Employee Highlight – James Prewitt

Our employees are what truly make Craig Industries a great company. We are so appreciative of their dedication and hard work. This month we’re highlighting a long-time employee, Production Supervisor, James Prewitt, who has been with the company for 10 years! 

Meet James Prewitt!

How did you get your start at Craig Industries?

I started after high school, working in the Finish Department.

What is your current role at Craig industries and what other positions have you held in the past?

I’m currently a 1st Shift Production Supervisor for the FIP/Finish, Foam, Setup/Enviro and Shipping departments. I’ve worked almost every department in the plant. I started in Finish before moving to Setup. I eventually took over the Foam department for 2 years before becoming the lead in FIP. I eventually moved on to do a year in Refrigeration, helping complete refrigeration units.

What do you like most about your current role?

I enjoy being in a position of leadership, overseeing multiple departments and increasing production numbers. I really enjoy working with the people in my departments and helping them grow and achieve their potential.

What kept you working with Craig Industries? And how has the company changed since you started?

We have become much more efficient as a company. I continue to work here because I love my job and I look forward to coming to work every day.

What has been your favorite project at Craig Industries?

I really enjoyed working in Drafting and also working in the field solving problems.

What three traits define you?

I am hard working, innovative and passionate about what I believe in.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

I enjoy bowling, working on my truck, and being a husband and father. I’m a big Chicago Cubs fan.

Tell us about your family. Any exciting developments?

I have the most beautiful 8 month old daughter. My wife Kayla and I have been married almost 5 wonderful years. My younger brother Kenny also lives with us.

Floral Storage & Display Coolers

Finally, spring is here! This means warmer weather, longer daylight hours, budding trees, and blooming flowers. And there is no better way to keep flowers fresh than with a U.S. Cooler Floral Cooler.

Floral coolers are essential to the flower industry when it comes to extending the longevity of freshly picked and arranged flowers. A U.S. Cooler Floral Cooler keeps flowers as fresh as the day they were harvested, longer than traditional commercial refrigerators.

Our floral coolers are made with the same premium quality materials as our other walk-in coolers and freezers. We can make floral storage and display coolers for florists, grocery floral departments, convenience stores and even for more nontraditional vendors like; hospitals, airports and for the small business owner. Our floral coolers are completely customizable which allows us to quickly produce any shape/size of cooler to best fit your specific needs.

U.S. Cooler’s Floral Coolers feature Low Air Velocity Refrigeration that holds the temperature constant while not damaging products with big gusts of air. Fluctuation in temperature and humidity can cause the stored flowers to wilt as they are exposed to frequent environmental changes. Extreme cold can also be more damaging to flowers than long exposure to room temperature due to frost damage. Our coolers are made with high performance insulation to keep the cool in so there is no need to excessively overchill your flowers. The influx of air is regulated and consistent, which allows for the proper storage of delicate plants and flowers.

Any size, shape or configuration, U.S. Cooler can provide you with a display cooler that will beautifully showcase your floral masterpieces. Our floral storage and display coolers are a great investment for your business and will perform for many years to come.

Floral cooler features:

  • High Performance Insulation
  • Custom Sizes & Options
  • Heated Glass Doors with LED Lighting
  • Interior & Exterior Metals
  • Low Air Velocity Refrigeration*
  • Sliding Doors

Call 800.521.2665 to be connected to a dealer near you or fill out this short form to get a floral walk-in or display refrigerator quote.

*Optional humidification may be necessary.

Click on thumbnail to see full sized images.

Employee Highlight – Steve Reckers

Our employees are what truly make Craig Industries a great company. We are so appreciative of their dedication and hard work. This month we’re highlighting a long-time employee, Lead Draftsman, Steve Reckers, who has been with the company for 26 years! 

Meet Steve Reckers!

How did you get your start at Craig Industries?

I was hired directly through U.S. Cooler where I have been working the past 26 years.

What is your current role at Craig industries and what other positions have you held in the past?

I am the Lead Draftsman.  Initially, I worked in the setup department for about 6 months.  Then, I moved to the metal line for about a year.  At that time, I became supervisor in setup for roughly a year and a half.  Then, I was the metal line supervisor for 7 years.  At that point, I moved to the drafting department and have been there ever since.

What do you like most about your current role?

I feel like drafting is a very good fit for my skill sets.

What kept you working with Craig Industries? And how has the company changed since you started?

I like the people I work with and I can be myself.  Obviously, technology has advanced a great deal since I started.  It is a more relaxed environment than it was 26 years ago.

What has been your favorite project at Craig Industries?

I like working with the guys from Joe’s Refrigeration.

What three traits define you?

Easy going, patient and aging.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

I like to watch sport:  Bulls, Cubs, and Bears.  I have bowled league for decades.

Tell us about your family. Any exciting developments?

I am married and have three children:  two boys (22 and 16) and a girl (14).  We have a 90 pound mutt named Jack and a recent addition to our family; Diane the cat.

The Effects of Ambient Temperature on Refrigeration Load Sizing

The key to determining the proper refrigeration load requirement for any box  rests on two general items:

  1. Product load or internal heat load. This would include incoming temperature of product being stored, heat of respiration of product being stored, any change of state of the product (freezing), and any heat given off by lights, motors, people, etc.
  2. External load. This would include any air infiltration load, radiant load through walls, ceiling, floors, etc.

Ambient temperature or ambient temperature difference from external box temperature to internal box temperature can have a significant impact on the load required.

On walk-in coolers for example, the difference in wall and infiltration loads from an 80°F ambient to a 90°F ambient is approximately 18-20%. From an 80°F ambient to a 100°F ambient that difference increases as much as 30%. See table 1.

Table 1

Data from Russell’s Engineering Manual

Table 2

Data from Russell’s Engineering Manual

In all cases, the refrigeration technician should use proper sizing tools such as the Russell Engineering manual RU-ENG-0313A to determine the proper load requirements.

Source: HTPG Tech Note February 2019

Quincy, IL, July, 23, 2018 – Michael Kendrick has been named Regional Sales Manager for U.S. Cooler’s Mid-East Territory, which includes the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. Kendrick is from Cincinnati, OH and brings with him many years of sales experience, most recently in the building industry. This experience, along with his energy and professionalism, will lend itself well toward serving U.S. Cooler’s customer base.

Our goal is to provide you with the best customer service possible and we believe Michael with help facilitate a great experience working with U.S. Cooler.

For additional information on Kendrick Named Mid-East Regional Sales Manager, contact Kaitie Herbranson or visit www.uscooler.com.

Oklahoma Retailers are Preparing for Big Changes to Beer, Liquor and Wine Sales

The Oklahoma Regulations Governing the Sale of Wine and Beer Amendment, also known as State Question 792, was on the November 8, 2016 ballot in Oklahoma. The SQ 792 supported completely changing the laws governing alcohol sales and distribution in the state, allowing grocery stores and convenience stores the ability to sell full-strength beer and wine. The SQ 792 was approved and will go into effect starting October 1, 2018.

Currently, the Oklahoma law allows beverages containing less than 3.2% ethanol by weight or 4% alcohol by volume to only be sold in licensed liquor stores at room temperature. Grocery stores and convenience stores are able to sell low-point beer at refrigerated temperatures. However, with the passing of SQ 792, any establishment with an alcohol license will be allowed to sell full-strength beer and refrigerated wine.

Being able to sell refrigerated alcohol beverages is the key change for many retailers in Oklahoma. Several of these retail locations have already started preparing for the changes that will go into effect this fall. Liquor stores are adding refrigerated storage, merchandising coolers and beer caves to their retail locations. Convenience stores that were only able to sell certain alcohol at cold temperatures, can now add to their display coolers. Retailers that have not started to prepare for these changes will need to act fast.

Although U.S. Cooler does not sell direct to merchants, we can help in the design and planning stages for additional cold storage space. Whether additional merchandising coolers or a Brew Cave is needed, U.S. Cooler can help retailers create the cold storage merchandising space required for this change.

Beer display in convenience store

 

ABOUT:

U.S. Cooler manufactures walk-in coolers and freezers supported with a complete line of engineered refrigeration systems, glass doors, parts and accessories. To learn more about U.S. Cooler, visit www.uscooler.com.

 

An Increase in Manufacturing Efficiency Reduces Production Lead Time

Year after year our manufacturing production has been challenged with the demand to keep up with the increase in sales. Last year was particularly “challenging” with no true slow-down in the demand for custom walk-in coolers and freezers.

U.S. Cooler has a continuous goal of improving efficiency and reducing waste; making us as lean as we can possibly be. Several positive impacts in the past year have taken place in our facilities to make U.S. Cooler even more efficient. Our manufacturing facility has recently added over 16% more production capability. By automating more processes, adding new equipment and adding managers to focus on efficiency, U.S. Cooler has been able to decrease our production lead time on custom orders to approximately three to four weeks. Naturally, our lead time can fluctuate depending on the market but we are hopeful that U.S. Cooler will be able to sustain this lead time on custom orders.