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Raven Supply Hits the Road (Again)! Making Visits to Our Friends in Michigan and Indiana

Linna and Merinda poise outside the Niles Factory in Michigan

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.

Tanks being manufactured at Niles Steel

“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.

Niles Steel tanks wait to be shipped in Michigan

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.

Linna and Merinda stand outside the Bryan Steam factory in Peru, Indiana

“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.

An inside view of the Bryan flexible tube boiler

“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.

Meet The Team: Our Exceptional Engineers

Nic, Bennett, Linna, and Merinda of the Raven Supply Engineering Team

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!

Supporting Rural Healthcare, One Boiler at a Time

Cutaway of the Weishaupt WM-G20/3-ZM Gas Burner

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.

A Bryan boiler with a Weishaupt burner in action

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.