Ozinga Designs and Constructs Largest CNG Station to Date

August 26, 2020

Ozinga Energy recently finished station construction on the first compressed natural gas station for National Ready Mixed Concrete Company in Vernon, California. NRMCC, owned by the world’s largest cement producer, National Cement, is an eighth-generation family-owned company founded in 1946 with 11 locations in the Southern California region.

Featuring 50 time-fill hook-ups, it’s the largest station Ozinga Energy has ever designed and constructed. In addition to the time-fill posts, it features a retail hi-flow fast-fill dispenser for quick fueling. With this dispenser, compressed natural gas pumps at 25 gallons/minute.

Like other Ozinga Energy stations, this one runs on renewable natural gas derived from organic matter from dairy farms. Because of its unique properties, renewable natural gas is considered to be carbon negative with a carbon intensity score of around -300 (compared to diesel’s carbon intensity score of around 100). Due to RNG’s negative carbon intensity score, National Ready-Mix running RNG on ready mix concrete trucks, as well as material trucks, actually off-sets the damage done by diesel-fueled vehicles.

The next station is set to begin construction in the next few months in Irwindale, CA. In addition to the station design and construction services that Ozinga Energy has been able to provide, National Ready Mix has also awarded two 10-year maintenance contracts to Ozinga for both Vernon and Irwindale. This station construction and maintenance agreement is the first step in a much larger partnership for National Ready Mix and Ozinga, as well as Ozinga Energy’s presence in the state of California.

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Ozinga’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Business Development Steve King was recently invited to speak at Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco—a testament to the prestige and thought leadership of our coworkers. Dreamforce brought together 170,000 attendees for a four-day conference packed with more than 2,700 sessions with tailored content specific to every industry imaginable.

King worked extensively with Salesforce software at two previous jobs, so when this topic was suggested by conference planners, his experience was a perfect fit. During King’s talk, he discussed how important it is to provide customers with a personalized buying experience that strengthens the bond between buyer and seller. He also shared how Ozinga has kept the customer experience at the heart of all we do since the company was founded 90+ years ago, as well as how we’re using Salesforce to make those customer bonds even stronger.

Read on for three key takeaways from King’s presentation, titled “How to Win and Grow Customers by Putting Them at the Center of Your Business”:

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a business project with a clear and deliberate business impact. Sales and marketing professionals need to take ownership of the project, define requirements, and drive adoption while working closely with IT professionals to ensure the final product works well for all parties involved.
  2. You must fight against your internal processes, needs, and biases and focus instead on what your customer needs, how they’d like to communicate with you, and how you can make their lives and livelihoods easier.
  3. When you’re doing the right thing for your customers, it’s usually the right thing for your company. Meeting your customers’ needs will only lead to greater success for your salespeople and your business as a whole.

You can view King’s full presentation here.

Earlier this month, Ozinga Director of Project Development Isaac Yun ran in the Chicago Marathon. While he’s done 5Ks before, this was his first stab at a marathon of this scale, and finished with a time of 4:49. But Isaac didn’t run for bragging rights—he felt compelled to participate in the marathon to raise funds for World Vision, a not-for-profit committed to providing clean water to the millions across the world without it.

There are approximately 800 million people without access to clean water across the globe, and for only $50, a child can have clean water for life. Isaac’s original goal was to raise $3,000, but as more and more donations poured in, he increased it to $10,000 and was able to surpass his goal thanks to generous coworkers, family members and friends. The funds Isaac raised will provide clean water for 220 kids.

Isaac’s commitment to running in the Chicago Marathon had some personal benefits too. Just last year, he was in the worst shape of his life. Motivated to get in better shape and thanks to a strict keto diet, he dropped 50 pounds in five months. After hearing about World Vision’s mission to end the world’s water crisis in our lifetime, he decided to start training for the Chicago Marathon. Since March of this year, he’s run over 500 miles in preparation for the 26.2-mile course.

“My wife and I joked that it was probably the closest thing to being in labor,” Isaac said. “The furthest I ran before this was a 5K—my wife thought I was insane. But I told her I felt like I was supposed to do this.”

Even with his first marathon under his belt, he’s far from done. He has plans to run another marathon next year and will continue training during the off season, after taking a couple weeks off to recover. Personally, he wants to beat his current PR and provide clean water for even more kids next year.

“It was the most amazingly painful experience of my life,” Isaac said. “I can’t wait to do it again.”

As part of our commitment to sustainable energy practices, we recently completed lighting overhauls at several of our Midwest plants. Among the three projects, we’ll save an estimated 35,000 kWh/year (the equivalent to taking five passenger cars off the road for a year) and net $3,500/year in savings on our energy bills. We also received $4,000 in utility rebates after completing the upgrades.

At our Carol Stream, Illinois and Goshen, Indiana facilities, we outfitted the buildings with new ballast bypass LED tube replacements. The ballast LED tube replacements not only use less energy, they also make repairs much easier and less costly.

We also swapped out the original lighting in the Carol Stream storage area with lower output bulbs and added motion sensors in the storage mezzanine to further improve energy savings. In West Allis, Wisconsin, we replaced lighting fixtures throughout the facility and upgraded some outdated lighting with the same ballast bypass LED tubes. All told, we installed more than 200 new fixtures and tubes.

Most utility companies offer some form of energy efficiency rebate program, available to businesses and consumers alike. Companies can also pursue custom rebates that can be created for nearly any type of energy project. More common projects like LED swaps usually result in prescriptive rebates based on the types of fixtures used or kWhs reduced.

Our next lighting upgrade project will focus on our Bremen, Indiana plant and we hope to pursue similar lighting improvements across all our locations.

Ozinga is pleased to announce that we recently received the 2019 Dean’s Award from the Illinois Family Business of the Year Awards. The award recognizes a business that excels in social enterprise, supply chain management or emerging markets. Ozinga was also named a finalist in the Large Family Business of the Year category.

The Family Business Center at Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business has recognized family-owned businesses for their contribution to industry and community, as well as innovative business practices and strategies for the past twenty-six years.

“To be selected among so many family-owned businesses is truly an honor,” said Marty Ozinga IV, Ozinga President. “Our coworkers, customers, and members of the community contributed to this recognition and we are excited to share this honor with all those involved.”

Presented in six categories, the awards recognize companies with exceptional commitment to family and family business. The 2019 Illinois Family Business of the Year Awardees include:

Large Family Business: Magid
Medium Family Business: Rabine Group
Small Family Business: Daprato Rigali Studios
Dean’s Award:
Ozinga
Community Service:
West Side Tractor Sales
Century Award:
Michuda Construction

Ozinga will be recognized at an awards gala on November 21, 2019 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago.

Today is the National Day of Prayer—a day when people of all faiths are invited to pray for the nation.

This annual day of observance was created in 1952 and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Today, it remains designated by the US Congress and held on the first Thursday of May. Every year, the president signs a proclamation encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.

I was asked to pray this morning at a prayer event in Chicago, where the theme was “Pray for the City Where You Have Been Sent.” I thought it was fitting to share the prayer with all of you.

Dear Heavenly Father, 

You are the Creator and sustainer of all things, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Alpha and the Omega. Jehovah Jireh. You are sovereign over this City. Nothing happens outside of your will.

Lord, I come to you this morning praying for the business community of Chicago. You have blessed Chicago as a global city of commerce. It has become one of the largest economies of the world.

For almost 200 years now, Chicago has been blessed with a strong and vibrant business economy. Over that time, industries have come and gone, political leaders change, business leaders change, but you never change. You are always here. You have never left. You and your word stand forever. 

And yet Lord, we confess that our hearts regularly stray from you. We idolize and worship the created rather than You, the Creator. Money, power and status are lifted up and your name has been relegated from the public square.

Your word tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. I pray that more and more people in the business community would fear you rather than fearing man, that we would repent when we stray from you, that we would seek you and your kingdom first. Increase our faith in you oh Lord, trusting in you alone and obeying you above all else, no matter what the cost.

I pray this prayer for all people in the business community, from the summer intern to the CEO, and everyone in between. I pray that we would see our coworkers, our customers and the people in the communities we serve, as you see them, the crown of your creation to be loved and cared for and pushed to maximize the unique gifts and abilities that you have created each of us with, for your honor and glory.

I pray that we would see our work as a calling from you, as worship unto you. That it would be a sweet smelling aroma unto you. Lord, I trust you and your promises, that as we seek and love you, you will bless us and those around us will be blessed. The welfare of the City will be blessed. 

May it start with us. May we be the ones to repent of our sins, heed the conviction to pray daily and seek you the welfare of our City. Guard our hearts Lord, from the worries of this life, from the lure of wealth and anything else that leads us away from you. 

We love you and we praise you! 

In the name of Jesus. Amen!

While we make an effort to pray for the nation on the National Day of Prayer, it’s encouraging to see faith and prayer taking place all over America, each and every day. Examples are all around us. Even while I was at Panera Bread the other day, a woman who was there asked to pray for some Chicago Police Department officers also in the restaurant. That moment stayed with me. Coming together to show compassion for and look after one another – every day – is something we can all share, no matter our backgrounds.

Marty is the president of Ozinga and the oldest of the fourth generation. He holds a master’s degree in communications from Northwestern University and is actively involved with The Bright Promise Fund for Urban Christian Education.

The BuiltWorlds Buildings 2.0 Conference took place this past week at UI Labs in Chicago. Ozinga co-sponsored the event, dedicated to exploring the intelligence of high-performance buildings.

Real estate executives, architects, engineers, construction professionals, and tech experts came together to network and learn about the promising future of Buildings 2.0. Attendees were treated to keynote addresses and fireside chats about innovative building materials, emerging tech in the multi-family real estate space, and new horizons in the world of distribution.

The conference also included a kick-off reception where BuiltWorlds’ Building Tech 50 winners were recognized. Honorees included ThoughtWire, Polysolar, BamCore, SkyCentrics, Emagispace, Sensus, EverCharge, and SolarCity to name a few.

The Tech 50 list features leading companies in the smart buildings landscape, with each offering innovative solutions in the areas of asset management, building envelopes, high performance materials, HVAC and energy systems, interiors, lighting, mobility, roof systems, tenant services, and water systems.

In between meetings, conference-goers could also visit several exhibitors on the showroom floor. Ozinga had a booth onsite, as well as HelixRE, ICONICS, SFS, and the American Institute of Steel Construction.

Eric Lindquist, PE President of Adjustable Forms Concrete Construction, along with Matthew Nazarenko with GCP – Verifi both participated in panel discussions during the conference and mentioned their work with Ozinga on developing new concrete mixes and technologies.

Thanks to all who attended the Buildings 2.0 Conference and chatted with us at our booth!

Before Matthew, a middle-school student in the Chicagoland area, started his science project, his family had recently installed a concrete brick paver patio at his grandparent’s house. After rain fell, he noticed that water collected on the surface instead of draining. The general idea of permeable concrete intrigued him, so he decided to examine storm water solutions for his science project.

To help educate him about permeable concrete options, his mother Joanna reached out to Ozinga VP of Sustainability and Compliance Brian Lutey to learn more about Ozinga’s Filtercrete™ pervious concrete.

Lutey has worked with dozens of students on their science fair projects, providing them with pervious samples and product literature. He also educates them about what pervious does and how it works. Pervious is specially formulated with various size voids throughout the concrete, allowing water to pass through, putting rainwater back in the ground, and eliminating flooding.

Matthew presented his project at his school’s science fair in January and received the Best Project Award. He was also selected to showcase his work at the Illinois Junior Academy of Science Regional Fair on March 9 at Niles North High School.

The purpose of his project was to test which surface would permeate 1L of rainwater the fastest when poured at a constant rate. Soil was his control, which represents how rainwater permeates the ground originally. He conducted the test on a cement paver, an asphalt paver, a ceramic paver, a rubber aggregate paver, and Ozinga’s Filtercrete™ pervious concrete material.

Matthew, one of 600+ presenters in the region, received a Gold Medal at the regional fair and an invitation to the Illinois Junior Academy of Science State Fair in May.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to use the Filtercrete™ sample in my testing and the encouragement from Brian Lutey and Ozinga,” said Matthew. “Thank you so much!”

Good luck at State Matthew!

Here’s something to ponder: can a business do harm? Can it do harm to people? To families? To communities? If you answered yes, wouldn’t you agree then that the alternative could be true: that a business could have a positive, even redemptive impact on the lives of people, their families and the greater community it interacts with? If so, how? And how great of an impact? What is its potential?

At Ozinga, a 90+ year old family business, these are questions we often ask ourselves. We’ve determined it’s “the why” of what we do every day, the reason the business exists; that is our potential. Being in business for this long, we’ve drawn some conclusions that our long-term success has been and will continue to be correlated to how well we keep this in front of us, how well we positively impact people’s lives.

We accomplish this by building meaningful relationships with our coworkers, our customers and our communities. Our conviction is that as we establish trust with those we serve, we can learn from each other and help each other realize our unique God given gifts, abilities, dreams and ambitions. When we are successful in accomplishing this, there are spillover effects well beyond the workplace.

Let me give you an example in my own life. I’ve been going to a gym called Phenomenal Fitness. Sean, the owner, helps me train. He is always encouraging and the culture in his gym is a reflection of his encouraging leadership. Because of Sean’s business, my life is positively impacted. I am healthier physically, mentally and spiritually. I am a better husband, a better father and a better coworker. Sean’s business is having compounding effects through my life that he will never truly appreciate, in this life anyway. And guess what, I am very happy to be a loyal customer and I am happy to share with others how happy I am to be a loyal customer because my life is positively impacted in many ways.

So how does this work? Why does this work? There is a great risk that business is seen as purely transactional. There is agreement on a price for a good or a service and a voluntary exchange takes place. It could be that the reason this takes place is because of the quality of the product or the best price, but more often than not, there is a lot more to it – trust, emotion, loyalty and a number of other human issues that are difficult to measure or explain.

In my example with Sean, our business relationship is more than transactional. It is relational. I am loyal to Phenomenal Fitness because I am loyal to Sean. Sean has earned my loyalty because he has positively impacted my life with his care about me and my development—but it’s more than that. Sean is always learning. He makes me feel like I am contributing more to him than just the money I pay for his service by allowing me to be a contributor to his own development as a person. This generates a sense of fulfillment for me that enriches the business relationship far beyond the transaction.

It’s my view that for-profit businesses too often aren’t appreciated for all the good they do in people’s lives. There is a growing narrative that the capitalist system is a purely selfish one and that left to its own devices will tend to do more harm than good. There are certainly high profile examples of this that people can point to. But by and large, my experience is that the most successful business leaders are the ones who are passionate about building a great team of people who have altruistic motivations that run much deeper than meets the eye.

I encourage our leaders at Ozinga to think of their work as a high calling, no less important than that of anyone in the not-for-profit sector, for example. People in business have a unique opportunity and privilege to make a positive impact on many lives. I celebrate this opportunity with you if you are one of those people. Thank you for all you do to make this world a better place!

Marty_Ozinga_140606_5120_CMYK

Marty is the president of Ozinga and the oldest of the fourth generation. He holds a master’s degree in communications from Northwestern University and is actively involved with The Bright Promise Fund for Urban Christian Education.

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