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In an effort to decrease paperwork and improve work function and flexibility for its customers, INTREN has developed a way to provide instantaneous proof of an employee’s Operator Qualifications (OQ) during a client, regulator or internal audit. Before going live this April, INTREN’s operations and support services worked together to implement QR codes on INTREN gas personnel I.D. badges. A QR (Quick Response) code is a matrix barcode optical label that contains information and data that can be read when scanned by today’s modern cellphones.  Badges now display an individual’s OQs through a QR code scanner when viewed on a mobile device.

Led by Steve Canestrini, INTREN Operator Qualifications Manager, and the Human Resources and Information Technology departments, INTREN successfully partnered with staff at MEA to take the auto-generated QR codes and place them on the gas division’s I.D. badges. Now, inspectors or regulators at worksites simply use a QR code reader on their smart phone to scan the INTREN badges, and information regarding the individual’s qualifications will be displayed. Once the information is displayed, the inspectors or regulators can determine the OQ tasks an individual is qualified to complete.

Before the I.D. badge update, crews were required to produce paperwork as proof of employee’s qualification levels before beginning work on any project. Work was sometimes stalled when performing audits while employees retrieved the necessary paperwork required for proof of certification. Certification papers were sorted through, presented and approved before work could resume.

With the I.D. badge update, INTREN worksites are more efficient as audits can happen with little interruption of work. With the help of the Human Resources department, it takes just minutes to update an individual’s OQ information. INTREN is now equipped to readily present verification to its clients that it is providing a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. The update also helps employees understand what type of work they are qualified to perform. For most OQ Tasks, individuals are required to requalify every three years.  


New in 2016, INTREN is proud to announce the launch of our new interactive safety game. We unveiled it at this year’s Midwest Mutual Assistance Group’s (MMA) Conference in Chicago, Illinois, and then showcased it at the May Midwest Energy Association’s (MEA) Electric Operations and Technical Leader Summit in Springfield, Illinois, and again at Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) Annual Convention in June in Chicago, Illinois.  At each of these conferences, INTREN invited attendees to test their utility safety skills and to share their safety knowledge.

In a time limit of 60 seconds, the game asks the attendees to identify only the photos that depict unsafe procedures. Procedures may include: incorrect PPE, misplaced safety cones, tripping hazards, etc.  Accompanied by photos of safe procedures, attendees select the unsafe photos as they fall from the top of an interactive touch screen. The game provides an interactive way to showcase unsafe behavior that could occur in the field, and how to identify and correct them.

As an industry leader in safety, INTREN is continuously seeking to improve safety on job sites as well as to be part of the safety dialogue in the construction industry. For more information on INTREN’s safety team, visit: INTREN.com/Safety. To play INTREN’s safety game, stop by our exhibit at the August MEA Gas Operations Technical & Leadership Summit Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Since January, INTREN has expanded its gas division from the Midwest to new territories on the East Coast. With teams and a project management office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, INTREN has expanded its footprint to the Baltimore, Maryland area to assist another East Coast utility on their distribution system modernization projects.

INTREN’s gas division growth is largely driven by the need for upgrades to utilities’ natural gas infrastructure across the country. With modernization efforts underway throughout the East Coast and Midwest regions, INTREN is in a good position to accept the challenge of taking on natural gas system modernization projects. With East Coast resources strained, INTREN has trained two teams through in-house courses, and has mobilized its fleet earlier this month to begin work in Baltimore.

“This is a great time to be in the contracting industry,” INTREN Account Manager, Doug Anderson, said. “We really have to focus on being strategic about our growth and approach to the work. “The rapid modernization efforts we are seeing from the Midwest to the East Coast have created a fantastic opportunity for INTREN to expand its footprint,” said INTREN Vice President of Gas Operations, Jeff Nauman. “We look forward to continued success with our new partners on the East Coast while striving to maintain good relations with our existing ones.”

Currently, INTREN has 12 crews stationed on the East Coast, tasked with upgrading residential services in the Baltimore and Philadelphia area. This Baltimore area work is projected to extend through the end of 2016 with potential plans for project expansion beginning in 2017. With project expansion in 2017, INTREN will begin increasing its footprint to incorporate the training of a local workforce to help further satisfy workload needs. 

One of INTREN’s core values is safety. Safety of employees, jobsites and communities the contractor works in. Last year, INTREN made a significant step forward when its Safety Department revised the company’s safety briefs to involve more conversation and hazard analysis. Moving into 2016, INTREN has taken on the task of helping its clients identify hazards and communicate risk more effectively by working to pilot a site-specific safety program on its West Coast work.

“The California Public Utilities Commission has challenged utilities to work to improve contractor safety,” INTREN’s Regional Vice President, Jason Combs, said. “Part of this challenge is revisiting how we, as contractors, identify and communicate risk with our clients and to our employees. Right now, our Safety Department and field crews are working to develop documents through this pilot program that will help identify, evaluate, and agree upon all hazards before the job begins.”

INTREN’s Concord, California office was chosen as one of two contractors to pilot this safety program. INTREN will use five high risk jobsites as test sites. Hazard analysis and site-specific safety plans will be drafted for overhead reconductor and underground cable replacement projects INTREN is currently working on in Central California through October. Once the pilot program is complete, it is expected that this new program, documents, and procedures will go into effect for all contractors. 

In May, the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce awarded INTREN with the 2016 Robert O. Covey Business of the Year Award. Recipients of this prestigious award must exhibit business success in the McHenry County area, be actively involved in professional business organizations and demonstrate a steadfast culture of service and philanthropy.

This annual Robert O. Covey Business of the Year Award is presented in memory of community and business leader Robert Covey, a respected attorney, elected official and bank executive.  Additionally, Mr. Covey held positions on the District School Board, was Vice-Chair of the McHenry County Board, and former President and CEO of a local financial institution – all this while performing countless hours of service as a volunteer for numerous organizations.

INTREN was awarded for its commitment to earning trust as a steward of its customers’ priorities, its community’s interests and company’s success. Beyond the company’s success, INTREN was honored for its far-reaching community involvement, supporting organizations such as: CASA, Lakeside Legacy Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girls on the Run, Raue Center for the Arts, and Athena International, to just mention a few.

“All of us at INTREN are honored to receive this recognition named after this exceptional individual who strongly believed – as we do – that stewardship is not just a way of doing business; it is a way of life,” said Loretta Rosenmayer, INTREN Founder & CEO.

Intren's Gold Shovel Certificate and SealContinuing our motto that, “safety is our number one priority,” we are proud to announce that INTREN has receive the PG&E Gold Shovel Standard Certification. This certification is the first of its kind in the industry and is presented to PG&E excavation contractors that adhere to the safest excavation standards.

To obtain this certification, PG&E excavation contractors must perform no more than two dig-ins within a rolling 12-month period and develop and adhere to a Dig-In Prevention Policy that includes an excavation statement, training program, corrective action plan and an Employee Acknowledgment and Accountability Statement.

INTREN is the 21st excavation contractor to receive this certification with PG&E. “This certification is another example of the lengths INTREN goes to in order to provide the safest working environments for our employees, communities and clients,” Regional Vice President, Jason Combs, said. “We look forward to continuing to work with PG&E and provide them and their clients with the safest working conditions.” 

Beginning January 1, 2016, contractors who wish to excavate or subcontract excavation work for PG&E must obtain Gold Shovel Standard Certification by making a commitment to safe digging practices in accordance with the California "One Call Law" (California Government Code 4216) and the Common Ground Alliance best practices for excavation.

For more information on the PG&E Gold Shovel Standard Certification, visit www.pge.com/goldshovelstandardcertifciation

Intren Lineman Sam RandbyAs the construction industry settles into the 21st century, we have begun to see a shift in the once worn, bearded faces of linemen and journeymen. In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported women accounted for 8.9 percent of the construction workforce. That is a mere 872,000 of the 9,813,000 currently working in the industry. One of the 8.9 percent of women that is bringing a fresh, new look to the construction industry is Samantha (Sam) Randby, an apprentice in the Missouri Valley Line Constructors Apprenticeship and Training Program.

You may soon come to know Sam as the face of the Federation of Women Contractors as she will be showcased on the front cover of this year’s FWC directory, along with other women from INTREN – Violeta Gonzalez and Nicole Donald. This bright, young lady, though an apprentice lineman, is just an average 24-year old girl. Growing up in rural Duluth, Minnesota, Sam spent her childhood fascinated by anything that moved: from bugs and frogs, to four-wheelers and trucks. As she got older, she found her passion to sing, play guitar and hunting. 

With her father, once a cableman, and grandfather, a troubleshooter for Minnesota Power, it was an easy choice for Sam when she decided on her career path in the electrical industry. “My dad would tell me stories about all the places he worked across the country and how great an experience it was. Occasionally, while working around Duluth, he and my grandpa would be out on the same trouble call. My dad would climb the pole and get to work, while my grandpa would climb up after him and tape my dad's climbers to the pole on the way up. He told me they were always pulling pranks like that on each other." 

Currently based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Minnesota native is working to become the third generation of linemen in her family. 

Sam claims it was an unexpected message from her father that solidified her choice to become a lineman. “One night, when I was away at line school and doing homework, I got a text from my dad. 'I'm proud of you', was all it said, but those four words meant the world to me."

Sam is now on her final step in the seven step apprenticeship program. Just a few more months and plenty of time working on energized lines, and she may soon have the privilege of becoming a journeyman lineman. As part of the program, apprentices work for different contractors to earn hours of on-the-job training in various aspects of line work such as distribution and transmission. Students also have to attend classes once a month where they complete tasks from atop the pole and make numerous transformer connections. “I like going to class because they teach us things that we may not otherwise learn on the job," Sam said. "Sometimes, depending on the job, you don’t experience as much as you might learn from an activity in class. Obviously no one wants to miss work just to go sit in a room, but if you have to, you might as well learn something.”

For over a year, Sam has been working with INTREN crews all over the Midwest. Currently, she is working on a backyard pole replacement job in Germantown, Wisconsin. Crews are changing out old poles and updating system equipment, so the voltage of the lines can be increased. “Our job is dangerous, so I appreciate that INTREN is all about their employees' safety. They are not out to make a name for themselves, they are there to keep everyone safe and to make sure everyone can go home at the end of the day.”

Even though everything has gone extremely well for Sam thus far in the apprenticeship, being one of the few women in the industry working in the field creates unique situations to tackle. 

"You have to be able to take a joke and learn from your mistakes. I'm very stubborn and try to push my strength when I should ask for help or use mechanical means to accomplish a task. The guys give me a hard time, but I know they're just trying to make me a better apprentice and, ultimately, a better lineman."

While Sam continues to follow in her father and grandfathers' footsteps, she had a few words of advice for those entering the utility industry:

“Don't stand around with your hands in your pockets, try your hardest and be a go getter. No question is a stupid question: if you have any doubt about your ability or what you have been told to do, just ask. And always be your brother's keeper.” 

As Sam continues to progress in the line construction industry, she will no doubt set an example for all future apprentices and women in construction. INTREN, a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), will continue to look for apprentices like Sam in order to support and grow minorities and women in the industry.

Intren Executive Vice President Matt TurkMatthew Turk, INTREN’s Executive Vice President, has been named a Director representing the Contractors on the JULIE Board - State of Illinois. Turk has been on the Julie Board as a Vice President representing the contractors for five years prior to this election. Turk will fill the board director seat from 2015-2018. The Julie Board includes representatives of utilities, municipalities, and excavators throughout Illinois.

JULIE provides Illinois excavators and underground utility owners with a continuously improving, onecall message handling and delivery service committed to protecting underground utilities and the safety of people working or living near them.

For more information about JULIE, Inc. or the Julie Board of Directors, visit www.illinois1call.com

Intren Business Development Manager Lloyd GillespieINTREN’s Business Development Manager, Lloyd Gillespie, has been named to the Junior Achievement of Chicago’s Will County Board. Lloyd joins INTREN’s Executive Vice President, Matthew Turk, as a Will County board member. 

Lloyd is one of the many INTREN employees dedicated to helping our communities. INTREN empowers employees’ with the ability to dedicate time in order to participate in wonderful organizations such as Junior Achievement of Chicago. 

The Junior Achievement of Chicago is an educational nonprofit that brings financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship programs into classrooms from kindergarten through high school. For more information on the Junior Achievement of Chicago, visit www.jachicago.org

INTREN has been chosen as a premier contractor by Ameren Corporation to serve as a select member of the Ameren Safety Pro Committee. Heading up the committee seat is INTREN’s Safety Professional, Tim Michels, who is based out of INTREN’s St. Louis, Missouri office. Michels will be one of 10 premier contractors to serve on the committee.

Michels, along with other committee members will meet every six weeks to discuss safety incidents, ways to improve business and avenues to improve safety overall. This committee is used as a think tank for ways to improve safety processes in the field. 

This is an especially proud moment for INTREN to be recognized by Ameren as a premier contractor who puts safety as their top priority. As a pillar of INTREN’s core values, safety is first and foremost for INTREN. Being chosen to participate in this committee gives INTREN the opportunity to further position themselves as stewards for safety in the construction community.

For more information on Ameren’s safety initiatives, visit ameren.com/community-members/safety

Intren's Jason Combs participates in a panel discussionAt this year’s Western Energy Institute (WEI) Operations Conference, INTREN’s Regional Vice President, Jason Combs, was one of four distinguished guests on a panel that focused on contract management strategies. Titled, “The Best Bang for Your Buck: Contract Management Strategy,” the panel spoke about how utilities will have to work smarter in order to meet increasing and diverse customer expectations. 

Combs, and the other expert panel members, discussed the need to replace aging infrastructure, maintain and improve existing systems, deal with the emergence of smart grid concepts and customer requests. Panelists spoke on expertise and experience in solving the increasing workload for electrical utilities. The panel explained and examined test strategies to manage the workload and meet obligations by utilizing a contract work-force. They also provided insight on best approaches in order to optimize the use of contractors in organizations. 

Combs spoke about INTREN’s contracted work with ComEd on their Cable Replacement and Cable Fault Program as an example of a turnkey project that exhibited such strategies. In this example, the panel examined the contracting firm’s ability to manage the project from conception to completion, which reduced inefficiency and construction delays due to design issues and the complications of having multiple parties involved. Combs explained how this type of work reduced the amount of information hand offs between firms as the work was previously designed and how this strategy can help stabilize the work flow by establishing long-term contracts.

The opportunity for key leadership to take part of this forward-thinking panel is a prime example of INTREN’s dedication to lead as stewards within the construction industry. With leaders like Combs willing to speak on the turnkey methods and processes INTREN possesses, INTREN will continue to lead as a forward-thinking utility solutions provider.

To learn more about the Western Energy Institute, visit WesternEnergy.org

A Glowing LED Light BulbDoes it seem like your building leaves the lights on so the stack of papers and file cabinets don’t get scared during the night? If this sounds like your building, you’re not alone. According to ENERGY STAR, an average office building wastes 30% of energy consumed. With a few small changes, commercial buildings could reduce their energy usage by up to 10% with little to no cost to the business or building owner.

Here are 7 tips to help reduce energy usage in the office. Doing so saves your business money and could help the environment.

1. Use a power strip. Using a power strip allows for fast and easy access to a number of devices. A power strip acts as a central connection point for all energy-consuming devices. This gives you the ability to completely disconnect the device from the power supply.

2. Turn off the lights! The easiest way to save energy is to turn the lights off. Designate that the last person in the office to turn off the lights at the end of the day. Also, energy efficient lightbulb use 75% less energy. Spend the couple of dollars and change out your old light bulbs with new, LED ones.

3. Let your office breathe. Clear away obstructions from vents and air returns. You could reduce energy usage by a fourth by allowing your office to breathe.

4. Clean your HVAC system. Cleaning duct work, changing filters and getting annual tune-ups help reduce excessive energy usage and the chance of your aging HVAC system failing.

5. Create an energy saving team. Appoint individuals in your office to an energy-saving team. These individuals will be tasked with learning, creating and implementing new ways to better your office’s energy usage.

6. Recycle. Recycle at your office. Print on both sides of the paper, only print what you need and recycle what you don’t need. Printing less and less amount of times saves energy and reduces our effect on the environment.

7. Earn the ENERGY STAR Certification. By earning the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Certification for your building, your building will use about 35% less energy, saving money on energy costs and inefficiencies. Think about purchasing ENERGY STAR rated products to further reduce your energy usage.

For more information on saving energy or entering the ENERGY STAR Building Program, visit energystar.gov/buildings

A promising chartThe U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced encouraging findings in the March 2015 construction spending report. Private and public construction spending for the first three months of 2015 was $6.3 billion above what was spent in the first three months of 2014. Q1 2015 construction spending amounted to $206.7 billion, 3.2 percent above the $200.4 billion spent in Q1 2014.

Ameren Corporation has named INTREN its first “Corporate Partner of the Year.” This award recognizes companies for their efforts to proactively support, mentor and provide the necessary resources to minority diversified companies. This award was presented to INTREN at the 2015 Ameren Supplier Diversity Symposium in recognition of their outstanding, proactive and diverse business engagement by a prime supplier partner.

INTREN’s belief in diversity is not just a way of business but also ingrained in company culture. INTREN is committed to embracing and mentoring other Minority/Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE) companies. They have formed INTREN’s M/WBE Mentoring Program to add value by developing M/WBE Contractors on diverse work types and delivering additional contractor options in the future. In 2014, INTREN vetted over 70 suppliers and worked with 42 of them, 2 of which achieved prime contractor status.

“One of the M/WBE companies that we are spending time to help mentor and partner with is Trice Construction with the help of their President and CEO, Stephanie Hickman” said Loretta Rosenmayer, Founder and CEO of INTREN. “We are proud to assist Trice in becoming a prime contractor.” 

Hickman has spent nearly 25 years working in the utility industry and practicing labor law with a significant portion of her professional career working within the nation’s largest energy company, the Exelon Corporation. 

Ameren Corporation, who serves approximately 2.4 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas customers between Missouri and Illinois, will begin partnering with INTREN and Trice Construction to complete a manhole replacement project this summer. This is a multi-year contract in excess of $10M.

“We believe this is evidence of an ‘All-In’ partner proactively identifying long-term sustainable relationships that support creating pathways to powerful partnerships,” said Senior Director, Supply Services for Ameren Corporation, Matt Brandt. “While our prime suppliers generally partner with us to provide diverse opportunities, [INTREN] has demonstrated exceptional creativity in a partnering/mentor relationship with a minority owned business that is in many ways a competitor.” 

INTREN’s partnership is a prime example of its belief in stewardship within the construction industry and within our communities. They are an active participant in numerous diversity supplier advocacy organizations including the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Mentoring Program, the Women’s Business Development Center, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, National Latino Education Institute, Chicago Foundation for Women, and many more. 

“Stewardship is how INTREN has grown, it is how we do business and is how we demonstrate leadership in order to empower other minority owned businesses.” said Rosenmayer. “This award reflects INTREN’s strong commitment to stewardship within the construction industry and beyond. We would like to thank Ameren for leading, motivating and helping us become the partner we are today. We believe that empowering women and minority owned businesses will build lasting partnerships and bring enormous growth and diversity within our industry.” 

Last year, INTREN received Exelon’s Diverse Supplier Award and also received Supplier of the Year and Electric Operations Supplier of the Year awards from Pacific Gas & Electric’s Supplier Diversity Program.