Rittiner Equipment Company Inc.
When Perry Rittiner defers credit to his employees, the founder of New Orleans-based Rittiner Equipment Co. isn’t merely being modest; he’s being practical about an industry that requires a lot of training just to get by.
“You don’t find these people everywhere,” Rittiner says of the more than 100 men and women in his employ, who are all required to be highly certified, attentive and careful in order to reduce environmental impact, injuries and accidents. “If you don’t know what you are doing, you could blow up a gas station.”
And there are plenty of other facets to the business that installs, maintains and services fuel pumps at hundreds of filling stations across the southern U.S. After all, gas stations have become more than places to fill up; they’re all about convenience, so often including amenities that range from car washes to groceries.
Explosions may be less of a concern with those additions, but expertise is still at a premium.
A full service company
Rittiner offers an ever-expanding array of fuel pump-related services, such as project management, construction, site upgrades and 24/7 emergency repairs. These repairs include everything from mechanical pumps and meters to tank systems, electronic consoles and those little speakers that try to pitch you products while you pump.
Recently, Rittiner also participated in the nationwide effort to upgrade fuel pump credit card payment terminals to meet EMV specifications, which involved the installation of chip readers.
Not all of the company’s work actually involves fuel, however. Rittiner Wash Systems is a distributor of complete vehicle wash systems for Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama. This includes automatic, self-serve and tunnel wash equipment—services that are often offered at the same facilities that provide fuel.
Paving the way
Back in 1995, Perry’s father, Perry Rittiner Sr., began the business with only a single office and a handful of workers. It has since expanded to five offices—each staffed with half a dozen service technicians and a full construction crew—and is now the largest equipment distributor, service provider and installer of its kind in Louisiana.
These locations aid customers from the Florida panhandle to Texas’ western border, and also include a new service branch in Jackson, Mississippi. The company now works with numerous high-profile clients, including Circle K convenience stores and gas stations, its largest client, with 300 locations.
With an eye on safety, Rittiner prides itself on hiring only the most skilled workers; folks with years of experience in the field and a history reflecting that expertise. Every installer is certified in the installation of fiberglass and fiberglass-clad steel tanks, underground piping systems, flexible underground piping systems and related equipment.
In addition to the necessary safety certifications and regulations to protect both workers and employees, Rittiner says it also does a lot to protect the environment. Crew leaders must be certified by the Department of Environmental Quality, and all equipment and parts are required to meet EPA, DEQ and tank regulatory requirements.
All in the family
For their efforts, Perry Rittiner offers employees competitive compensation and a benefits package that includes health insurance and a 401k plan. This is a no-brainer for Rittiner, who wants to take care of employees, whom he considers part of his family.
Then there is the actual family.
In addition this extended family, Rittiner can currently count his wife, daughter and niece among his current employees, all of them well-versed in safety and the finer points of the industry that making filling up a breeze. And maybe grabbing a bite, too.
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