The call came from FEI’s main branch in Pittsburgh. A delivery scheduled to arrive at a job site in Hunt Valley, MD, from Pittsburgh was botched by a carrier. Would the Philadelphia branch be able to deliver the same piece of equipment as soon as possible?
Driver Jon Gansauer, after driving two hours, arrived in time to meet the customer’s work schedule.
That kind of work ethic permeates the Philadelphia branch, located about 45 minutes west of the city in Exton, Chester County, where manager Ernie Harvey leads by example. On a few occasions he’s taken calls at home, returned to the office, picked up instruments, and delivered them to customers late at night or on weekends.
After a brief flirtation with a retail company, Ernie joined FEI in 2008 after years of working with environmental consulting businesses. He draws from those experiences every day, cognizant that customers “can’t afford to lose a day” of work waiting for a MultiRae gas detector or groundwater pump to complete a project.
“I just like helping people with what they need,” Ernie says, “whether it’s a straightforward need, like a PID (photoionization detector), or direction or guidance on how to proceed with a job. I just like that variability that comes with the job. It’s not the same every day. There are always new challenges, new technologies you have to learn. The industry is constantly changing, and our jobs are never static.
Ernie is ably assisted by a staff that shares his enthusiasm. William “BJ” Griffiths has been with FEI for less than a year but has made “exponential strides” in terms of learning everything from calibrating instruments to the nuances of dealing with customers on sales calls. Every month BJ drives to Staten Island, NY, where FEI is monitoring a site for dust.
Jon is the dependable driver who gets up as early as necessary to deliver instruments to job sites, while also preparing equipment. Shane Spangler, hired in 2018, works in customer service and also serves as a delivery driver when needed. New hire Jacob Berman, a geologist, will soon join the team as a business consultant and analyst.
“We’re like Swiss army knives,” Ernie says. “We really have to wear a lot of different hats.”
Having worked on projects in the field during previous jobs, Ernie realizes that a malfunctioning instrument or mishandled delivery can wreak havoc at job sites. Mistakes do happen. But when an error occurs, Ernie and his staff are quick to make adjustments.
“I take it personally when things don’t go as planned,” he says. “We try to help customer’s projects run as seamlessly as possible.”
The Philadelphia branch is supported by FEI’s nationwide network of branches and more than 20 years of experience as a premier provider of environmental equipment.