Category: Company News

Hiller Announces New General Manager Of American Fire Equipment

The Hiller Companies, Inc. has recently named Mark Murrell as the new General Manager of its Phoenix-based division, American Fire Equipment Sales & Service.

Mark Murrell

Beginning as a service technician in 1997, Murrell has taken on numerous roles, starting as a service and installation technician for fire alarm, special hazards and monitoring systems. From there, he has managed the finals department, worked in contracting sales, served as Operations Manager and is currently the Treasurer for the National Independent Fire Alarm Distributors (NIFAD).

In addition to his strong leadership skills and commitment to the American Fire safety culture, Murrell understands the value of any company is in the people.

“I am so blessed to have this opportunity,” said Murrell. “In my 22 years with American Fire, I have been privileged to work with some of the industry’s most talented individuals.”

He continued, “Working at American Fire has given me a foundation to be able to launch into the next level of success that is expected from this amazing team. We are privileged to be a part of the Hiller team and we are looking forward to what is in store for us in the future.”

Mark’s certifications include Notifier, Fike, Ansul, Janus and many others. He is also NICET Level 4 certified in fire alarms and NICET Level 1 certified in special hazards.

Hiller Celebrates 100 Years of Safeguarding Lives & Protecting Property

The Hiller Companies, Inc. turns 100 this year, and the company has much to celebrate.

Founded as a single shop in 1919, Hiller began as a modest venture in New Orleans, Louisiana under the name of its owner Herbert S. Hiller. Initially, the company served to provide fire protection equipment for commercial and shipyard customers. As the business (and the need for fire suppression technology) grew, they relocated their headquarters to Mobile, Alabama and today Hiller boasts a global reach as well as over 20 offices around the United States.

Quietly working behind the scenes, the Hiller name is not always well known outside of the fire protection industry. However, Hiller systems can be found around the globe with such clients as the New York City Mass Transit Authority (MTA), the Harvard Library, The National WWII Museum, the Smithsonian, the Louvre Museum, and the Indian Navy. There is also a Hiller system on every active U.S. Navy combatant ship.

Within the fire protection industry, Hiller has grown to become a trusted worldwide leader in fire and life safety. They’ve combined sound mechanical and electrical engineering practices, decades of experience, and the latest in fire protection to create products and services of the highest level of excellence. Services include life safety protection through the design, installation, monitoring and service of fire extinguishers, fire sprinkler systems, fire suppression systems, fire alarm systems, security systems, and more.

“What makes Hiller the best of the best is our ability to design, install, and service some of the most complex fire protection systems in some of the harshest environments in the world today,” said Patrick Lynch, Hiller President and CEO. “We are able to do this through the knowledge, experience and passion of our employees. Our engineers and technicians are outstanding at what they do. Some of them have been with us for over 40 years and we have the right leadership in place to enable us to perform wherever and whenever our customers need us.”

Hiller will be celebrating its 100th anniversary at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans on April 24th, 2019.

The Hiller Companies, Inc. Announces the Acquisition of Systems Management Group, LLC

The Hiller Companies is excited to announce the purchase of Systems Management Group, LLC (SMG), based in Denver, Colorado on September 1, 2018. Headquartered in Mobile, Alabama, Hiller offers fire protection and security products and services that are preserving lives and property all around the world.

The acquisition of SMG grants Hiller access to the Colorado market and provides the tools to more effectively service existing customers in the western United States. Hiller plans to maintain all of SMG’s management, staff and technicians, which will ensure a seamless transition for current SMG customers.

“We are always looking for opportunities to serve our customers more effectively,” said Hiller President and CEO Patrick Lynch. “We have found that one of the best ways to achieve this is by strengthening our first-class team. This is certainly the case with the Systems Management Group acquisition. Not only will it give us an opportunity to expand our service area, but we are gaining an experienced team of customer-focused employees.”

Adding a new dimension to the Hiller offerings, SMG specializes in consultation, design, installation, service and integration of low voltage systems, including fire alarms, intrusion alarms, access control, camera systems, audio/video systems, BDA systems, area of refuge systems, telecommunications, data systems and more. SMG’s strong brand presence in Colorado has solidified the company as a market leader in the low voltage fire alarm and security space.

SMG Founder and newly appointed General Manager Terrence Kane shares, “The acquisition by Hiller gives our existing customers and potential new customers the best of both worlds. We are able to provide them with the attention and support of a local company that’s also backed by the strength and resources of a strong U.S. brand. We couldn’t be more thrilled with this opportunity.”

Herbert S. Hiller Partners with the National WWII Museum to Restore PT-305

The newly updated PT-305 docked.

It is in the mid-1940’s, we were in the middle of World War II. The United States Navy was in need of small boats that could move in fast against the enemy. The PT-305 was part of a new class of vessels in the war; a light, swift and aggressive hunter. Patrol Torpedo (PT) boats went where larger ships could not, patrolling enemy-held coastlines at night, launching attacks on enemy shipping, then vanishing into the darkness.

PT boats built by Higgins Industries of New Orleans were made of wood: spruce ribs, pine keel, and a mahogany hull. Three powerful Packard engines gave them a top speed of over 40 knots. Carrying torpedoes, machine guns, and a cannon, PTs were pound for pound, the heaviest armed craft in the US Navy.

On March 30, 1943, the keel was laid for PT-305, “Sudden Jerk.” She launched on May 27th and was commissioned into Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 22 on December 8, 1943. The next six weeks were spent testing PT-305 on Lake Pontchartrain before shakedown in Miami. In April, she was loaded onto an oil tanker in Norfolk, VA, for shipment across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Theatre. During her war days, she was responsible for sinking three enemy vessels.

She was purchased by the National WWII Museum and returned to New Orleans in April 2007. After ten years and more than 120,000 volunteer hours, the PT-305, “Sudden Jerk”, has been completely restored to her late 1944 appearance and is fully operational.

Herbert S. Hiller reached out to a few of our dedicated suppliers. We supplied the engine room CO2 fire suppression system, portable fire extinguishers, fire hose, and nozzle. Hiller donated the engineering, field labor, and pipe and fittings required to install and certify these systems.

To find out more about the PT-305 and the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, visit their website.

Herbert S. Hiller employee volunteers on the PT-305.
Hiller technicians David Lucas (left) and Randy Brisbi (right) install CO2 piping for the PT-305.
Danny Brown (Manager, Strategic Projects at Herbert S. Hiller) alongside Candy Westfall (PT-305 Project Manager for the World War II Museum)

The Hiller Companies’ Chuck Johnson Goes Above and Beyond

Chuck Johnson has a knack for being in the right place at the right time when people need help.

“I was driving on Highway 65 on the way to my next job when I saw a truck with a trailer in the northbound lane. It was on fire, so I stopped.”

Johnson is a General Products Technician for the Birmingham branch of The Hiller Companies, a fire protection company headquartered in Mobile, Alabama. He was able to quickly assess the situation and take action.

“By the time I stopped, the man was running in the middle of the road asking anyone if they had a fire extinguisher. I told him, ‘I got you’ and I passed him two extinguishers. I fed some to another man, and I took two,” Johnson said.

The driver of the truck indicated to Johnson that there was a propane tank on the trailer, and Johnson knew they had to move quickly.

“I think we used five extinguishers,” he said. “And the way the wind was blowing, it wasn’t hitting the fire. I kept telling the men to aim at the base of the fire. We were worried that a propane tank would explode, but we managed to keep it under control until the fire department showed up.”

Johnson believes if he hadn’t happened by, the situation could have been a whole lot worse before the fire department arrived.

“I am just glad I was there,” he said. “It is a good feeling to be able to provide a service. In any way I could help, I was willing to do it.”

Keith Carter, Operations Manager of the Birmingham branch of Hiller, said Johnson is one of their best performers.

“Chuck is one of our top technicians, and he always thinks of others – techs and customers alike – before he thinks of himself,” he said. “What he did for that person on the side of the road was a natural thing for him to do. It’s just who he is.”

This was not the first time Johnson has helped someone in trouble. A couple of years ago, during a drought, he came upon someone trying to put out a fire caused by a cigarette in a grassy area. He helped keep the fire from spreading until the fire department arrived.

And in the end, all’s well that ends well – as Johnson drove the same path to work the day after last week’s fire, he saw the Hiller extinguishers on the side of the road and was able to recover them and get them recharged.

The Hiller Companies offer fire protection products and services that are preserving lives and property all around the world. Headquartered in Mobile, Alabama, Hiller extends its reach globally as well as locally with offices in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia. We are proud to safeguard everything from small businesses to nuclear power facilities, yachts to aircraft carriers, and gas stations to offshore platforms.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact

Keith Carter at 205-323-3338 or email at kcarter@hillercompanies.com

The Hiller Companies Launches Teekay Emergency Repair Kit

The Hiller Companies, the exclusive distributor of Teekay Couplings in the United Sates, is excited to officially launch sales of our Teekay Emergency Repair Kits. The kit provides customers with a quick and easy way to repair pipes while staying on task and minimizing interruption while underway.

One of the most important goals when working in the oil/gas and marine industries is to avoid downtime.  Being taken off mission due to broken or damaged pipes can derail your work, cost thousands of dollars and add frustration to your crew’s morale.

“A boat that is tied up isn’t making any money. Loss of time is huge,” Marc Schwartz, Manager of Maintenance and Engineering for Tidewater Barge Lines, said. “I keep a stock of 3-4 kits and order several times a year.”

Teekay Emergency Repair Kits provide customized repair couplings of various sizes in addition to all necessary tools needed to install them on the spot. The repair couplings can act as a permanent fix or a temporary solution until a vessel is able to get back to the shipyard.

Repair couplings offer a permanent solution when pipes need to be cut and reassembled. Hinged couplings offer a temporary fix when pipes spring a leak and a ship is still underway.

“These kits allow you to do a field repair that keeps equipment operational,” Schwartz said. “You don’t have to yard out equipment, you don’t need welders, you don’t need a couple of guys on fire watch. It’s convenient. Anytime you can open the box and everything you need is in there, it’s great. It’s like going to Ikea.”

Jorda Elliot, Hiller Marine Products Manager, said the idea for the Emergency Repair Kit sprang from necessity.

“We were selling the couplings as parts and pieces when one of the icebreakers working in the arctic needed several sizes of couplings, we got the idea for the customized kits” he said. “We think it is a great option for vessels whose missions could be crippled by a leaking or burst pipe.”

The kit allows repairs to be conducted on site by anyone on the ship. Work is uninterrupted and unnecessary trips to the shipyard are avoided. Without the repair kit, welders and pipefitters would be needed to install and repair leaks. This could lead to lost time and money.

Each kit is custom designed to provide the size and number of couplings specific to each vessel. Everything from the tools, the couplings, and the cases are customized for specific requirements. Cases range from camera size to ice chest size.

“Because I have a fleet of inland tugs, we have our own maintenance facility, but if I were back out on ocean-going tugs and vessels, I would have a kit on every boat,” Schwartz said.

Kidde Recalls Fire Extinguishers with Plastic Handles

To whom it may concern:

As you may have heard, one of our suppliers, Kidde, has recalled their fire extinguishers with plastic handles due to failure to discharge and nozzle detachment.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall on November 2, 2017 noting the following: The fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.

Rest assured that The Hiller Companies does not currently distribute this fire extinguisher and we continue to take precautionary measures with all of our products to ensure they perform effectively in fire emergencies.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know is in possession of one of the recalled Kidde fire extinguishers, we encourage you to visit the CPSC website for additional details:
https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/kidde-recalls-fire-extinguishers-with-plastic-handles-due-to-failure-to-discharge-and

We would also like to take this opportunity to share some important reminders about the use and maintenance of fire extinguishers from the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association. Please click here for more information: http://www.femalifesafety.org/fire-extinguishers.html

Should you determine that you are indeed in possession of one of the recalled Kidde fire extinguishers, please do not hesitate to contact your Hiller representative or call us at 844-41-HILLER.

Sincerely,


Patrick Lynch, President/ CEO
The Hiller Companies, Inc.

The Hiller Companies Announces the Purchase of the Ebacher Company Sprinkler Division

The Hiller Companies is excited to announce the purchase of the Sprinkler Division of the Amesbury, Massachusetts-based Ebacher Company, which was welcomed into the Hiller family on October 3, 2017.

“Hiller is fortunate to be experiencing a significant growth period, and we are very pleased to expand our offerings through the knowledge and experience provided by the highly capable and customer-focused employees at the Ebacher Company,” Hiller President Patrick Lynch said. “With Ebacher’s 40 years in the business, Hiller looks forward to being able to expand our services in the fire sprinkler sector by building on the outstanding reputation they have earned in the New England market.”

The Ebacher Company has served residential, commercial, government and school clients. The Sprinkler Division will remain under the Ebacher Fire Protection brand for now and continue to service new and existing customers backed by the strong support and experience of The Hiller Companies.

The acquisition of the Sprinkler Division of Ebacher allows Hiller to expand coverage and provide a broader range of services to all customers. As Hiller plans to maintain all of Ebacher’s management, staff and technicians from the Sprinkler Division, this transition will continue the dependable and professional services their customers have come to expect.

“We couldn’t be happier about our place on the Hiller team,” Kevin Palmer, Fire Sprinkler Systems Manager said. “We believe our sprinkler group will be a great asset to Hiller and, in turn, Hiller will offer our existing customers a strong foundation of experience steeped in almost 100 years in the fire protection industry.”

Hiller New England General Manager Jeffrey Kidd looks forward to working with Ebacher and its existing customers to ensure a seamless transition.

“The Ebacher Company’s sprinkler customers will see a continuation of the high-quality service and protection they have historically experienced,” Kidd said. “They will see the same faces and names and continue the valuable relationships they have built with the management and staff at Ebacher.”

Hiller Announces Corporate Partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters

Hiller President Patrick Lynch meets his Little Brother Jayden for the first time.

Employees at The Hiller Companies, from executives to administrative staff, are gearing up to be “Bigs” as Hiller forges its corporate partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“We couldn’t be more excited to launch our relationship with the Big Brother Big Sister program,” Senior Vice President John Cocke said. “We, at Hiller, value our relationships with our communities, and this is a perfect way for us to get involved on both a personal and corporate level.  We are encouraging the employees at all of our offices to get involved. With 17 branches across the country, I think we can really make a difference.”

This past fall, Hiller invited Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama, Inc. CEO and President Aimee Risser to a general managers meeting in Mobile to present the corporate program and host a question and answer session.

“This was the first time we have been invited to a meeting where general managers from across a company were present,” Risser said. “This is not a typical Big partner of ours, so it’s unique.  There is no mold for a company; it is the right people in leadership at the right time.  We can adjust the program to fit any industry.”

Risser said ten local Hiller Bigs are completing the enrollment process right now and several others are inquiring about it.

“That is the beauty of this program,” Risser said. “It is ongoing and never ending.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters offers two types of mentoring programs: community-based and school-based.  The community-based mentoring is the traditional Big Brother Big Sister relationship.  It serves children ages six to twelve and fosters one-on-one time spent with the volunteer doing things they enjoy in the community.

School-based mentoring is one-on-one mentoring with children who enroll between the ages of six to twelve. Mentoring support is provided until the Littles turn 18 or graduate high school. Bigs meet their Littles on school grounds during school hours for one hour each week during the academic year and keep in touch during the summer. There are currently 31 schools in Baldwin, Escambia, Mobile and Monroe counties who participate in the school-based program.

Hiller will participate in school-based mentoring, but Bigs will have the option to transition into a community-based relationship on a case-by-case basis.

Hiller President and CEO Patrick Lynch has participated in the community-based program before and is looking forward to seeing the difference Hiller can make in the lives of young people.

“Being a part of this program has changed my life,” Lynch said. “You get as much or more from the kids than they get from you.  I can’t wait to see how our employees not only impact these kids, but how the experience impacts our employees.  It is a great, mutually beneficial relationship.”

Hiller’s Pensacola General Manager Pete Whitehouse has been working diligently to get his office on board with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“This partnership is positive for the company as a whole and for my branch,” Whitehouse said. “I believe it is something we can become invested in so that we are an impactful part of the community.  Building relationships is part of what we do in our work, and it should definitely be a part of what we do to give back.”

Risser pointed out just how much a company like Hiller can make a difference in the lives of their Littles.  National research shows that positive relationships between a Little and their Big has measurable impact when they are matched for at least a year:

  • 94% of Littles are more confident they will finish school
  • 96% of Littles felt socially accepted by their peers
  • 95% of Littles avoided risky behaviors
  • 94% of Littles improved academically

“We are so thrilled to have Hiller on our team,” Risser said. “At the heart of this, they have a willingness to positively impact our youth, and that is what makes our program work.  Hiller will be the first company we have worked with to successfully take Big Brothers Big Sisters into other markets with a company-wide campaign.”

“For a company to encourage its employees to take an hour each week of company time and mentor children is amazing,” Front Desk Receptionist Ruth Crawford, said. “It is gratifying to think I can make a difference in a child’s life. Knowing Hiller wants and encourages its employees to become Bigs makes me proud to be on their team.”

 

The Hiller Companies Announces Acquisition of American Fire Equipment Sales and Service Corporation

Mobile, AL – The Hiller Companies is pleased to announce that American Fire Equipment Sales and Service Corporation will be joining its team. The Hiller Companies offers fire protection and security products and services that are preserving lives and property all around the world. Hiller, headquartered in Mobile, Alabama, has branch offices from Houston to Boston and purchased American Fire on January 3, 2017.

Hiller prides itself on a strong foundation of experience steeped in almost 100 years in the fire protection industry coupled with the most modern service technology. By combining Hiller’s experience with the expertise of American Fire, Hiller is looking forward to expanding their service area in the western United States throughout Arizona, Utah, Nevada and surrounding areas.

“American Fire has been a leader in the Fire Protection Industry for 25 years”, Hiller Companies CEO Patrick Lynch said. “As a veteran-owned business, we respect the ideals and integrity on which American Fire was founded. We welcome the American Fire employees to the Hiller team and look forward to leveraging the strengths of these two premier organizations to deliver even more value for our customers.”

American Fire serves customers in Phoenix, Yuma, Tucson, Show-Low, Pinetop and Lakeside, Arizona as well as in Reno, Nevada, Price Utah and surrounding areas.  With a focus on mining, telecommunication, power generation, data centers and the health care industry, American Fire serves clients such as Go Daddy, Banner Hospitals, and Verizon.

“We are very confident that Hiller will continue the tradition of excellence we are known for in the fire protection industry,” former owner Ann Papuga said. “Hiller’s breadth of experience will usher in a new era for our customers by expanding available resources and offerings.”

John Papuga, former owner of American Fire, will continue as General Manager under Hiller’s ownership.

“The team at American Fire has committed themselves not only to quality products and services but also to a progressive perspective in fire protection,” John Papuga said. “We have worked to create an environmentally friendly, sustainable company.  We know Hiller shares that goal, and we look forward to continuing to implement green solutions for the company and our customers. This is a really great time to be on the Hiller team, and we look forward to continued growth and expansion.”

 

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact John Mackey at 251-661-1275 or email at jmackey@hillercompanies.com.