Niagara Gazette — Most people wouldn’t think that an industrial cleaning job would be highly technical or dangerous, but the crews at North American Services are working with equipment that might make James Bond sit up and take notice. There are explosives, tiny video cameras and a couple of laser water guns that can slice through a man’s arm like a knife through butter.
Carl Fellows, regional manager, who is also a horse farmer and owns Casey’s Malt Shop in Ransomville, took the opportunity to talk shop recently about his industrial cleaning company located at 8555 Packard Road.
QUESTION: Tell me about North American Services.
ANSWER: We’re a huge company located across the country. We have a total of 15 offices and probably a million work hours in 2011.
Q: How did your company land here?
A: Niagara Falls had one industrial cleaning company. My company decided to open an office here, basically to support Covanta, which was a corporate customer of North America. I used to work for their competitor.
Q: And what kind of industrial cleaning do you do?
A: We do hydro-blasting, explosive, vacuum truck service (the trucks are sometimes called super-suckers), video camera work and chemical cleaning services.
Q: Tell me about the video camera. What do you do with it?
A: We do inspections of pipes. Not a lot of places do that with a video camera. For instance, we were called to do video and cleaning work at Corning Glass in Corning. We found lines underground they didn’t even know they had. There were miles and miles of lines. We finished the job in six months. Later Kitchenworld, which bought the property, called us out again to do more line inspection. The video camera is a nice asset to have if you’re doing cleaning work. We recently won the contract to do video inspection for the city of Niagara Falls.
Q: You work with explosives too? What do you do with those?
A: The explosives are usually for boiler systems. Sometimes, inside, the chamber you’re burning in gets clogged up. Our team will come in and fire explosives to blast all the slag off.
Q: Some of that sounds pretty dangerous.
A: What we’re doing is providing a team of people dedicated to do the work in a safe and healthy manner. We’ve been told by clients that when we come in to do the work, “we can turn our backs and walk away.” At General Motors up on River Road they needed some old professional equipment cleaned and removed. I had two 12-man crews working around the clock. One of the comments I got from a manager is “you’re making all the other teams look bad.” We got the processor cleaned and looking almost new.
Q: How did you do that?
A: We used our bio-degradable steam cleaner and a lot of good, old-fashioned elbow grease.
Q: Tell me about your management style.
A: When you manage a company you need to give your employees the tools and equipment they need and then let them do their jobs. And you’ve also got to have a commitment to your people.
Q: What are some of your goals for the new year?
A: I want to continue to maintain the customer base we have, to develop and hire new employees and to pick up some new clients.Thats our goal, to build and grow.
For more information contact North American Service Group at 1-800-866-6247.