David R. Musser, Director of Energy Operations, Mechanical Engineer / Project Manager, Department of Physical Facilities
We were in the midst of an aggressive schedule on a burner replacement project on our three high temperature hot water generators (we refer to them as boilers, too). The first boiler’s replacement went very well and was up and running. As we were beginning commissioning of the second burner replacement, we discovered that boiler had sustained extensive tube damage as a result of freezing during construction. Details of that are a story for a different time. The important thing here is that we needed to facilitate a timely and affordable replacement.
My boss, at the time, was in contact with one of our local equipment reps, Roberts Mechanical, about some other equipment and mentioned our dilemma. They, in turn, mentioned that one of the company’s they represented was embarking on a beta program for a new boiler model, a high temperature hot water generator. Perfect!
We promptly arranged to meet with Nancy Simoneau, the president of the LeGroupe Simoneau, and Rejean Gauthier, the president of ThermoDesign to discuss their new offering. The HTHW generator is designed without refractory in the generator walls and includes removable convection pass coil sections, as well as an economizer section. They even were able to base their design for our boiler around the new burner we had already purchased, saving us significant money. We were immediately impressed with the level of knowledge of both Nancy and Rejean, but sensed there was something more to this new business relationship. All of our questions were answered intelligently and without reservation, so we decided to partner together on a project.
Due to the lead time for building a new boiler and the timing of decision making along with verifying a project funding source, the University needed to procure a temporary boiler to help ensure the campus had sufficient redundancy for the upcoming winter heating season. Simoneau and Roberts Mechanical were instrumental in securing an appropriately sized temporary boiler which we rented for the duration of winter that year. Simoneau’s Luc Valiquette helped ensure the burner was removed with care from the damaged boiler and properly shipped to Simoneau’s plant for installation in the new boiler.
In March of the following year, we were invited to Simoneau’s plant, near Montreal, Quebec, to actually see our boiler’s construction in progress. At the time of our visit, we were able to see the aforementioned removable convection pass tubing being bent and assembled, as well as some of the initial wall tube construction and installation. Perhaps the best part of the trip, though, was meeting all of Simoneau’s personnel involved in our project. They were all extremely knowledgeable and friendly and all seemed to really take responsible ownership of our project. That really made us feel as though we made the right choice with LeGroupe Simoneau. Our senses at that first meeting were right on. This was a conscientious company, with family roots, a great match for how I like to do business!
When it was time for the boiler to ship to our plant and installation began, Simoneau was well represented on site for the complete installation offering advice and reassurance at key points through the installation process. Maud Simoneau, Serge Carey and Jean Marc Lambert remained invested in our project through its completion. Serge was even on hand when we prepared for burner characterization and Environmental Protection Agency emissions testing.
As a testament to Simoneau’s impressive level of involvement and caring throughout our project, I remain in touch with their people to this day. The boiler has been running virtually continuously since the project ended almost two years ago. It runs significantly more efficient than our existing boilers and passed those emissions tests with flying colors. We could not be happier with our decision to partner with LeGroupe Simoneau!