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Eastern Shore Natural Gas has served the natural gas transportation needs of the Delmarva Peninsula for nearly 60 years. Located in Delaware’s capital city of Dover, Eastern Shore transports this domestic fuel source through approximately 490 miles of pipeline to 96 delivery point stations around the peninsula.

As part of Eastern Shore’s operation, a control room of operators and SCADA staff work tirelessly to help ensure this natural gas is transported in a safe, reliable, and responsible manner.  The control room is staffed 24/7/365 and is subject to Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations enforced by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”).  The Gas Controllers remotely operate and monitor the pipeline system pressures and flows, respond to alarms, dispatch on-call personnel, remotely control up to 14 different compressors, and provide reporting to customers and other staff.

Recently, Eastern Shore began the process of moving to a larger campus which combined three different business units within the Chesapeake Utilities Corporation. Part of this expansion included a larger control room for employees. A space that would not only house the operators, but also the SCADA staff and Gas Control Manager was needed with room for team collaboration and to increase the display capabilities for monitoring the pipeline.

“It was a big change in every single area for us,” said Marianne Coker, Gas Control Manager for Eastern Shore Natural Gas. “Comfort and fatigue mitigation was critical. We wanted to ensure we were creating a space that would support a healthy lifestyle for the team while also creating efficiencies within our operations.”

Starting out, Coker was pretty particular about the layout she wanted for the new control room. Specific requirements for the space were formed after talking with her manager and receiving feedback from the team members. 

Introduction to Winsted
When searching for a partner to help create this expanded control room space, Coker and her team quickly came upon Winsted and a specific element of their furniture.

“Their sit-and-stand consoles were very unique,” said Coker. “They were the first that we found that allowed our operators to raise and lower two different portions of the desk.  This enabled the controller to configure their setup in a way that worked best for them and to change it as needed throughout the day to mitigate fatigue” 

Winsted began rendering the room and Coker could quickly visualize what they were pulling together. Despite multiple requests coming in throughout the process, the Winsted team worked to keep everything seamless.

“They were really responsive while communicating with me,” said Coker. “That was really the best part of the relationship.  Grace was accessible, responsive, and worked with us when we ran into a slight delay for delivery.”

This communication came into play as the team began to setup installation and delivery. With a slight delay in the building completion, Eastern Shore needed to push back their schedule two weeks. Despite the last-minute change, the team collaborated to hold the furniture at the freight location at no additional charge. What was almost a major obstacle became hardly a bump in the road.

Once the new Eastern Shore building was ready, it was time to move in. During delivery, a large concern from Eastern Shore was any potential furniture damage. However, the furniture was in good hands. Winsted worked closely with the delivery subcontractor to ensure every piece was delivered on time, and in mint condition.

“I was able to drive over and watch everything get taken off the truck,” said Coker. “They really knew what they were doing, so everything was set ahead of schedule.”

After a two-day install, Winsted invited Coker back to the control room to look at every piece of new furniture. To ensure everything would be wired correctly, Winsted met with additional members of the control room team. Previous customer experiences with the furniture were discussed, along with any necessary operating tips for Eastern Shore’s new control room equipment.

Comfort in the Control Room
Once the Eastern Shore Gas Control team moved into their new space, they were quick to notice the quality of their Winsted furniture.

“They simply love it,” said Coker. “They use the sit-and-stand feature everyday. They’re just thrilled to have that capability.”

In addition to the console furniture, Winsted also helped install new lockers into the space, allowing the control room staff to personalize their own space which was great for the team and the individual.

“The whole space just has a really nice flow,” said Coker. “If I ever need to design a control room again, I will definitely go back to Winsted.”

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