Answering the call.

Nick Rinaldi, Staff Engineer – Control Systems Integration – Kohler Power, Kohler, Wisconsin

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It takes just a few moments in the company of Nick Rinaldi to know there’s something special about him. A likeable guy and fiercely knowledgeable, Nick is an integral part of bringing our KOHLER® generators to life in his role as an electronics engineer. But Nick also serves a higher purpose with the likes of service-minded soldiers of the United States Army National Guard.

With the spread of COVID-19 and its crippling impact on communities and healthcare systems, Nick was called to active duty to assist with the logistics and operations of an alternate care facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And while he’s typically an “artillery guy,” Nick’s project management abilities from his day job at Kohler Co. were sought after to lead this important, life-sustaining mission.

In a matter of just ten days, Nick—better known as Major Rinaldi while on duty—collaborated with a cross functional team in the build-out of about 500 patient rooms, each equipped with electrical systems, air conditioning, oxygen and nurse-call lines. The team also installed an innovative sewage/waste solution that didn’t require an in-ground plumbing system. The effort proved to be an impressive feat made possible by Nick’s leadership and can-do attitude, coupled with an amazing team of experts including the Army Corps of Engineers, National Guard personnel, venue personnel, contractors, subcontractors and skilled tradesmen. 

Following the construction phase, Nick’s team was given just three days to complete the final preparations for patient readiness. In need of some extra hands, Nick called upon members of the Kohler Alliance of Veterans & Supporters (KAVS) business resource group (BRG) to help. KAVS team members Adam Guenther, Michelle Guenther and Scott Uselding reported for volunteer duty. After a hard day’s work, patient rooms were outfitted with necessary items to support life-sustaining measures.

“In these really challenging times, it just feels good to be able to contribute to something meaningful,” said Adam Guenther, KAVS BRG vice president. “And to be there to support our fellow Kohler associate and see him in action serving our community—and with all his team has done—is just incredible.”

All in, the hospital was just 13 days from concept to completion. Our real hope is the facility won’t need to be used at all, but this team will stand at the ready to care for those who may be impacted by COVID-19.

“As I look back on these last few weeks, this mission has been one of the most unique experiences of my military career. But I count it a privilege to help our state and community in any way I can,” said Nick. “It means a lot to have the support of my family, a grateful community, and my friends and colleagues at Kohler Co.”

As project manager for the site, Captain Rinaldi is in charge of sourcing materials for each patient room, leading tours and coordinating site operations with the civilian and military medical staff. Here he stands in one of about 500 patient rooms available at the site.
Members of the KAVS team volunteered to set up patient rooms and support the overall readiness of the COVID-19 Alternative Care Facility.