DIXON, Calif. - Even when times are serious, leave it to Greiner president and CEO Patricia Greiner to either liven things up or provide a helping hand.

The examples are plentiful. Here are just a few.

• When Greiner, general manager David Krueger, and five service technicians went to St. Louis last October for an intensive three-day heat exchanger inspection training course, the boss managed to snag some tickets to the 2006 World Series. Neither an easy task nor cheap, right?

Unfortunately, the Greiner gang only witnessed pouring rain along with bad weather at Busch Stadium, as it turned out to be the only game in the baseball series that was cancelled. And, because all had to return to Dixon the next morning, Greiner had to sell off the high-priced tickets at (gulp!) a rock-bottom price.

Ironically, had the team been able to stay, they would have been present for Game 5 of the Detroit Tigers-St. Louis Cardinals battle, which, in the end, proved to be the series clincher for the host Cards.

“It was a great thing, even though it got rained out,” admitted service tech Shaun Satterwhite. “But we were all there, getting wet. Drinking beer. Eating peanuts. It was just a nice gesture. She did it at the last minute and spent a lot of money to do it.”

• Every service tech can relay how the boss has helped more than a few customers in need.

“There have been a couple of times I have been in a home of a needy person and they couldn’t afford repairs,” said tech Carlos Amado. “I remember getting all of the specifics for a unit for one particular lady and she [owner Greiner] wound up buying the lady the furnace, installing it for free. She took care of her. Bought her groceries. Did some things for the kids.

“I know there are a lot of incidences like that, but that is just one that stuck out in my mind.”

• When Justin Renner, who has been on the Greiner force for only seven months, mentioned he was going to Denny’s Restaurant this past Thanksgiving, Mother Greiner invited the young service tech over for holiday turkey with her family.

Renner naturally obliged.

“She’s a good cook, too,” he said.

• When Ruben Zurita severely injured his hand at work, Greiner not only took him to the emergency room, but then encouraged the attending doctor that her four-year service tech needed to see a hand specialist, who happened to be in San Francisco. Greiner not only followed the ambulance all the way to San Francisco, but also stayed overnight at a nearby hotel and then traveled back the next morning to work.

• About a year ago, Zurita wanted to buy his needy father, who is disabled and resides in Mexico, a pickup truck. Greiner donated a 1993 Chevy truck, complete with a new transmission and paint job.

But, wait. There’s more.

Greiner, ever the one not to forget the mother in the equation, loaded up the same pickup truck with pots, pans, comforter, sheets, and other household items and appliances. Zurita, in turn, not only had a truck to give to his father, but also the content of the pickup to give to his mother.

• Look out for those “special” breakfast meetings, which are for all employees and are held usually at least twice a year. In addition to a complete morning meal, Greiner offers gifts, enough to make even Ebenezer Scrooge smile. At last such feast, Greiner estimated having between $6,000-$8,000 in presents - and, that gift list included certificates for restaurants, pizzas, tools, blankets, baking stuff, and over a hundred envelopes containing any denomination ($20, $50, or $100 bill), and who knows what else.

“It’s a blast,” said Greiner. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Hmmm. Imagine that. An owner actually stating it’s f-u-n giving thousands of dollars away to employees.


Publication date:01/29/2007