FOND DU LAC, Wis. — If the systems Joelle Jones helps design never get used that’s fine by her.
She’s a fire protection design manager at Ahern in Fond du Lac.
“I’m OK with never having a system go off knowing that I did my due diligence of making sure it's set up correctly,” she said.
That’s one of several jobs Ahern does that, while they may never be seen by the public, play a vital role in keeping buildings — and people — both safe and comfortable.
The Fond du Lac-based business is a full-service mechanical contractor that handles a range of services and products from sprinkler work and plumbing to heating and cooling systems. It’s seeking about 30 people for open positions across the state and region.
Kimberly Wachholz, a human resources business manager, said the company is built around jobs that are important but may not always get noticed.
“You don’t think about the things that go behind the walls of the buildings we work in each and every day that we use. We take those things for granted often,” she said. “We like to say we’re the hidden heroes behind the scenes making all these things work.”
That includes people like Richard Murphy, a sheet metal apprentice working on HVAC systems.
He’s been with Ahern for four years and describes the work environment as a 'family-like' culture. He points out the help he’s given by foremen.
“Not only do they show you what to do, they actually teach you what you’re doing,” Murphy said.
While some of the work may be hidden it’s important.
Jered Bruckner, an assistant project manager, does a lot of work in healthcare which has a direct impact on people’s lives.
“A lot of the stuff we’re doing, whether it’s plumbing or medical gas like oxygen that you’re getting to patients, some of these are lifesaving things we’re working on,” he said.
Sometimes the result is a little more routine but still appreciated.
“You think about a cold drink on a hot day or a cool room when it’s hot outside. People don’t really think about all of the talents and skills and trades that go into making that type of environment,” Wachholz said.
Jones said there’s pride in her team and her work even if the systems she designs are never used or never noticed.
“I really enjoy the fact that I’m doing something that is saving lives,” she said.