Huckestein Mechanical Services, Inc.

Wendy Staso possesses unshakeable integrity, strong values and incredible resolve. She accepts nothing less from those with whom she works, elevating the individuals and businesses she touches. She believes in doing the right thing even when it is unpopular or difficult. She believes in sacrifice and demonstrates that in her personal and professional lives through her volunteerism, work ethic, and dedication to faith and family. She is a persistent perfectionist, always looking to reach the next level of performance for herself and her business. Her pursuit of success is relentless – existing in the small details and the master plans.
It is with this spirit that Wendy assumed the helm of Huckestein Mechanical Services in 2010, believing it to be a stable, profitable business in need of fresh ideas and direction. She planned to use her managerial experience and personal moxie to refine and grow the operation. Within three months however, she unearthed the truth – she had inherited financial losses, mounting debt, lacking processes and a badly damaged brand. In the face of this adversity she fell back on her character. She chose to focus on her assets – highly skilled technicians, versatile designers, industry knowledge, and loyal customers – and assess her gaps. She set about reorganizing and evaluating the operation to determine profitability and performance. Wendy then surrounded herself with the best talent available to address the deficiencies, better educate herself and further the goals of her business.

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Being an HVAC industry newcomer, she was not constrained by history or how things should be done. She didn’t let her status as the only woman-owned and operated contractor in a male-dominated, union industry deter her. Nothing was off limits. It was, and continues to be, a time of unprecedented change yielding record improvement and profitability.
Today the company provides value to customers throughout the design – build – service– operations continuum. Their integrated design and delivery model is a highly collaborative, fully integrated process built on trust, mutual respect, teamwork, innovation and creative problem solving, a clear departure from the traditional construction model utilized by most contractors today.
Wendy’s advice to others looking to start or grow a business: “Find your passion, trust your gut, and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are.”
Wendy’s success at Huckestein would not have been possible without Enterprise Bank. During the first year of her tenure, the bank that held the company’s financing put them in forbearance, giving them 6 months to find a new bank. Wendy was connected to Dave Miller, then to Mark Hansen, and Enterprise has been a reliable banking partner ever since.
Mark Hansen describes Wendy as “very determined and capable. When she lays something out she puts it in motion to make it happen. We believed in her vision when her other bank wouldn’t and she has proved herself over and over again.”
When asked how he feels seeing the success that Huckestein has had and knowing that he’s been able to play a part in it, Mark replied, “It’s very satisfying… it’s great when you can see a business owner able to stay ahead of the curve and do well after facing difficult times.”
To learn more about Huckestein Mechanical Services, Inc. you can visit them at http://www.huckestein.com.

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Bella Terra Vineyards Grand Opening!

Our Relationship Manager, Jay Murgi, had a busy weekend this past weekend.  In addition to attending the Grand Opening of Voodoo Brewery’s Erie location he also attended Bella Terra Vineyards’ Grand Opening!  Jay said that there was a really nice crowd to enjoy the wine and the entertainment.  “There were tons of people… a lot of people brought their own lunches and had picnics,” he explained.  Jay has had Bella Terra’s wine before and has always said that they have a great selection with great taste. The rain stayed away on Saturday so that the event was dry and comfortable.  The band was very entertaining and the day was picturesque.  To learn more about Bella Terra Vineyards you can visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bellaterravineyards/.

Voodoo Brewery Erie Location Grand Opening!

Voodoo Brewery had their Grand Opening of their Erie location this past weekend and it was a blast!  Our relationship manager Jay Murgi attended with his RMA Evan Hayward and had a great time.  The event was kept to around 50-60 people to keep it comfortable.  As you can see in the pictures, Jay and Evan shared some food and they only had great things to say about it. “The bacon platter was delicious!” Jay exclaimed as soon as I asked him about the food.  Both Evan and Jay were extremely impressed with both the food and the beer.  If you’re interested in learning more about Voodoo Brewery at their Erie location you can visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VBErie/.

Local Small Business Resource: TAB Pittsburgh

30 years ago Allen Fishman was part of his family’s business when they were sold to a regional public company. As so happens with a lot of those transactions, Allen was able to stay on for a few years as an executive and ended up attending his first board of directors meeting. Allen looked around him and saw the amazing reality of multiple intelligent people coming together to discuss business issues. He wasn’t able to utilize that when he was at the company earlier and thought to himself, “Everyone should be able to have access to a board of professionals that can help discuss business issues.” When Allen left a few years later he started The Alternative Board, also known as TAB, in Denver, Colorado. TAB has grown into a worldwide organization since then with chapters all over the country and the local Pittsburgh chapter has a strong relationship with us at Enterprise Bank. I sat down with Glenn Flickinger, owner of Pittsburgh’s TAB, to discuss TAB and what the small to medium size business owner needs to know about this company.
What TAB does is bring business owners together in a group of their peers to discuss business topics that are relevant to them. Each month, a business owner will meet with a group of their peers for approximately four hours where each member will bring up a topic they need to be counseled in. Since you meet with the same people every month you get a unique view into different companies and industries. Each board, of which there are seven at present in Pittsburgh, has a TAB coach that acts as a sort of “chairman” of the board. The TAB coach works with each business owner on an individual level but also facilitates discussion during the meeting. Glenn emphasized that the coaches are indeed coaches and not consultants. “I would never say anything negative about consultants, there’s a time and a place for them. But, consultants will leave eventually and our coaches stay with you as long as you are a member of TAB.” Each coach will go to meet with the members of their board individually once a month to develop a plan to further their business goals. The coach is also available whenever the member needs them; they’re just a phone call or an email away. Glenn discussed that even though the members they have operate across a wide range of industries, including B2C and service companies, around 85% of the topics discussed are the same. “No matter what industry you’re in you’ll tackle problems in marketing, HR, finance, and other topics,” he said. Ultimately there ends up being 200+ years of experience around that table and that is a priceless resource. Currently TAB is available in 11 other countries and Allen Fishman’s son-in-law, Jason Zickerman, is the President & CEO of the present company. Allen’s daughter is involved with the company as well in the International side of the business. TAB prides itself on being family owned and operated just like much of the companies they work with.
Glenn Flickinger is a banker by trade with experience in both commercial and investment banking in the Pittsburgh area. In 2007, he started the Pittsburgh franchise of TAB in the South Hills. In February of next year he will be celebrating 10 years in business with 68 members involved. “Something I take pride in is the fact that out of the 18 companies we started with, 10 are still members 10 years later,” he explained to me. It’s obvious that Glenn takes a lot of pride in being in such a unique business and being able to help people on a daily basis. Glenn’s role in TAB as the owner of TAB Pittsburgh is all-encompassing. Glenn facilitates and coaches two boards and also oversees all the sales and marketing efforts to recruit new members. Currently at TAB Pittsburgh there are 7 boards, 6 of which are owners boards and one which is a key executive board. The owners boards are exactly as described above while the key executive board is designed for key executives and management of companies, who are not necessarily owners. Next generation owners generally take advantage of the key executive board to gain experience before they take the reins in their company. The members of TAB come from companies that range from all sizes. The core 80-85% of companies involved in the organization are somewhere between $1 million and $20 million in size.
As we came to the end of our conversation I started wondering about how Enterprise Bank and TAB came to get to know each other. Glenn explained that one of our clients was a member of TAB and that was how he was connected to our Loan Development Officer, Dave Miller. As the years have gone on we have also found that a number of our clients are also members of TAB. When Glenn is helping one of his members get connected to financing he always introduces them to multiple banks, but Enterprise Bank is always on the list. Glenn describes his relationship with Enterprise as “very positive” when I asked him. “My members always have a good experience when they work with Enterprise. They’re experienced, knowledgeable bankers.”
My last question was to Glenn as a business owner and someone who works with business owners: What is your best advice for those looking to start a business? His response was clear and simple. “Get sound, trusted professional advice from multiple people who have been there and done that successfully,” he answered. And that’s exactly what you can do at TAB, get sound professional advice from those that are on the same path as you. To learn more about TAB Pittsburgh please visit their website at http://www.tabpittsburgh.com.

A Sip of Beauty: Bella Terra Vineyards

Jay and Joanna Bell are living the dream at Bella Terra Vineyards. The couple lives on 17 acres of beautiful land that they’ve transformed into a winery and weddings/events venue. Currently they are renovating the winery/tasting room and will have their grand opening on September 17, 2016. I was privileged enough to sit down with the Bells and talk to them about their experiences opening up their own business. As we started the conversation it was easy to see that the couple loves wine and honestly has a blast working every day on Bella Terra. My first question for the couple was about their motivation to be entrepreneurs and work for themselves. “The opportunity fell in our lap when we bought the property,” Joanna explains. Jay and Joanna bought their 17 acres with the idea that they wanted to capitalize on the amount of land they had. Jay has a strong background in horticulture so they knew that they wanted to do something with farming the land. As they were deciding what industry to go into they started noticing a strong demand for wine in the area and loved wine themselves. At first they were just going to have the vineyard as an added benefit to the wedding/event venue, but as they started to experiment with making their own wines they knew they had to open the winery. It was the perfect venture for them and it’s something they love doing. In regards to the wedding/event venue, currently it is an outdoor venue only, but will be expanding into a building in the next 2 years or so. The wedding/event venue was something they decided to launch because they realized that there was a shortage of places like this in the area. “The difference between getting married in a ballroom at a hotel and a barn is huge. We wanted to have something that was in between,” Joanna said.

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I asked Jay and Joanna if they had faced any challenges in starting Bella Terra Vineyards. Jay smiled and started telling me about their contractor. “We had everything set up with our loan for building the wedding/event venue, redoing everything and had the contractor ready to go. Then he called us to tell us he was going out of business.” Jay said that they had to try to find a new contractor and started getting a flood of phone calls wanting the business. As they met with different contractors they started to hear a lot of new ideas about the building and different plans they could be implementing. Jay says that it turned out to be a great thing as they decided to hold off on the building for a few years and take those ideas into consideration. This way they will get a building they love right from the start. Joanna sums up the situation perfectly, “these were terrible things that made us pull out our hair… but they turned into this is what we should be doing. All of those challenges have led us to where we need to be. We don’t even see them as challenges anymore.”
As we continued our conversation I grew more and more curious about the wines themselves. All of these wines I will describe will be available to sample and purchase at their grand opening. Bella Terra has 3 dry wines for the 2015 year, the Reserve, Raspberry Cabernet, and Peridot. Their Reserve Cabernet is described as a smooth oak flavor with a peppery bite and a lingering black cherry finish. Make sure to swirl the Reserve to release all of the flavors. Their Raspberry Cabernet is a surprisingly dry fruity cab that has raspberry and blackberry flavors. Jay and Joanna say that the Raspberry Cabernet has been a surprise hit. The Peridot is a dry Riesling with zesty grapefruit and pear that is described as a mellow drink.
Bella Terra has one semi-sweet wine and 3 sweet wines for the 2015 year as well. The semi-sweet wine is called Riesling which has notes of honeydew and vanilla and is more of a classic Riesling. The sweet wines are Sunday Afternoon, Duvall, and Sweet Finley. Sunday Afternoon is sweet with notes of berry and peach and is known for its beautiful color. Duvall is slightly tart with hints of lemon and plum, and has medium notes of black cherry for balance. The last sweet wine is Sweet Finley and is their most popular wine to date. Sweet Finley has deep, rich flavors of Concord and the subtle, earthy notes of Niagara that gives a sassy and sweet all-around flavor.


Through all of this discussion I also became very curious as to how the Bells found Enterprise Bank. Jay describes that we were referred to him through the 504 Company, who they initially started working with on the loan. Jay gave the impression that the loan process was very quick and thorough. “The experience has been easy… they’re easy to get ahold of and easy to get stuff done.” Jay and Joanna have been working closely with their relationship manager, Jay Murgi, for any of their needs. Jay and Joanna have only nice things to say about Jay Murgi and their experience with him specifically. “We like him!”
My last question for the Bells was if they had any advice for those looking to start their business. “Make sure your business plan is completely bulletproof and looked at by many, many people.” Jay and Joanna strongly hit on the fact that you have to have people look at the business plan that will be completely honest with you. Constructive criticism will only help you. Their last piece of advice from Joanna was, “as cliché as it sounds, make sure you do something that you love.” A lot of hard, tiresome work goes into starting your own business so you have to make sure that you love what you’re doing. That’s what makes it all worth it.
After my discussion with Jay and Joanna Bell, I went off to have a discussion with their relationship manager Jay Murgi to talk about his experience with the Bells. The first thing I wanted to know was his first impression of the Bells. “It was positive. They were very motivated… they’re good people and hard workers, they go after what they want.” Jay Murgi speaks very highly of Jay and Joanna Bell, and after speaking with them myself it is all too obvious that he speaks honestly. The most important opinion that Jay Murgi can have is, of course, of the wine itself. I asked him of his first impression right after his first tasting so that his thoughts were fresh in his mind. “I was surprised, I thought it was very good and they had a wide selection.” Jay Murgi specifically brought up the uniqueness of the different wines available and that he was incredibly impressed with the variety. As we continued to discuss Bella Terra we started talking about how Jay helped them with their loan needs to get them where they are today. Jay Murgi echoes Jay and Joanna’s earlier discussion about how they had to change their business plan completely and that he helped them transition from the larger loan to the smaller one. “They had to change their plan and instead of giving up they just said we can make this work.” The overall experience so far has been very positive and it is obvious that Jay Murgi works well with the Bells. Jay said that he can’t wait to see how Bella Terra grows in the next few years and is excited for the event center to open up. You can tell that he has a lot of pride in his work with Bella Terra and genuinely cares for the business and the people behind it.
The grand opening is on September 17, 2016 from 11am-6pm. There will be food, drinks, and a beautiful day of fun. There will be an acoustic band playing from 1pm-4pm, and the event is completely open to the public. If you are interested in attending, or just would like more information about the winery, you can call Jay Bell at (724) 331-7210 or visit Bella Terra at http://www.bellaterravineyards.com.

Enterprise Bank Subsidiary Spotlight: Enterprise Insurance Services, Inc.

When you think of Enterprise Bank, the first thing that comes to your mind is banking. But what you may not know is that Enterprise Bank also has insurance, real estate, and bookkeeping services. Enterprise Bank has a number of subsidiaries that are going to be featured in this series called the “Subsidiary Spotlight”. These subsidiaries are for current clients as well as clients outside of the bank! This month, we are going to discuss the insurance subsidiary, Enterprise Insurance Services. I sat down with Julie Perez, the President of the insurance subsidiary, to learn more about what she does. Julie has been the involved in the subsidiary for about 8 years now, but has been with the bank for 15 years. The most popular service she offers is Title Insurance, but she also offers every other type of insurance, including property, life, and health. Part of title insurance is making sure that Enterprise Bank’s lien position is protected. This includes an extensive search of the property’s history and searching for liens and payment of taxes. “It’s the only insurance that actually protects you from the past,” Julie describes. Julie Perez works in tandem with two attorneys to make sure that you’re protected. It’s an important part of buying, and refinancing, properties and speaking with Julie you can tell that she is knowledgeable. Julie also works to coordinate the closing with the buyer, the seller, and any others involved. She then pulls together the important documents and communicates with the persons who will be there to let them know what they need to bring. “I coordinate the time, the place and making sure that everyone comes to closing prepared for the transaction.” In regards to property and casualty insurances, she has worked with some of our current clients and has been able to offer them lower rates than they are currently paying. Julie says that she can offer all insurances people need, and has with many national companies, and is happy to help wherever she can. Obtaining an insurance quote is made simple for the client as we understand small businesses can be strapped for time. If you need any help with your insurance or just have a few questions, Julie can be contacted by email or phone at jperez@enterprisebankpgh.com and (412) 753-2136.

Messin’ With That Hoodoo: Voodoo Brewery

When Matteo Rachocki was brewing beer with his brother, Curtis, in college they dreamed about starting their own brewery. They experimented with different ideas and recipes, loving the creativity that came with creating their own beer. Fast forward to 2010 when Curtis started working at Voodoo Brewery and found out that the business was struggling. Matteo describes, “One day when my brother had come to work there were several shutoff notices and the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County and the Meadville Redevelopment Authority had filed for repossession of the assets.” Noticing an opportunity, Curtis introduced Matteo to the owner of Voodoo and worked out an agreement to become a controlling investor in the company. His brother and a team of family and friends also became investors. Saving a brewery and turning it into an absolute success may never have been what Matteo dreamed, but he can certainly say that he loves the way everything turned out.
I asked Matteo to give me a brief description of Voodoo and what they sell. He responded, “We brew artisanal ales and lagers right here in Meadville, PA. Our beers are “higher gravity” and carry a larger ABV then most other craft brewed beers. Our process begins by selecting only the finest ingredients from all over the globe. We source ingredients from Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Canada, and the USA, to name a few. This includes everything from our grain, hops, and yeast, to orange peel, raspberries, cherries, chocolate, and bourbon barrels. No sacrifice is ever made in the quality of our beer to save time or money. We firmly believe the purest and best ingredients make the best beer. We operate on a steam-jacketed 10-barrel (310 gallon) copper brew house manufactured by the Pub Brewing Company. We currently have four 10-barrel fermenters, one 20-barrel fermenter, and six 10-barrel brite tanks. Additional holding capacity is achieved through the use of bourbon barrels that we age some beer in. We currently have 80+ barrels in use from multiple distilleries.” This is a far-cry from where the company was when Matteo became the owner in 2012. For those interested in learning more about the exact beers that Voodoo Brewery has to offer, I have listed out some of their more popular brews. Voodoo brewery is known for their beer, Cowbell, which is a double chocolate oatmeal stout on nitro. Voodoo also has very popular IPAs, such as their Hoodoo which has a citrusy taste with not as much of a bitter aftertaste. Voodoo makes a point of creating craft beers that have different tastes to them so that you’re always getting a unique experience. Most of their beers are somewhere between 7 and 9.5 percent alcohol content.


It is undeniable that Matteo is a strong businessman and has created something that he can be proud of. The advice that he has for those looking to start their own business is to build a strong team around you. He also makes a point to say that you have to reward/compensate them appropriately because “your business will only be as strong as those who make it up.” When Matteo was following his own great advice and setting up an ESOP for his team, he met ESOP advisors Ambrose Advisors. This connection was how he was connected to Enterprise Bank. Matteo has only kind words to say about his relationship manager and the relationship that they now share. “It was a breath of fresh air to work with a bank that truly takes a stance on “financial partner” the way Enterprise Bank does. We value this new and blossoming relationship and look forward to what is to come.” The last thing I wanted to know was how Matteo felt about the overall experience he had with Enterprise Bank. He replied, “Simply put, the best dealings I have ever had with a bank in my personal or professional life, EVER! I continue to recommend them highly to anyone who is looking for a true financial partner in their business.”
If you’d like to learn more about Voodoo you can visit them at http://www.voodoobrewery.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Voodoo-Brewery. If you’d like to purchase Voodoo beer you can purchase at any of their four locations (Meadville, Homestead, Conneaut Lake or Erie – coming this fall) as well as beer distributors, bottle shops, restaurants, and grocery stores in all of PA, as well as parts of NY, NJ and OH.
Interested in experiencing the grand opening of the new Erie location?  The grand opening of the new Brew Pub is Saturday, September 17th at 101 Boston store place at the corner of State and 8th Streets, Erie PA .  We hope to see you there!

Justin’s Last Day

Today is Justin’s last day with us as our summer intern and it’s a bittersweet moment. We’ve enjoyed having him here and it will be difficult to see him go. But we are so proud of him and can’t wait to see all that he accomplishes in his senior year of school. We only have amazing things to say about Justin and all that he has accomplished here with us. I wanted to speak with Justin one last time before he left to get his reflections on the summer months. “It was an amazing and unique experience,” he says. He told me that he couldn’t imagine getting the same kind of experience anywhere else.  While at Enterprise, Justin was able to work with each department to get a hands-on perspective of our operations.  “If I were at any other bank I would’ve been stuck in one department doing unimportant work, but at Enterprise I was able to work in every department and do real work that mattered.”  Justin was also able to see the concept of how the information flows through our bank and how each department works with each other to make things happen.  But, the greatest thing that Justin talked about was how much he loved the people here.  “They welcomed me with open arms and really helped me out.”  Justin describes our staff well and says that they took time out of their schedule to work with him and make him feel like they were there to support him.  “I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without them.”  Thank you Justin for choosing to intern with us, we will miss you, and we wish you all the best in the future.

 

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Enterprise Gives Back: Land Donation in Dunbar Township

When Enterprise Bank took possession of 5 lots of land on April 10th, 2005, we had no idea that this land would be something we are so incredibly proud of. It’s not because we developed the land or sold it for a profit, we at Enterprise Bank are proud of this land because it is our donation to Dunbar Township. We can’t imagine a better use for this land and are so proud to be part of our amazing community. It took time to figure out what was the right plan for this land. Sell it? Build it up? We put it on the market for a long time, almost 10 years, but it didn’t seem like the right solution. But on July 28, 2016 our Board of Directors authorized the land as a gift to Dunbar Township. The land itself is composed of 5 lots and is valued at around $110,000 total based on appraisals by a few different sources. At Enterprise Bank we focus on making our communities better because we love where we live. This donation is scheduled to go through in the next few days.

 

Update: As of 8/24/2016 the donation went through.