Teamwork, communication mean effective infrastructure management with Ellingson team

Tackling a job that can take up to a decade to complete takes the right people, processes and products. That’s especially critical when that job involves multiple steps in a process that ideally doesn’t disrupt operations at some of the world’s largest food or beverage manufacturing facilities.

Nick Lindstrom had known the Ellingson Underground Infrastructure Management team for years by the time he became the E&S Certification Lead for the Nestle USA facility in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It’s a massive plant with hundreds of miles of piping and underground infrastructure where hundreds of food products and ingredients are manufactured.

And it had a lot of issues with drain and pipe failures, some of which halted operations and tallied up a lot of additional expense to repair. So when the opportunity arose to work with the Ellingson team to solve these problems, it was a quick decision.

“Having known the Ellingson people before I arrived in this role, I knew they had a product that would do exactly what we needed,” Lindstrom said. “They came in, mapped the site, discovered the problem areas and fixed the most immediate issues. They helped us get ahead of the curve with assessing, repairing and reporting on their ongoing progress.”


The right people for the job

At every step in the Ellingson Underground Infrastructure Management process, the company’s people are what makes things work the way Lindstrom and Chad Coogan need them to. Timeliness is critically important to the success of the three-step process, and the trust Coogan, senior project manager for The Foth Companies, has in the Ellingson team helps ensure each part of the job — assessment, repair or recording — is done when it needs to be to sustain every process in the massive Wisconsin brewery he oversees.

“They come in and get projects done on time and on budget,” Coogan said. “Good communication is a huge part of what makes them so good at what they do.”

That communication is fundamental to the whole process for Coogan. Whenever the Ellingson team enters his facility, they’ve already got a game plan in mind, and the specific inspections and mapping in that early step in the work are communicated clearly so Coogan can plan operations to minimize disruptions to plant processes. Based on an assessment of piping and underground infrastructure, they produce formal recommendations for any imminent repairs.


Why good communication matters

Communicating those recommendations helps Coogan focus on other priorities in maximizing productivity at the facility.

“They coordinate as much as they can in every trip to the brewery. I manage the entire program but I delegate the assessments, repairs and record-keeping to Ellingson,” he said. “It’s made my life easier. I don’t have to babysit those guys. They know what to do, who to coordinate with at the facility and how to just go in and get the work done so we’re back up and running.”

For Lindstrom, who’s responsible for everything from utilities to lawn care at the Nestle facility, Ellingson’s team approach and communication doesn’t just solve infrastructure problems. It ultimately enables him to do his job better.

“We’ve often got more important fish to fry. Ellingson helps me focus on other areas that need my attention,” he said. “I’m confident they are taking care of the infrastructure for our core processes.”