A.B. Systems Inc.
Since 1972 A.B. Systems Inc. (ABS) has grown from a small general contracting firm into one of Minnesota’s leading design-build firms. Since its inception the company has prided itself on providing customers with responsive and friendly service, as well as innovative solutions for the best return on investment. Today, the company operates from headquarters in Rochester, Minn., and provides the in-house expertise to keep projects on time and on budget through a combination of value engineering and old-fashioned teamwork. The ABS team believes that anything is possible and provides an extensive building experience to deliver the best results for each and every client.
ABS has constructed over 11 million square feet In its 40 years in operation, and has also extended employee ownership to 49 percent through the Employee Stock Ownership Plan. This has inspired a continuing commitment to top-quality workmanship.
“Whether we’re dealing with a church or an industrial manufacturing facility, we have always prided ourselves on providing the client with as many options as possible and the in-house expertise to deliver results,” asserts Peter Schuller, president of ABS. Unlike many of its competitors, ABS maintains in-house crews capable of tackling everything from structural steel erection, concrete, carpentry and architectural metal.
ABS additionally employs an in-house team of architects and designers for the most comprehensive design-build solutions and consistency throughout the construction process. As a result, value engineering at ABS becomes an opportunity for clients to become heavily involved in the design process. In facilitating this the ABS teams provides clients with designs that serve each individual’s most critical needs, while also enabling the client to opt for the most cost-effective options.
“We will price out our design using a variety of materials to give the client a better sense of cost, function and direction,” states Schuller. ABS explores wood framing, metal building systems, EIFS, stucco, brick, block, and precast concrete in its arsenal of building materials to provide a range of options to suit a variety of aesthetics and performance needs. As a result, ABS has been active in traditional commercial markets like retail, healthcare, food processing and industrial manufacturing, while attracting new clients in energy and religious markets.
One of biggest supporters of ABS to date has been McNeilus Steel Inc., based out of Dodge Center, Minn. As the self-proclaimed “friendly steel handlers,” McNeilus Steel provides clients of all sizes with custom steel fabrication services and over 3,500 products for every steel and nonferrous metal need. As McNeilus Steel grew, ABS helped build the space to house state-of-the-art laser equipment capable of cutting through thick steel slabs.
“In the 25 years that we have been working with McNeilus Steel, we have been fortunate enough to build over 600,000 square feet of space for their production facility,” says Schuller. ABS has built facilities to house coil processing and shearing equipment, as well as plasma cutters and machining equipment. In late 2011 the ABS team finished up work on a 67,000-square foot addition to the production plant in order to house new state-of-the-art, automated laser-cutting equipment and plate storage.
Focusing on the Future
The ABS team has continued to accrue expertise in new areas to help clients stay ahead of the competition. Most recently the company has focused on acquiring experience in green building design and LEED certification in response to rising interest in environmentally conscious building practices. Because of the company’s extensive product knowledge, the team can help clients find the best materials to meet energy efficiency needs and green building standards for recycled material content.
As a result, ABS has since dipped a toe into the waters of renewable energy. Wind energy farms are sprouting up across the country, and through Minneapolis-based M.A. Mortenson Co. the ABS team has provided its expertise to the growing market sector by building the operation and maintenance facilities for the wind farms.
“It’s not necessarily a large portion of the contract, but these facilities are critical to the successful operation and maintenance of the wind farms,” explains Schuller. Though unremarkable on the outside, inside the facilities provide space for specialized equipment to track the system’s performance and alert the end user of any shortcomings or maintenance needs.
In the coming years the ABS team will continue to serve as an educational resource for clients looking to stretch dollars and incorporate sustainable building materials, while focusing on the growing demand in new markets. The company has already made progress establishing itself in the religious facilities market, and the team will keep the company thriving on the same principles that have defined its growth no matter what market ABS serves. Through innovative design solutions, extensive expertise and friendly professional service, A.B. Systems Inc. will help build the facilities for client’s to achieve performance benchmarks and settle into a brighter future.
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