They are known throughout the construction industry as movers and shakers who greet clients with smiles and warm handshakes.
These dynamic women of the Direct Energy Builder Group – Laura Bonise, Sue Cerilli, Linda Oliveri and Carole Solway – bring decades of experience and expertise to the table, and have hundreds of clients to attest to their value and effectiveness.
From actively developing professional relationships with builders through various events to working behind the scenes on homebuilder association committees, they help builders and contractors select the right water heating and hydronic equipment, and offer product training when needed.
They pay attention to details, and remain involved throughout the building process; from design, to delivery, to after-care service.
And they attend conferences and training to ensure they are the building code experts on which others can rely.
As the building code continues to change and more savvy consumers are looking to reduce their environmental footprint, building practices are evolving at a quick pace. Builders are following new code requirements for homes built to a higher standard. Mechanical contractors and energy evaluators are trying to calculate the impact of tighter envelopes and select the correct new equipment. It all places demands on architects and builders to understand how different mechanical configurations affect home design and the building process.
With these new technologies emerging, the question becomes how to select the water heater that is best suited for each new home. In the middle of this ongoing transformation, the building industry works with this team of four energetic women from the Direct Energy Builder Group.
These Account Managers assist the builder in the selection of the most appropriate type of water heater to meet their energy requirements:
Quietly confident, Laura Bonise of Oakville, Ontario is among the leading specialists in the area of power vent tanks, tankless water heaters and boiler systems to accommodate combo-heating applications.
With over 33 years of experience at Direct Energy, the knowledge she has acquired is of great value to builders, architects, mechanical and general contractors. Bonise assists her clients with product selection, training and technical support and brings a great deal of credibility to the table.
As with many accomplished people, her outside achievements are truly impressive. She is a founding member of Women In Construction (WINC), a non-profit organization of professional women who help communities and individuals in crisis. Among many great projects, WINC has refurbished a Toronto Youth Centre, raised money for and built numerous homes with Habitat for Humanity and renovated the offices of New Beginnings, a women’s support organization.
Last year Bonise travelled with colleague, Sue Cerilli, to the Dominican Republic to participate in the building of six homes for impoverished families. Laura Bonise not only talks the talk, but walks the walk, when it comes to improving our world and the environment we live in.
Sue Cerilli of Innisfil, Ontario admits that because Direct Energy Account Managers have home-based offices, for the past 10 years she has worked a little more than she should.
“The building industry is constantly changing, and we work with our clients to adapt to the forever changing Building Code and Energy Star requirements” she says.
She works closely with builders, mechanical engineers, heating contractors and energy consultants reviewing proposals during construction planning.
Despite her dedication, Cerilli still finds the time and energy for family fun, camping, hiking, building houses for charity (see previous section), chairing community projects, and serving as Secretary-Treasurer for the Canadian Home Builders Association of Simcoe County. She even opens her door and listens patiently to the pitch of the occasional door-to-door salesman – like the time a competitor tried to persuade her to change her water heater, while her Direct Energy branded vehicle sat a few feet away in the driveway.
“We try to be as environmentally responsible as we possibly can”, says Linda Oliveri of her small family (husband, Dominic, and Bianca, a Maltese poodle) in Ottawa, Ontario. “Turning down the thermostat, composting, growing our own food organically, using energy-efficient lightbulbs – simple steps can really add up to reducing our overall environmental footprint.”
And in her work, she helps smooth the pathway for builders using greener technologies.
“With the transition to more energy efficient products, such as tankless water heaters and condensing products, builders have been required to rethink the standard mechanical system,” says the 10-year Direct Energy veteran. “There are special factors to consider, such as changes in venting requirements, clearances for both the products themselves and their terminations, condensate drains, etc. This has caused several builders to revamp their mechanical rooms and vent system designs in order to comply with new installation requirements.”
Like her colleagues, Oliveri’s commitment extends beyond her corporate responsibilities. She serves on the Green Committee for the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association, as well as the Housing Design Awards Committee, the Sales & Marketing Committee, Habitat for Humanity’s Steel Toes & Stilettos Fundraiser Gala Committee, and has won several awards for her dedication to the construction industry.
Carole Solway of Toronto typifies the boundless energy of the dynamic team at Direct Energy. She handles numerous accounts and encourages her builders to involve Direct Energy early in the planning process. When technologies and building standards evolve, communication is critical between suppliers and builders.
“The increase in higher density homes means smaller mechanical rooms and fewer options for builders. Tankless units are becoming more popular, but require more discussion and on-site meetings with the builder and their trades.”
Solway’s inclusive approach ensures appropriate product selection and installation for her builders. Solway previously worked for a large builder, and has 19 years of service at Direct Energy. Her knowledge helps with guiding builders in their selection of energy efficient products.
Always available to her builders, Solway says “I am passionate about the building industry and appreciate the opportunity to be involved in this exciting environment.”
She enjoys spending time with family, watching films, spinning, and practicing yoga. Solway is also a serious adventure traveller. This year she will visit Vietnam, and spent two weeks in Peru climbing for more than three days to Machu Picchu.
Direct Energy is North America’s largest competitive energy solutions provider, with over six million residential and commercial customer relationships. With over 60 years of experience in the area of water heaters and the largest client portfolio across Canada, Direct Energy has 1.1 million residential rental water heater customers. Their water heater program offers builders great value and a green product offering, coupled with quality service for all rental water heater needs. In addition to quality products, Direct Energy prides itself on having the largest residential service force to stand behind their portfolio of water heaters, including over 700 highly-trained and licensed technicians in Ontario alone.