Conversations from the Wx Frontlines: Terry Emelander

Another winner of the 2011 Weatherization Assistance Program National Recognition Award, presented at the National Weatherization Training Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, was Terry Emelander. (You can view an entire list of winners here.)

Terry is the owner and president (along with being a licensed Michigan builder) of T & L Services, a design and build construction company located in Allegan, Michigan. He runs his company with the help of his son, Terry Emelander Jr., who, with 12 years of carpentry experience, heads the weatherization division of T & L Services.

The following is a Q&A with both Terry Sr. and his son.

HE: What does this award mean to you?

Terry Emelander Sr.: I was proud to accept the award and recognition for T & L Services while being able to provide my employees with steady income for three winters in a row. I’m also proud to have helped low-income families in the community reduce energy costs and save the money that they need.

HE: What's the most unusual home you've worked on?

Terry Emelander Jr.: Clients’ homes have varied from newer homes built after 1978 to older homes built before, when lead-safe practices were strictly followed to mobile and manufactured homes. The most challenging homes to work on were homes that were created inside pole barn-like frames. These homes were difficult to insulate and stop all the possible leaks and ways for heat to get out.

HE: How do you see weatherization thriving (or not) post-ARRA funds?

Terry Emelander Sr.: As the ARRA funding comes to an end, so does the ability to ensure work for most construction companies, their employees, and suppliers involved. Many homes were weatherized but in the low-income community so many more homes could utilize these measures and decrease their energy costs, giving them more money to help stimulate Michigan’s stagnant economy.

While T & L Services was offered the opportunity to extend their contract for another year in several local agencies, we are well aware of the reduced funding—we’ve been told that the levels of production over the next year will be significantly lower.

HE: What do you see for the future of the weatherization program - both locally and nationally?

Terry Emelander Sr.: I can only hope that the analysis of the data gathered from ARRA and the reduction of energy costs will be enough to mandate an increase in funding over the coming years for programs that offer similar services. For right now, though, I am unsure of the future of weatherization assistance.

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