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Hill York Names Jason Katz Chief Financial Officer

Hill York, Florida’s leading commercial air conditioning services and energy solutions company, has appointed Jason Katz as Chief Financial Officer. He joins the firm’s executive management team and will lead its finance and accounting operations from the corporate headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Mr. Katz brings over 25 years of finance, accounting and operations experience to the position along with a proven track record of leading technology-driven teams through periods of high growth.

“Jason is a great fit for us as we continue to evolve into a high-tech leader in the commercial HVAC industry,” said Hill York CEO Robert “Chip” Lafferty. “He possesses the ideal combination of exceptional financial insight and significant experience developing strategies for technology-backed businesses.”

According to Lafferty, Mr. Katz will play a key role in advancing the company’s push to leverage its investments in various software platforms while optimizing overall cash flow and mobile billing in the field operations. He will also work to align individual and departmental expertise with business goals to drive Hill York’s growth and profitability.

Mr. Katz has held various high-level positions throughout his career and most recently served as CEO and CFO of Host.net, a multi-location data center, cloud service and network provider.

He has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in business management from Kent State University and a certificate of accounting from the University of Pittsburg. He is also a licensed CPA in Pennsylvania.

A full-service commercial air conditioning company, Hill York provides system maintenance, service, repairs, energy solutions and installation for a wide range of heating, cooling and ventilation systems. The company has served the state of Florida since 1936. For more information, visit www.hillyork.com.

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Two Florida Cities Rank in the Top 25 for ENERGYSTAR

The ENERGY STAR Program, operating out of the US Department of Energy, just released their top 25 cities for energy efficient buildings for 2018 with two major Florida cities claiming a spot. Miami, a veteran on the list since 2012, came in at number 21 while Tampa ranked at number 16 in its first year. To be recognized on this list, Miami certified 106 buildings in 2017 totaling over 23.7 million sqft. and  Tampa certified 154 buildings totaling about 26.3 million sqft. The top two cities of Los Angeles and Washington, DC both had over 660 buildings certified that covered more than 145 million sqft. This is the first time in the lists’ nine year run that two Florida cities have made the list.

ENERGY STAR certified buildings are verified to be more energy efficient than 75% of similar buildings nationwide and use, on average, 35% less energy than typical buildings.  This has a direct effect of building operations’ budgets and something that Hill York has a proven track record of achieving. Please contact Hill York’s Technical Services Group to get started with an energy efficiency benchmark.

 

Hill York Sets Safety Bar High At Soaring Hard Rock Expansion Project

Everything about the $1.5 billion expansion at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood is huge. There’s the 35-story hotel tower shaped like a guitar, the 7,000-seat performance venue, the 141,000 square feet of meeting space, and a Pacific Island-inspired 10-acre lake.

With an undertaking so massive, protecting workers from risk and injury is a task that’s equally large, requiring a vigilance that sometimes even exceeds OSHA standards. Such laser focus comes naturally to Hill York, whose allout commitment to safety has evaluated risk avoidance practices at the project site and drawn praise from the Hard Rock expansion’s general contractor Suffolk-Yates.

“Our journey as a safety-focused company has been a growth experience of profound cultural impact,” observed Jeff  Phillabaum, Hill York President. “The #SafetyCHAMP program we launched in 2014 has taken us from the repetitious mastering of practices and procedures to instinctively making smart safety choices in all work situations and activities. It has become a core part of who we are that’s always at the forefront of our thoughts, words and actions.”

Hired as the HVAC contractor for several phases of the Hard Rock project, Hill York quickly activated its OSHA-educated, #SafetyCHAMP-enhanced safety practices. Each day Hill York projects begin with a team huddle to review the planed work and secure the job site. Equipment and site conditions are inspected and the availability of needed materials and protective equipment is confirmed.

In continuing Hill York’s emphasis on enhancing procedures to reduce incidents and injuries, other measures go above and beyond OSHA regulations. A daily Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) is completed by the project superintendent and available for crew members to verify safe performance requirements for scheduled tasks. Equipment inspections are done daily and the corresponding reports are kept at the scene for timely review. A weekly meeting considers key aspects of the work involved for each active job and identifies the equipment, precautions and manpower necessary to perform safely.

“For a complex design-and-build project like the Hard Rock expansion, protecting everyone from accidents and injuries needs to be a top priority,” noted Phillabaum. “It’s a credit to our #SafetyCHAMP program and the Hill Yorkers who’ve made it a way of life that we’re able to play a lead role in this important area and inspire those around us to adopt a safety-first mindset.”

The Hill York team for the Hard Rock project is proud to be recognized for adhering to the highest standards while serving as an example of how to do safety the correct way.

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Hill York Ranked Among Best Places To Work By South Florida Business Journal

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – (February 26, 2018) – Hill York, Florida’s leading commercial air conditioning services and energy solutions company, has been named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the South Florida Business Journal. The third-generation family-run firm was part of SFBJ’s Large Companies category featuring businesses with 100 or more employees.

“From our office-based staff to our technicians out in the field, this recognition is a tribute to the special bond we all feel as a close-knit team that grows and prospers together,” said CEO Robert “Chip” Lafferty. “We’re proud that, for many who join Hill York, what starts out as a job becomes a career calling to be a Hill Yorker for life.”

The Business Journal compiles an annual list of top companies by asking employees across South Florida why their employers should be named one of the Best Places to Work. Participants are asked to fill out confidential online surveys rating companies in a program developed by Quantum Workplace.

“The Best Places To Work honor reflects the consensus here that it’s an exciting time to be a Hill Yorker,” noted HR Director Monique Estevez. “Along with a performance-based culture that features annual reviews and rewards for meeting individual and department goals, we truly are a work family that takes care of each other and celebrates our successes as a leader in our  industry.”

Hill York is a full-service commercial air conditioning company providing energy efficient solutions for the installation, maintenance, and repair of a wide range of heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Founded in 1936, the company serves the state of Florida. For more information, visit www.hillyork.com.

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Cothrom Risk & Insurance Services

HYStat smart technology opened Cothrom Risk & Insurance Services eyes to the downtime-prevention power of a system that’s always on the alert for trouble. It also brought the comfort and energy efficiency they were looking for.

Project Name and Location:

Cothrom Risk & Insurance Services
2300 NE 9th Street, Suite 3
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Cothram-Case-Study

Client/Owner Contact:

Jordan Gillespie Partner
(754) 312-5408

Project Status:

Ongoing
Cothrom
Risk & Insurance Services

Project Scope:

As a rising insurance and risk management agency for a wide range of industries, Fort Lauderdale-based Cothrom knows the value of reducing losses and expenses by analyzing data. So when they had the chance to take better control of comfort and operating costs at their office by switching to a data-driven A/C monitoring service, they eagerly made the jump to Hill York’s HYStat.

With the agency in growth mode, HYStat’s smartphone app was an instant highlight. The remote connectivity and feature-rich functionality enabled an expanding team of partners who were working different schedules to easily view and change settings and manage office comfort levels outside of normal business hours.

As Hill York’s team of analysts monitored performance from a network operations center, Cothrom also saw the kind of data-driven communication they emphasize in serving their own clients. The upgrade to HYStat shed light on specific adjustments to enhance staff comfort, stabilize system performance, and generate cost reductions and efficiency gains. After the first full year under the HYStat program, Cothrom received a summary showing high marks for equipment performance despite its physical condition. The report did point out that a unit as old as theirs is vulnerable to breakdown.

“Giving Cothrom a data-based method to evaluate risks, make informed decisions and get a higher return on investment was something that closely mirrored their own service model,” said Hill York Senior Analyst Chris Hamilton. “That’s the heart of HYStat’s appeal – true predictive maintenance that contains costs, facilitates capital budgeting, and keeps unpleasant surprises from clouding an otherwise positive business outlook.”

Fatefully, it was a rapidly unfolding situation that prodded Cothrom’s management to fully embrace the technology. A small refrigerant leak in an outside air conditioning unit quickly grew, causing the system to freeze up during a hot spring day. The HYStat thermostat and sensors feeding live data to Hill York’s analysts detected a decline in cooling efficiency 24 hours before the leak became critical. An automated alert was issued and a call was made to Cothrom communicating the danger signs.

“Unfortunately, we put off service thinking we could just clean up the closet and it would all be fine,” acknowledged Jordan Gillespie, a partner at Cothrom. “The result was a broken unit and two days of downtime that created a very uncomfortable 82-degree office.”

Using HYStat’s remote capabilities before traveling to the site, a Hill York technician diagnosed the problem within 15 minutes of arriving and confirmed the need to replace the older unit.

“Our take-away from that experience was to believe in the analytical power of the technology to catch problems early and avoid unnecessary downtime,” observed Gillespie. “That’s why we invested in HYStat in the first place – data-rich remote monitoring backed by the professionalism of the Hill York team.”

In providing greater insight into their indoor climate and costs, HYStat supplies a power that’s putting Cothrom on very familiar ground: Being in control and able to analyze risks to make smart business decisions now and over the long term.

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Hill York’s HYStat Monitoring Helps ANF Group, Inc. Enjoy Surprise-Free A/C

ANF-Group-ArticleAs one of South Florida’s leading general contracting and construction management companies, ANF Group, Inc., has more pressing things to think about than their own air conditioning system. So when Hill York told this longtime industry partner about the benefits of HYStat smart technology monitoring, ANF saw a chance to put their cooling system on cruise control.

Now, a year after the install, the promise of predictive, data-based A/C monitoring has more than lived up to its potential. The  installation of four HYStat thermostats on the rooftop package units of ANF Group’s Davie headquarters has stabilized performance, maximized energy management, and taken surprises out of the equation.

“From an information and communication point of view, HYStat has empowered us to stay a step ahead of cooling system issues and basic preventative maintenance,” said ANF Group, Inc. Contract Administrator Viki Moore. “With real-time data notifications from both the program and our contacts at Hill York, we’re never left in the dark about system performance, utility costs, or even when it’s time to change the filters.”

According to Hill York Senior Analyst Chris Hamilton, ANF Group, Inc’s monitoring and service upgrade to HYStat from a traditional maintenance contract has been a study in data-driven peace of mind.

“ANF’s rooftop systems are seven years old – more than halfway through the normal lifecycle,” he observed. “It’s reassuring to see that the key data confirms the equipment performance, runtime, and physical condition are all on track and going strong. If anything  changes down the line, they’ll be able to plan smart maintenance and capital decisions with the data provided.” Until then, ANF Group, Inc. is happy to enjoy the surprise-free comfort and control that HYStat’s analytical power makes possible. After all, when you’re out building some of South Florida’s most prominent education and healthcare facilities, it’s nice to know you have the perfect climate for cooling off back at the office.

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Mobility and Collaboration Tools “Make Life More Comfortable” for Hill York

onix-logo
Case Study by Onix

Hill York Air Conditioning Services & Energy Solutions, a full-service HVAC contractor specializing in commercial air conditioning and energy solutions, provides energy efficient services for the installation, maintenance and repair of a wide range of heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Founded in 1936, Hill York serves the state of Florida with the vision of “Making Life More Comfortable”.

Background: Pioneering HVAC Company Looks to Streamline Technology for Workers Across the State

Since designing and installing the first air conditioning systems in Miami Beach hotels after World War II, Hill York has led Florida facilities such as hospitals, colleges, government buildings, performing arts venues and fitness clubs to new levels of indoor comfort and energy efficiency. Hill York relieves building owners of maintenance chores by using smart technology and remote monitoring.

Today, the company has more than 200 employees in four office locations with an additional 120 field technicians serving customers statewide. Michael Harris, who joined Hill York as Vice President of Information Technology in 2016, saw an opportunity to elevate the company’s technology. He also knew that the ownership was ready to make changes.

The Challenge: Unacceptable Service Disruptions and Outages

Hill York’s existing email setup was subject to disruptions and outages, as was the company’s hosted server. In a service industry where timeliness and responsiveness are key, Hill York needed a more dependable solution.

The company researched both Office 365 and Google G Suite, considering several factors:

  • Some employees use a desktop computer while others work entirely remotely, depending solely on mobile solutions. Therefore the solution needed to work well across various devices including phones, laptops and tablets. Mr. Harris and the team sought a complete solution. They needed the standard office tools like documents and spreadsheets, but also wanted to improve their collaboration by leveraging calendar sharing, text / chat options and video calls.
  • Though cost was not a deciding factor, it was considered during the decision process.
    The team determined that Google was the better choice. Hill York went live with G Suite — and quickly saw improvements across the organization.

The Solution: G Suite Meets a Variety of Needs

Mr. Harris reports that for field technicians, the transition was needed. “They use Gmail and Drive. They use Google Photos to upload job pictures to Drive. In the past, pictures would be taken and emailed. This became a problem when sending several photos or needing to access the photos weeks later. Additionally, we use Google MDM (Mobile Device Management) to publish and manage apps on their phones. The techs have everything they need to do their job.” He added, “All data is backed up because it’s a company phone. Replacement phones are quick to deploy; all of their data is right there in the cloud. We only have to sign them into the new phone and they have everything they need.”

In the offices, the team is putting the collaboration tools to good use. The billing department generates a Google Sheet with past due balances. Sharing this information with account managers gives everyone an accurate financial status when speaking with customers. Mr. Harris noted that employees like that history is visible in Chat, and that Cloud Search is so powerful for both Drive and Gmail. He also noted that, “Hangouts and Chat are proving to be very popular. Our team has really discovered Forms recently and have begun using them to streamline several internal processes.”

The company now has an intranet built with Google Sites housing training information, an employee recognition board, a shared events calendar, forms and more. “It’s the one stop for everything Hill Yorkers need,” said Cristina Crenshaw, brand manager for Hill York. Mrs. Crenshaw gave another Sites example, “When Hurricane Matthew was heading for Florida in the fall of 2016, we were able to build a site in a day — without having any programming experience. This site was a way for employees to get updates about company operations, employee availability, storm status from various weather and government agency news feeds and other relevant info.”

Hill York has an IT team of four people; Mr. Harris notes that moving to G Suite has helped them become comfortable with the cloud. They have one Google admin and one help desk manager that can quickly rectify needs such as restoring information deleted by accident, or wiping a Hill York-registered mobile phone remotely when lost. Additionally, he was able to cite some impressive cost savings realized as a result of going Google:

  • Saving $180,000 in licensing over four years since the company qualified for Google’s Enterprise Agreement promotion
  • Offsetting the running cost of cloud-based servers that were supporting email at about $16,000 a year for four years
  • Licensing servers, regaining another $10,000
  • Avoiding the need for an OCR and indexing application costing $24,000 a year, instead using Google Drive
  • Transitioning to Drive storage by turning off a file server to save $12,000 a year
  • Terminating the purchase of AirWatch for 260 phones for about $120,000 over four years by instead using MDM from Google
  • Moving to an integrated fax solution, sending and receiving faxes by email. Eliminating fax machines and their phone lines will save $24,000 over four years.

Conclusion: Increasing Adoption and Implementing New Uses for Google Cloud

“Our industry is slow to adopt new technology; users can be uncomfortable with it. While adoption varies across the company, some users have very successfully adapted and are much more productive,” said Mr. Harris.

When analyzing Onix’s role in the G Suite migration, Mr. Harris commented, “They’re very knowledgable and kept us organized on the project management side. They made solid recommendations on how to deploy and manage the environment. Onix validated our change management approach. The technical team was excellent and quickly resolved any issues.”

As an example of the success of the deployment process, Mr. Harris explained, “We wanted a single sign-on solution designed for iOS devices. Google says that doesn’t exist and can’t happen. But Hill York and Onix implemented it along with Google MDM features and a device management policy application.” Due to great teamwork and project team communication, the timeline was accelerated; the project was completed ahead of schedule.

He concluded, “We’re not as deep into the Google platform as we will be in another year. Next on the radar at Hill York is Google App Engine and Cloud SQL.” With Onix, Hill York is starting work on a client portal. “Onix is great at teaching us to fish. We want to learn how to do things ourselves and Onix has been very receptive to that. We’re learning something new all the time and making the Google platform work for us.” Up next for Hill York are transformation workshops to expand the G Suite experience and brainstorming new ways to work even more effectively.

Onix Case Study

Thermostat Wars: What’s Best For Your Business?

The lowest hanging fruit for potential energy and dollar savings in a home or office is your thermostat. On average, 10% in energy savings can be saved by dialing back an AC system’s temperatures by around 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day. Doing this setback manually can be a hassle so there are different styles of thermostats to make it as easy as possible to realize savings; we look at programmable, connected, and smart thermostat’s below.

Programmable Thermostats

The most common thermostats are programmable. These have the ability to set a simple temperature schedule for a home or business based upon the day and time. This allows for a set temperature during business hours and a temperature setback during vacant hours. One of the issues of a programmable thermostat is their complexity. Knowing this, reading the manual and completing a proper set up are required to ensure energy and dollar savings.

Connected Thermostats

Newer to the scene are connected thermostats. These thermostats have all the features of a programmable thermostat with the ability to connect to the internet. Connected thermostats usually come with smartphone applications or a web portals to adjust temperatures and set schedules in real time, essentially solving any usability issues. The positioning of connected thermostats in the marketplace is as a bridge from programmable to smart thermostat’s.  This can benefit them as they offer ease of use but lack many of the new features consumers want such as learning algorithms, alerting, and enterprise solutions.

Smart Thermostats

In addition to having all the abilities of connected thermostats, smart thermostats feature additional sensors and built-in algorithms to manage runtime, energy use, and personal comfort. Common sensors on smart thermostats include: ambient temperature from multiple spaces, humidity, sunlight, outside weather, and occupancy. True value of the sensors is realized through the algorithms embedded in the thermostat firmware that learns habits, comfort levels, and schedules to keep a space comfortable while minimizing the HVAC runtime. Smart thermostats have higher upfront costs and are designed for residential applications.

HYStat

If you are a business owner looking for the best thermostat, turn to the connected thermostat from Hill York; HYStat. We monitor your systems 24/7 and apply our own algorithms to the data from the multitude of sensors installed to prevent condensate overflows and system downtime. In addition, we have a proven track record of energy savings after installation. Whether you want to have a thermostat that brings peace of mind or a thermostat that puts you in charge of saving money on maintenance and energy, HYStat is the best thermostat for your business.

IBM Southeast Employees Credit Union

Hill York implements a comprehensive energy efficiency program to help IBM Southeast Employees Credit Union save $1,200 a month in energy costs at their Delray Beach branch.

Project Name and Location:
IBM Southeast Employees Credit Union
1000 NW 17th Ave.
Delray Beach, FL 33445

Completion Date:
8/25/2016

Project Scope:
IBM Southeast Employees Credit Union was chartered in 1969 and serves over 72,000 members from 16 locations throughout Florida and Georgia. In 2009, IBM Southeast opened an office in Delray Beach, Florida that included a branch, drive-through, call center and mortgage and lending offices. 

As operations grew at the Delray Beach facility, IBM Southeast’s facility director noted higher than expected energy bills and an overall lack of control of their HVAC system. Turning to Hill York for help, he listed a variety of issues, including air constantly running at peak capacity and uncomfortable humidity levels throughout the building.

Hill York’s Energy Solutions Group conducted a detailed assessment of mechanical and control systems and began a series of critical upgrades to cut energy expenses and give IBM Southeast greater control over their indoor climate. Replacing an old air-cooled chiller with a new chilled water system was essential. But that was just a starting point for the improvements to come.

“We converted the branch from an outdated pneumatic building control system to a state-of-the-art Alerton energy management system (EMS),” explained Chris Grigsby, Hill York’s Controls Operations Manager. “It’s become the industry standard for maximizing building comfort, energy efficiency, and user operating flexibility.”

Drawing on experience as one of the fastest growing Alerton dealers, Hill York installed the Ascent Compass Solution, an open protocol BACnet solution. The platform provided a dynamic interface empowering IBM managers to remotely monitor and control indoor conditions from any standard Web browser and receive e-mail and text alerts when issues arise.

“Alerton’s DDC technologies use electronic sensors to evaluate inputs like temperature and humidity levels,” observed Grigsby. “It enables much higher accuracy with comfort control and gives operators the ability to monitor and change system operations instantly.”

Another key element of the energy management program was an upgrade of the building’s Variable Air Volume controls to incorporate Demand Control Ventilation (DCV). Instead of continuously ventilating the branch at a constant rate designed to accommodate the maximum number of occupants, DCV modulates the amount of outside air supplied to the building based on the actual number of people present.

“By reducing the amount of air that needs to be cooled, the DCV approach saves significant energy and improves humidity levels,” Grigsby pointed out.

Hill York’s cost saving solutions transformed an inefficient HVAC system that ran at full capacity all the time to one that greatly reduced facility cooling loads and energy use. The results have been nothing short of exceptional. The projected energy savings of $1,000 a month have in fact hovered around the $1,200 a month mark and the average relative humidity has improved dramatically.

For IBM Southeast Employee Credit Union’s Delray Beach branch, the Hill York-led conversion to an Alerton digital energy management system has provided the technology and user access to keep the cool air flowing at peak efficiency. And in steamy South Florida, less indoor humidity means a comfort level staff and customers can appreciate year-round.

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Hill York Gears Up Leadership Team To Drive New Wave Of Growth And Innovation

Leadership-Team-Press-Release-PersonnelHill York, Florida’s leading commercial air conditioning services and energy solutions company, has announced a strategic recasting of its leadership team to manage rapid
growth in both traditional and smart technology services.

Leveraging decades of experience in their respective areas, three company leaders have been tapped to sustain Hill York’s momentum as an HVAC pacesetter: Jeff Phillabaum,
Rob Pulsifer and Mike Senecal.

“As we embrace innovations that create a higher standard in our industry, Jeff, Rob and Mike provide the drive to ride the next wave of growth,” said CEO Robert “Chip” Lafferty.

The following Leadership Team promotions were announced:

Jeff Phillabaum will take the reigns as President of Hill York Service Corporation. Phillabaum joined Hill York out of college and has led virtually every area of the company in his 39 years of service. “Jeff’s deep level of experience and industry respect will be a huge asset as we continue to develop and market our diverse capabilities,” Lafferty observed.

Former Vice President of Energy Solutions Rob Pulsifer has been named Executive Vice President of Existing Building Solutions. Hired by Hill York in 2010, Pulsifer has spent his 18-year career as a rising star in the industry. “Rob will be bringing his leadership and enthusiasm to our service team further integrating energy solutions, building controls, and HYStat smart technology monitoring businesses,” said Lafferty.

Mike Senecal has been promoted from Vice President of Construction to Executive Vice President of New Construction and will provide strategic direction for construction, operations, and projects. “Mike is a true blue Hill Yorker who is highly respected by the construction team,” Lafferty noted. During his 19 years with the company, Senecal has progressed through the ranks, starting in duct and pipe fabrication and moving up to a series of management roles.

“Jeff, Rob and Mike have proven track records for facilitating faster, smarter ways of meeting our clients’ challenges,” Lafferty reflected. “At a time when business is booming and growth opportunities are substantial, they will be instrumental in guiding our biggest successes going forward.”

Hill York is a full-service commercial air conditioning company providing energy efficient solutions for the installation, maintenance, and repair of a wide range of heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Founded in 1936, the company serves the state of Florida. For more information, visit www.hillyork.com.

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