Hurst Mechanical is a service-oriented HVAC mechanical contractor dedicated to maintaining and upgrading existing mechanical systems for commercial and industrial clients throughout West Michigan. Founded in 1979, Hurst Mechanical has expanded substantially through its commitment to service and sustainability, and now provides knowledge, experience and personal attention to HVAC, electrical, plumbing, refrigeration, process piping and control systems. The company has a fleet of over 70 vehicles, and maintains a 35,000-square foot shop for crafting custom systems.
Scott Dixon, general manager of Hurst Mechanical, reveals that the company had very humble beginnings. “Hurst Mechanical was started by Dick Hurst, from his kitchen table in Rockford, Mich.,” Dixon says. The company, which is now headquartered in Belmont, Mich., has expanded to four service locations in the state – Traverse City, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Muskegon – and currently employs over 100 people.
Dixon and his business partner, Tom Tuori, purchased Hurst Mechanical in 1997. They retained the company’s focus on service excellence, while adding a sub-niche in environmentally conscious, energy-efficient systems. “We’re very dedicated to green systems and helping our customers reduce energy costs,” says Dixon.
The Company’s Green Team
The company has three LEED Accredited Professionals (APs), including one former president of the Mechanical Service Contractors Association (MSCA). In August 2004 Hurst Mechanical became an MSCA STAR contractor. Russ Borst, Hurst Mechanical’s vice president of service, says that becoming MSCA Star certified was only a matter of time. “We have been seeking ways to be leaders in sustainability from the beginning,” he explains. “Star status re-enforces that.”
The company’s MSCA Star-certified team performs assessments of its clients’ current mechanical systems and can help covert these to LEED-certified systems without a large capital investment. “We can streamline the process with our team of LEED APs,” reveals Dixon. “Through the LEED for Existing Building program, our team has had the experience of helping other companies run more efficiently, and it earned us an MSCA Star designation for service excellence.”
Hurst Mechanical’s commitment to the design-build, installation, and maintenance of optimized systems was also acknowledged in 2008 when the company was awarded the prestigious MSCA GreenStar designation. Different from the MCSA Star certification, the GreenStar designation is only awarded to companies that deliver energy-efficient, cost-saving, indoor environmental solutions that meet or exceed customer needs, while ensuring tenant safety, health and comfort.
Barbara Dolim, MSCA’s executive director, explains, “Hurst Mechanical is a great example of environmental stewardship. We are so proud that our members are on the forefront of this green movement and understand the importance of environmental responsibility.”
Better Service Equals Sustainable Growth for Everyone
The company’s focus on proactive, efficient services helped save clients eight to 20 percent through the tough economy – a testimony to Hurst’s commitment to client success. According to Dixon, “We [Dixon and Tuori] have owned Hurst Mechanical since 1997, and we’ve grown every year since. Most of the business is coming from repeat and referral clients, because we excel at taking good care of our customers.”
Dixon expands upon this, saying that Hurst Mechanical views its clients as partners and that the company has an obligation to help its partners become more efficient, which creates good will and repeat business. “When we get a service call, we don’t just fix the problem and leave,” he says. “We look to see how we can improve a mechanical system’s performance, thereby increasing efficiency for our partners.”
What Sets Them Apart
Clients who call Hurst Mechanical are pleased to be able to reach and speak to a person, instead of being trapped in a phone tree. “People like having someone to talk to,” adds Dixon. “If it’s 90 degrees out and your air conditioning isn’t working, sitting on a phone listening to options can be frustrating.”
From the first call to the end of the project, Hurst Mechanical maintains a superior client experience. Dixon notes, “When we start a project, we assign a project manager to the project that remains with it from start to finish giving our clients a single point of contact for all of their needs.”
Secrets to Success?
Hurst Mechanical offers a full range of flexible, practical inspections and preventative maintenance agreements, but the company also remains active in aiding clients’ communities as well. Dixon proudly explains Hurst Mechanical’s experience with the Grand Rapids Housing Commission, and readily notes the company’s delivery of 50 food baskets per year for low-income residents.
With so many companies slashing staff and overhead to stay afloat, it is unusual to see a contractor in this market experiencing continued growth, but the methods that Hurst Mechanical employs for this success aren’t exactly secrets. The company focuses on providing its clients with superior service and increasing mechanical system efficiencies wherever and whenever possible. This simple methodology, coupled with treating clients as valued partners rather than numbered service contracts, has allowed Scott Dixon and Tom Tuori to build Hurst Mechanical into one of the foremost mechanical contractors in Michigan.
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