Current Initiatives NEC Alumni
Right now Kevin and Judy Daniel, New England College Alumni, class of ‘73, and owners of Henniker’s popular Daniel’s Restaurant and Pub, are thinking sunshine. No, they are not planning a trip to a sunny location—they are, in fact, in the process of harvesting the sun’s rays right here in chilly New Hampshire with the installation of high-powered solar panels on their business’ rooftop.
“In the past I kept a blind eye to alternative energy—let’s face it—costs back then were much more affordable. But, as oil prices have skyrocketed, I had to change my thinking and look to the environment as a natural resource to combat out-of-control fuel costs.” said Kevin in a recent interview. “As I searched for alternatives, I realized I had 3 assets right here in my own back yard: the sun, the river and the used vegetable oil from our Fryo-lators.”
To supplement his current solar endeavors, Daniel is planning to utilize spent cooking oil in a newly purchased multi-fuel oil burner. “We’ll be using oil from Sonny’s Pizza as well as our own to heat our water.” said Daniel. He hopes that between the two alternative sources, he will be able to become independent from oil use completely.
Currently, 14 newly installed, Viessmann Hydraulic Flat Roof Solar Collection Panels are providing the energy to heat water for 6 100-gallon hot water tanks (3 collectors, 3 storage). Each specially designed tank contains 2 separate coils instead of the traditional 1. The top coil is attached to the solar panel, which heats the water and the bottom coil is run off the vegetable oil burner to maintain a temperature of 145 degrees when the sun’s energy is not available. Daniel now heats approximately 80% of his water via solar power, which is a huge savings considering he uses a staggering 2,500 gallons of heating oil per year to heat his water alone.
Though he admits that the initial investment can be costly, (even the much smaller, 3-panel/119gallon home version’s install price is around $10,000) Daniel states, “With federal and state tax credits, it really does make it affordable. The government will give a credit of 33% of the cost, and the town itself offers 50%, up to a certain amount, off the cost off your property taxes. It’s a no-brainer.” Daniel estimates he’ll see a return on his investment in a year or less, and from there on, he plans to save a bundle.
In addition to his current sustainability measures, Daniel is investigating the possibility of installing an energy turbine in the Contoocook River—which flows only a few hundred feet behind his restaurant. Engineers are in the process of determining a spot which is deep enough, has an adequate flow for energy production, and has the least amount of impact on the bed of the river itself which, Daniel says, will be very little if any at all. He is hopeful that they will be able to begin the installation of the turbine sometime next year, but added that there are several agencies, including the DES (Department of Economic Security), and the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), which will have to okay his plans before he can begin. For now though, Daniel is very excited and inspired by his Greening efforts—and not just by the money he will save. ________________________________________________
Jeff Kantor – Class of 1968
Cupped in his hand is a small metal object about the size of a pea. “There is enough mercury in here to pollute a whole lake,” said Jeff Kantor, Class of 1968. These mercury switches, found on older model cars, will never make it into the eco-system. They are just one of hundreds of parts that Jeff and his 22 employees remove from 3000 to 4000 cars each year at their salvage yard, Car World, in Candia, New Hampshire. But don’t bother conjuring up any images of oil slicks and eye sores. This is a sophisticated, clean, high-tech business complete with cutting edge reclamation systems that has been at the forefront of the industry for over 30 years.
Jeff got into the salvage business with his college roommate and fraternity brother, Nelson “Jack” Murray after a brief and unsuccessful venture into a sales career in the Boston area. “Jack” knew the used car business and together, the two started Murray’s Auto Parts in 1970. After seven years, Jeff bought out his partner and started Car World.
He describes himself as the ultimate, and perhaps even the original recycler. Every inch of a car that can be reused, resold, or recycled is processed and inventoried. All the fluids are removed: gasoline, oil, water, freon, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, battery fluid, and anti-freeze. In 1986, Car World installed one of the first oil-water separation units. Jeff heats his 15,000 square foot warehouse with the oil that he drains from the cars. Every Friday, his employees fill up the tanks on their own vehicles with free gasoline that has been reclaimed. And windshield washer fluid sells for 50 cents a gallon.
Every useable part is removed, tagged, and inventoried. Car World was the 40th company of its type in the world that computerized its inventory. Name any part from any car and Jeff can pull up a computer screen and tell you how many he has, where they are, what the price is, and the mileage of the car from which it was removed. If he doesn’t have it in stock, another computer screen takes him to the online inventory of 3,000 salvage yards across the country. He can have the part shipped in a matter of days.
The Internet has really changed the way Jeff does business. “I used to have a limited territory around Manchester,” he said. “But the Internet has really opened things up. Now you have to be a lot sharper – you’re competing with the rest of the world.”
The company does a healthy business on E-Bay and ships all over the world. Jeff even reuses Styrofoam “popcorn,” bubble wrap, and shredded paper to protect the shipments in transit. For larger pieces, he purchased a machine that converts cardboard into mesh that is wrapped around the part to protect it.
Car World is all about customer service. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this business, it’s not worth having an irate customer in your office.” So Jeff’s employees test every part before it leaves the yard and the company has a strict “no reason needed” return policy. Any part they sell has a money back or part back warranty. He treats his employees with equal care. Anyone who works for him receives the same benefits and pay as anyone else. And each employee is trained to cover several other positions. Five of his employees have worked with him for 30 years. Understandably, Jeff has been voted “boss of the year” among the many other honors and awards he has received.
Out in the yard, all 23 acres of it, cars are arranged in neat rows and sorted by manufacturer: Ford, GMC, Honda, Daewoo – the list is inclusive. All signs are printed in both Spanish and English. Go ahead, drive your car down the aisles. You won’t get a flat tire. It’s that well maintained. Jeff has invested more than $250,000 in land work to ensure proper drainage and prevent erosion on the property. For those who are handy, there is an active “you pull it” section where customers can bring their own tools to remove a part. And at the bottom of a gentle incline is the infamous car crusher. When every useable part has been salvaged, the remaining carcasses are crushed and shipped to Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and Russia where the steel is used to make new cars. Jeff also demonstrates a gentle side to the salvage business. When an errant bird takes up residence in the car crusher, the crusher is off limits until the babies have grown up and left the nest.
Nine years ago, when the EPA started to look at high risk industries, Jeff made a decision to become part of the solution rather than to buck the trend. As President of the New Hampshire Auto Recyclers, Jeff is a resource for the agencies that monitor the salvage industry. He has established excellent working relationships with OSHA, the EPA, DES, and the Departments of Labor, Transportation, and Safety. Each year he schedules several trips to Washington and has testified before Congress on many occasions. “We’ve always done things properly,” he notes. “Our Green Yard certification and Best Management practices are an indication that we have gone far and above what is mandated. By working with the government and various agencies, we can create legislation together that promotes the salvage business and protects the environment.”
Jeff came to New England College to study business. “I always knew I had potential but my GPA was low in high school.” After about a year and a half, Jeff dropped out and joined the Army. At the encouragement of the dean of students, he came back to NEC and finished his degree. “I am here to show you that, with your degree, you can make it in any business. There are three things you need to be successful because you are not going to get it for nothing. You need to be smart. You need to work hard and put in the hours. And you need just a little bit of luck.”