Keith Lawson Company Inc.
- Written by: Ivy Carter
- Produced by: Ian Nichols
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Keith Lawson Sr. founded Keith Lawson Company Inc. (KLC) in 1980. The original “one-man-and-a-truck” operation was geared toward providing quality, dependable service at an affordable price. The business has grown significantly over the last few decades. Now operating from three locations and with a staff of over 100, the Tallahassee, Fla.-based company offers heating, air conditioning, mechanical and plumbing services to homeowners and businesses located in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
Keith Lawson Sr. remains CEO/principal of KLC, while Keith Lawson II, Keith Sr.’s son, currently manages day-to-day operations of the company. Keith II started working with his father in 1992 after finishing college, working his way up to be president/COO of KLC. “I always knew I’d be part of the family business,” he says. After growing up in the industry and obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Building Construction from the University of West Florida in 1992, his knowledge and experience were a great fit for the growing company. While the business has gotten bigger, KLC’s standards and reputation have never been diluted, because the executive team strives to uphold Keith Sr.’s founding principles: perform quality work, always do what you commit to do, complete every job on time and on schedule, and make every effort to maintain a satisfied client.
“Our niche is pretty broad,” says Keith II. “We install plumbing and mechanical systems in new commercial buildings, as well as provide service and retrofits for residential and commercial customers.” Tallahassee, in the Panhandle region of Florida, is subject to crisp winters and blistering summers. KLC recognizes its customers’ unique needs and offers commercial and residential maintenance programs to suit specific needs. Proper maintenance ensures that systems run efficiently, offering better air control and energy savings.
The responsive, friendly team installs American Standard and Amana HVAC systems, but skilled technicians on staff have worked with a wide range of brands and can service any heat pump/air conditioning/furnace/boiler/chiller/refrigeration/circulation system on the market. The KLC teams are certified to find freon leaks, do indoor air quality inspections, and incorporate digital detection and management devices to assure an indoor environment that is healthy and more cost efficient. KLC maintains membership with the Nexstar Network, an international association of HVAC, plumbing and electrical contractors. The organization provides networking opportunities, as well as connections for advanced training and educational programs to members. The association also keeps the team in the loop with new industry technologies and practices.
The plumbing division of the business offers the same professional service and experience that is a staple of the HVAC team. A team of experienced plumbers is on hand to assist customers with projects of all sizes, involving both water/sewer and natural gas. The team offers retrofits, like tankless water heaters, bathroom remodels, whole-house repiping and septic-to-sewer conversions. KLC can handle substantial issues, such as sewer line replacement, slab leak location and repair and backflow installation, repair and testing, as well as provide quick fixes to common problems with the pipes, like a clogged drain or leaky faucet.
KLC approaches every project with the philosophy that fixing the problem correctly the first time is the best way to assure a long-term, satisfied customer. Affiliations, including those with the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) and U.S. Green Building Council (LEED) assure that customers can take advantage of a full system evaluation and benefit from suggestions that improve overall efficiency, incorporate sustainable features (such as geothermal water heating) and optimize a property to receive both federal energy-efficiency tax credits and City of Tallahassee rebates. In addition, KLC recycles and reclaims all applicable materials.
Experience that Matters
KLC’s executive team includes managers, consultants and estimators with over 100 years of cumulative experience in the field. With a wide range of projects in its portfolio, the company’s design-build staff is well-equipped to handle mechanical/plumbing projects of varying size, while its technicians give the same attention to large-scale new construction and a single-family home service call. The crew can set up air quality systems for a football stadium, or just retrieve that action figure flushed by a wayward toddler. The company’s in-house staff performs most of the work, but KLC also works with controls, insulation and ductwork subcontractors for larger projects.
The team recently finished the $50 million Health and Wellness Center on the campus of Florida State University. The new facility goes well beyond a college nurse’s office; the 170,000-square foot building offers an advanced healthcare center, as well as amenities to help students stay active and informed. The building houses classrooms, research laboratories, physical therapy and athletic training, combining education and wellness in one unique space. KLC completed the plumbing and mechanical work on the building in July 2012 and the center opened to students in August 2012.
Following this success, the team has a few larger commercial projects in the pipeline for 2013, although Keith II says the market is still tight. KLC’s management remains cautiously optimistic about the recovery. “We’re certainly trying to grow, but with this economy, it’s still very hard,” he explains. “You can’t just sit around and wait for it to come to you. We’re going where the work is. We’re starting to see more private money coming back.” The commercial construction business has been better off than the residential sector, and KLC has taken advantage of its broad capabilities and experience to excel on larger projects.
Despite the challenges, The Lawsons’ team is maintaining gradual and sustainable growth as the industry comes back to life. A track record for quality and fair dealings keeps clients coming back, and the team maintains the same core values that have offered peace of mind to customers and strategic partners since KLC was a one-man operation. With the Lawsons’ hands-on approach to accountability and a staff performing industry-leading capabilities, Keith Lawson Company Inc. will remain a renowned Southeastern business that retains and gains clients through a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee.
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