Archive for the ‘Company News’ Category
Recently, we had the chance to follow up and revisit a customer who had purchased two of our message boards for their university. Tucked away in Dekalb, about 60 miles west of Chicago, Northern Illinois University is a growing population of 25,000 students with a diverse group of on-campus traffic control needs. One of their main focuses are events on campus. To be more specific, I’m referring to the Convocation Center, a $36 million multipurpose center that seats 10,000 people for a variety of events at the school. We met with Chris Kostelec, who is the Convocation Center Coordinator to offer follow-up support on the message boards, and also to get a sense from them who they used these message boards. What we found was very interesting as these boards rarely get a days rest. University officials had plenty of good things to say, as they were very satisfied with the performance of their newest equipment.
Chris was very pleased with the ease of use of these boards, especially the simple programming on the computer system. He said what used to take him 20 minutes to enter now takes him less than 60 seconds in most cases and that was a huge benefit. Running the Convocation Center is a big enough job on its own, and what it’s important to Chris is being able to quickly direct people to where they need to go. Being able to place the boards and immediately get the message out with little hassle is a tremendous time saver by comparison to his previous message boards.
He was also very pleased with the price and value of the boards. His research concluded that we offered the most competitive pricing available, and the university agreed. Upon our first visit we provided him with a Shopworx catalog and I let him know that we would be able to service all of their needs from this standpoint. Chris plans on contacting me again in the future as those needs come up. He is very interested in purchasing the remote communications modem for each board, as he feels the ability to control the boards from his office computer would streamline his productivity.
The QPR ShopWorx QPRSMC2000 Full-Matrix Solar Message Board is a portable, changeable full-matrix message sign consisting of advanced LED lamp matrix panels capable of emitting bright distinctive messages to the public. The board comes already capable of displaying 250 text, 60 graphic and 20 arrow board messages preprogrammed and stored in the controller. Additionally, 100 user-created messages can be programmed and stored.
This information speaks to the sheer volume of activity at this facility each year is directly from the NIU Website:
- 200+ events per year
- Family Shows
- Theatrical Productions
- Commencement Ceremonies
- Job Fairs
- Trade Shows
- Huskies Division I Athletic Events (Basketball, Volleyball, Track, Gymnastics and Wrestling)
Chris informed us that these boards will be in constant use throughout the year – not only for the 200+ events they put on at the convocation center, but also for home football and basketball games and other campus events that draw heavy traffic. They also lend or rent the boards out to local high schools for football games, and to the fire department for various different uses. He was very pleased with the outstanding customer service and support he had been receiving from QPR, and was impressed with the follow up from both our team in the field and our inside reps. His overall impression of QPR was very good and in his words, he “couldn’t be happier” with what he has.
For more information on Northern Illinois University and the Convocation Center, feel free to visit their website below.
Keeping America’s highways safe is a nonstop task, and certainly not a 9 to 5 job considering the aging infrastructure of the country, increases in traffic counts, and effects of weather and natural events. Often, governmental entities cannot handle the entire job themselves, and professional contractors are called upon to handle the tough jobs. These contractors are on call 24/7 and put themselves in harm’s way to make sure our families are safe and protected as we travel throughout the country.
One such contractor is Virginia-based TME Enterprises, Incorporated. Founded in 1992, TME is one of the country’s leading Right of Way Asset Maintenance contractors. Despite their small beginnings, TME has grown to over 230 employees, and now has over 20 state and local maintenance contracts. The company credits their success to a “ground up” approach, rather than a “top down” focus. Steve Pecaut of TME gave me a little insight into what they are currently managing. Here’s a quick snapshot of what is keeping them busy right now:
- Approximately 1,800 miles of interstate highway
- Over 500 miles of urban primary routes
- Approximately 450 bridge structures
- 9 Tunnels, including the famous Hampton Bay Bridge Tunnel
- 32 Tunnel Support Facilities
- Countless rest areas, school facilities, and park sites
I began working with TME almost four years ago, when I discovered they were using an inferior cold patch product to repair potholes on state highways in Virginia. They quickly realized this as well, and switched over to using our QPR High Performance Cold Patch bags, which we provided to them through Lowe’s Home Improvement. When the QPR ShopWorx program launched in recent years, it became a natural fit to partner with them in this initiative as well. Contractors like TME cannot afford to wait around for safety apparel and equipment. QPR has been providing TME with custom-printed winter PPE and safety apparel, traffic cones, and safety vests. If you find yourself driving through Virginia’s pristine roadways and happen to spot a roadway maintenance crew, you won’t be able to miss them because they’ll be wearing a Class 2 QPR Safety Vest complete with the TME logo.
“QPR and Ben have stood behind their products ever since we came on board with them years back, and as we continue to grow they have been there for us every step of the way,” says Pecaut. ”Having such high quality products at an affordable price makes our job easier, more efficient, and helps with the bottom line.”
The future looks bright for TME, with more and more governmental budgets strapped and city, county, and state agencies looking for ways to manage assets and right-of-ways effectively and cost efficiently. We plan on helping them continue to grow as a premier partner, and we can help your organization in the same way. For more information on TME, you can click here to visit their website.
One of the great things about our website and this blog is our interaction with you, the customer. We love your phone calls, your emails, and your feedback. We also love to learn about your businesses and the industry you work in. That’s why we’ve decided to add a Contractor Spotlight segment to our blog, and we want to hear YOUR stories! If you are in the business of keeping this country’s infrastructure up and running, you could be our next Contractor Spotlight. We’re looking for anyone from paving companies to utility contractors, surveying crews, and governmental agencies out there that are working hard and interested in sharing with our readers.
What are we looking for? Well, really…anything! What are you working on? What is the business climate where you live? Are you staying busy, or is your company looking for new opportunities to get back on track? Thousands of people read our blog every day, and the contractor spotlight could be a great new way to share your company’s story with a large number of those in the same industry. You could tell us about a recent job you took on, or a new innovation you are making in the work you do. All you’ll need to do is fill out a brief questionnaire about your company, spend a few minutes with us over the phone, and send us a few pictures of one of your latest projects. We want to hear your story!
We are hoping that Contractor Spotlight will be a great way to share news, tips, and stories in an industry where communication can be limited because of the hours people work. The internet has obviously become a great way for us to share information and ideas, and we think the QPR ShopWorx blog can be even better at helping to communicate that information and those ideas. If you have any thoughts or would like to share your company’s story in an upcoming segment of our blog, please email me at tmagill@QPRmail.com.
Thanks! We look forward to hearing from you.
It seems like summer is finally breaking in most parts of the country, and where I’m from that means college football, tailgating, and going back to watch my East Carolina Pirates on the field. Recently, ShopWorx has been working with a handful of colleges and universities to prepare for the upcoming football season, specifically dealing with their traffic control plans. As schools expand in both student population and size, the needs of a college and university can often mirror what many municipalities are doing to control the safety and flow of traffic in an area. QPR ShopWorx has a full line of traffic control supplies that can increase the efficiency of your current system.
We recently sent out a mailer highlighting our Mini Full-Matrix Solar Message Board for gameday traffic control, and the responses have been great. This week, I traveled through my home state of North Carolina meeting with a handful of universities about this fantastic piece of equipment. The QPRSMC4000 is the perfect option for those with traffic control needs that can vary dynamically between construction, public events, lane closures, and a host of other happenings. The board has 21-day autonomy, meaning when fully charged you could disconnect the solar panels and it will run for three weeks straight. The board can display 250 pre-programmed messages in text, as well as 60 graphic messages. In addition, 100 user-created messages can be stored. One of the best features of the board is its size. While still giving you maximum visibility of your message display, the footprint and weight of this board is much less than traditional 3-line message boards.
One university was considering the benefits of owning solar message boards versus renting them, and on the spot rattled off a list of nearly a dozen additional ways they could use the board to benefit the university and its students. Since there are constant events on campuses aside from football and other sporting events, the message board can assist with student parking, lane closures, special events, graduations, etc. We brought a full-size three line message board along with us in most cases to show people the differences in size and capabilities, and in every case the staff determined the smaller board to be most compatible with what they were looking to use it for.
I brought along a couple of “experts” with me as well to show off these boards. ShopWorx Program Manager Towner Magill and Charles Frick, our manufacturer’s rep from Precision Solar Controls, both came along for the ride. The demonstrations went very smoothly, aside from one slight “technical” glitch. While changing out a component in the controller box Charles accidentally cut open his thumb with a utility knife, but still managed to finish the rest of the demonstration in top form! Our thanks and well-wishes go out to Charles and his thumb.
Whether you’re a college or university, a small municipality, an event facility, or many other types of users, the Mini Full-Matrix Solar Message Board has a host of great features and potential for use in your day-to-day operations. Please contact your nearest QPR representative for a demonstration of this great board!
Social media has become one of the major ways we communicate as a society. Even in the business of infrastructure repair, the trend is growing exponentially. Contractors are soliciting customers via their Facebook pages, and city street maintenance crews are getting pothole reports via Twitter, and that’s just a start. If you weren’t already aware, QPR ShopWorx has a growing presence in social media, and we wanted to make sure we get connected with you!
Follow us on Twitter @QPR_Quality or Like Us on Facebook at our page, QPR Engineered Solutions for Infrastructure. At both locations you can look for tips, find out about new products, and get feedback from other loyal QPR customers on our entire line. You can also reach out to us via either location and get your questions answered promptly!
We’ve got some customer giveaways and contests upcoming, so spread the word in your organization to make sure and connect with us on the internet! You could be the next winner!
As the newest member of the QPR ShopWorx team, I’d like to introduce myself to you the customer. My name is Adam Sprecher, and I am our new representative covering the Midwestern states of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and basically wherever else I’m needed. I’m excited to meet many of you and show others about our great products for those working in infrastructure improvement. Speaking of introductions, I was also introduced to something that many don’t know about last week. Each of us has noticed the vast amount of orange road cones used every day for traffic control purposes, but have you ever thought about how they are made?
Last week, Kevin Dye and I visited with the manufacturer of our traffic control supplies, Work Area Protection, to tour the facility and develop a better understanding of how they operate. Keep in mind that all of our traffic control supplies are made in the USA. I was surprised to learn that many of their processes were done by hand. For example, the reflective striping that is placed on each cone is done by hand one at a time. This is also true for their channelizers and drums. At their St. Charles, IL plant they specifically make traffic cones, and it was interesting to see that process from start to finish. They actually pour a white rubber over a mold until it dries in the desired shape. From there, it moves down a mechanical assembly line and is coated with orange paint, which gives it its glossy appearance.
Something else I found very interesting was the process we can use to put a company’s name or logo on a cone. Traditionally, this is done with a stencil and some spray paint by hand. However, we can offer an option where the company’s “stencil” is actually inlayed withing the layer of the PVC so that it can’t be washed off and is a more long-lasting identifier of whose property it is.
We were lucky to have Mike Linkimer from Work Area Protection show us around the plant and give us a behind-the-scenes look at the process. Mike also described to us the different suppliers they partner with to get materials, and how that affects costs. This is due in large part to the varying state laws relating to the specs of each item they sell. For example, they had an order from New York City for cones, and they are required to use green cones in certain situations. I’d like to thank Mike and the folks at WAP for having us in for the day, it was a very educational experience.
Keep in mind that if you have questions or needs involving cones, channelizers, or drums, as well as any of our traffic control devices, we are here to help! Please don’t hesitate to call or or any of our QPR ShopWorx representatives!
Hopefully you’ve been able to enjoy some vacation this summer, and relax somewhere cool and shady. Of course, that seems to be harder and harder to do as weeks go by. Our country has been in the grip of a tremendous heat wave over the last several weeks, and this is on pace to be one of the hottest summers in record. For those of you in the asphalt & paving world, this isn’t news. Hopefully this isn’t news to you either: it is critical that those working around hot pavement and machinery take extra precautions to remain hydrated and cool. There are many ways of doing this, but the most obvious is drinking plenty of water throughout the day. QPR ShopWorx wants to help keep your crew hydrated this summer. We have great prices on our 5 & 10 gallon Igloo coolers, and are even giving away coolers for free with a minimum purchase of Personal Protective Equipment.
Has your plant manager thought out providing warm mix asphalt to your customers and paving crews? While traditionally thought of as a additive for cold weather paving options, our QualiTherm warm-mix additive can be used to lower the temperature of both your plant, saving fuel, and your production temperatures, saving your paving crew from additional heat exposure. These crews are already exposed to extreme temperatures and conditions improving our infrastructure, and a 75 degree difference in laydown temperatures can mean a lot less stress on a worker’s body.
Staying cool while out on the job site can also be done by taking more frequent breaks, staying in the shade as often as possible, and wearing loose-fitting clothing with a lighter fabric for summer heat. Staying out of the sun is also important for a worker’s skin health – be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen with high SPF rating (55+). Make sure someone on your crew is trained in first aid in case of a heat emergency. Stay safe this summer – hopefully Fall won’t be along too late!
Some other news of note – QPR ShopWorx reps are coming to your area with demonstrations of our great line of message and arrow boards. We have demonstration units throughout the country and are visiting with contractors, local government, and other agencies on a regular basis, and we can come to you too! Contact your rep today and schedule a demonstration of our user-friendly, durable message boards.
Last week, QPR assembled three teams of represenatitves across the country with the goal to educate customers and potential customers about our Biodegradable Solvent and distribute samples of the material. The three teams were assembled in North and South Carolina, the Baltimore – D.C. area, and Southern California and set out to reach as many of you out there as possible in a week’s time. Recently introduced to the ShopWorx line, our Biodegradable Solvent is not only incredibly effective, but also cost effective when up against comparable solvent cleaners, and we want to get the word out about it! Since becoming available to our customers, the solvent has been getting great reviews from both government agencies and paving contractors alike.
For those who don’t know about the product, Biodegradable solvent is an eco friendly solution for cleaning off asphalt, tars, grease, and other unfriendly adhesives. With most states now regulating the use of Diesel Fuel for cleaning purposes, this solvent is an alternative and solution to diesel use and is made from earth friendly renewable resources. When asked what they typically use to clean asphalt off of lute rakes, most customers began their answer with, “Well, since we can’t use diesel anymore…” In fact, pictured below is an actual sign from one of the many asphalt plants we visited this week which shows the reception that diesel fuel is getting most places nowadays.
Knowing that many people must “see to believe,” our teams gave away hundreds of samples last week, each in a gallon jug, to various municipal and county road departments, asphalt producers, and paving companies. We found many city and county organizations paying well over $1,000 per 55 gallon drum of a less effective solvent, and many asphalt plants that hadn’t yet found a suitable option for tough grease, tar, and asphalt stains. With the days of diesel use coming to an end, many people in these areas were encouraged to learn about another option that is less expensive than other options they have tried in the past. Our Biodegradable Solvent is available in 55 gallon drums, and also in 330 gallon totes for those who have a greater need. For anyone wanting a free gallon sample of this product, call your local rep and he would be more than glad to get this great solvent into your hands. This product surely does speak for itself.
With Tropical Storm Beryl on our heels, ShopWorx Program Manager Towner Magill and I set out to give some customer demonstrations of our newest portable message board, the QPR SMC 4000 Mini Full-Matrix Solar Message Board. Moving North and East at around 60 mph, we blew across Florida bringing a handful of a counties a new message. Well, a new message board, that is…a mini message board.
Most governmental agencies are familiar only with larger message boards that are rated for highway use. However, most cities and counties are not generally maintaining very many highway miles. After demonstrations with Charlotte County, the City of Punta Gorda, Lee County, Indian River County, and the City of Melbourne, potential future users were impressed with the smaller message board. Several of the staff in each location crowded around the board, and had plenty of compliments. They admired the QPR SMC 4000 for its small size and maneuverability, ease of use in programming a custom message, the brightness of the board’s full matrix LED display, remote communication and radar features, and competitive pricing. Plus, since it can be placed on any road with a speed limit of 55mph or lower, it would allow them to use it in a variety of ways.
Additionally, the QPR SMC 4000 has every feature you want in a compact size. Featuring Energy Efficient LED displays, an industrial-grade trailer, 4 leveling jacks to provide stability, and powder-coat paint that resists fade from weather and scratches. Inside the secure controller unit an off-the-shelf QWERTY keyboard attached to the on-board controller by USB can be easily used or replaced, and (2) 4D Deep Cycle batteries within the locked battery box allow the SMC 4000 to operate for 21 consecutive days without sunlight. And speaking of Tropical Storms, the unit can withstand winds up to 70 mph.
The Full Matrix display provides both graphic messages and arrow board capabilities. The unit’s on-board controller provides the user with 250 pre-programmed text, 60 graphic and 20 arrow board display messages. The controller also has enough memory to save up to 100 user programmed messages.
Our message boards are manufactured in several locations across the United States, drastically cutting shipping costs and allowing replacement parts to be readily available – should you need them in moment’s notice. The East Coast avoided any major damage from Tropical Storm Beryl this weekend, but should disaster strike QPR will be there to help supply you with what you need at a moment’s notice.
Are you interested in a hands-on demonstration of our Mini Full-Matrix Solar Message Board or any other product from QPR ShopWorx? Contact your local ShopWorx representative today to set up a free demonstration!