In Episode 16 of The Mission Critical Fire Protection Podcast, Lee Kaiser sits down with ORR's Steve Nelson. Steve discusses his tenure in the fire suppression industry and talks about mission-critical fire protection with Lee.
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Welcome to MCFP meet the experts where ORR protections, VP of engineering, Lee Kaiser interviews, industry insiders on all things Mission-critical fire protection.
Lee Kaiser (00:19):
I'm here with Steve Nelson today. Uh, Steve, your regional operations manager for the Southeast region of ORR Protection, you know, operating in the Southeast quadrant of the United States and, uh, really glad for you to spend a little bit of time with us today. So tell me how you got into the fire protection industry?
Steve Nelson (00:36):
Introduction to the fire protection industry was through my father. Um, I was started doing a Halon inspections when I was 10, 11 years old, going to the hospitals with him and the,
Lee Kaiser (00:44):
your kiddin, me.
Steve Nelson (00:45):
the computer rooms, uh, back then, and actually doing Halon discharges. So I'd go with them on the service calls late at night. It just, uh, I started at that point really in my career and then, uh, went to the Marine Corps and then when I got out, uh, I needed a job and my dad was like, okay, well, come on down. And we'll, uh, we'll try out in the business. So I never looked back ever since it's been in my blood since I, since I can remember.
Lee Kaiser (01:07):
So, you know, people say that you grow up into the industry, but you literally grew up in the industry.
Steve Nelson (01:12):
He's done it his entire life and I've been exposed to my entire life.
Lee Kaiser (01:16):
So I'm sure you've been around some really neat projects. Tell me about one of your favorite ones, one of what, what project sticks out in your memory?
Steve Nelson (01:25):
One of my favorite projects, uh, is when I was actually here at ORR. Um, it was a replacement and upgrade of a low pressure CO2 systems. We actually removed the tanks and replaced them with new tanks and then, uh, added some NFPA 12 upgrades to them. And it was a very hard timeline to keep, uh, we had outages, uh, the first couple of tanks, we were able to change that one at a time. And that took about two weeks per tank. And then we were asked to do two tanks per week. So it was very, uh, the timeline was very demanding. And then I had a great project coordinator that did a great job in the, we really shined on the project.
Lee Kaiser (02:01):
Oh, that's, that's great. Yeah. So, you know, as an operations manager, a number of the people that work for us in the field report through you, whether you're a field service technician or on the project side and installations, um, you know, what do you think one of the benefits of working for, ORR if you are, you know, either just starting out or you're an experience field person?
Steve Nelson (02:23):
I'll give you a two-prong answer- Is that the, as far as just starting out some of the best technical training you could possibly receive, uh, there's no schooling as far as outside of getting into the field and getting into this work and actually getting in OJT. But, uh, at, ORR we provide a high level, very high level of training. Um, as far as someone who's been in the industry for awhile, I've said it to a lot of people and I believe it's our best selling point ORR is a very holistic company. It's not just about going out, being out in the field and getting your job done, which we, we won't performance. But even from, from the, the owners and the CEO there, they care about people. They care about our health. They care about our financial health. And like I said, it's very holistic. They take care of us in a lot of different ways to help us perform to the best part ability.
Lee Kaiser (03:10):
Are there any kind of wisdom principles that you can share with us about how you like to run your teams?
Steve Nelson (03:16):
I'm here support them. I was a Marine infantryman and the entire Marine Corps was built around the infantry man. In my opinion, our entire organization is built around the tech. We're here to support them and make their job easy and make it to where they can do their job in a timely and efficient manner.
Lee Kaiser (03:31):
Last question, you know, you've been in the industry for a long time, but I want to, you know, you probably have some insights into how it's going to change in the next five or 10 years. How do you think fire protection contracting is going to change?
Steve Nelson (03:44):
I see fire protection contracting is as far as being part of the overall we're real specialized. I think it's going to be part of the overall building package. I see our current fire alarm systems being part of the entire BMS system. Uh, not just a standalone panel somewhere. I think it's going to be part of a larger package deal. As far as on the special hazard side. I think it's going to be different solutions other than potentially gas, um, a lot of water based systems potentially for water mist and so on and so forth.
Lee Kaiser (04:11):
Steven Nelson, Southeast regional operations manager based out of Atlanta. Uh, uh, thanks so much for spending some time with us today and sharing your insights.
New Speaker (04:20):
Yes, sir. Thank you.
Speaker 1 (04:21):
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