Get to know GROEBNER in the Member Spotlight section of MEA's Energy | Empowered Magazine.
MEA Energy | Empowered Magazine, Winter 2022 | Read Online: https:/digital.apogee-mg.com/publication/frame.php?i=769804&p=&pn=&ver=html5
By: Steven “Sevie” Karolewski, Vice President of Operations for GROEBNER
For more than 45 years, GROEBNER has served our clients in the natural gas industry, particularly utilities and contractors. Through participation in industry associations and supporting business and utility systems, the GROEBNER team stays ahead of the latest news, trends, and technological innovations within the industry. In this way, GROEBNER can provide valuable insights, training, and equipment sourcing services to MEA members and their expanded networks.
Powered by Experience
Founded in 1976, by Chuck Groebner, GROEBNER began as a manufacturers’ representative for several gas equipment companies. Because he was already well established and trusted within the industry, he was able to build and nurture key relationships with manufacturers and customers, while keeping a close eye on the integrity, quality, and excellence in service that was being provided by his team.
Over time, GROEBNER became a distributor to have better control over lead times and provide exceptional service to our customers. Today, GROEBNER has four centrally located distribution centers and customer service teams in Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, and Texas.
GROEBNER has been able to maintain these strong relationships and continuity of its knowledge base in part by the passing of company leadership from Chuck to his son Joe Groebner, and now to grandchildren Carissa Skorczewski and Curt Groebner. Their passion for the industry and keeping close-knit relationships with their supplier and client networks means years of knowledge (including hundreds of years of collective experience of other GROEBNER team members), continue to work for the industry. It’s proven to be useful in bringing new perspectives to customers and our own daily operations.
The Network You Need — from Pipeline to Meter and More
GROEBNER lets you offer the best to your customers in maintenance and expansion of your utility systems. We can be your connection to the most qualified suppliers and experts in the natural gas industry. This allows you to focus more fully on your expertise of energy system operations and customer relationships. We have already invested the time and effort needed to develop and keep those trusted supplier relationships. GROEBNER has an established network of dependable, specialized suppliers, as well as distribution services, that can help you keep your utility systems strong. We offer:
- Products that cover all needs for delivering natural gas from main pipelines to meters
- Equipment for installation, measurement, and maintenance of your pipeline systems
- Certified product training for your operational staff
- Maintenance, inspection, and repair services
- Rental of natural gas pipeline installation equipment
- Stocking and distribution services for timely delivery
GROEBNER can connect you with the right supplier or service provider, in the right timeframe, to fulfill your need to offer excellent service to your customers.
In all areas of the energy industry, technology continues to change and expand. It allows you to control costs and revenue, as well as meet your customers’ expectations. GROEBNER knows how important it is for you to remain ahead of the technology moves that are shaping the future of the industry. We continually seek out suppliers who look ahead, making sure you have access to all the right technology, at the right value, to help ensure your utility’s systems are future-proofed, working now and as the industry grows and changes. We partner with the suppliers who can keep you on the cutting edge of industry technology.
Sharing Our Expertise through Education and Advocacy
Being a strong support to your success means more than simply providing products, as top-notch as they are. GROEBNER knows we also need to be your partner in continuing expansion of your team’s knowledge, training, and certifications. We provide numerous educational courses to prepare your workers for safe, on-the-job operations, such as:
- Operator Qualification Program
- Working with Natural Gas 101
- PE Heat Fusion Course
- PE Electrofusion Course
- Leak Detection and Locating Course
- New Product Training
This training is led by certified trainers, knowledgeable GROEBNER staff who are ISNetworld members, EWN certified trainers, guided with MEA training materials, and manufacturer trained with the latest products. Courses are held in the classroom or on the job site, as best suits your team’s needs.
We also hold monthly GROEBNER Supplier Spotlight webinars, to help educate our clients on the technologies available to them through our supplier network. Conveniently presented online, these free sessions help you keep your team up to date on top suppliers’ product and service offerings.
Our team is committed to continuing advocacy and support for product improvements and availability, technological advances, and expanding roles for natural gas. Natural gas is a major fuel for electricity and heating and is becoming a pathway to reduced dependence on oil. In addition, there has been a consensus over the last few years that natural gas is a cleaner and more efficient energy source compared to oil and coal. This trend is putting natural gas at the forefront of our low carbon emissions future. We’re very optimistic that the industry will continue to grow, and we’ll continue to be advocates for its place at the table in energy conversations.
GROEBNER is also a key player in the ongoing transition to renewable energy through providing materials to capture methane from farms and other agriculture facilities. These markets have become a source of growth and economic success for farmers and investors, as well as the energy industry itself. We continue to participate in these ongoing deliberations, to ensure the voice of the natural gas is included in the discussion.
The Future Looks Bright
The GROEBNER story began with Chuck’s dedication to integrity, quality, and service. It continued with Joe Groebner’s commitment to maintaining and growing an already robust supplier network of experts and industry leading manufacturers. And that story now goes on with the transition of leadership to the third generation of the Groebner family. Joe’s daughter, Carissa Skorczewski, is now President/CEO and majority shareholder, and his son, Curt Groebner, serves as Vice President of Finance. Carissa and her team are modernizing many critical systems and policies within the organization as it thrives and scales into a national brand. Carissa is passionate about creating a positive work environment where employees are excited to come to work, developing a business where customers and suppliers feel like family, and making a difference in the ever-changing natural gas industry.
Recently, GROEBNER made news by becoming certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women. Our company is strongly positioned to support and drive the progress of the natural gas industry. By providing our customers with the highest quality of dependable, effective natural gas products while adding much needed diversity to the supply chain, GROEBNER will assist in meeting diversity goals and bring different perspectives to our partners.
MEA Partner Since the 1970s
With the support of the services and programs available through MEA, our team is able to stay informed on the latest regulations and trends in the natural gas industry. Some of the committees GROEBNER has been a part of over the years include the Board of Directors, Gas Associate Advisory Council, Gas Codes & Standards Committee, Gas Distribution Committee, and Purchasing & Materials Management Committee.
As an Associate Member in MEA, our biggest take-away is networking with the industry peers and customers. Being face-to-face and learning about the challenges and successes of our customers helps us to better serve them based on their individual needs.
MEA provides a wonderful platform for leaders in the energy space to connect and exchange ideas about a critical industry that continues to evolve. More than that, it’s a community for all aspects of the sector that enhances relationship-building and future business partnerships.
For more information, please visit GROEBNER.com.
ABOUT STEVEN KAROLEWSKI
Steven “Sevie” Karolewski began his GROEBNER career in 2010 as the Director of Operations. After 4 years of demonstrating operational excellence, Sevie was promoted to VP of Operations. He is responsible for managing the inside sales team and all other operational teams including inventory, warehouse, and marketing. Sevie leads initiatives spanning everything from purchasing to stocking to shipping. Prior to GROEBNER, he held various sales manager and operations director positions. Sevie graduated from the University of Wisconsin Stout.