Member Spotlight: Riley Sullivan with SI Mechanical LLC

What is your current company & position? I am General Manager and Co-Owner at SI Mechanical LLC.

What AAFAME committee are you involved in? I recently switched from Programs to join Community Service and Expo Committee.  I have been on the programs committee for several years and felt it was time for a change.

What is the most interesting job you have had? I was a deckhand on a fishing boat in Freeport TX when I was 20 years old.  Every day was a fresh start and it was exciting to see what the day would bring.   I’ll never forget trying to catch 10ft hammerhead shark using one of my customer’s 20” snapper for bait.  The hammerhead shark ate the red snapper and got away.  While it was thrilling, my customer was not happy that I gave away one of his precious red snappers.

Do you have professional aspirations? I’m super proud of the company that our team has built over the past 10 years.  We have great people and a great reputation in the industry.  We’ve hit most of our goals in terms of safety, growth and revenue.  Now, my professional aspirations are pointing toward refining our operation.  I want to fine tune the organization.  It’s time to shift the focus to being efficient and more productive.  I want to add more structure to make sure we are all consistently performing at a high level.  I want our company to be outstanding in our field from our client’s perspective.

What do you want to do when you grow up? I want to give back.  My professional aspirations have turned to mentoring.  I have been a mechanical contractor for over 20 years.  I have a lot of experience to share.  I enjoy working with the Noobs, as I call them.  The young professionals that are just starting out have a lot of energy and sometime just need to know how to channel it.

If your company had a theme song what would it be? MC Hammer, Can’t touch this.  In a sense, we’re all dancing around doing the MC Hammer shuffle everyday trying to cover everything.  We want our dance to look awesome and graceful, even though, you know it’s not easy.  We want people to appreciate the work we put in to make a great performance.  But then, we also want to make sure our competition CAN’T TOUCH THIS.  I secretly wish the MC Hammer pants were still in style.  Can you imagine how comfortable they are?

What are your 5 minutes of fame? This might be my 5 minutes. I’ve never won a contest or made the news.  I like to stay under the radar. I’d rather not be in the spotlight.

What are your hobbies? I will drop everything to go fishing.  I’ll do anything outdoors.  But seriously, if you ask me to go fishing I won’t even look at my calendar before saying YES!

Do you have pet peeves? I don’t have many, but it would probably be writing things down and communicating.  Let’s say a waiter takes your order and doesn’t write it down.  Then he comes back two more times to ask what your order is.  Why not write it down?  The other pet peeve is communication.  Good communication sometimes seems like a lost art.  If you put a little bit of effort into communicating then follow up to make sure both sides understand, then it can save time, money, relationships, etc.  Who doesn’t want that?  Writing things down and communicating well can eliminate a TON of frustrations for all involved.

If there is anything you can change, what would it be? I really wouldn’t change much.  I like to be intentional and I’m a huge believer in the saying “All things happen for a reason”.  There are some people that I lost contact with over the years.  Not that I can’t go back and reconnect with those people, my wish would be to go back and put in more effort to stay connected. 

Do you have a favorite quote, saying or song? There are a lot of sayings that I can’t use in a professional setting.  One of my favorite ways to answer my phone is “What’s up Buttercup?”  It always catches people off-guard.  My colleagues are expecting to talk to a professional and the conversation starts off this way.  I always gets a chuckle.  My other favorite is when I call everyone ”BRUH”.  There are a TON of people that answer my phone calls and the first thing they say is “BRUH, What up?”  A lot of us will say “BRUH” back and forth a couple of times before we get to the point.  It’s really stupid, but so much fun.

One of your goals for this year? In my free time, I am building a playbook for SI Mechanical that covers a lot of information about how we do what we do.  Most of our procedures and trainings are verbal and unwritten.  I can tell that it is very confusing for new people when they join the organization.  The Noobs are looking for some sort of procedural manual to reference when learning.  I’ve started writing sections of it, but my goal is to finish this year.  I’m sure we’ll have to put it on social media or the Noobs won’t read it.

Your favorite thing about AAFAME? I am blown away by the commitment of the AAFAME community.  Events are well attended.  Luncheons are well attended.  Committee meetings are well attended.  Events are fun and exciting.  AAFAME has one of the strongest volunteer efforts I have ever seen.  You can feel that people want to be here.  They want to be involved.  The dedication is infectious.  Everyone is so busy with their daytime jobs, but yet they put so much effort and quality time into AAFAME to make sure it is a success.  I’m very proud to be part of AAFAME.

Interview by Alan Ruiz-Gutierrez with HPI