Huckestein Mechanical Services Inc.
Wendy Staso took the helm of Huckestein Mechanical Services Inc. (Huckestein) in 2010 when Huckestein was a troubled asset. Fast-forward two-and-a-half years later and the Huckestein team numbers over 30 professionals who continue to build momentum by zeroing in on the collective team’s core competencies. Not only that, but the certified Woman-owned Small Business (WOSB) also numbers amongst the largest and most respected full-service mechanical contractors in western Pennsylvania. Above all, Huckestein specializes in working directly with each client to ensure every HVAC system provides the lowest cost of ownership and meets its performance objectives.
“Our vision is to be the single-source mechanical contractor of choice for all of western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia,” asserts Staso, president of Huckestein. The company operates from headquarters in Duquesne, Pa., as well as a fully loaded pipefitting and fabrication shop some 10 miles away on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.
The combined facilities enable Huckestein to provide what Staso describes as “cradle-to-grave service” on any HVAC system. The client can start by contracting Huckestein to design and build a system. The client can then enlist the very same team to provide regular and preventative maintenance services throughout its useful lifetime, and then Huckestein can decommission the outdated system and begin anew.
Maintaining and retaining a highly skilled workforce is part and parcel of that objective, which is why the company continues to hire only the best of the best from the area’s local union halls. Huckestein employees are affiliates of the Steamfitters UA Local Union Chapter 449 and Chapter 354.
“The business model was very different when I came on in 2010,” expands Staso. “At that time, Huckestein was predominantly a plan-and-spec operation, whereas today we’re predominantly a design-build-maintain contractor.”
To that end, Huckestein works to provide every customer with a system that delivers the lowest cost of ownership over time. The process begins with the team taking the time to understand each customer and facility requirements to form a basis for decision-making. Huckestein’s customer-driven approach combined with the team’s vast field knowledge delivers HVAC equipment, project and maintenance solutions to last.
One such example is Huckestein’s sourcing and installation of fully integrated energy management solutions using automated controls. The intelligent building management systems provide a secure and consolidated platform to reduce energy consumption costs up to 36 percent over time.
The systems can manage everything from lighting and heating systems to surveillance and controlled access systems, giving clients an on-the-ground look at the building’s energy consumption needs in real time. Clients can then put these observations to work predicting and preparing the building to perform more efficiently, without sacrificing the comfort and productivity of the building’s occupants.
“The goal is to make sure that each system operates as efficiently and cost effectively as possible for the owner, but included in that objective is helping our clients to capitalize on any tax incentives or rebate programs that would be available to them,” adds Staso. Huckestein will help clients pursue sustainability goals through adopting green technologies like geothermal heating and cooling systems. The company can also assist clients in pursuing rebate programs that incentivize upgrading to newer, more efficient equipment or programs that reward building owners for maintaining their systems in peak performance conditions.
The extra oversight has helped Huckestein establish a strong foothold in the public-sector market. “One of the most interesting projects we have ever done was a complete retrofit to the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg, Pa.,” reflects Staso. The county reached out to Huckestein to oversee the complete upgrade and modernization of the HVAC system. The behemoth of a building was designed by renowned architect William Kauffman and was constructed in 1906.
The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, meaning Huckestein’s team needed to design a system that would respect the building’s architectural charms and still deliver a climate-controlled environment. Ultimately, Huckestein managed to install a new chiller and boiler unit to the building’s rooftop using a special crane so as not to damage the building’s signature dome.
This experience informs the team’s current work on a large gothic church in the area, to which Huckestein has been contracted to supply a total mechanical system retrofit. “We’re just starting work on this project now, but it’s a very challenging and interesting project because of the design factor,” adds Staso. Huckestein will also complete work installing a new HVAC system to an older hotel through 2012.
In the next few years, Staso hopes to transfer this knowledge and the company’s proud status as a certified WOSB into a growing presence in the public-sector market, where projects are required to bring on a certain amount of minority-owned businesses. In the meantime, Huckestein Mechanical Services Inc. will work to ensure clients benefit from the most cost-effective mechanical systems and comprehensive, full-coverage support.
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