A Day in the Life of Mercury Marine's Focus on Energy Advisor
Collaborating and Finding Energy Efficiency Solutions for Wisconsin Businesses

Focus on Energy Resources Are More Than Financial

Focus on Energy Advisors are the energy efficiency heroes you've probably never heard of before. Wisconsin businesses focused on reducing energy costs are not only eligible to receive financial assistance from Focus on Energy but can tap into a network of expert Energy Advisors for help. Energy Advisors work daily with thousands of Wisconsin manufacturers, farmers, industrials, and school districts helping those businesses find ways to save energy AND money.

Meet Richard Feustel, Mercury Marine's Focus on Energy Advisor.

Mercury Marine Feustal Floor
Mercury Marine, based in Fond du Lac, is an Alliant Energy customer

Experts in Energy Efficiency

“Before coming to Focus on Energy, I was in the military for 23 years,” Feustel said. “I was in the Marine Corps and then a nuclear submarine officer.”

Feustel spent his post military career inside manufacturing facilities, even working briefly at Mercury Marine – The Wisconsin manufacturer that is the world leader in propelling boaters across the water.

“(I) helped set up their energy program for a few years. And then I was a Corporate Energy Manager at Briggs and Stratton,” Feustel said. Working in factories really prepared me as an Energy Advisor because that's what I do. I get into manufacturing facilities, understand how their process works, and offer ideas and how I can improve their business. From an energy perspective.

Mercury Marine’s Dustin Hull is a professional engineer and Certified Energy manager. He has worked with Focus on Energy for more than 12 years.

Prior to Mercury Marine, Hull worked at Rhode brothers in Plymouth, Wisconsin, a 2022 Focus on Energy Trade Ally Energy Efficiency Excellence Award Winner.

“Some of the projects (at Mercury Marine) that we do would not get approved because we would not probably understand incentives,” Hull said. “We would not be applying for incentives. Having that relationship with Focus on Energy, with our advisor, Richard, is critical to promote, to understand what projects are there."

Even if a company isn’t working on a project, Focus on Energy Advisors are consistently trying to find new ways to save utility customers energy and money.

“Richard is critical in that he's great to work with, he's easy to work with, he's knowledgeable, and not only does he help in some of the identifying the opportunities in calculating the savings and what the incentives would be,” Hull said, “but then also he's great in, you know, helping us do the paperwork, getting it submitted on time getting the completion notices extensions with the dates of the slips, and to make sure we get our incentives that we are signed up for.”

Mercury Marine's Sustainability Program

Mercury Marine’s sustainability program is focused on energy, environment, products and people and knowing that something as simple as turning off lights in unused areas or changing those lights at large industrial plants can make a huge impact.

“The initial way to get energy efficiency going in a facility, that manufacturing company that doesn't have an energy program is to start small,” Feustel said. “Start with things that are noticeable.”

Richard walks into the facilities he advises and the first thing he does – he looks up!

“Over the last three years, we've installed around 3000 light fixtures in our manufacturing facilities,” said Brian Jenquine, Mercury marine Electrical Facilities Engineer. “We have about another thousand more to install this year. We'll finish this project out. It'll be a five-year project installing around 5,000 light fixtures.”

MM PLT17 Die Cast Machine

That’s a $200,000 Focus on Energy incentive Brian Jenquine is working on with Richard.

Jenquine is replacing all the fluorescent lights Richard installed when he worked at Mercury Marine.

“We wanted to make sure that we were putting in the high efficiency of fixtures,” Jenquine said. “Richard was key in that selection process.”

“And the employees like the lighting, it's brighter,” Hull said. “It's more cheery (sic) to be at work.”

"We've saved about 2.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually,” said Jenquine. That's enough to power about 175 homes for one year.”

Assembly two women

Using Less Energy, Doing the Same Work

“Energy savings not only are coming from the efficient electric furnace, but also eliminating some of the process steps,” Katti said. “We use less energy to do the same work.”

If you want to know how heat treatment, adding carbon to steel, creates the premium performance and powerful propellers Mercury Marine is known for – Ranja Katti is your engineer.

Richard and Katti worked together to secure an incentive for a custom electric heat-treating furnace – 95% energy efficient which is 35% more efficient than the previous radiant tube heating.

“The energy savings that we are accomplishing by switching from atmospheric carbonizing to vacuum carbonizing is enough to power 250 homes for a year, Katti said. “At the same time, because we are not using natural gas to heat the furnace, we also are eliminating about 1500 metric tons of greenhouse gases per year.”

Focus on Your Business with Focus on Energy

There is a lot of heat in the manufacturing process that is unfortunately wasted. Well, used to be wasted.

Reverb furnaces are furnaces that hold, or melt aluminum that we use for die-cast production,” said Trevor Schwartz, Mercury marine Support Services Manager. “Instead of having the gas and heat evaporate, then out the stack, it actually goes into these containers.”

This is a reverb furnace with a new regenerative burner using little balls he showed us to trap heat and transfer it back and forth. That keep the heat from escaping and not needing to reheat the furnace every time.

“This furnace is going to save us 50% of the usage of natural gas, and it's gonna (sic) sequester about 3000 acres of natural forest,” Schwartz said.

Richard’s diligence and knowledge of the industry ensured Mercury Marine received a 300-thousand dollar focus on energy incentive for the furnace…

“Richard helped us, you know, figure out what we need to do, how to get things in place,” Schwartz said.

“Without Richard's help, without Focus on Energy's help, some of these projects would not go ahead,” Hull said.

Focus on Energy’s partnership with Wisconsin’s utilities provides more than just cash incentives to businesses across the state – our energy advisors are there before, during, and after projects with knowledge and support to keep businesses on their energy efficiency path.

“All these projects come together to provide a much more energy efficient work environment for the employees and for the company,” Feustel said. “They're saving a lot of energy, they're saving money, and that's what matters to the company.”

“Richard is our energy superhero,” Hull said.

“I love being Mercury Marine's Energy Superhero!” Feustel said.

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