Full steam ahead — it is how Affiliated Power Services (APS) has transformed itself from a “powerhouse” unmatched in the boiler industry to a “vendor of choice” for turnkey services including on-line leak sealing, burner and controls, refractory and gunite, and more.
APS first combined the bench strength of three companies — Jerryco Machine & Boiler Works, Tigert Co. Inc. and CISCO Boiler Service Co. — to offer a complete line of boiler services including new boiler sales, equipment sales, refurbished boilers, boiler rental, 24/7 sales and service, and parts. Now, APS has redefined its business with broader services, industry experience and new equipment, serving the commercial, industrial and marine markets along the Gulf Coast (North and South Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and New Mexico).
Gary Free, MIQA (mechanical integrity/quality assurance specialist) at DuPont La Porte, Texas, has worked with the APS team since he has been with DuPont — 34 years. Free explained APS does “a little of everything for us,” from heat exchanger repair and piping fabrication to high alloy welding.
“APS is really turnkey for us,” he said. “They do whatever we need. APS does the specialty welding that other companies really cannot do. They also do heat exchanger repair in their shop, per code, and work on code vessels, which is something a lot of those shops don’t do. They just fabricated a piping system for us that was nearly 2,000 feet long.
“Having one company on site that can do all of this for us streamlines everything. It is more cost effective. We don’t have to keep up with several different companies. And it seems like they take care of their employees really well because I don’t see a lot of turnover. It helps us at the site level if we can refer to a certain piece of equipment and they already know where it is and what is required. They know our safety rules and culture, so we don’t have to babysit.”
As APS has grown through the years, Free was afraid they might lose that small company feel.
“They have not,” he said. “APS will jump through hoops for us. We like to schedule things, but if it doesn’t work out that way, I can call them in the middle of the night and have someone at the plant within a couple of hours. They truly offer 24/7 coverage, and they really help out.
“The team at APS is made up of good people who are very conscientious; they try really hard and they work really safe.”
In addition to its full line of boiler services, APS provides burner and control services.
“We are committed to the fast, reliable, safe service of steam and hot water systems,” said Lee Kelley, general manager. “We are well versed in repairing and installing boilers, burners and controls from both a mechanical and technical standpoint.”
Refractory is a heat-resistant material used in lining furnaces and boilers.
“Our refractory team has been toned and developed into a well-defined addition,” said Kemo Ferguson, refractory manager. “Our team is made of employees with decades of experience to provide the best the industry has to offer.
“With more than 35 years of refractory experience, I was assigned the task of building a refractory division. The craftsmen I brought with me have a combined experience of 70 years. We continue to build this division with gunite craftsmen and additional equipment. I continue to look for craftsmen in the refractory field to achieve growth through innovative thinking and ideas.”
On-line leak sealing is an ideal solution to repair leaks to gas, steam and water lines when it is economically unfeasible to shut your process down.
“I had an opportunity to develop an on-line leak sealing division with APS,” said Johnny Cantu, manager of the Leak Sealing Division. “I developed a business plan and brought colleagues who shared the same vision — to serve our customers with safe, quality and timely repair solutions to meet their specific needs and budget.”
John Willis, fixed equipment specialist at Solvay, has called on APS for more than 25 years. The company has fabricated and repaired many boiler bundles over that time, and the team has also fabricated a new economizer. Willis recently expanded the scope of services to include leak stop when APS began that offering.
“This has given us another vendor with a good reputation,” Willis explained. “The scopes of our projects have changed from time to time, and I feel they can handle any of our needs.
“For us, it is definitely the people and the experience they bring to the job that make them the right choice for us. We can depend on them for quality work whenever we call on them.
“I highly recommend Affiliated Power Services. They are easy to contact and have excellent communication skills.”
The best in the business
As APS has added more emphasis on its turnkey solutions in engineering, civil, structural, electrical and controls, and fabrication and erection, long-time employee Billy Steele has moved into the position of general manager. Steele joined the company in 1989 in the shop and field as a fabricator/welder. He became a certified welding inspector in 1993. In 1996, Steele was promoted to superintendent. As such, he oversaw all field and personnel operations until he moved into his new post in 2013.
As general manager for the industrial side of APS’ business, he is involved with all aspects of day-to-day operations.
“I have always been the hands-on type, and I believe if you are in touch it gives you a better perspective to resolve issues and to make knowledgeable decisions when necessary,” said Steele. “Beginning early on, I surrounded myself and crews with the best talent possible, and I still use this philosophy as the general manager.”
Steele’s goals for the industrial division include to continue to provide customers with a quality service at a competitive price, utilizing the team’s many years of experience and know how; to become the preferred national leader in the industrial market for service, sales and repairs; and to provide a safe workplace for the most skilled labor force to continue to expand their knowledge while providing for their families.
“I believe a company is only as good as its employees, and we are continuously looking to find the best in the business,” said Steele. “We have a great team, and we look forward to building our company to meet more of our customers’ needs. Quality service, production and safety are what we strive for each and every day.”
To both meet and exceed their safety goals, APS has also revamped its safety program.
“We recently updated our safety manual to meet all industry standards, including ISNetworld, PICS Auditing, Browz and many more,” explained APS Safety Director Lance Smith. “We also put together a very experienced safety committee that meets regularly to review what is happening in the shop and in the field to see where we can improve and to recognize the improvements we have made.
“Our main objective is to keep everyone who works for APS safe.”
The team’s safety-oriented attitude and performance contributed to an improved EMR of .78 (down from an already strong .82).
“APS will continue to strive for the safest environment for our employees and to give our customers peace of mind while providing them with top of the line quality craftsmanship,” said Smith. “We continue to strive for zero incidents and zero accidents.
“At APS, we believe every employee is a ‘safety director’.”
The ‘vendor of choice’
One maintenance manager began using APS in 2002 when the company was recommended by a trusted employee who had previously worked for APS.
“APS was well known around the Houston Ship Channel, and the employee spoke of the quality work they perform,” explained the maintenance manager. “I called on them and they have done probably 90 percent of my welding jobs since that time.”
APS performs what the manager calls “critical repairs” for his company, and the scope of the work has expanded as APS has broadened its services over the past year.
“They do everything from tube repairs in a boiler to tube leaks in a condenser,” said the maintenance manager. “I always choose APS for my more complex jobs, and it is always money well spent.
“I have perfect confidence in what I get from APS as I cannot remember ever having a failed problem after they have done a job, and their safety performance has always been stellar.”
With APS, he always gets personal service.
“I have always gotten the best they have,” he said. “I have called many times at 2 a.m., and they have had crews on site by the time I arrive at work.
“I like to see familiar faces around here, and they are familiar with our site and specific safety requirements and safety culture.
“APS is my vendor of choice.”
“Every member of our team is dedicated to the quality, safety and production people have come to know from us,” said Steele. “We are continuing to expand our capabilities to become the first choice in the industrial sales and service markets.”
For more information, call (888) 777-4421 or visit www.apowerserv.com.