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Open Air Shop CT Power Stays Busy in Hot Arizona

ARIZONA bakes like a hot oven from May to September, the months when CT Power in Phoenix stays busy servicing refrigeration units on trucks and trailers.

"Extreme weather with ambient temperature over 100" F is tough on transportation equipment, contributing to very heavy business for us," says Terry Lamont, general manager of CT Power's Phoenix facility.

CT Power, a full-service Carrier Transicold dealer, has operated in Phoenix since it purchased Wilson Transport Refrigeration in 1996. CT Power is based in Commerce City, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. It has other branches in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

The company's shop in southeast Phoenix is less than two miles south of Interstate 10, a main east-west corridor. The shop is readily accessible to truckers passing through Phoenix. It has 14 drive-through service areas on five acres. It opened in October 1998 to replace a cramped, four-bay facility about five miles away. "We now have plenty of extra space for storage and to park trailers," Lamont says.

The shop has 8,000 square feet of air-conditioned office space, including a recreation room and waiting area for drivers. The 14 drive-through work areas are seven double-width bays accommodating two trailers per bay. A two-ton bridge crane travels the entire width of the shop.

The service area has no doors. Three evaporative coolers operate all summer to keep the shop's 19 technicians cool. Normal shop hours are 8 am to 8:30 pm Monday through Friday and 8 am to noon Saturday. However, service technicians are on call 24 hours a day. "Any time the facility is not open, telephone calls are routed to a cellular phone. Answering duty is rotated among the mechanics," Lamont says.

Sales, Parts, Service Lamont says it is hard to quantify the volume of the drive-through business in Phoenix, which is greatest in the summer. In general, new refrigeration unit sales account for about 60% of overall annual revenue, parts account for 20%, and service accounts for the remaining 20%.

Besides providing drive-through service, CT Power stays busy year round serving regular accounts in the Phoenix area, including Shamrock Foods, Roads West, and Sysco. CT Power recently installed 22 Carrier Transicold Genesis TM900 multi-temp units on trailers for Shamrock and 17 Genesis TM900s on trailers for Sysco's Phoenix branch.

From its Phoenix shop, CT Power operates three mobile service trucks with equipment and tools to perform repairs at customer locations. The trucks are Isuzu NPRs with 14-ft bodies equipped with 4,000-lb-capacity rail lifts.

"We have an on-site location at Shamrock's distribution center," Lamont says. "Shamrock provides us an outdoor service bay covered by a canopy and a mobile mini-office and parts room in a 40-ft air-conditioned container."

CT Power has a 40-ft by 40-ft parts room with storage on a lower level and mezzanine. The company carries about 2,500 separate part numbers, representing available parts including compressors, belts, hoses, refrigerant, gaskets, and valves. The parts room has three-ft-deep, high-density storage bins for small parts storage.

"CT Power shops in Phoenix, Denver, and Albuquerque share parts inventories for large deals," Lamont says. "Each shop maintains an inventory sufficient to serve customers under most circumstances. If parts availability becomes an issue, however, any shop can have the parts shipped from one of the other shops."

A growing source of income for CT Power is its Iceberg Rentals program. CT Power has a fleet of 50 refrigerated trailers available for rental to food distributors for use in peak order periods. They range in length from 22 feet to 48 feet. Some are equipped with multi-temperature refrigeration units. "Iceberg trailers can be rented on a daily basis or long term," Lamont says. "This is a good side business for us."

The past few years have been a period of growth for CT Power. "We are expanding," Lamont says. "We've upgraded our existing shops and built a new facility in Las Vegas. Another new facility will be built in Albuquerque."

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