Case Studies

The Geopfert Company

A commercial heating and air conditioning contractor in Akron, Ohio

The Geopfert Company has been in business since 1953 when Joseph W. Geopfert established a small HVAC business serving customers in Akron, Ohio. After more than 60 years, the company has grown significantly. Now in its fourth generation of family operation, The Geopfert Company employs 31 people, working from a single office location to provide heating, cooling and ventilation services to commercial customers throughout the city and beyond. While business is primarily in and around the greater Akron and Canton area, the crew has occasionally traveled out of state to serve established customers.

As of 2015, Joseph’s grandsons have taken over day-to-day operations. The founder’s son, Tom Geopfert Sr., is still involved and works as an engineer for the company. Management has passed to Tom Geopfert Jr., third-generation president and CEO, who works alongside a strong team, including his brother, Joe Geopfert, one of the company’s top project managers.

As a small family business, The Geopfert Company strives to stand out with quality, efficiency and service. “As a fourth generation family-owned and -operated company, we have a close-knit group of people,” Tom explains. “Our team works well together and we pride ourselves on customer service, without a doubt. Some of our employees have been here for more than 25 years and we have people here with multiple family members working in the field and in our office.”

Keeping customers comfortable

Tom’s team of experienced and friendly professionals have dedicated years building relationships with customers. These long-term partnerships have resulted in a steady workflow for the business, which specializes in add-on and replacement systems, as well as service, maintenance agreements and repair work. Recent projects include a range of complex HVAC projects in challenging environments as well as DDC controls.

The crew completed a unique project for a women’s correctional facility. “That was a pretty awesome project,” explains Joe, who led the charge on the contract. “This is a 100-year-old building with ancient steam boilers. The customer wanted to air-condition the building. Instead of putting straight air conditioning in, we gave them the option for heat pumps. This solution allowed the client to cool the building and it also gave them a backup heating system. Now they are able to heat areas they couldn’t before with mini-split heat pumps. This was a turnkey design-build project.”

Another turnkey project that The Geopfert Company completed in 2014 was a large replacement contract for a laboratory in the region. “The facility had a penthouse mechanical room,” Joe elaborates, “And we actually removed the mechanical room and the penthouse. We moved new equipment inside for one of their labs, with a 100 percent built-up outside air system. We also moved a 75-ton heating system inside onto a mezzanine and installed a new multi boiler setup with DDC controls.”

A growing trend for the business has been the conversion of steam systems to hot water systems. “We have had great success with these projects, converting single-boiler systems to multi-boiler systems,” says Tom. “It saves a fair amount of energy and provides backup heating so our customers’ systems are never totally down. We also specialize in rooftop replacements, which are growing for us. We have done as small as two-ton and as large as 125-ton replacements. We have a full line sheet metal shop in-house for these projects, but we sub all of the rigging work out, typically to Frank Lucco Company, who we have worked with for many years.”

Maintaining a market share

Work has been relatively steady for The Geopfert Company in recent years, despite the recession a few years back. Tom reports that the business only had a few layoffs throughout the slimmer years and the market is turning around.

“The challenge of the past few years was that many customers were still conservative with their spending,” he notes. “Now there seems to be more money allocated for capital expenses. We are seeing large industrial companies gearing up, which is good for our business.  There is also an increasing need to replace aging equipment.”

The challenge now is finding people to fill the shoes of some of his longtime employees retiring in the next year or so. The business has very low turnover and many employees have worked for The Geopfert Company for decades. Tom and his crew are focused on recruiting new professionals and fostering professional growth for younger members of the staff. When the time comes, they will have the experience to take on leadership positions within the company.

Looking ahead at 2015, Tom is optimistic. The business has several new opportunities opening up and meanwhile continues to manage overhead, improve facilities and advance technologies. Tom and Joe are proud of the team and look forward to more years of sustainable growth. With strong relationships both within the company and with customers outside, The Geopfert Company remains a leading choice for contractors and business owners across the Akron and Canton area.

Published on: July 7, 2015


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