Harvey & Price Mechanical Contractors
For more than 67 years, Harvey & Price Mechanical Contractors has been providing mechanical and fire protection services to institutional and commercial markets. Working from its home office in Eugene, Oregon, Harvey & Price is a leading turnkey provider in the Northwest serving all of Oregon, southern Washington and northern California. In addition to installation, Harvey & Price has earned a reputation for its problem-solving abilities and design-build capabilities. The company also provides custom solutions by utilizing its in-house specialty metal shop.
Founded in 1948, the Harvey & Price name became synonymous with trust and quality service, which has prompted new ownership to hold on to the name. The current owner is Ed Portz, who first became involved with the company in 1979. Ed brings more than 30 years of experience to the company with his son, John Portz, and daughter, Michelle Cross, running the operation as co-vice presidents.
With a broad range of services, Harvey & Price is able to provide turnkey services for its clients, which has become a staple in the company’s business model. Design-build, HVAC, fire protection, plumbing, specialty metals and energy management are all areas of expertise for Harvey & Price. “I think our diversity has somewhat insulated us from the recession,” says Portz. “Our various services make us a multidimensional company, which has helped us to stand out in the industry.”
A niche market
Over the past 10 years, fire protection has become the most prolific aspect of Harvey & Price’s business. Portz says that the fact that it can prevent a life-or-death situation has contributed to the demand and importance of institutional and commercial fire protection. It is also a division of the company that is not union affiliated. “Fire protection is a technical, niche business in the fact that it’s a life-safety system,” says Portz. “With insurance companies going through everything with a fine-toothed comb, everything is code driven.”
A recent fire protection project that Harvey & Price was involved in took place in downtown Eugene with Capstone Collegiate Communities. The $100 million facility is the largest housing project to materialize in Eugene with more than $1.5 million of the budget allocated to sprinkler systems. “That’s a large job for a sprinkler project,” says Portz. “This project really helped us as it took place coming off the heels of the recession.”
Whether working on student housing projects, recreational centers or new science buildings, Harvey & Price is consistently completing work for local colleges and universities. The fact that Harvey & Price has established a reputation as a turnkey service provider has been a major selling point for the company in the institutional sector. “Where a lot of other contractors have decided to utilize subcontractors, they created a void,” explains Portz. “The synergy isn’t quite there when one guy is working from a remote office and is not necessarily connected with the people doing the installation.”
An environment for growth
Harvey & Price has established a company culture that cares about and supports its employees in their careers. Employee morale and job satisfaction have become major tools for measuring success for the company. At a time when fresh, young talent is scarce in the construction industry, Harvey & Price’s philosophy has helped to generate the interest of a younger generation in the company. “Quality of life is very important to me and everybody that works here,” says Portz. “We want our employees to enjoy what they do and where they work and a lot of young faces come through the door because of the culture that we have created.”
While the institutional and commercial sectors have long been the lifeblood of Harvey & Price, Portz is looking forward to the company breaking into the residential market. “Local authorities are starting to adopt more fire codes,” he says. “As we build outside of the urban growth boundaries, the need for fire protection is going to be there, because the infrastructure is not going to be equipped with hydrants and site water. We really feel that is going to be a major part of our business in the future.”
With plans for growth in place, Harvey & Price plans to increase its revenue by 10 to 15 percent each year. Portz is planning to implement an expansion of services, including a focus on electrical work with a low-voltage division as well. “We plan to continue to diversify even more as we move forward,” he says.
As diversification and quality have generated success for Harvey & Price Mechanical Contractors, they will remain driving forces as the company carries on the tradition of its original founders.
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