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Intren CEO Kelly Tomblin moderates CBC EventINTREN CEO Kelly Tomblin was proud to moderate the Chicago Building Congress' 'Challenges & Benefits of Diversity' Event recently held at the Union League Club of Chicago. The panel included Kathi Holst (Roadway Construction & Maintenance Services), Dina Griffin (Interactive Design Architects), James Sykora (ComEd), Bette Lawrence-Water (Benedictine University) and Anne Bigane Wilson (Bigane Paving Co).

The CBC is the only vertically-integrated trade association serving the Chicago area. Its diverse membership includes general contractors; subcontractors; material suppliers; architectural/engineering firms and consultants; real estate and development firms; labor unions/trade associations; governmental and educational entities; legal and accounting professionals; financial, insurance and bonding firms.
Lead Construction Engineer Ali Ataei Lead Construction Engineer Ali Ataei was recently acknowledged for his outstanding work at a key west coast utility customer for his assistance on the first phase of relocating Caltrain’s electric facilities. The 3-year project for San Francisco’s 51-mile commuter rail system supports the city’s migration from diesel commuter trains to electric, providing greener, faster and more reliable service.

Our customer applauded Ali for his tremendous contribution, critical thinking, and reliable follow-through. In many instances, the Caltrain relocation construction took place on weekends from 11pm-5am, and Ali was on site Friday and Saturday evenings often until well after midnight to ensure the crews were organized, focused and prepared.

Additionally, Ali worked closely and effectively with Distribution Operations in coordinating and implementing four to eight major clearances every weekend. Where one major project generally has one or two clearances in its 6-month life, Ali performed at least twice that every week.
 Ali’s hard work and dedication to the utility and this project have contributed to work completed without procedural error and zero safety incidents. He’s an overall a great team member.

The electrified trains are expected to start running in 2022 from San Francisco to San Jose.

Ali is part of L²CMS, the construction management services division for INTREN, LLC. To learn more, please contact L²CMS Director of Operations Sarah Douglas.

L2CMS Hard HatOver the last year, this team has been focused at supporting our California customer, assisting in their core work of pole replacements and other electric distribution projects. Team members focus on and reinforce INTREN's core values and keep them top of mind.

"We review safety each week – the weekly discussion topic as well as specific learnings from jobs that we are managing.  In addition, we adopted the same safe driving practice as California utility customer – no cell phone use (hands free or not) while driving, and we are pushing the team to a higher level of accountability around safe driving practices," explained Anita Davidoo Shahbaz, L2CMS' Director of Operations. "We openly share the weekly driving reports. This visibility and openness definitely drives discussion and change."
"Safeguarding our employees, following the safe driving practices and overall driving accountability has helped our team achieve this milestone," said Sarah Douglas, Director of the Professional Services Division.

This is a lofty milestone to achieve, and the L2CMS team plans to keep pushing for another incident-free year ahead. "We are a team, we support each other, and keep an open and safe forum to share our safety experiences. Often, we are described as "back office support" but we drive a lot of miles to get permits, meet onsite to work through construction issues, perform onsite inspections, and meet with contractors, clients, and our utility’s customers," Anita said.

"I am proud of the L2CMS team for achieving this milestone and look forward to another event free year in 2019," Sarah said.

INTREN Think SafetyThis industrious group went 2 years also without a major safety incident. In fact, the last incident occurred in November of 2016. This is a tremendous feat with the amount of different work the team does day in and day out. In 2018, the team worked about 80% on our utility customer’s Ag program and other projects, and 20% on California High Speed Rail work; in 2019 Regional Vice President, West Jason Combs foresees the team switching the division of labor with most of it focusing on the California High Speed Rail work and less on the Ag program and other project work.

Obtaining this milestone is only possible if each and every team member keeps safety a top priority. "We're all very proud of our team in the Central Valley of California for reaching the milestone of two years incident-free," said Jason. "This group is setting the benchmark for other team on the West Coast and the company."  INTREN’s Fresno team members include Project Manager Reinaldo Mendoza, Project Coordinator Lindsey Nail, General Foreman Shane Harding, Foremen Christopher Smith and Steven Blevins, Journeymen Linemen Timothy Laffoon, Jessy Schoonover, Jeremy Tanner and Gary Henley, and Operator Matthew Stephens.

Intren Lattice Tower Construction by HelicopterIn September, our Illinois transmission team took helicopter training from English Air Services in preparation for a Transmission project in Central Illinois, which was recently completed. INTREN Marketing Manager Mary Smith caught a personal glimpse of our crew training – with 60 pounds of gear strapped to their waists on a bone-chilling 17-degree day, the crews took to the skies as if they were stepping on to a San Francisco trolley to complete the job. No fear, just hyper-focused on the task at hand.

Project 1: Fiber Optic Installation Between Substations

The project entailed hanging shield wire arms on top of 345 kV wooden H-structures and installing a dolly to pull the fiber optic in using the existing static wire. The men flew through the air on a helicopter cable referred to as the “long line”, which placed them on top the H-Structure. They then pre-drilled holes, so when the helicopter flew back with the 600-pound rail and landed it, the men could secure it to the structure. The project was 49.7 miles long and included 17 wire pulls in all. Their primary challenges to working safely were the wind and weather.

Project 2: Lattice Tower Structure Modification Work

In addition to the first project, the customer added on modification work on seven lattice towers, which included replacing attachment hardware for the existing shield wire. Unlike the H-structure work, the men worked off a skid platform, as the helicopter hovered alongside the tower.

Thank You to our INTREN employees who have gone above and beyond…

Project Manager Michael Urban and his gas team of Robert Barr, Anthony Cooper and other crew members, received kudos from our Pennsylvania utility customer recently after installing a gas line in less than 24 hours for an elderly couple, when their oil heater broke suddenly and could not be repaired. Frigid temps in the Pennsylvania area didn’t stop Mike and his team from their task at hand; and to make their Thanksgiving a little bit brighter, they surprised the couple with pumpkin pie and cookies.   

Operator Matt Bourman received recognition from our California utility customer this month for rendering care to a gunshot victim near a jobsite. With safety procedures top of mind throughout, he assisted the victim by using his own belt as a tourniquet to stop bleeding from the man’s femoral artery in his leg. “Matt’s ability to render care helped save the victim’s life… The steps Matt followed by assessing the situation and his surroundings, and putting on gloves before providing care, then cleaning himself after care, ensured he kept himself safe even while still saving the victim. Thank you, Matt, for your focus on safety and your heroic act!” – California utility customer    

Great Horned OwlExtending their pursuit of care and excellence on-the-job, Estimator Seth Melroy, General Foreman Andy Taft and his team, rescued an injured great horned owl near an INTREN yard and transported it safely to the Wildlife Rescue Center in King of Prussia, PA. Thank you for looking out for our feathered friend!

MWE Crew Member Josh Tolle
shared his joy of Halloween by buying and passing out candy to any kids who passed by his Cincinnati jobsite while celebrating on October 31st. This small act of kindness was greatly appreciated by the many children that were lucky enough to pass by Josh that day.
We at INTREN want to thank each of our employees, customers, vendors and community philanthropic organizations for a wonderful 30 years of business together in Chicago, its suburbs and from coast to coast. Our Founder, Loretta Rosenmayer, originally began our company out of her home to provide for her family, but she quickly saw customers with needs she and her team could fulfill.

Over the last three decades she has inspired hundreds of INTREN employees, in what was once a simple trenching company, to grow and transform to offer our customers multifaceted business solutions in the electric, gas and professional services fields. Whether working underground or overhead, or in amazing places in between, our team is challenged to think proactively and give their very best, as reflected in our company motto: OutPerforming. Everyday.

Today, INTREN is 1900 people strong and active in more than 10 states. Our company continues to grow and explore all facets of the energy industry and Loretta’s premise of attentive service, meeting and exceeding customers’ needs, still guides us. Thank you to everyone who has helped Loretta build a strong, nationwide utility service provider committed to excellence and innovative solutions. We consider it a privilege and an honor to work with each of you. Together, we look forward to another sensational 30 years of INSPIRING WHAT’S NEXT!
Jill WalterJill Walter joins INTREN LLC as Director of Electrical Operations, East effective Monday, October 29. Jill’s experience in Operations, Safety, Quality and business process improvement will further fortify the strengths of INTREN’s teams in this fast-growing East coast region, while serving INTREN’s utility customers. Jill will report to Sean Hughes, Regional Vice President, Central and East Region.

Walter most recently served as the Director of Safety and Quality for I.B. Abel, Inc., in York, PA--the single point of contact for one of the largest investor-owned utilities in the northeast U.S.—where she oversaw the safety program and developed and implemented many process improvement initiatives and performance metrics. Prior to her position at I.B. Abel, she also worked for many years at PPL Electric Utilities Corporation of Allentown, PA, most recently as Manager (Distribution Portfolio Management) and earlier, in many other leadership roles in Transmission, Asset Maintenance & Reliability, Mobile Operations Management and Distribution Asset Management.

“I’m excited about INTREN having the opportunity to hire someone with Jill’s qualifications,” said Senior Vice President of Electrical Operations Dennis Bednarski. “Jill is also from the region, so we can ensure that the cultural influence from the East Coast will be well represented.”

Jill received her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (with a Business Minor) from Villanova University in Villanova, PA and her Master of Business Administration (with a Supply Chain Management Concentration) from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. She also earned several professional certificates and designations: Certified Utility Safety Professional (CUSP), Power Technology certificate, Professional Engineer, OSHA 10 and 20 certifications, Silica – Competent Person Trainer.

Outside of work, Jill volunteers for Girls on the Run Lehigh Valley as well as the United Way. She also enjoys coaching her son’s soccer team, running, hiking and spending time at the beach. She resides in Allentown, PA with her son, Finn (6), her daughter, Regan (5) and their dog Maggie (10-year-old Boxer).
ENR’s Top 600 Specialty Contractors issue is out and INTREN ranked #54 overall and #7 among the top utility firms in the U.S.
In the ENR Midwest 2018 Top Specialty Contractors rankings INTREN ranked #4, while five of our regional offices also placed in the Top 10.

#2 in Illinois
#8 in Kansas
#9 in Ohio
#10 in Missouri
#10 in Wisconsin

Thank you to our customers who continue to support us and to all our employees who outperform every day!
In 1988, Loretta Rosenmayer’s husband was diagnosed with a chronic illness and forced to stop working. As a stay-at-home mom with four young boys, it was clear that she had to become the breadwinner in the family. With a minimum wage job out of the question, and no money or construction experience, she accepted donations of used equipment from a friend’s out-of-business landscaping company and started trenching work for farms in Crystal Lake, IL. With four employees and meetings conducted at a local diner, Trench-It was born.

Shortly after, Illinois experienced a housing boom and utility companies couldn’t keep up with installing new home services. With a $15,000 loan from a female friend, Loretta was able to afford insurance premiums and started bidding jobs for the local utility.

In 1993, Loretta had the foresight to become certified with WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council). That relationship gave her an early edge with utility companies who were looking to expand their minority diversity spend.

As the only female, she was met with opposition. However, all the utility companies were concerned with was delivery and Loretta delivered. Soon Trench-It moved into electric overhead and underground and then gas services. By 2009, she changed the name to INTREN; the “IN” standing for integrity.

During the late 2000 recession when the business slowdown forced cutbacks, Loretta started looking outside of Illinois and took small jobs that no one else wanted.  When the economy came back, INTREN’s footprint quadrupled and they were instantly in 10 markets across the country.

To Loretta, stewardship “caring for other’s priorities as if they were our own” is not just a way of doing business; it is a way of life. By weaving this into the very fabric of INTREN’s culture, Loretta and the company have succeeded in earning the respect and support of peers, customers and the communities INTREN serves. And that has always been Loretta’s purpose--to serve and to make a difference. You see it in her mentoring of dozens of MWBE companies and the hundreds of charitable organizations she supports and how she passionately takes care of her customers and employees.
In 2017, Loretta stepped up to Chairwoman of the Board, and hired utility industry-veteran Kelly Tomblin as CEO.  Together, their vision for the future is to acquire and mentor additional MWBE companies, while continuing to strategically expand into new regions and deepen INTREN’s breath of services.

Now with 13 regional offices, 2,000 employees from coast-to-coast, and additional services in transmission and vegetation management, their vision is becoming a reality.