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April 20, 2010 | last updated December 1, 2011 5:51 am
Portlandbiz

Training center expected to grow local energy firm

Photo/Courtesy Pine State Services
Photo/Courtesy Pine State Services
Sam Marcisso, right, president of Pine State Services, and Terry Davis, special projects manager

Sam Marcisso knows that if he wants customers to go to his company first for their green plumbing, heating and cooling needs, he has to inspire their confidence that Pine State Services & Pine State Energy is the best suited for those jobs.

This is why the president of the South Portland firm decided to create a training center at its 5 Industry Drive headquarters, which was introduced to members of the public and the business community at an open house last week.

"We know that you can talk about what you're doing, but for customers to see it, feel it and understand it, they must see it in action," he says.

The training center will showcase various energy-efficient systems the company sells, like high-efficiency gas boilers, geothermal heat pumps and solar hot water storage tanks. The company's sales revenue was about $4.2 million in 2009 and Marcisso anticipates a 20% increase in 2010 thanks to the new center.

"The training center is only one piece of the many positive changes we've already put in place," he wrote in an e-mail. "The training center is the new home for 'green' and it will attract the ideal customers who this resonates with and that will help fuel our sales growth as well."

Pine State Services can also train its 23 technicians on how to properly install the newest green technologies, which could represent a huge advantage for Pine State Services. The company has a total of 32 employees and serves customers throughout Cumberland and York counties.

Company spokeswoman Jennifer Walton says the new training center is not just for the company's technicians. She says it will also help educate customers about different ways they can make their homes and businesses more energy efficient, save money and add value to their property, by demonstrating how some of these systems work.

The training center also represents the only Buderus showroom north of Boston for private contractors. Buderus is headquartered in Hanover, Germany, and is a global leader in innovative heating and cooling systems technology, including solar heating systems, heat pumps, wood-fired boilers and climate-controlled systems.

Depending on the heating or cooling system a customer chooses and the scope of the work involved, Marcisso says a system can cost anywhere from $3,600 to as much as $25,000. Each of these systems is also eligible for federal tax credits.

Marcisso says the company has been installing energy upgrades for the last 10 years, but got really serious about alternative energy in the last two years when home heating oil prices skyrocketed to as much as $4.50 per gallon in Maine.

According to the company's website, Pine State Services was formerly Pine State Plumbing and Heating when it opened for business in 1995. The company changed its name in April 2009 and expanded its services to include alternative energy and other services, like refrigeration and duct fabrication.

Marcisso believes that as the economy improves and more people feel more comfortable investing in alternative heating and cooling systems in their homes, the company's business will grow even if home heating oil prices remain stable. "The challenge we face is the economy," he says.

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