Harvey and Herb Koontz founded Koontz-Wagner in 1921. For more than 90 years, Koontz-Wagner has grown steadily, diversifying an array of controls solutions for a broad market. Now a fully owned subsidiary of Global Power Equipment Group Inc. (GPEG), Koontz-Wagner specializes in the construction and electrical integration of transportable control buildings and modules for a wide variety of end-users.
Penny Sherrod-Campanizzi, president of Koontz-Wagner, has been with GPEG for more than three years, though her industry expertise combines more than three decades of experience. Sherrod-Campanizzi’s capable crew serves several industries, including power generation, oil and gas, petrochemical, pollution control, as well as water and waste management, data centers and distributed power solutions.
“We specialize in enclosures for controls and mechanical equipment,” Sherrod-Campanizzi explains. “We engineer and build pre-integrated and climatized structures for housing this equipment. We perform electrical integration and our customers tell us what equipment goes inside. 90 percent of the time, we specify, purchase and install the HVAC system in the building.”
According to Sherrod-Campanizzi, it is truly a packaged solution. “When we are done with the enclosures, we ship them to the job site and it’s virtually plug and play at that point,” she continues. “Customers generally provide the controls and switch gears and we will integrate those into the enclosure.”
GPEG purchased Koontz-Wagner in 2012; through further mergers, the family of companies is growing steadily. Sherrod-Campanizzi works from Koontz-Wagner’s headquarters in South Bend, Ind., though the company has multiple locations to ensure customers re provided packaged control buildings in the most cost-efficient manner.
“Last July, we purchased IBI Power with facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Caldwell, Idaho,” she details. “We now have three locations where we build enclosures. We also do generator enclosures and tanks for backup and distributive power applications at their Caldwell facility. We are also looking at a fourth site that would be in the southwest, which is still in the integration process. All of the facilities will be branded as Koontz-Wagner.”
Koontz-Wagner manufactures enclosures with the option of an industry unique flooring system highly regarded by customers in the power generation, oil and gas and data center markets. The wall and ceiling systems are constructed from custom fabricated interlocking panels able to support varying wind and snow loads. Both consigned and Koontz-Wagner supplied gear is then installed and integrated inside the enclosures, which is then factory acceptance tested before shipping to site.
Once the structure is complete, Koontz-Wagner ships the enclosures to the site where clients can plug in each system. As all system integration is complete by the time an enclosure leaves the shop, the enclosures are nearly ready to use once it arrives at its designated location.
A Broad and Growing Market
Koontz-Wagner manufactures enclosures and performs integration services for clients across a range of industries. On the power generation side of the business, major customers include General Electric, Siemens and Mitsubishi among others; Schneider Electric, Eaton and Bechtel are also major customers for the firm. The business has also developed relationships with major players in the oil and energy industry, such as TransCanada and Enbridge. “We deal with many customers in different markets,” Sherrod-Campanizzi explains.
Projects have taken the business around the world. The firm has worked on several pipeline projects with major Canadian oil and gas companies, and Koontz-Wagner has shipped buildings throughout the U.S., Middle East, Southeast Asia and across Latin America.
With the growth of the oil industry, specifically with tar sands and shale gas developments in the U.S., the potential for growth is enormous. Sherrod-Campanizzi estimates that there are two of these types of enclosures for every 65 to 75 miles of pipeline.
With the influx of business, Koontz-Wagner is more than capable of handling even the most massive endeavors. The company recently shipped a set of buildings to Arizona that weigh 120,000 pounds each. The journey took 11 days, with two pull cars at the front and two at the back of each enclosure. Because of the legal restrictions on oversized transport, the enclosures could only be transported in daylight, meaning the trip took 11 days from South Bend, Ind., to the final destination in Arizona.
Catering to Customer Needs
From specialty design and manufacturing to transport, Koontz-Wagner’s enclosures are a major investment. With that in mind, Sherrod-Campanizzi and her team are well-aware of the need to continue to establish and deliver value for the company’s clients. With many clients, shipping is part of the services that Koontz-Wagner can and does provide.
Depending on the size of the enclosure, shipping costs can be quite expensive, therefore the geographic footprint that Koontz-Wagner has and continues to develop can help reduce shipping expenses for our customers. Koontz-Wagner buys the raw material, builds the structure and ships the final product. The HVAC systems that the team installs can be pricey, too, with limited options and restrictions often imposed by clients.
“We have to continue to be customer-centric and focus on those solutions that deliver value to our customers in the most efficient and cost-effective way,” Sherrod-Campanizzi explains.
To control costs for customers, the team closely monitors costs in-house. Koontz-Wagner maintains strong relationships with suppliers and other strategic partners, which keeps expenses down while controlling the quality of the final product.
Koontz-Wagner has built a strong reputation within the energy and natural resources sectors. Clients have come to count on the team for exceptional workmanship and durable, functional enclosures. “We have done a good job of trying to get a footprint in the pipeline business,” Sherrod-Campanizzi explains. “We think this a huge opportunity for the foreseeable future. Even for existing pipelines, companies want to expand. With how much reserve is available in North America, if we can get it out, the country has a good opportunity for considerable export. There have been considerable discussions and projects aimed to expand existing or build additional pipelines all the way to the shoreline, locations such as Houston or St. Andrews.”
Because the crew is already established, with a full portfolio to show for it, these opportunities are at the Koontz-Wagner team’s fingertips. In the coming years, Sherrod-Campanizzi hopes to double the size of the business. With so much potential in the steadily expanding industry, her goal is absolutely manageable. Koontz-Wagner will continue to push forward, providing innovative controls enclosure solutions to clients in energy and other industries for decades to come.
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