Few HVAC contractors can claim a portfolio spanning more than a century, but Hyde-Stone Mechanical, based in Watertown, New York, transcends generations with quality- and service-oriented mechanical services. Established in 1893, the business applies 123 years of experience to a range of commercial and institutional projects throughout upstate New York.
Hyde-Stone operates from three North Country locations, including its Watertown headquarters and offices in Potsdam and Plattsburgh, New York. Chris Stone, second-generation family operator and vice president of Hyde-Stone, works alongside a team of 54 employees, including experienced estimators, project managers, fabricators and tradespeople. The company’s diverse and capable staff includes engineers and LEED professionals who work together to cover the gamut of customer and end-user needs.
“We are a commercial and industrial HVAC, plumbing, temperature controls and refrigeration contractor with a complete 24/7 service department,” says Stone. HSM has professionals with experience across the board in all facets of thermodynamics and heat transfer, as well as equipment solutions and design. The team’s projects range from $1,000 to $3 million — from small upgrades to major plan-spec and design-build undertakings.
Comfort and cost-efficiency
Price is an important factor in any project and the Hyde-Stone team focuses on providing both quality and value to clientele. End users need to be comfortable, but building owners and property managers constantly come up against rising energy costs and increasing concerns about the environment. These pressing issues make efficiency crucial to the successful operation of any mechanical system.
This is where in-depth project planning and vertical integration come in. With in-house preconstruction services and a new sheet metal division launched in January 2015, Hyde-Stone is able to ensure cost viability, performance and efficient installation, all of which contribute to cost savings throughout the life cycle of a system.
“Sheet metal was a division that we subbed out previously,” explains Stone. “Things could get behind, especially if the subcontractor was busy. Now, we can control our own destiny. Our first in-house project involved $100,000 of sheet metal and we finished ahead of schedule and under cost.”
“It has certainly been positive,” he adds. “We have better control of projects and that makes us more competitive. We don’t need the double markup through a subcontractor and now our competitors call us to do sheet metal if they don’t have it in-house. We’ve even picked up new customers because of this division.”
Putting resources to work
With distinct in-house capabilities, the Hyde-Stone team has tackled a range of projects for commercial and institutional clients. The business has longstanding relationships with several colleges and universities throughout northern New York, including Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University, Jefferson Community College, State University of New York (SUNY) Potsdam and SUNY Canton.
“We just finished a job at Clarkson, which has undergone more than $6 million in dorm work over the last four years,” notes Stone. “Our most recent project was at Clarkson Hall, an older building constructed in the 1950s. This was a full renovation, completely gutted, and we installed all new plumbing and HVAC top to bottom. We finished the first week of August 2015.”
He adds that there are always challenges when working on a college campus. Student, faculty and staff activity limits work hours in order to reduce noise while classes are in session. “On the Clarkson campus, classes were still ongoing when we started,” Stone elaborates. “We had to jump around floor to floor and wing to wing, there was no noise at certain hours, couldn’t shut down water to do tie-in and we had to keep the air conditioning and exhaust going for the cadaver lab all the time. We’re very fortunate to have excellent project managers and superintendents who think outside the box and can handle complex logistics.”
The company also recently completed a two-phase project at Fort Drum, a high-security project involving the base’s drone program. “This is the building that houses all the drone communications and servers for the Fort Drum drone training program,” Stone recounts. “We put radiant heat on the roof of the building — there are only two projects like this in the U.S. on Army bases and this is the second one. The other is in Anchorage, Alaska. Our project manager flew out to look at it.” Like many military projects, security was paramount. All workers required a full background check for clearance and moving materials required proper documentation both inbound and outbound.
The team has also performed a range of additional commercial projects, including car dealerships, credit unions and more schools. Upcoming work includes ductwork for a major materials science and specialty manufacturing company in Canton, New York, where the Hyde-Stone team will install heavy-duty, 12-gauge ductwork to accommodate furnaces for producing fire bricks.
By offering ongoing service plans and 24/7 support, the company ensures efficient operation down the line as well. Hyde-Stone’s service teams specialize in everything, including chillers and boilers, pumping systems, cooling towers and water treatment, air handling systems, controls and automation, air balancing, mechanical controls, backflow prevention and testing, as well as thermal imaging of motors, compressors and buildings.
In the service department as well as on construction sites, technology is critical to keeping projects moving along efficiently. “iPads are the single largest investment we’ve made,” says Stone. “FaceTime has helped in a big way because you can show someone how to get something done on the job site. We use a portal to share files with full access to our subs from any mobile device or tablet.
If you follow a philosophy of ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ as a business, you are going to be standing on the other side of the fence. Adopting technology is something that we have always done.”
While service and innovation are critical to the company’s growth, Hyde-Stone gets by with a little help from its professional peers. The company remains active in several industry associations that help keep leadership on top of trends, technology and best practices.
In 2015, one such association recognized Hyde-Stone for its dedication to quality and service. The business achieved the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s Commercial Contractor of the Year Award, which Stone calls, “A big one — once in a lifetime.” The association cites Hyde-Stone’s dedication to customers and ability to create lasting partnerships through a design-build approach as a few of the several reasons the company was selected.
With this recognition under the company’s belt, Stone and his team are unstoppable. Hyde-Stone Mechanical will maintain its enduring commitment to customers, while providing efficient, safe and high-quality mechanical services throughout northern New York.
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