RONKONKOMA — CSEA members are providing Stony Brook Hospital with quality craftsmanship — at a major savings to the state.

It is all courtesy of the Stony Brook Formica Shop, where CSEA members customize a variety of designs such as desks, cabinets, countertops and sinks for Stony Brook Hospital.

From left, Victor Perez, David Hendrickson, Kenneth Taylor. Christopher Knowd, Roy Clarkson, Steve Stoebe and Brian Purick.
From left, Victor Perez, David Hendrickson, Kenneth Taylor. Christopher Knowd, Roy
Clarkson, Steve Stoebe and Brian Purick.

Having a shop where workers are dedicated to making designs for the hospital is not just a matter of convenience. It is also a matter of huge monetary savings.

“When the hospital started their patient room upgrade program, they went out to price how much working with independent contractors would cost,” said David Hendrickson, a shop supervisor. “After their research, they found that outside contractors would cost them five times more than what having the work done in-house would.”

Big payback at a lesser cost
The Formica shop workers have long provided value to the hospital.

“The state invests money in us because they know the payback is higher than the investment, said
Hendrickson. “I hear that from management, all of the time.”

Time efficiency is also a major factor in the success of the Formica shop.
“When the hospital needs an emergency fix, (hospital staff) don’t have time to find or work with an outside contractor,” said Steve Stoebe, a maintenance mechanic. “They want things taken care of right away to prevent the possibility of someone getting hurt.”

Roy Clarkson and Brian Purick review plans for their next project.
Roy Clarkson and Brian Purick review plans for their next project.

Taking the extra step
Acting as their own competition, members surpass expectations by adding to initial design requests.

“(The hospital’s) Environmental Health and Safety (Department) came to us, asking for a portable fire training apparatus,” said Hendrickson. “Not only did we make them a cart that showed trainees how to work an alarm and fire extinguisher, but we also made it so that you can program the exact sound the fire alarm in the hospital makes, with strobe lights and everything.” “Now trainees know exactly what to listen for,” said Hendrickson.

For our members, the importance of environmental health extends beyond taking direction from administration. Starting in the 1990s, they took it upon themselves to go green and use more environmentally sound products.
All of the products used in the Formica shop are all green, certified sustainable wares.

Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the shop for its use of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the products they use (VOCs are organic compounds that easily become vapors or gases).

The use of VOC lowered fumes emitted in the shop’s spray booth by 75 percent.

It’s pride in their work and a sense of solidarity that keeps members pushing forward.

“We really enjoy what we do and they treat us well,” said Stoebe. “We’ve got top of the line equipment here and it makes for a better product.”

“We work well together here and we learn a lot from each other,” said Victor Perez. “We’re like a family.”

— Wendi Bowie

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Wendi Bowie

Wendi Bowie is an award-winning journalist who has focused the majority of her career on covering Long Island news. Her efforts have earned her the Press Club of Long Island Media Award for Public Affairs and the Long Island Coalition for Fair Broadcasting Folio Award. Wendi was drawn to her current position as Communications Specialist for CSEA’s Long Island Region because it speaks to her strong desire to champion the rights of the common man and woman.

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