Dust collection, as well as material handling and storage, are key components to the total solution offered by AFS Energy Systems, located in Lamoyne, Pa.
AFS Grows Providing Energy Solutions
By Gary Miller
Lemoyne, Pa.–More than 15 years ago, Mark Leach, John Frailey and Jay Clark huddled in a spare room of Mark’s house to chart the course of a new company: AFS Energy Systems. All three men possessed years of experience in the wood energy industry and worked together for several years.
Since the opening of AFS in 1990, the company has thrived. In the past three years in fact, AFS has doubled in size. Leach serves the company as president; Frailey is vice president of engineering; and Clark is vice president of sales.
Chief Operations Officer Doug Fisher, the other member of the AFS senior management team, noted, “Although the company did very well for many years, we made a conscious decision to put together a specific growth plan, which worked out exactly as we hoped.”
The AFS campus includes three buildings situated on four acres near Harrisburg, Pa. Twenty-se
Some of the key personnel at AFS include: John Frailey, vice president of engineering; Mark Leach, company president; Jay Clark, vice president of sales; and Doug Fisher, chief operations officer.
ven employees make up sales, drafting, engineering, metal fabrication, quality control and safety teams that provide a one-stop shop for customers who need a wood-fired energy system.
Leach commented, “We provide energy systems for all industries including hospitals, cheese and mushrooms plants; but our core business is designing, building, installing and supporting complete wood-fired boiler energy systems for the lumber industry. This includes a complete turnkey solution from dust collection and material handling to process piping and metal fabrication.”
AFS is not an engineering firm that outsources its work. “We are a total solution and the buck stops right here at my desk,” added Leach.
Because of this commitment, 94 percent of AFS’ customers return for additional projects. AFS recently installed a second wood-fired boiler system for Gutchess Hardwoods in Latrobe, Pa. Sixteen years ago, AFS installed its first system at the same location.
AFS’ state-of-the-art systems are designed by Frailey and his engineering team. Frailey said, “We s
Deer Park Lumber in Tunkhannock, Pa., fires its kilns and heats its mills with steam from this new AFS wood-fired boiler energy system.
pend whatever time is necessary to thoroughly understand the needs of every customer. We would never design a ‘cookie cutter’ system because our customers know they will receive a system that meets their needs and exceeds their expectations.”
After Frailey’s team helps the customer through the permit process, they handle everything from installation to system start-up and training. The return on investment and customer satisfaction for AFS systems is very high because the company customizes every solution, does the work in-house and with personalized service, noted Fisher.
Dewey Swift, plant manager for Baillie Lumber in Titusville, Pa. confirmed, “We selected AFS Energy Systems because they offered the best overall solution to meet our energy needs. We could not be more impressed with the results. From the day we started planning our project, the cooperation and communication were impressive. The installation was completed on time. A year later, we’ve had no major problems and our service and parts inquiries have been handled promptly. Best of all, our new wood-fired boiler system is quickly paying for itself and we’re saving money every day.” The AFS management team continues to add new equipment, capabilities and industry experts to their staff. Sales Vice President Jay Clark reported, “We have manufacturer’s representatives fulfilling orders in the Northeast and Midwest while we are adding reps in the Southeast and other key regions.”
Electrician Mike Wildasin builds the state-of-the-art control systems that manage every aspect of an AFS energy system from one central location.
The company is a dedicated member of several professional organizations, including: The Lake States Lumber Assoc., Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Assoc., National Hardwood Lumber Assoc. and Pennsylvania Forest Products Assoc.
“Every person in our company has one goal,” added Fisher. “We are committed to providing each customer with the best possible energy solution for their needs and goals.”
A new wood-fired boiler system was recently installed at Tuscarora Hardwoods in Elliottsburg, Pa.