- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Chuck McKenna
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Controlled Comfort has provided top-quality service, replacement, preventative maintenance and new construction of expertly controlled environments since 1964. The Nebraska-based mechanical contractor offers complete HVAC services, specializing in indoor air quality and energy management systems for commercial and residential applications.
“We’re celebrating our 50-year anniversary in 2014; we’ve been in this business for a long time,” shares Leo Costanzo, co-owner of Controlled Comfort. “I share ownership with Anne Taylor and Alan Hove and although we haven’t owned the company since 1964, Controlled Comfort has been making a name for itself since then.”
Leo, who’s been with the company for 21 years, entered the HVAC industry straight out of high school. “I’ve always liked to work with my hands so this industry appealed to me,” he says. “I started out as a service tech and installer and now I’ve been in this business for nearly 30 years.”
Today, Controlled Comfort is based in Omaha, Neb., with 50 mechanics and technicians. The company typically serves the surrounding communities, but Leo says the company will travel for special projects.
“We’ve actually ventured all the way to the Middle East in the past,” he reveals. “I had a personal connection with the architect who was working on the King of Jordan’s palace and he asked us to be a part of the team. For about a year-and-a-half, I was managing the installation of air cleaning equipment, high-end HVAC and tillers in the residence. It was one of the most interesting projects we’ve ever completed.”
While Controlled Comfort is willing to go out of its comfort zone for special jobs, the mechanical contractor typically stays in the commercial market with projects in the $300,000 range. “People come to us for our professionalism and quality of work in designing, installing and maintaining HVAC systems,” adds Leo.
In order to stay ahead, Controlled Comfort’s employees are certified and fully trained Journeyman mechanics and technicians who strive to stay one step ahead of ever-changing industry technology. The company covers a broad range of services, including maintenance, indoor air quality, humidity concerns, installations, ductwork, energy management, new construction and more.
“We work on so many different types of jobs,” continues Leo. “Most of them work about the same way in the sense that we have to coordinate with owners and general contractors from around the country. As long as these companies are good to work with the projects go smoothly.”
Controlled Comfort tackles large-scale commercial jobs on buildings of all varieties, including retail stores, schools and industrial plants, such as a small air conditioner, heat pumps and large air handling systems with the latest in electronic controls. Therefore, the company is able to successfully deliver high-quality results to industry giants such as Target, Famous Dave’s, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, PetSmart, Panera Bread, Office Max, Centris Credit Union, West Telemarketing and numerous governmental facilities.
“We’re in the midst of a job at the University of Nebraska at Omaha,” shares Leo. “We’re completing 85,000 square feet of ductwork as the mechanical contractor on-site. The project is set to be complete in late 2014.”
With the onset of the recession, Leo admits Controlled Comfort saw a spike in competition in the commercial market, but it didn’t last long. “When the housing market really tanked other companies who usually do residential work tried to transition to the commercial market,” he explains. “They tried to compete but they had no idea what they were doing and it saturated the market for a while. However, most of them didn’t last, because it takes a special kind of contractor to do large-scale work.”
Leo says the affects of the recession didn’t hit Controlled Comfort until more recently. “Going into the downturn, it didn’t bother us too much, but the last year-and-a-half has been a challenge,” he notes. “Things have slowed down and now there’s so many people bidding on the same thing that people are just giving work away to keep their guys busy and no one makes a profit doing it that way.”
Despite a sluggish economy, Leo admits Controlled Comfort has remained busy and things are finally picking back up. “We’re bidding on two or three jobs a day and we have a good backlog of projects,” he reveals. “We’ll never turn down work; you just find a way to cope and get it done so we’ll do whatever gets thrown at us.”
With a team dedicated to continued success, Controlled Comfort is doing well. Leo says the company measures success by keeping the doors open year after year, making money at the end of the day and having some fun while doing it.
“It gives me a sense of pride to see the buildings we work on come up out of the ground and how things look at the end of the day when it’s all complete,” he adds. “Plus, you can’t beat the comradery in this industry. We’re all competing but we still get along.” For almost 50 years, Controlled Comfort has been a trusted name in the HVAC industry, delivering expertly controlled environments.
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