Thomas Flaherty: All right, introduce yourself- who are you, what you do in here.
Eddie Miller: My name is Eddie Miller the Third, and I am the Assistant Director of Conservation.
Conservation does weatherization in the home, we go into homes to tighten up the houses, to save energy in the home.
One of our first test we do is we send an auditor out to do an energy audit on [the home]. The energy auditor, he comes out and does the audit, once he finished he brings the paperwork back to the office, and then we have two other departments inside of conservation. One is the production department that does the air sealing and installation, and then we have the heating department that does any heating tuneups, any health and safety, any issue pertaining to heat or gas leaks.
We you know go out the home, perform a service in a home to ensure the client is left in a safe environment, once all the work is done then after all that, the work is done in the home, everything turned in, we send a QCI inspector out to do a quality control inspection on home to make sure there's no health and safety is using home after the work that we did. They also make they make sure that the work that was done is inspected properly and make sure that that you know the work is satisfactory and done in a manner where the customer is okay with the work. They also, you know, ask the customers questions as well, to find out how did we perform our work in the home? Was we, you know, professional, was we courteous to them, you know, did we do our job right? And the customers give the feedback to the QCI who brings it back to me, my name is eddie, assistant director- and also the Director of Conservation, which is Juan Carlos Rivera. They bring the paperwork back, and we look at it, to find out, you know any improvements, anything that we can do different to, you know, to make the customers more happy about the work that we're doing in there.
I been at ECA going on 21 years, almost 22 years, and I love working here.I’ve actually had opportunity within the last two three years to move into the position that I have as the assistant director of conservation, which to me is…ie Miller: I didn't look forward growing up, you know, think I was going to be in a position like this to be over top of so many people, in charge of so many programs doing so much, but I actually found a way to balance and maintain and understand that. I love the work that I’m doing and what I’m doing is helping people. Is actually going out into a home… getting into a Community to find out who Ms. Smith is and how Ms. Smith lives in a home and how can I help Ms. Smith so I Ms. Smith can tell miss Johnson- ‘ECA is doing a wonderful job on my home, I think you should apply for this program, so.”
Thomas Flaherty: Okay. 21 years let's go all the way back- how did you get into the industry, how?
Eddie Miller: I got it. I got into the industry just by taking a job is actually literally… I didn't, you know, I had some carpentry skills before I came in ECA. But it was minor was like, you know, I’m not a little low framing how to cut wood and stuff like that, but I wasn't as skilled as I should have been to be in the field. But I had opportunity to become a helper. You know, auditing used to have a two man team, the auditor and a helper.: And the helper literally went in the home with the auditor while auditor did all of the paperwork, talk to the customer—you literally did the physical work, like wrapping the hot water tank, insulating the pipes, putting door kits up, putting window kits, or stuff like that. You did those things as a helper, help set the blower door to actually show the customer: there's the blower door that I’m going to use to determine where the leakage is in your home. So I started there back in 2001.
And for me, I was able to move from he carpentry department… and also, I did some auditing in the same process as well, I was an auditor, I was an energy auditor at one point before it was called energy auditor, back then you were just an auditor. You know they have to modernize it to—21 years later it's called the energy auditor! So I was doing it before it was an energy auditor! then I became a carpenter, started doing a carpentry, learn how to frame windows better, install sheet rock, frame, install doors, pretty much anything in the home, we were actually the guys on staff able to pretty much do everything.
We always had the seasoned carpenter, seasoned experienced guy to, you know, teach the younger guys who’re coming up how to do the work. So that was a blessing for me. It's like, then if I knew then what I know now, when I was 18/19 years old, I would be so far ahead of the game right now.. but I’m actually glad ECA gave an opportunity to come on board. As a guy, you know, with no experience no skill, and to train me, and you know, allow me to move up at the company to do different things I went from helper as an auditor to an auditor, to a carpenter, and from carpentry—I actually, you know I went back to school for a little bit I learned about heating, and I actually was working with- there was a director here of Heater Hotline, that man’s name is Tony Neri, he's passed away he’s been gone for years now, but he was one of the greatest guys. To actually take… he will take a young guy under his wing, see that you wanted to learn, and he actually pushed you to learn more and to, you know, to develop your skill that he knew you had, you just, you ain't tapped into it, yet so that was a good thing. He was actually able to show me the heating and allow me to come into the healing apartment and work with all the senior mechanics and learn from them and eventually become my own mechanic and be able to do all the things that I wanted to do. And they created the heating department for me to run, which I didn't understand that they wanted to do, but they did it and I’ve been running it, since they created it.
Been doing that for what, maybe, seven, eight…right, I’ve been doing that for 12 years now. I’ve been running the hitting department slash associate director conservation last 12 years. I’ve had my hands full, but I actually love it, I actually love it and I’m glad that I’m… you know it's just shown me a whole lot things that I thought I couldn't do growing up, that I can do, I just had to, you know, apply myself and be able to have a place to that allow me to apply myself to do the things I wanted.
Yeah, ECA, it’s a family, you know we help each other out the best way we can. I wish my counterpart was here so we can go: back and forth with each other.
Thomas Flaherty: I know! Y'all have a great back and forth.
But, like I said, Thomas… yeah 22 years I’ve been here. I started when I was 21 years old… I’m 42 now. Man, time has flown but I learned a lot of things.
Thomas Flaherty: How do you-- // Eddie Miller: Is this a good--
Thomas Flaherty: Go ahead.
Eddie Miller: No no, say what you were going to say Tom
Thomas Flaherty: So how do you mentor new employees now?
Eddie Miller: Well, you mentor a new employees by actually… you actually have to see if the younger generation is you know, are they willing to learn, you know you give them a task to do something and come back the next day, to see if they completed that task… if they’ve actually started. If they haven't started doing some of the things, you know it may take a little longer. Not everybody gonna get it in a couple days, it may take two, three weeks. Sometimes like you can learn in a classroom, you can learn the theory inside of a class, reading a book…. But the hands on experience is to me, one of the best teachers, you can teach somebody straight out of high school that doesn't know, that has no plan on what they want to do, you can actually show them that the trade world is a world where the sky's the limit.
You create your own destiny in the trade world whether you're going to be a low level contractor or you want to be a high level contractor, you create that by applying yourself, going back to school doing the things that you need to do and learning the things you need to learn. So it's like we have, you know, we have classes upstairs know some of the younger guys, you know you talk to them like… we have one of the teachers named Jeff Colter, when he has a class going he literally you know brings them down through the building and we actually have the opportunity to talk to the kids that's in the classroom. And some of them, people are not kids they're adults actually learning how to, you know, convert back into the normal world. Someone may have been, you know… things going on and they may have been in place they didn't want to be. Now they have an opportunity to learn something where they can put food on their table and provide for their family.
That's one of the best things, I think I love about ECA, that the school and the, you know, opportunity- if there is opportunity for them to work here, you have that. You can actually see the growth of somebody that actually was here that came in, with no skill going up to a person that in five years they're able to weatherize an entire home on their own. That's growth. That's like me saying… if my supervisors were still here, to this day, Greg Wright, Tony Neri… they would be proud of where I’m at right now, because they've seen me when I was this little fresh little kid fresh off--- just got the keys to the car!
It paid off now, it paid off, I love-- and I hope, I hope to be here another 20, 30 years.
Long as ECA is around and got a place for me, I'll be here.