Case Studies

Derryberry’s LP Mechanical Contractors

A family venture in Houston

Finding work has not been a problem for Derryberry’s LP Mechanical Contractors. Headquartered in Baytown, Texas, CEO Mark Derryberry says that the company is in a great place financially and physically. “Houston and its surrounding areas are in very good shape right now,” says Mark. “Every contractor should be doing well right now.”

Founded in August 1983 by Derryberry and his father RC Derryberry, the company was originally part of a large union contractor that was going out of business. “The owner was graceful enough to sell and finance the company to my father and me,” Mark explains. For many years, Derryberry’s has been primarily an HVAC contractor. In 2012 Derryberry’s purchased a 33-year-old plumbing company, which has now been added to the list of services the company provides. “Now we’re pursuing plumbing, site utility and HVAC work; everything but electrical.”

The bonding capacity that Derryberry’s possesses has proven to be a major asset for the company when competing for projects, especially when competing against unions “That bonding capacity has helped us reach the point where we are forced to turn away a lot of work every week because we’re so busy,” Mark explains. “The amount of work on our books hasn’t changed for 10 years. We’ve been very blessed.”

Hard work pays off

The good fortune that Derryberry’s has experienced is not at all due to luck; the company has built a reputation for completing every job on time and within budget. “The bottom line is that we perform to the expectations of the contractors that we work for,” says Mark. “We’ve never bit off more than we can chew because the worst thing that you can do is take a job and then not be able to complete it. People don’t remember the good job you did they remember the bad ones.”

This philosophy becomes crucial when working in the K-12 and higher education sector. Due to school schedules and summer vacations, the window of opportunity for the completion of work lacks flexibility. “The school year is going to start whether it’s finished or not,” says Mark.

“We realized about 15 years ago that education is the rout that we wanted to take because a lot of other companies were afraid to go after those jobs,” says Mark. Derryberry’s recently complete a project on a high school where they were not the lowest bidder, but the district was willing to pay the margin due to the company’s reputation. “The design team wanted us because they knew that we had worked on some of the biggest high schools in Texas and that we would get it done on time.”

Outside of the education sector, Derryberry’s recently completed a project at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. The job involved installing 8,500 tons of new chillers and a 6,000 ton cooling tower, proving that Derryberry’s is never afraid of accepting a challenge. “There was a lot of retrofitting involved,” Mark explains. “Every pump was replaced and most of the piping was replaced as well.”

A recent job that Mark views a highlight of Derryberry’s took place with the Clear Creek Educational Village. This educational facility houses grades K-12 and includes a football stadium and a natatorium. The chilled water of the entire complex is fed by two central plants. “The complex was so big that they didn’t want to put one huge plant with monster pumps,” says Mark. “Instead they built two central plants with each of them feeding a portion of the facility.” Overall the facility included more than 800,000 square feet of useable school space.

The fact that Derryberry’s self-performs 70 percent of their own work is an aspect that general contractors appreciate. “We sub out insulation and sheet-metal jobs” says Mark. “There are also times when each district has their own control vendor contract and we are forced to use that vendor.” In keeping with its own philosophy, Derryberry’s seeks out subcontractors with a reputation for completing jobs on time and within budget.

More of the same

In the coming years, Mark foresees Derryberry’s sticking to the path that has generated so much success for the company. With the opportunity for growth present, the company has established a strong workforce which is capable of performing to the standard that Derryberry’s has become known and trusted for. The success that the company has experienced has built a foundation for many fruitful years to come. “My main concern is leaving a strong company for my employees and my children,” says Mark. “We’re happy where we’re at. We don’t need to show off to anybody. As long as I leave a thriving business for the next generation that’s all that matters to me.”

Mark credits the successful business that he will leave behind to his team of employees. “It’s really all about my team that is out in the field. It’s their hard work and dedication that has made this company what it is today.”

As Derryberry’s LP Mechanical Contractors progresses into the future, the stage has been set for the next generation to maintain the success and reputation that Derryberry’s has created.

Published on: August 4, 2015


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