Part II: Insulation Professionals of Ohio Target School Construction Projects


‘The high hopes of the school district for this new construction project and our experience of the deterioration of mechanical systems in the old high school motivated us to do something to ensure quality mechanical insulation work would be done on the new high school,’ Emrich said.

At first Poteet was adamant about securing the work at Groveport because he was worried that the design team would intentionally value engineer mechanical insulation out of the construction plans, but as the project progressed he began to realize that as the decision makers began to more thoroughly understand the value and benefits of mechanical insulation they were less apt to cut it from the project.

‘For a while we thought decision makers on major construction projects like this were deliberately value engineering mechanical insulation out of their construction budget, but the more we looked into to it, the more we realized that the exclusion of mechanical insulation from major construction projects was mostly due to end users’ ignorance of its existence and the benefits it could bring. It was more misunderstanding then malice,’ said Poteet.

The desire to help a local school district while organizing work were not the only motivation behind the mechanical insulation education campaign, Poteet and Emrich saw this as an opportunity to promote the entire industry more generally.

‘When Scotty told me about what was going on in Groveport my wheels started turning. At first we just thought of it as a good opportunity to help a local school district and organize work, but after talking about it for a while, we started to think bigger and realized that this was a great opportunity to promote mechanical insulation and educate people about its existence and benefits on a larger scale,’ said Dan Poteet.

While Emrich and Poteet appreciated the Groveport opportunity as organizers and managers, they also saw the opportunity from a broader industry perspective.

‘We realized that if we only used Groveport to benefit our Local and not the entire industry, we would be wasting a golden opportunity,’ said Poteet.

Local 50 saw the Groveport school project as more than just a single large scale project that would keep their workforce busy, they saw it as an opportunity to make the value and benefits of mechanical insulation visible to other potential end users who did not know about its value and were therefore not planning to include it in the design of their construction projects.

‘Basically, we thought the Groveport Madison high school build would be a great test case for a mechanical insulation education campaign that we could take other places as well. We thought that if we could get in early, during the planning and design stages, we would be able to educate the school board and design teams about what mechanical insulation is, and all the ways their school building and district could benefit from it,’ said organizer Scott Emrich.

Emrich went on to discuss the importance of mechanical insulation education as an important tool in any attempt to recover market share,

‘If we can show that this type of mechanical insulation education program can secure this job and successfully recover other jobs in this market, then it, and campaigns modeled after it, also stand a good chance of recovering work in other markets as well.’

The campaign that Insulators’ Local 50 created for the Groveport Madison school district targeted all stakeholders in the school district, from parents with children in the school district, to teachers, administrators, boosters, the school board, design teams, architects, and general and trade contractors. The campaign included a video describing the benefits mechanical insulation can bring to a school district and its buildings, as well as a comprehensive binder containing detailed information on mechanical insulation that was distributed to key decision makers during a presentation made at a construction project design team meeting.

The response to the campaign continues to be favorable, and the design team has given provisional feedback indicating that they will implement mechanical insulation in the design and construction of the school.

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