Genesis Elevator Company Inc.
- Written by: Matt Dodge
- Produced by: Ian Nichols
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Founded in 2007, Genesis Elevator Company Inc. has carved out a niche in Georgia’s full-service elevator market in a relatively short time thanks to a focus on low-rise buildings and a full slate of unique, high-profile projects.
Focused on both commercial and residential projects, Genesis is also the largest independent U.S. distributor of ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas products, one of the world’s leading elevator manufacturing companies.
As a smaller player in the elevator market, Genesis has carved out a niche in manufacturing and installing low-rise elevator systems. Genesis self-performs a majority of its own work on any given project, subcontracting out only millwork and elevator interiors. “Our main focus is on low-rise buildings of 10 floors or less,” says Jay Arntzen, president of Genesis.
In addition to elevator installation, Genesis preforms ongoing maintenance and service on all of its products. “We’re also involved in modernizations and upgrading of older elevator systems, repairs and other issues,” he says.
Conceived as a customer-centric venture, Genesis works directly with major architecture firms, general contractors, developers and building owners, giving the company the chance to be part of some one-of-a-kind design efforts. “It’s fun and interesting to see how people spend their money,” says Arntzen.
In a relatively short time in the industry, Genesis has made a name for itself as an innovative company with the capacity to deliver complex design solutions. These include storage space located at the bottom of elevator shafts where homeowners can store valuables and climate-controlled wine-delivery systems.
“The homeowner was real big into wine, so we put in an elevator as well as two dumbwaiters which had to be hermetically sealed so the wine could travel from one floor to the next without oxidizing; this was not the wine-out-of-the-box kind of stuff,” says Arntzen.
Genesis also has products that reduce the space required to house once-bulky elevator machinery. Developed in tandem with manufacturing partners, the new system eliminates the need for the typically 100 square feet of storage space required for elevator machinery, helping to minimize the typically high per-foot cost of building complex systems such as elevators.
While residential projects offer the opportunity for innovation and unique design solutions, it’s the commercial and retail jobs that really have the potential to put a company like Genesis on the map. To that end, the company has recently installed an elevator with extensive glass features at the
Georgia Institute of Technology campus as well as the elevators at Porsche Cars North America, the Atlanta-based headquarters of the German luxury auto giant.
Entering the market in the midst of the recession, Genesis is a lean company by design. “We really learned how to run pretty lean and mean from the start. We started with zero and grew from there to $10 million,” says Arntzen.
Payroll and benefits encompass a majority of the expenses at Genesis, but with good reason. “The elevator trade is highly skilled, so guys in the field are highly compensated,” says Arntzen. “They’re often the most well-paid guys in the building industry and for good reason: they have to do a lot
of different things.”
As a non-union company employing under 50 people in a market dominated by companies employing 25,000 to 30,000, Genesis knows that it’s especially important to maintain a niche. “We’re a thorn in their side, but we don’t do everything they do,” he says.
Arntzen credits much of Genesis’ success as a lean, fledgling company to its unique hiring process, which emphasizes team cohesion above all else. Interviewees are processed in groups of 10, getting a quick speech from Arntzen on the “Genesis Way” and the company’s core values before answering 10 standardized questions. “We’re watching not just what they say but how they say it and analyze if they are going to be a good fit. You learn a lot about a person after this process,” he says.
The one-of-a-kind hiring process has also allowed Genesis to reduce hiring time by 40 percent. “There are no resumes, we just set up a voice mailbox have them call and answer three questions on the phone,” he says.
While building a company from scratch into a $10 million enterprise would be enough of an accomplishment for most, it’s the Arntzens’ extensive charity work that gives him and his wife Tracy the biggest sense of pride. Every dollar made over budget goes into a pool where it is distributed 50/50 between the company’s top performers and the Saving Susan Ministry, a charity formed by the Arntzens following a trip to Cambodia.
“I went on a mission trip three years ago to an orphanage in Cambodia where I connected with a little 4-year-old girl,” says Arntzen. Soon upon returning to the U.S., Arntzen started looking into adoption only to discover that rampant corruption and human trafficking meant that no children could be adopted from Cambodia
“We came up with solution to use social media and Skype to stay connected with her,” he says. The couple then launched the ministry, which connects Western couples with orphans in adoption-restricted countries like Cambodia and Guatemala. “There is a financial support aspect and they agree to Skype and stay in contact with the child; it’s a covenant between them and God to take care of this child until they age out of the orphanage,” he says.
As Genesis continues to grow, Arntzen is looking to expand into neighboring states like Florida, but is currently content with the increased level of development activity occurring in the Atlanta area. “The market here is booming,” he explains. “Atlanta is building two new sports stadiums and companies are relocating so there is a lot of business here.”
Arntzen credits much of his success to the benevolence of God. As a faith-based company, Genesis —named after the first book of the Bible — is focused on helping the less fortunate. To that end, a majority of the company’s employees were previously unemployed. “We are particularly proud of that,” he says.
As a full-service elevator company specializing on projects of six stories or fewer, Genesis Elevator Company Inc. will continue to thrive in Georgia and surrounding states, offering top-notch service all the way to the top floor.
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