BUILD October 2017 (Gray Insulation and Fabrication LLC)

8 BUILD / October 2017 , A Small Business with a Dazzling Repertoire Gray Insulation and Fabrication LLC provides mechanical insulation installation. We invited founder and owner, Meri Ramey-Gray, to tell us more about the dynamic company. Since their inception three years ago, Gray Insulation and Fabrication LLC’s main line of work is mechanical insulation, covering either pipe insulation or HVAC insulation. Additionally, they also insulate steam pipes, pumps, boilers, chillers, water heaters, chilled beams, exposed waste piping, etc. The fabrication part usually comes when adding a metal or aluminum jacket over the insulation when it is exposed to humidity or weather. For Meri, there isn’t a project the firm cannot conquer as she lists Gray Insulation’s dazzling repertoire. “The White House, the Pentagon, Vice-President’s residence, and even local restaurants are in our repertoire of experience. Whether it is industrial work, mechanical equipment, making pads, we will give you the best quality. Quality means so much to us. The most important fact to remember is that no matter what, mechanical insulation, installed properly, can decrease the carbon footprint left by the dwelling, anywhere from 10% to 85%. This includes power plants, all dwellings - it’s amazing.” What sets Gray Insulation and Fabrication apart from competitors is that Gray Insulation does not have as large an overhead on the line as many companies do, but a very passionate work ethic, as Meri explains, “Overall, my aim is to implement higher standards, higher education to the impact of changes, to the climate and to break more ground for women. A small percentage of workers in this environment are women; I will keep going until my standard of quality is the standard of quality with more women participating. Recently, Meri found success in BUILD Magazine’s 2017 US Small Business Awards, being awarded the title Best Woman-Owned Small Business in Colorado. Speaking of the award, Meri is thrilled to inform us what it means to have been given this title but also how she maintains her success. “It is a true honor to have won Best Woman-Owned Small Business in Colorado 2017 in the US Small Business Awards. It is hard to imagine being on the outside looking in, that I was even considered. On average, I work 12-14 hours a day, but I completely expect to be doing that when getting a business going. This is a very male dominated industry, and I have had to try so many different approaches to get our name out there, just to be given an opportunity to bid on work or have someone return a phone call. Over the years, I have been called names, had materials stolen, and even tools taken from my tool box on-site. Regardless of the struggles and challenges I’ve faced, I keep going. From picking up and ordering material, hiring employees, going over blueprints, attending meetings, networking, you name it. It is amazing through all of this, to receive such an acknowledgement. “As for my hopes for this award, I am optimistic that it means there is more reason to give my work attention, in a positive way. Following this award, I hope it means that someone may return my call or maybe a potential client gives me a chance to show them how we do it, that I have earned the right to stand next to them on the job site. “I am constantly attending different meetings, whether it is for development projects, energy efficiency, or government contracts, whatever it takes, and as many bid opportunities at which I can be present. On a job site, some do not feel that it is a place for women, and it is intentional to make each day difficult. But, I will still finish the job and it will be good. One thing I am sure of is that I thank the men within the industry for this. It is finding the gratitude in the struggle, which gives me a path to walk on.” When discussing the current state of the industry, Meri reflects on the challenges that are facing the industry, but also notes certain aspects that are essential to creating success. “The industry itself has taken on some challenges such as lack of potential customer education – which is a much greater hindrance than all other factors. “There are pop-up insulation companies, or departments, who are hiring temporary laborers to install insulation improperly. The foreman who is showing them what to do does not even know that it is going on incorrectly. It is essential to know proper installation techniques and to have your employees truly understand the impact their work represents, including themselves at the end of the day.” Looking ahead, Meri envisions what she hopes the future holds for the industry and how she sees the market changing over the next 12 months. “The most I can say is education, education, education. Over the next 12 months, I can only hope that customer awareness and education will grow and will change the market drastically. Also, I hope that customers are aware of the fraud that is out there and not lose their good money. The future can be amazing for our industry! Even to just be a part of changing the climate, one pipe at a time, that would be good for me.” 1705BU04