than conventional burner controls.
Steam Boiler Rebate Value -$16,000 – $18,000
Oxygen trim is an additional control feature that works in conjunction with parallel positioning. A sensor installed in the flue stack provides the burner controller with continuous closed-loop feedback of the O2 concentration in the flue gas, allowing it to automatically make fine adjustments to the air/fuel actuators as needed for optimal combustion. This makes the burner adaptive to changes in air temperature, atmospheric pressure, or other factors that may affect combustion. Net annual fuel savings of 1-2% are typical when this technology is correctly applied.
Total Dissolved Solids Blowdown Control
Steam Boiler Rebate Value – $4,000
In addition to bottom blowdowns, a commercial or industrial steam boiler needs regular surface blowdowns to be performed in order to flush out excess treatment chemicals, debris, and other impurities that may naturally collect at the water surface during operation. In practice, we associate the concentration of impurities with electrical conductivity, which is relatively easy to measure with current technology. A total dissolved solids (TDS) automatic blowdown system monitors the water conductivity and automatically performs blowdowns only when required. This ensures minimal water is wasted while maintaining good water chemistry, which contributes to both energy efficiency and equipment longevity.
Steam Boiler Rebate Value- $10,000 – 25,000
A stack economizer is a heat exchanger that extracts additional energy from a boiler’s flue gas and transfers it another medium which could be boiler feedwater, domestic water, or a hydronic heating loop. Economizers are typically found on larger boilers, usually mounted on top of the flue collector outlet. They offer the most energy savings in systems that consume a reasonably high percentage of cold make-up water, or where there is another consistent and substantial demand for water heating, such as a large domestic or process hot water load. Although economizers may add some complexity and space requirements to the system, they can produce significant energy savings when used in the right application.
Burner/Burner Control Retrofit (existing steam boiler upgrade)
Steam Boiler Rebate Value- Up to $49,000
Upgrading your existing steam boiler by upgrading the burner is a great way to increase fuel efficiency, improve reliability, improve overall boiler performance, and reduce maintenance/downtime expenses. Depending on the total project cost, FortisBC will offer up to $49,000 as an incentive for adding parallel positioning and oxygen trim to your existing boiler. In many cases, a burner retrofit can be completed within a few days, with minimal impact on the rest of your operations. Contact us to find out if your boiler is a good candidate for an upgrade!
Does the Fortis Steam rebate apply to your system? Click here for a Steam Boiler Rebate application and get your new steam boiler upgrades on their way today!
Our very own VP of Engineering Nic Sun recently went through a bit of a name change, or rather a name upgrade.
On August 21st, Nic became officially recognized as a Professional Engineer in the Province of BC. That distinction comes with a new designation abbreviated as P. Eng Nic can proudly add when writing out his full formal name.
Nic is still the same adrenaline-loving aspiring race car driver we know and love. But now, in addition to his Bachelors’s Degree in Integrated Engineer from the University of BC, Nic has another certification to prove that doing consistently good work can take you a long way.
“It was a long process,” Nic says. “But it feels great to have it under my belt now, and I think it will help bring new opportunities to me and my team moving forward.”
Nic’s process to become a P. Eng began even before his graduation from UBC. As an undergraduate, he made the decision to participate in the university’s co-op program, which as it happens, is how he first met the Raven Supply team.
After graduation, Nic registered as a Mechanical Engineer in Training (EIT) and began working as a designer at a Vancouver consulting firm. But soon, he was back at Raven Supply, taking on his first of several roles with our company as a Sales Engineer.
“Nowadays, it seems like an increasing number of projects are requiring us to have more significant involvement and responsibility in the design, installation, and commissioning processes,” Nic comments. “It’s almost like the lines between the consultant, contractor, and equipment supplier are beginning to blur.”
During the past 4 years, Nic has proven his engineering skills and insights by taking responsibility for larger and more complex projects and helping Raven grow across sectors. He eventually assumed the role of VP of Engineering, all while he was completing the steps to obtain his Professional Engineer license.
“I wrote the exam. I completed the seminar. And I provided 34 written examples of my work to prove my competency, each of which had to be validated by another P. Eng,” explains Nic. “After that, everything was accessed by EGBC’s registered committee, and they granted me my license.”
“As Engineers, we’re experiencing more direct involvement with entities like Technical Safety BC and Fortis BC,” Nic continues. “Therefore, it is important that we are not only technically competent but also knowledgeable in the legal and ethical aspects of how we are involved in these projects. These are all things that are learned in the process of becoming a Professional Engineer, so I think there is significant value in attaining this designation as a specialized equipment supplier.”
To find out more about the Professional Engineer in the Province of BC program, swing by the Raven Supply office anytime to congratulate Nic in person.
Surrey BC is a city in a period of growth. The third fastest-growing city in Canada, Surrey welcomes more than 1000 new residents every month. It’s affordable housing prices make it a desirable spot for young couples and recent immigrants to set up their home.
But not everyone is benefiting from this economic boom. In Surrey alone, an average of 600 people sleep on the streets every night, in doorways, makeshift shelters, tents, or dilapidated motor homes without heat or plumbing. This number soars to over 2,000 when you count the entire homeless population of the Greater Vancouver area.
Surrey is also the home of Raven Supply. Our head office is located near the rapidly growing Newton area. Our staff live nearby and know the businesses and community first hand. We also try to do what they can to give back to the city when we can.
Inside Sales Engineer Merinda Widmer kept this in mind when she chose NightShift Street Ministries as the recipient of her Raven Giving Fund donation.
“I chose NightShift as my non-profit organization because of the amazing things they’re doing for Surrey’s homeless population,” she explains. “At a time when more than 7,000 people in our province are homeless, their services are more crucial than ever.”
During a 2018 survey of the homeless population in BC, 58% of individuals surveyed reported that they live with two or more medical conditions, while 44% reported one medical condition and 33% reported a physical disability. When it came to mental illness, the numbers were also sobering, with 40% of respondents battling mental health conditions as well as spending cold nights on the street.
“It’s always surprised me how many misconceptions people have about the homeless community,” Merinda says, adding that she believes that no one is to fault for ending up without a roof over their head.
“This organization does fantastic things to help our local homeless population,” she continues. “In 2017, NightShift provided 36,500 hot meals, 3,500 warm blankets, 810 safe nights of sleep for women, and 105 evenings of the car bus. All this and more without any government funding.”
Merinda’s Raven Giving Fund contribution of $250.00 will go towards helping NightShift continue this valuable work. Every year, the Raven Giving Fund gives each of our employees $250.00 to donate to a charity or non-profit organization of their choice. Thanks Merinda for being a great community member and an outstanding member of the Raven team!
To find out more about NightShift, please click here.
Deaerators, boiler feed systems, blowdown separators and more.
Here at Raven Supply, we’re always excited to connect with new suppliers. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce a new partnership with Industrial Steam.
Industrial Steam is a longstanding engineering and manufacturing company known for their exceptional catalog of boiler heaters and ancillary equipment that includes state-of-the-art deaerators, wet steam accumulators, and feedwater, blowdown, and fuel oil systems.
Established in 1952, Industrial Steam was born out of a spirit of invention by self-taught engineer Martin “Mike” Bekedam and by Jim Williams, who joined the company early on. Together, they perfected their boiler systems to serve a huge variety of customers that included wineries, meat processing facilities, and tomato processing plants. Together they built and perfected customized boilers, burners, deaerators and chemical feed systems.
It was in this way that from its earliest days, Industrial Steam distinguished itself as an early adopter of technology and an innovator in the industry. So it was no surprise to us that its product line includes some cutting-edge offerings. For example, the one-of-a-kind Industrial Steam Jet Spray deaerator offers new potential for boiler protection by using a 2-stage process to remove atomized water in order to reduce oxygen in boiler systems. And Industrial Steam’s sturdy skid-mounted oil pump sets and day tanks for ring main distribution systems offer built to use filtration systems that automatically filter and chemical treat the fuel to remove water, microbes and solids which are discharged into a containment tank.
Industrial Steam is based in Atlantic Iowa, and we’re sure happy to bring their product line up to our Surrey BC warehouse for our commercial and industrial customers in BC and the Yukon.
Grandparents play a much more substantial role in children’s lives than simply providing free childcare, according to some recent studies. A 2018 study claims that children who have regular interactions with grandparents have less behavioural problems, and one from 2014 suggests that kids who have regular interactions with a grandparents are less likely to suffer from depression as adults.
But in Metro Vancouver, where many young families are far from home and extended relatives, children are often raised with once a week Skype calls as their only contact to grandparents overseas. That’s where the Volunteer Grandparents come in. Volunteer Grandparents is a non-profit organization that connects seniors with some spare time to children in our community who don’t have grandparents nearby.
Linna Luu knows how important grandparents are in a family from personal experience.
“My grandparents have made a great impact on my life,” explains Linna. These days, Linna is a Project Engineer at Raven Supply. When it came time for her to make a donation to the organization of her choice through the Raven Giving Fund, Linna wanted to help other kids have the same beneficial experiences that helped her become successful.
“I’m positive these Volunteer Grandparents will make a significant difference in the lives of many children,” Linna explains. She knows that like any relationship, the one between child and grandparents is a win-win on both sides. “I think that seniors often get left behind in our society, and this non-profit provides a way for these seniors to share their knowledge and experience with a younger generation while staying connected with their community,” she adds.
Volunteer Grandparents runs several programs. The Family Match program matches the volunteer with a family with kids aged 3 to 14 looking for the senior to take part in their family community. The School Grandparents Program connects seniors with elementary students, and the Ambassador program gives seniors the chance to volunteer at summer events.
But like everything she does, Linna had a very specific plan for her $250.00 Raven Giving Fund donation, and made the decision to direct her support to the Volunteer Grandparents’ Florio Bursary Program “I specifically chose to support the Florio bursary because of the process required to be eligible for this bursary – the Volunteer Grandparents must provide a written explanation on why the grandchild they recommend should receive financial assistance to help fund an activity such as piano lessons or ski lessons,” she explains.
“This process not only provides a screening process for applicants, but also shows the children that their Volunteer Grandparents think of them and care for them as much as a biological grandparent would.”
Thank you Linna for all your hard work, and for doing what you can to make sure more children have the support they need to achieve their own successes.
Raven Supply works with consultants and contractors from all across BC and the Yukon. Phone calls and emails are nice, but when we get the chance, we love to travel to meet these partners in person and get to know the city they call home, too.
So when Merinda Widmer and Linna Luu got the opportunity to take a short trip to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories in June, they jumped at the chance.
Merinda and Linna, two of our engineers, were especially excited to check in on a few of our boiler projects in person, as well as find out more about this community that Raven Supply works in.
“We got to see the three Bryans we have at Whitehorse General Hospital,” says Linna. “We also dropped by Yukon College to see how our venting compared to the other stacks.”
Impressed (but not surprised) with how well these projects were holding up, next stop on the agenda was getting to know the people and places of Whitehorse.
“It was great getting to meet all the consultants, engineering firms and contractors we work with on a regular basis,” explains Merinda. “It’s fantastic to finally put faces to these names we know so well!”
“Everyone was very welcoming and took time out of their schedules to speak with us. The sense of community is very apparent!” adds Linna.
With a population of around 25,000, a strong sense of community in a smaller city like Whitehorse is to be expected. But our engineers enjoyed the way this community atmosphere existed side by side with bustling downtown core of this Provincial Capital.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of restaurants, cafes, and breweries Whitehorse has to offer,” explains Linna. “Given Whitehorse’s population, I was expecting only a handful of eateries to choose from. Boy was I wrong!”
In fact, Linna and Merinda found more than enough to keep them busy each of their three days in the city.
“The MacBride Museum was very interesting to walk through,” recalls Linna. “We were also lucky enough to have Bob Baxter from Yukon Brewing give us a tour of the brewery and show us the engineering that was involved in their process!”
“One afternoon, Linna and I visited the Miles Canyon suspension footbridge and got to see one of the many amazing views Whitehorse has to offer!” says Merinda.
“I’ll remember to bring my hiking shoes and explore some nearby trails on my next visit,” chimes in Linna, laughing.
No good trip is complete without trying out a few favourite local feasts.
“Last but not least,” says Merinda, “Trying the famous bread pudding from Klondike Rib & Salmon was definitely a highlight.”
With so many highlights, the time flew by, and soon Merinda and Linna were back on a plane heading home to Surrey BC. But for these avid travelers, another trip to meet our community of suppliers, contractors and clients is surely just a short hop and adventure away.
Remember Nic Sun? He’s our make-it-happen VP of Engineering with a love of all things high-octane and high pulse rate too (more on that here).
Well, it turns out Nic is off on another adventure – learning the ins and outs of high speed driving at the Mission Raceway. His specific vehicle of choice to train on is his very own Subaru WRX.
Nic purchased this 2015 model completely brand new in 2014 following his graduation from the University of British Columbia. Since then he’s been working on upgrades to bring out the best in his vehicle. And like everything else, Nic didn’t just take this task on half way.
First he changed the air and exhaust ducting, upgraded the turbo controls, and perfected the ECU tuning to improve the engine’s power delivery. Next came upgrades to the brakes, drivetrain mounts, suspension, and differentials.
“These changes came together to bring out the car’s full potential, making it capable of contending with a lot of other higher end sports cars,” explains Nic. “I find it amusing to see the similarities between tuning a forced draft burner and a turbocharged car.”
It turns out that these are just a few of the many similarities between streamlining a car’s speed and building a more efficient boiler systems.
“Efficiency, power output and reliability are all affected by variables like air and exhaust duct diameters, combustion air temperature and pressure, air/fuel ratio, and presence of emissions control devices. The car’s ECU even uses the same data communication protocol that is found in the LMV linkage-less burner control platform!” Nic says, adding “maybe this is why so many burner technicians are also car enthusiasts…?”
All Nic’s hard work came together as he saw just what his newly upgraded and turbocharged vehicle could do on the racetrack.
“The track day was loads of fun and taught me a lot about how the car performs at the limit under extreme conditions. It was a very hot day which put a lot of strain on everything so it was a great test of what this Subaru could do ” he says, smiling.
As he pushed that pedal to the metal, Nic’s fiancé Christina also came along for the ride. Used to life at the speed of Nic, she spent the day hanging on for dear life and laughing the whole time.
Nic shared the track with Tony Pregal of T’N’T Energy Systems. We’re proud to annouce Tony as the driver of a GTM race car sponsored by Raven Supply that proudly sports our logo alongside the logo of Room to Read, a global literacy charity we support with help of our customers and vendors. We look forward to seeing Tony compete this year, and hopefully take the championship title in 2019.
As VP of Engineering, Nic Sun gives his all to every project he takes on. That means that Monday to Friday, Nic is ready, energized and enthusiastic about every proposal or client plan that he dives into. On the weekend, Nic finds another way to get his energy out- by making the most of the outdoor activities offered by the incredible mountains, lakes and oceans surrounding Greater Vancouver.
So when it came to deciding where to send his Raven Giving Fund donation, it seemed only natural that Nic would pick an organization that helps make the great outdoors accessible to everyone. That’s why, this year, Nic selected Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports (VASS) to as recipient of his Raven Giving Fund donation. Introduced in 2018, the Fund gives each of our employees $250.00 a year to donate to the charity or community group of their choice.
“Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports enables persons with disabilities to access the mountain experience, allowing them to discover their unique capabilities with the assistance of coaches and mentors,” he explains.
“Skiing and mountains have been a huge part of my life since birth. To me, nothing else in the world delivers a greater sense of freedom, joy and self-expression,” he adds. “These are all fundamental parts of the human experience that I believe all people are entitled to.”
Nic’s donation will help support VASS’s ski and snowboard programs for people living with physical and intellectual disability. This non-profit, membership based organization is run entirely by volunteer instructors who offer snowboarding, skiing, and sit-skiing classes for students of every level and any age group.
Every instructor is Canadian Adaptive Snowsport (CADS) certified, and is dedicated to working side by side with VASS members to help them achieve their athletic goals. For some more serious members, that means preparing for races as a member of the VASS Blue Streaks Adaptive Alpine Racing Program. The Blue Streaks practice twice a week and enter general races hosted by the Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski club.
VASS also hosts the annual VASS Cup event. The VASS Cup features snowboard, ski and sit-ski races, along with sledge hockey, an adaptive snow sports experience zone, a silent auction, and even a costume contest! This year, more than 300 people came out for this event, which raised $83,000 for VASS’s programs. You can check the VASS Cup in the media here.
Thanks Nic, for letting us know about this cool organization. To find out more, visit www.vass.ca.
In 2018, Raven Supply raised $24,000 to fund 60 scholarships for girls in Tanzania participating in Room to Read’s Girls Education program. But while fundraising is very important, we believe that supporting an organization in full means meeting the people powering these projects first hand.
Each year, we send one of our team members to visit one of Room to Read’s projects in the developing world. This year, Project Engineer Linna Luu hopped on a plane and headed to Tanzania to meet the teachers, families, and students participating in the Girls Education program there.
During her trip, Linna had the opportunity to visit two Room to Read schools- one in Kibaha and one in Kongowe. At every turn, Linna was welcomed by school management and teachers, who spoke highly of the progress they’ve witnessed in students that participate in the Girls Education program.
“The Room to Read staff were very friendly and knowledgeable. They were able to answer any questions I had about the program and the schools that we visited,” Linna remarks. “They were also very patient in providing translations for me while the classes were in session. They all care very much about the work they do with Room to Read.”
“I saw a library that was funding through Room to Read’s literacy program. The colourful decor within the library definitely made it feel welcoming!
” She smiles, adding that the schools were larger than she expected, with multiple buildings and large outdoor play areas.
“The girls were all eager to participate in class, in contrast to my experience with school in Canada where the majority of my classmates rarely raised their hands,” she adds. “Additionally, they were awesome public speakers and killed the presentations and role play acts that were completed during class.”
Another special moment of Linna’s trip came in the form of a conversation she had with a mother whose daughter is enrolled in the Girls Education program.
“I spoke to a mother who was very appreciative of the work Room to Read does,” she recalls. “It was obvious she was proud of her own involvement with the program. Not surprising, as Room to Read’s success relies on support from the local communities.”
Speaking of community, Raven Supply is so grateful for our community of vendors and customers here in Greater Vancouver that make it possible for us to donate to Room to Read time and time again. Whenever we receive a donation, we match it dollar for dollar, and it adds up fast- to date, we’ve contributed over $170,000 to projects in India, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia and Tanzania.
Raven Supply gave our first donation to Room to Read in 2013. We picked this organization due to their impressive financials and their focus on educating disadvantaged children around the world. To date, we’ve contributed over $170,000 to projects in India, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia and Tanzania. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our Raven Supply community- thanks for everything!
When it came time for General Manager and Partner Ashley Bouchard to make a choice about how to spend her Raven Giving Fund donation, she knew exactly what to do.
“I chose to donate to the Surrey Women’s Centre- Surrey Mobile Assault response team, because the statistic of 1 out of 3 women who experience physical or sexual assault in their lifetime is too high,” she explains.
“It’s my hope with this program is that women will be able to get out of dangerous situations, and in turn raise healthy, happy, and strong children,” Ashley says. “It’s all about stopping the cycle of abuse and violence. Everyone can use help and these programs help prove that you don’t have to go through this alone.”
Ashley has been a supporter of the Surrey Women’s Centre for the last 7 years. In addition to the Mobile Assault response team, this non-profit organization operates as a crisis centre for women and girls escaping domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence complete with a drop-in centre, workshops, and legal and counselling services .
Ashley first came in contact with the organization when she was looking for some place to donate clothing and household items and came across the Sharing Closet at their Drop-In Centre location. Immediately, she was surprised and impressed by the selection of services this organization provides to women in need.
“What I love about them is that they do not charge the ladies to take clothing and supplies home. They have shopping days on Wednesday where the ladies can come in to a comfortable environment and get the things they need.” Ashley smiles. “They also take children’s items and personal care items as well.”
Like every staff member, Ashley got the opportunity to drop-in and give her donation to the Surrey Women’s Centre staff in person.
“I felt very fortunate to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause in our local neighbourhood. The team at the centre was so welcoming and eager to share stories about the rest of the work that they do,” she recalls.
The Raven Giving Fund gives each member of our Raven Supply team with a $250.00 donation to give to a community group or non-profit they feel passionate about. It’s just part of our way of staying connected to our community, and also supporting our team members in their interests and passions outside of work. Curious? Read more about it here.
This April, two of our team members headed south to spend time getting know the people behind the products we support.
Inside Sales Engineer Merinda Widmer and Project Engineer Linna Luu hopped on a plane heading to the Midwest of the good ol’ U.S. of A to stop in and visit two of our vendors.
First stop was Niles Steel Tanks in Niles, Michigan. Niles Steel Tanks fabricates custom built pressure vessels for a variety of industries, and we often use their products on commercial and institutional projects throughout BC.
“We were very impressed at just how organized this factory is, especially with so many things going on,” remarked Merinda. A highlight of the visit was seeing the process it takes to make the Ultonium™ glass lining that Niles uses for their hot water applications.
“It was fascinating to see the vessels being fired at 1500° F, the melting point of Ultonium™, and then “soaked” at that temperature for a period of time, which bonds the Ultonium™ to the steel substrate,” she says.
Merinda and Linna were also amused by a blast from the past when their guide Terry shared some photos from the earliest days of Niles Steel Tanks. The photos showed tanks being built from the ground up in the back of trucks! Even more remarkable though is previous owner Jerome C. Woods’ legacy of helping to develop the ASME code that is now a standard required of all boiler supplies.
Next up on the itinerary was a quick road trip south to Peru, Indiana, home of the Byran Steam factory.
Bryan Steam has been in the steam business for more than 100 years, and is the leader in flexible water tubing. In fact, their flexible water tubes were a staple of steam operated tractors- that is, until motors overtook this market.
These days, Bryan Steam has transformed their water tube technology into leading boiler products. Bryan Steam has an advantage over other boiler manufacturers because they manufacture boilers that can be disassembled at the factory and the reassembled at their final destination. This is especially important in locations with restricted space, for example when a contractor needs to replace a boiler in a mechanical room with limited access.
“Visiting Bryan was such a good experience,” says Linna. “Witnessing a knock down boiler in person really makes you appreciate all the work that goes into manufacturing a flexible tube boiler.”
But Merinda and Linna weren’t just sightseeing- they were at Bryan Steam with a specific project in mind.
“Bryan Steam is providing the knock down boiler we’re using in our retrofit project with Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital. This is the first time we’ve used one of these knock-down models,” explains Linna. Linna and Merinda were there to learn first hand the ins and outs of knocking down and reassembling the Bryan Steel boiler for this project. To find out more about our involvement in this rural healthcare initiative, please click here.
Their time in Peru, Indiana wasn’t all work though- the Bryan Steam team took our Raven Supply roadtrippers out for a meal.
“For lunch, we enjoyed a favourite local restaurant, where we were introduced to the famous pork tenderloin sandwich,” recalls Linna, laughing.
Now Merinda and Linna are back, and armed with even more knowledge to bring to our projects and customers. Feel free to ask them more about their travels next time you’re in the office.
Day to day, the ins and outs of running a thriving business can distract from the fact that our business is a part of a larger community. One way that our company keeps our connection to our community in focus is through the Raven Giving Fund.
Introduced in 2018, the Fund provides each of our team members with $250.00 a year to donate towards a community group of their choosing. For Office Administrator Megan Davies, this meant giving to a local organization that she holds dear- the S.O.S. Children’s Village in Surrey BC. Megan has a background that includes teaching english to school aged children overseas, so we weren’t surprised when she decided to spend her Giving Fund allotment on programs for children here at home.
“I chose this non-profit because I’m passionate about children and raising kids in a healthy, loving, and safe environment,” she says.
S.O.S. Children’s Village provides Lower Mainland children and youth in care with an alternative model of foster care that operates separate from the provincial system. S.O.S. Children’s Village services includes foster homes, an inclusive and supportive community, and social, art and therapy programs all designed to help foster children and youth grow into caring, self-reliant adults. One of the most unique aspects of this approach is ‘the village’ – a cluster of of 5 foster homes where children live together with adults who care as a community.
“There are thousands of foster children in BC and Canada who aren’t raised in stable environments, and so they don’t get the guidance they need,” explains Megan. “If I can contribute to this group home and positively impact the environment of these children and youth even in a small way, I would be grateful.”
Megan’s contribution of $250 through the Raven Giving Fund can be used to cover the costs for a session of the Village Learning Club– a homework club where foster children can get help from BC Certified Teacher Support as well as enjoy themselves through guided games and physical activities.
S.O.S. Children’s Village in Surrey also helps fill another major gap in support many teens in care face when they ‘age out’ of the system, usually when they’re 18. S.O.S. Children’s Village makes sure the youth in their care are ready once it’s their time to strike out on their own with a gradual independence program. Teens start gaining the knowledge they’ll need as adults beginning at 16, and the program culminates with them receiving an “apartment in a box” with many of the supplies they’ll need – including a bed.
Thanks Megan for inspiring us with your charity choice for the Raven Giving Fund! To find out
more about S.O.S. Children’s Village in Surrey and to get involved, visit them online here.
Taking a look at our team of engineers, you could easily mistake this bright crew for a group of students. But proving the adage that age has no bearing on one’s success, Raven Supply’s tight team of talented engineers may be young, but offer the right combination of experience and knowledge to stand out as industry leaders.
Shortly after graduating from UBC Integrated Engineering program in 2014, Nic Sun joined our team in the role of an Outsides Sales Engineer. Nic first got to know Raven Supply as a company during his 2012 rotation as our coop students, but these days he’s known around here as the VP of Engineering.
That means that Nic is always in motion- visiting engineering and contractor offices and also working with our clients one-on-one to determine their unique needs. But if you can catch him mid-action, the skills he’s gained through extended service training as well as hands on experience on the job site are a treat worth watching, and his success proves that he’s guiding the engineering team in the right direction.
Nic’s fast upward trajectory speaks to the importance of Raven Supply’s policy on employee growth. Here at Raven Supply, we do the best we can to give our employees the opportunity to flex and grow into the right position for their skills and talents.
Bennett Lee is another example of rising talent that has become an invaluable part of our team. Bennett Lee came to our company as a coop student in 2007, and then joined our team full time in 2008 after graduating from UBC’s Bachelor of Commerce program. Initially working with our clients as a Venting Estimator, Bennett quickly graduated to VP of Venting Sales. Now days, Bennett is the one training our incoming co-op students as well as our entire team on the latest and greatest in venting products.
Linna Luu stepped into her role as an Inside Sales Engineer in 2016 after completing her Chemical Engineering degree at the University of Alberta. Linna joined the team at the perfect time, just as we needed a capable new individual to round out our Venting Department. Since then she’s excelled in a series of roles at Raven Supply, demonstrating exceptional technical abilities and close attention to the important small details. Currently in the essential position of Project Engineer, Linna is extremely valuable to our team and to our customers, offering adaptations for each project’s unique needs flawlessly and with ease.
Merinda Widmer also comes to us from the University of Alberta’s Chemical Engineering program. The most recent addition to our Engineering Team, Merinda joined us in 2018 as an Inside Sales Engineer. First hired to support the needs of our many venting customers, Merinda had proven herself to be a valuable all around team member. Now her responsibilities extend to design projects, tanks, and other parts. This quick learner with a keen eye for detail also brings a lovely outgoing personality. We know Merinda is destined for great things, and we can’t wait to see what her future here at Raven Supply holds.
Truly, Raven Supply wouldn’t be the company it is today without these bright and ambitious individuals. A big THANKS to our Engineering Team- we couldn’t do it without you!
The team at Raven Supply is big on new technology, so when it came time for Bennett Lee to get a new car, it was no surprise that he decided to make the leap and test out the potential of electric vehicles.
Bennett has been driving his 2005 Honda Civic to our Surrey office from his home in South Vancouver since he joined the team in 2008. However, lately, his trusty vehicle has been showing signs that it’s ready to retire to the great compactor in the sky as it trudged along with one working electric door lock and a whopping 300,000 km of driving distance under its hood.
That’s how Bennett came to be the proud owner of a 2019 Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
Bennett’s new Volt can be found at its charging station in the back of Raven Supply’s office. He can count on 85 km of driving distance on the battery alone but don’t worry; the vehicle has a gas backup of 500 kms for all the venting site reviews with our customers that they have come to count on & appreciate!
If you’re ever in our neighbourhood and need a charge, please stop by. Bennett will be happy to share his charger along with his enthusiasm for the potential of the electric car market.
Raven Supply has secured the boiler supply contract for Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital with heating contractor West Kootenay Mechanical. This retrofit project is engineered by top-tier global design firm Stantec.
Located in Trail, BC, between Grand Forks and Nelson, Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital provides core physician specialties, 24 hour emergency and trauma services, Level 2 laboratory, acute and obstetrical care, psychiatry, and chemotherapy services for the West Kootenay region, covering Kettle Valley, east of Castlegar through to Nelson.
We will be supplying a Bryan RV700 high pressure steam boiler with a Weishaupt WM-G20/3-ZM High Efficiency Gas Burner. The reliability and efficiency of the burner is imperative for the Interior Health Authority on a project in such a remote area. The Weishaupt linkageless burners are virtually service free after being commissioned. Additionally, Bryan boilers are known for their long lasting, fully field serviceable units which allow any contractor to remove and replace boiler tubes with ease.
Due to the tight installation required for these particular units, the boilers will be shipped as “knock down” boilers, directly from the Bryan Steam Facility in Peru, Indiana. While the section block will be fully assembled, all of the trim and jackets will be left off and assembled on site. Raven Supply will be flying a technician along with Raven’s Project Engineer Linna Luu and Inside Sales Engineer Merinda Widmer to supervise the disassembly of these units to ensure the project continues smoothly once these units are on site.
We are looking forward to working with Stantec and Interior Health on another fantastic project.
At Raven Supply, we’re excited to gear up into another year of fundraising for the outstanding literacy non-profit Room to Read.
Last year, thanks to the support of our customers and vendors, we surpassed our original fundraising goal of $20,000, reaching a total of $24,000 raised, bringing our total amount raised for Room to Read since 2013 to $170,000.
This year, we have our sights set on raising another $30,000 to provide 75 Nepalese girls with scholarships through Room to Read Nepal. Today the charity’s Literacy and Girls’ Education Programs in Nepal continue to make a tangible mark on the educational well-being of Nepali children, although there are still many challenges.
Nepal is a small, landlocked country wrought with political instability and widespread poverty. About 40% of students drop out before finishing the primary grades, and a third of children aged 5 to 14 work instead of attending school. Additionally, the 2015 Nepal earthquake destroyed school buildings across the country, leaving one million students without a place to learn.
Young girls in Nepal face additional barriers to their education because they’re at a greater risk of dropping out due to financial limitations of families and the pressure to marry early. 40% of girls will marry before 18, and this is one reason that the country’s female population is 22% less likely to be literate than their male counterparts.
The only organization in Nepal that focuses solely on literacy and gender equality in education, the Room to Read’s Girls’ Education program has supported nearly 5,000 girls since 2001. The charity has piloted an early warning system to identify students in the program who are at risk of dropping out, allowing for early intervention and support. Early detection allows for social mobilizers in Nepal to visit these girls at home, mentor them, and tutor them on the content of missed classes.
So far, over $2000 has already been raised in 2019 between Raven Supply and our community of customers and vendors for Room to Read Nepal. We couldn’t do it without you!
That’s why we love sharing updates and news about just how many scholarships have been raised out personalized thank you letters to our customer and vendor supporters. Additionally, Megan Davies here at Raven Supply will visit the Room to Read Nepal project this year to take photos and report back on all the outstanding work happening there, and we’ll sure to keep you updated here.
Recently, the Raven Supply team went to Chicago to learn more about the latest advances in burner technology.
Our trip to the Windy City gave us a chance to do some hands on training at the SSC Combustion for Siemens Controls and Weishaupt USA facilities. The four of us- Bennett Lee, Nc Sun, Merinda Widmer, and Linna Luu- spent time at each facility, touring and learning all we could about various new models on the market.
“The Weishaupt model installed inside the SCC Chicago office was very impressive,” recounts Bennett. “Seeing a red burner on a brochure versus feeling the substantial heft of the material and seeing light bounce off that shiny finish in person is worlds’ apart.”
“We even got the opportunity to ‘service’ the burner where we swung open the burner head hinge. It was very enlightening to see the ease of service and now I understand why service technicians love this aspect of the Weishaupt design,” he adds.
Merinda also appreciated the up close and personal experience that comes with visiting a facility in person.
“At SSC, we spent a lot of time just playing around with the demo machine. It taught me how to navigate the control system and troubleshoot,” she says. “David Lehrer was a fantastic instructor. We learnt A LOT in two days and got to ask question
Nic was struck by the accuracy and ease of the newest burner technology to hit the marketplace.
“Siemens’ stepper motor actuators have redundant position feedback sensors, accurate to 0.1 degrees of rotation. Because there are 2 sensors, the actuators never require recalibration,” he enthuses.
In addition to our training, we spent some time enjoying the sights of Chicago, and even put in some time trying our luck at the lanes at the famous Pinstripes bowling alley.
“I was surprised by the number of bowling alleys in Chicago, and how up-scale they were!” continues Bennett. “It was fun hanging out with the team and having an upscale dining experience at a bowling alley. Almost placed #1 in the overall bowling score with a 2nd half run but unfortunately I couldn’t complete the comeback!”
Here at Raven Supply, we’re always doing our best to stay up to date on the latest and greatest in burner technology, so that we can bring you the best service possible. Stay tuned for more news on our next adventure!
Like any crew of friends, the tight knit team here at Raven Supply enjoys trying out new things together.
We often get together to share meals for birthday and holidays. But our most recent excursion took us a bit further out of our comfort zone. Switching our office chairs for the driver’s seat at TBC Go Karts in Richmond, we set out together for a day of relaxing and mostly safe fun. But we soon discovered another thing we have in common- a competitive streak that comes out alongside the urge to break speed records on the Go Kart track!
We were joined on this adventure by Tony Pregal from T’N’T’ Energy Systems. Tony has earned himself an honourary spot on our team, helping us out on a daily basis. We appreciate the hard work he’s put in performing the majority of our boiler start-ups, and were thrilled he could join us for a fun afternoon out.
After two hours showing off our skills on the track, we were sore, tired, and covered in soot. We took a break to regain our strength trackside for some pizza before our final exciting race. Tony walked away in first place, cashing in on the hours he’s put behind the wheel in his BMW at Mission Raceways, with Nic and Merinda squeezing in at a close second and third in the final lap.
All in all, the day included some pretty dramatic drifts, a few tires left on the sidelines, and tons of laughter. Our entire team enjoyed the experience, and can’t wait for our next big adventure.
Here at Raven Supply, our team has doubled from 4 to 8 in the past five years. As we continue to grow, we know just how important it is to find memorable ways to bond as a team, get to know one another, and make our office a place people look forward to coming to each day.
We hope that our happiness and pride in our workplace team is something our customers enjoy too, and always welcome you to stop by and say hello when you’re in the neighbourhood!