This year marks 80 years of providing responsive, reliable, and resourceful mechanical contracting services to the greater Twin Cities region for Yale Mechanical. Over half of that time, Mark Then has watched firsthand how the business – and the mechanical contracting landscape – has developed.
Mark, currently a service superintendent at Yale, started as an apprentice service technician in 1976 when he was in his mid-20s. His first job involved crane setup on Paul’s Place, a now-defunct music club within the Paul Bunyan Motor Inn on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul. That day, he says, “somehow turned into 40-some years.”
His career at Yale has led to numerous certifications and licenses, expanding his ability to help lead Yale’s growing team. Along the way, Mark says he’s had plenty of opportunities to learn. In fact, it’s one of the reasons he’s stuck with Yale for so long.
“You make mistakes, and you learn from them,” he says. “That’s sort of Yale’s philosophy: you learn from each other. If you don’t know the solution to a problem, there’s always someone who does who’s willing to teach. It has always been nice to know that Yale is an honest company, and if you make a mistake, we fix it, move forward, and keep on going.”
Along with other senior members of the service team, Mark takes it upon himself to teach new members of the Yale team about the world of mechanical contracting. For the new generation of service technicians, Mark has a simple piece of advice: “Realize you’ll get dirty.” He notes that while entering the mechanical contracting trade has become more complex with the passing years, the basics remain the same.
With that guiding mindset, the virtues of a long career (especially with the same company) have become more obvious to Mark with time. “You get to know the customers, you get to know the equipment, and you get to know the history of what’s going on,” he says. “There’s continuity to that.”
“Every day, technology changes, and every day, you adapt to it,” he adds. “No matter how techy stuff gets, stuff breaks – and we fix it.”
Mark is the very definition of reliable. Yale salutes Mark for his amazing contributions to our company by helping customers make their buildings work better for 43 of our 80 years.