Case Studies

Comfort Systems USA Southeast

Leading mechanical services for a diverse customer base

Comfort Systems USA Southeast (CSSE) is a fully-owned subsidiary of Comfort Systems USA, a national company with 36 companies under the corporate umbrella. Across the country, clients have come to expect a high level of quality and professionalism from Comfort Systems USA’s partners. These businesses are leaders in the industry for the installation and service of heating, ventilating, air conditioning, plumbing, piping, building automation and related services.

The CSSE partnership has roots in the area dating back to 1946. After World War II, Neel Mechanical (Neel) opened its doors in Thomasville, Ga., soon expanding its reach into commercial and industrial markets throughout Georgia and northern Florida. In 1999, the business was picked up by Comfort Systems USA. A year prior, the parent company purchased Gulfside Mechanical (Gulfside), expanding its geographic footprint to the region around Pensacola, Fla.

In 2005, Gulfside and Neel combined to form CSSE, which now serves clients in Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama out of 12 locations. The most recent addition to CSSE was through the acquisition of Atlanta-based Control Concepts LLC in June 2012, adding a strong building automation offering to the business.

A strong team

Kimberlee Anderson now leads the subsidiary as president of CSSE. “I had worked as president for Gulfside before the merger,” she explains, “Having entered the industry in 1988, working with Trane Inc.” Anderson has several decades of experience in the industry, a factor that allows her to manage stability and growth while overseeing 330-plus employees across the region.

Over the years one thing has remained the same. “Our people are our greatest investment and asset,” she explains of her team. “They are the driving force behind building relationships with our customers.”

It is evident that CSSE has earned a strong reputation for quality work, a factor that encourages both customer and employee loyalty. “Our biggest indicators of success are repeat business, our reputation and the fact that we have the ability to get complicated work executed safely and with quality,” she continues. “Our team performs, as well. Of course, one of our biggest concerns is getting them home safe every night.”

CSSE is all about building relationships. Through installation projects and ongoing service contracts, the business has established a strong rapport with clients. These relationships have fostered growing business for the company, providing Anderson and her team new opportunities across the market. As the business grows, CSSE is able to take on larger and more complex projects.

Over the years, the company has earned a number of awards for performance, safety and efficiency, including three Excellence in Construction Eagle Awards from Associated Builders and Contractors, a leading national trade organization.

Recent work

CSSE has built a presence in the commercial and industrial sectors, working for major corporations, manufacturers and institutions. “Health care is a key vertical market for CSSE,” Anderson explains. “Current contracts include a 5-story patient bed expansion at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Fla., a major expansion at Gulf Coast Medical Center in Panama City, as well as several renovation projects at Columbus Regional Medical Center in Columbus, Ga.”

Additionally, the company performed an automation upgrade through CSSE’s automation business, Control Concepts LLC, for the UPS world headquarters in Atlanta. “We are providing ongoing automation and mechanical service at that location,” Anderson elaborates. “The service component has grown tremendously over the past several years, especially when new construction slowed down during the recession. We provide preventative maintenance and full coverage service on all mechanical systems and equipment, as well as automation service on those systems we’ve installed.”

The company also performs work for a number of schools in the region. “Right now we are under contract to complete an aggressive mechanical renovation at a high school in Panama City, Fla., with the majority of work to be complete by August 2014,” she continues. “We also do a lot of university work, as well, having completed contracts and/or ongoing service at UGA, FSU, UWF, UNF, USA, as well as various colleges and technical schools across our footprint.”

The company has also taken on several contracts for federal agencies in recent years, including work for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). “The VA recently acquired Fort MacPherson in Atlanta,” Anderson notes. “They had several existing buildings renovated and upgraded for the VA to use, one as a medical clinic and several for housing. We have worked as a sub on all of the major renovation work there; we just completed the final building.”

Anderson explains that CSSE is also working as the mechanical subcontractor, providing plumbing and HVAC, for the new Laundry/Dietetics/Wellhouse project at the VA in Biloxi, Miss.

The team also has a project at Fort Gordon in Augusta, which just came under contract. “We are just getting started, providing plumbing and HVAC for two new barracks there,” Anderson continues. “This is an exciting project, because we are prefabricating a big portion of that work and then delivering it to the site. There is a central utility corridor, where all of the equipment, piping and ductwork come in on racks and we install them, making final field connections into the individual rooms. We are doing quite a bit of fabrication in our shop now for reasons of quality, efficiency and expediting schedules.”

Over the years, the U.S. Navy has been a consistent client of CSSE at NAS Pensacola and the surrounding bases through various renovation projects. Recently completed projects include a major Central Plant renovation, mechanical equipment replacement at the National Naval Aviation Museum and the new construction of the National Flight Academy.

With a growing portfolio, the team has seen positive growth in recent years. “We had a good year in 2013 and 2014 is looking up,” Anderson explains. “We hope that trend continues. Right now, we are in planned growth mode with respect to both service and construction. We want to double our revenue through those means and we are also strategically increasing our automation services.”

In the coming years, Anderson and her team plan to stick to the business’ core values and a commitment to a job well done. Whether working for the military, universities, hospitals or major corporate clients, CSSE provides quality work with integrity. The company’s vision is to be the mechanical provider of choice balancing the needs of customers, employees and shareholders alike. Anderson explains that the company will achieve its goal by understanding each customer’s business, identifying where CSSE can influence and support success and by providing superior customer service in a culture of integrity, reliability and dependability. With a dedicated team, Comfort Systems USA Southeast is well-positioned for success.

Published on: July 22, 2014

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