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History of Women at Aprilaire

3 minute read

Today is National Women’s Day – when we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the country and world. Observed since the early 1900s, it’s a day to reflect on the all achievements of past women, and acknowledge the progress that is still needed. Learn more at the IWD website to see how you can get involved. But we wanted to take a more local approach and celebrate the great work of the history of women at Aprilaire.

History of Women at Aprilaire: Bertha Weisman

Aprilaire would like to share the stories of some of the women who have made an impact at our company in Madison, WI!

Bertha Weisman was one of the founding members of the Research Products Corporation (Aprilaire’s parent company) back in 1938. She was the lone woman in the five-person group that started the company. In addition to her role as a founder, she served as Assistant Secretary and Treasurer.

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History of Women at Aprilaire: Melinda Nelson

The presence of women in leadership roles continues to this day at Aprilaire. Melinda Nelson is Manager of the Customer Service Department and the Call Center. She’s been with the company for 17 years total, and in her current role for nearly 14 years.

Customer Service employs the largest number of people at Aprilaire, and Melinda has more employees reporting directly to her than anyone. We’re thrilled to have her as such an integral part of our team, and we wanted to learn more about her and her experience at Aprilaire. Here’s what she had to say:

What’s your favorite part of working at Aprilaire?

I love the people and the culture. We hire and retain great people, and we’re not afraid to try new things here. Aprilaire is a great combination of a conservative company with a proven product, and a leadership team that’s not afraid to make changes that will make us better. That happens at every level, and it really makes this a great place to work.

How has your role changed since starting at Aprilaire 17 years ago?

I started out in the Call Center working with customers. I saw how we could be more efficient with the process and so I pitched the idea of streamlining the way we handled different areas of the job. That gave me an opportunity to go from working in the Call Center to being able to manage the workflow and the people within it. I had a great opportunity to change and evolve how we do customer service here.  I still get excited about the work I do every day.

How have things changed at Aprilaire since you started?

Both the industry and our company have grown greatly since I started. And along with that, the way we take care of our customers has evolved as well. We’re always looking for ways to be better, whether it’s our products, our process, or working with our customers.

A great example of the willingness to improve here is how we process our warranties. We had a paper-based system for a long time and I had been hearing from customers about how long it was taking. So I suggested that we take the process online. And the type of company Aprilaire is, I was fully supported in making the change because it made our customer experience better.

What are you most proud of when it comes to your work?

Just how much our customers value our team. Our customer service is the best in the industry and we have such a connection to our customers. What makes it all go is that the organization supports it. Really, they not only support it but they fully embrace it.

Another thing I’m really proud of is that within our Call Center, the average tenure is seven years. That’s unheard of. People who work in this department learn so much about our products and some of them end up moving onto other departments. I love to see them grow. I’m a people grower! I love to watch them advance in their careers and when they stay within the company here that’s even better.

What type of work culture have you experienced at Aprilaire?

It’s a great environment here. I feel so valued by my boss, and I know my team is valued by everyone here. I don’t think you can say that about every company. And I really do get excited about coming to work every day. I think that says something.

St. Vincent de Paul

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2021: Aprilaire’s Good Neighbor Values

2 minute read

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We take the importance of caring for others to heart at Aprilaire. We believe we have a purpose beyond the individual work we do and that being a successful company also means “Being a Good Neighbor.” It’s one of our core values, and something we put into action each year.

We remain committed to helping our local communities in a number of ways, including financial contributions and volunteering. In the past, we’ve raised funds to provide pack-n-plays to mothers in need, volunteered at local blood drives, and held various donation drives throughout the year.

While our partnership opportunities may look different in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re excited to continue our work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, whose mission statement reads:

“A membership organization, the Society began working in Madison in 1925 with two parish-based groups of members serving their neighbors in need. Today, programs the Society operates in Dane County include a large customer-choice food pantry, a charitable pharmacy, storage for the goods of persons who are homeless, seven thrift stores offering direct charity, housing at Port St. Vincent de Paul and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House, and several other forms of assistance for people struggling with poverty.”

We’ve been working with St. Vincent de Paul – Madison since 2014, giving us a number of incredible opportunities to give back and live out our mission of being Good Neighbors.

We believe the work they’re doing to provide assistance for our community is more important than ever right now, which is why it’s our honor to be a 2021 Platinum Sponsor for St. Vincent de Paul’s 6th Annual Care Café fundraising breakfast on May, 5th 2021. The theme is “Love Made Visible.”

They’re going virtual this year, which means they have unlimited capacity to reach their goal of $140,000. If you live in Dane County, we encourage you to attend the virtual event and support our neighbors in need through your contributions to the food pantry, free pharmacy, and housing programs.

 Click here for more information on St. Vincent de Paul – Madison to see how you can get involved.

Or find a charity in your area that you may be able to connect with to make an impact.

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Experiencing the Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

Before the Fight For Air Climb

Entering the US Bank Center for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb was a rush of energy.

This seemed less like an arduous trek up 1,000 stairs and more of an indoor festival. There were volunteers ready to greet you and pump you up for the ensuing climb and people from different companies sitting at tables ready to hand out souvenirs.

They were probably also there to distract you after you just got done instinctively looking up toward the top of the 47-story US Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee becoming a little uneasy at the prospect of your journey upward.

Before you made your climb, you gathered as a team and took several escalators down to the basement level before getting warmed up with a quick aerobic routine. Then you took a long and winding tunnel where you greeted by more volunteers who were cheering you on. It was hard not to feel inspired and excited.

During the Fight For Air Climb

One-by-one people took off up toward the top of the US Bank Center to begin their Fight For Air Climb. I, like most, started off confidently and quickly. I took the first six flights easily, but then by flight eight, I began to fight for air. I now understand why they title this climb just that. My mind and my body were at odds. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to continue at the same pace to get it over with as quickly as possible or to slow down and feel better. I went with the former.

Everyone in the stairwell was trudging onward with the same dilemma. We all were gasping for air as we kept pushing up each step and each flight toward the top of the Fight For Air Climb. At several points, I wondered if I was actually making any progress.

Every 10 flights there was a group of volunteers handing out cups of water and words of encouragement. Both were sorely needed to help push me along.

With each passing flight, I kept a tally of how many flights I had left. Twenty flights down, 27 more flights to go; 30 flights down, 17 flights to go; Ok, 40 flights down, 7 to go. By the time I got to the 40th floor, I knew I could make the last push to make it to the top of my Fight For Air Climb journey.

After the Fight For Air Climb

Eventually, I reached the top after 9 minutes and 31 seconds. At the top of the stairwell, I was met by volunteers who were cheering me on and by other climbers who were also catching their breath and taking in the picturesque views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan afforded to us by the tallest building in Wisconsin.

As I grabbed a water and walked around soaking in both the views of the city and my accomplishment, it was really cool to watch teams taking pictures together or greeting other climbers with high-fives and smiles. There was a certain camaraderie found in a common struggle.

Despite the lingering soreness, I cannot wait for next year’s climb. No matter if I beat my time from this year or not, it’s about fighting for air together and helping those impacted with lung disease.

To join an upcoming climb in a city near you, visit www.lung.org/aprilaire.

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Experts Say Flights Can Resume, But Bring Increased Risks

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Air quality experts say that it is safe to resume flying, but travelers must take advanced precautions before traveling like taking shorter flights when possible, wearing masks, and social distancing. 

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, makes the case that airplanes do not make you sick. In fact, airplanes have comparable levels of air filtration and fresh air ventilation to a health care facility

Flights May Be Less Comfortable With Recommendations

He argues that airlines should continue disinfecting high-touch areas such as armrests and tray tables, stop in-flight food service, mandate mask-wearing, and ask patrons to keep their above ventilation fan on throughout the flight. While these adjustments make flying less enjoyable, they can help reduce in-flight virus transmission. Masks are currently required on public transportation. 

Allen is not the only one saying it is safe to resume flying. 

‘Safer Than Eating At A Restaurant’

Linsey Marr, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, in a CNN article writes, “When HEPA ventilation systems are running on a plane and everyone is masked, the risk of Covid-19 is greatly reduced and makes air travel on a big jet safer than eating at a restaurant.”

Activities Create Biggest Risks

She and Allen argue that the biggest risks in airline travel stem from activities like the pre-flight boarding process or when a flight is delayed and people are stuck on the plane. Marr, who has been wearing an air quality monitor when she travels, said CO2 levels are elevated during these aforementioned activities and are indicative of a lack of fresh air ventilation. 

Marr told CNN that “A CO2 (carbon dioxide) level of 3,000 ppm means that for every breath I take in, about 7% of the air is other people’s exhaled breath…like drinking someone else’s backwash!”

The airport also presents other problems for travelers.

Allen suggests airports create more touchless experiences, upgrade their HVAC system, and require masks. Some updates have already been implemented in some airports or will be implemented in the future. 

Other experts suggest carrying your own personal hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and sticking to shorter flights

Even though there are risks to flying, Marr and Allen say you are clear for takeoff this summer