Case Studies

Ackerman Plumbing Inc.

Commercial plumbing construction and maintenance along the East Coast

Since 1946, the Ackerman Family has been serving the needs of commercial contractors and business owners up and down the East Coast. Established by Ray Ackerman nearly 70 years ago, Ackerman Plumbing Inc. operates from locations in Tonawanda, New York, and Sarasota, Florida. While the team has provided services in New York since the very beginning, the company launched Florida operations in 2004. The family-owned and -operated business is now four generations strong and provides leading plumbing expertise to new construction projects, renovation work, and repair and maintenance contracts.

The business began as Ackerman & Huebsch Inc., where the company’s slogan, ‘World’s Greatest Plumbers’ originated. After the Ackerman family gained full ownership, Ray’s son, James Ackerman, took over the business. He is still actively involved at 81-years-old, but has since passed the reigns to his son, Eric Ackerman, who is now company president. Eric works alongside his niece, Carly Bonora, vice president of Ackerman Plumbing.

Despite changes in the industry, Ackerman Plumbing still strives to live up to its lifelong moniker; through timely service, employee expertise and safe practices, many clients agree that Ackerman Plumbing is indeed a culmination of the ‘World’s Greatest Plumbers.’

Serving a range of market sectors

With a unique office distribution, Ackerman has tackled challenging projects on both ends of the East Coast. Focused on the commercial, institutional and government markets, Ackerman Plumbing is a trusted partner for contractors and business owners alike. “We’ve worked on schools, hospitals, prisons, assisted living facilities and municipal buildings,” says Bonora.

In New York, the company recently began a project at West Point for a new cadet barracks on the campus. “This was a new construction project,” Bonora elaborates. “It is an interesting structure – it is being built into the side of a mountain. They blasted most of the rock out before we started on the site, but space is very limited. There is not much room to lay down materials, so we have a staging area down the street. We started that project in 2014 and the estimated date of completion is August 2016.”

Back down south, Ackerman Plumbing is working at 430 South Gulf View in Clearwater, Florida. “They are building a hotel right on the beach with part of the hotel overhanging into the ocean,” says Bonora. “One of the challenges on this project is the building is being built on a 13-degree radius. Having no straight line, we need match the plumbing to the radius of the building.”

On this project and the West Point job, the Ackerman team is utilizing 3-D BIM and a state-of-the-art Trimble unit. “We find it is becoming more common as a requirement on larger jobs,” says Bonora. “As projects become more complex the BIM process serves as a method of collaboration between engineers, architects, manufactures, developers and general contractors, which progresses the overall efficiency of the construction project.”

According to Bonora, the cost-benefit analyses with BIM can be done much faster, allowing options to be considered before the project initiates. Ultimately this enables the company to provide accurate estimates to owners on specific ways they can cut costs. Project owners can gain a better understanding of the project early in the design process. This leads to fewer surprises, errors and omissions on the project.

Other recent work includes a new Embassy Suites in Saratoga Springs, New York, and American Addiction Center in Riverview, Florida. Ackerman Plumbing is also the plumbing contractor in Florida for the city of Sarasota, Sarasota County, Manatee County, as well as several Winn-Dixie stores.

Up to the challenge

The Ackerman Plumbing team thrives under pressure. One of the most challenging projects the crew has worked on has been the Auburn Correctional Facility, a state prison in Auburn, New York, for the New York State Office of General Services. The upstate penitentiary is maximum security and Bonora says the facilities renovation project was a “very interesting job.”

“We finished that project in 2014,” she recalls. “We had several guys who started working there and immediately wanted to leave. The structure was in rough shape and some of the concrete walls were deteriorating. We had workers walking on catwalks behind the cells and the prisoners were reaching through holes and grabbing them. We ended up having two guards on each guy while they were working.”

Over the coming years, Bonora and her colleagues are preparing to take on new challenges. While Florida has been slower to recover from the recession, opportunities are opening up in both of Ackerman Plumbing’s territories. To keep the business ahead of the game, the team is ramping up capabilities, particularly with the expansion of the company’s BIM technology.

As a fourth generation business operator, Bonora takes a lot of pride in the family business. As Ackerman Plumbing approaches 70 years of quality service, the company maintains a strong growth trajectory. “We are seeing an increase in sales and we have a strong backlog,” notes Bonora. “We’re moving forward together. Eric is third generation, I’m the fourth and my grandfather is still involved in the business. He’s in his 80s and still comes in to work.” That dedication to work and company growth appears to be genetic.

As the business moves ahead, Ackerman Plumbing Inc. will continue to serve as a reliable partner for contractors and business owners, providing quality, safe plumbing services in Florida and New York. 

Published on: September 15, 2015

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