Gas management systems provider Blue Flame Crew, LLC specializes in the design, installation, and service of systems across the United States. It serves as a division of Boos Resource & Technology Group, a conglomerate of companies providing a wide range of services including consulting, construction, maintenance, architectural design, and engineering for the environmental markets.
Blue Flame Crew was founded in the spring of 2013 when founder and President Tim Boos contacted several people in the industry whom he had worked with over the years so that they could come together professionally under a unified banner. Boos and the five men who would become his associates as Blue Flame Crew had enjoyed working with each other in the past and sought to build a company to pool their business knowledge of the gas sector.
Today, the business operates from a corporate office in Naperville, Illinois, with further field offices and centers in locations like North Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, Florida, and California. Its services range from landfill and natural gas to syngas (a synthesis gas fuel mixture) operations. When it comes to what the company specializes in and its strengths as a gas systems provider, Vice President of Construction Dan Sawyer counters with a question: “What don’t we do?”
The name of the business has come to define the operations of Blue Flame Crew, as it particularly deals with the burning of landfill gas. As such, it does practically everything there is to do with landfill gas systems with attention paid toward combustion systems like flare systems and compressors.
Its focus and qualifications have always been suited best to those with an electrical background, Sawyer adds, as the original team were mostly electricians, and the first few jobs of the Blue Flame Crew had to do with the electrical end of gas combustion and control systems. From there, the company has grown and expanded into pipework with gas and leachate collection, pumps, and controls. Its strong hand with control electricians has also allowed it to venture into telemetry systems, remote monitoring, and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, the latter of which are software systems that control industrial processes. These and other processes like sandblasting or emergency repairs make up the vast catalogue of services that Blue Flame Crew has excelled in offering for nearly a decade now.
In the past few years, the company has signed several master service agreements with major waste companies in America, which has brought in much work for the business. Although Sawyer admits that waste companies can be hard to initially enter into business with for various reasons, being able to do so successfully will afford Blue Flame Crew bigger projects and contracts with more waste companies in the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic initially affected how the company proceeds with its work, as it brought complications with the normal bidding process, as well as in dealing with project managers and clients. Sawyer chuckles that it has also led to far more Zoom meetings in the past two years. Thankfully, the company’s work was a necessity during the pandemic, as there is always a need for implementing and maintaining environmental control systems.
He also touts the hard-nosed nature of the company workforce as a consistent advantage and notes that the business very rarely had to make allowances for COVID-related pauses in work. “Our guys are very tough; they worked through stuff,” while keeping their distance in the workplace, Sawyer remembers. The company came out of the worst of the pandemic all the better.
Sawyer defines the company’s approach to safety as one that is steeped in tradition, involving employees through in-house safety training and regular refresher courses. These include the intensive Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standards training and other Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) certifications. Employees also undergo periodic training for specific tasks that need building up, as well as online training, daily tailgate safety meetings, and even company-wide newsletters on safety topics. The company keeps an experience modification rating (EMR) of 0.85 and is firmly dedicated to keeping its workers as safe as possible.
Having had a variety of experiences working across the industry, Sawyer says that the inherent excitement of working for an emergent company like this is a reason why people in the trades should be considering it for career opportunities. There are many chances for growth, especially for a company that started with only a few positions.
Blue Flame Crew is always seeking new incentives to offer its workforce, especially ones that appeal to younger workers. One of these incentives that Sawyer mentions is tuition reimbursement, to promote continuing education among employees and even help them pay back student loans.
Similarly, the company is focused on building great relationships with its clients through maintaining its workflows, as well as through one-and-done projects. These relationships often involve a degree of brutal honesty, which Sawyer highlights as a big part of any lasting relationship, as is not taking on more than one can handle. Company higher-ups are also always open to the opinions of the workforce and those in its inner circle, extending the desire for honesty inward.
“We look to our younger project managers to throw out ideas [and] think outside the box on solutions,” he affirms. This is especially important as, according to Sawyer, it can be easy in an industry like this to be stuck in one’s ways and less open to outside views, even ones that can benefit the business. If Blue Flame Crew employees are dedicated to serving the company’s client base and put themselves forward as dependable and forthright, they will likely be a good fit for the organization and have their voices heard.
Sawyer and company management are beginning to observe supply chain problems around the industry coming into play lately, particularly lengthening lead times. As everything in the company is made up of parts, missing or delaying even one can mean a hold-up in processes. Transportation issues have also cropped up because of this and a lack of drivers and rising fuel costs, but these are challenges not at all new to the company, and there is still a great feeling of confidence internally.
Sawyer feels everything in the sector is moving forward well right now. “We’ve seen recessions [but] it takes quite a bit to see a dip in the work that we’ve done.” Projects are waiting in the pipeline as there is still a great need for the exceptional services that Blue Flame Crew has always provided.
Blue Flame Crew is always focused on client satisfaction, its main goal since it began ten years ago. “We want to do work better than the other guys and put out a better product,” Sawyer states. The company will always be chasing steady and controlled growth, taking on just the right amount to push itself to the next level. This will be in tandem with keeping eyes out for the next opportunity and another fresh face to add to the team. Now that the effects of the pandemic have begun to settle, the road ahead seems steady for Blue Flame Crew and its dedicated group of workers.