For 31 years, Lewis Corporation has maintained a position of leadership in the construction industry. Located in Pocatello, Idaho, Lewis Corporation is one of the largest full-service mechanical contractors in southeastern Idaho. Working primarily in the commercial sector, the company serves numerous industries, including health care, hospitality, religious and institutional.
Founded in 1985, Lewis Corporation has been able to stand out in the industry by staying ahead of the technology curve. “Back in the ‘80s we were one of the first contractors to even use a fax machine, today we are paperless with our crews utilizing smartphones and tablets” says Waylin Lewis, president of Lewis Corporation. “We recently completed a project where we used GPS locating and surveying equipment to locate some underground work of a 15,000-seat auditorium.”
In completing this job, Lewis Corporation utilized civil surveying software inside of the building with GPS locating programs. The company set up certain points that would directly link up with satellite units on the roof of the auditorium. “It took a number of state-of-the-art technologies to accomplish what we needed to do,” says Lewis. “It really cut down on man hours because all information that is related to the project is digitally accessible. We’re using collaboration software that allows everybody involved with the project to have access to real-time files.”
Lewis Corporation’s 28,000-square-foot sheet metal fabrication facility is equipped with the industries most advanced production equipment. “By fabricating our own duct, we can closely monitor the quality control and any duct damaged in the field is rapidly replaced,” says Lewis. “Any duct that does not meet our rigid tolerances is discarded to recycle bins and the duct is re-fabricated. By maintaining an in-house sheet metal fabrication shop we can also control production costs.”
Utilizing the latest modeling and CAD/CAM software, Lewis Corporation is able to expand on building information modeling (BIM) as it applies to fabrication and installation. Competing mechanical contractors are making the business decision to have Lewis Corporation fabricate their duct needs to reduce the capital needs for equipment and inventories.
Employee growth at the forefront
In addition to investing in the latest technology, Lewis Corporation invests in its people. When the company hires an individual, it looks to develop them into quality craftsman that could possibly enter management one day. With a shortage in workforce throughout the construction industry, Lewis Corporation’s philosophy on employee development has helped the company to maintain a strong retention rate.
This has created a family-like culture at Lewis Corporation. “It’s very important to our people that they know that upper management cares about everybody in the company, regardless of what position they are in,” shares Lewis. “The fact that my brother Kenyan and I run the business helps to emphasize that family culture.” Kenyan Lewis serves as vice president of the company.
While running a business together can often create conflict within a family, the Lewis brothers have done well to establish each other’s strengths and create their own individual focuses of the company. “Kenyan focuses more on the day-to-day operations,” says Lewis. “I deal more with the long-term relationships with clients and contractors.”
These long-term relationships are a major factor in the overall success of Lewis Corporation as the company’s revenue relies heavily on returning customers. “Approximately 80 percent of our work is repeat business,” says Lewis. “When working with a client that you have been in business with in the past, you can’t rely on the success of the last project. You still have to go above and beyond to meet and exceed their expectations.” As a company that enjoys maintaining relationships, Lewis Corporation maintains a strong strategic partnership with Midgley-Huber Inc., an air conditioning contractor based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The two firms recently collaborated on a project at a research and development building for Idaho National Laboratory (INL). INL is an 890-square-mile complex located in the high desert of eastern Idaho. The lab’s current focus is on the future of nuclear energy.
The INL project presented a significant challenge based on its size and the technicalities of the systems installed. Lewis Corporation worked with Midgley-Huber to provide the energy recovery systems and lab controls for the facility. “The purpose of the new R&D building was to draw nuclear energy research projects to INL,” Lewis explains. “Now that it’s done, the lab is receiving national attention.”
Since its founding, Lewis Corporation has grown from a small, little-known HVAC contractor into a significant, diversified firm. That growth will propel the future of the company as customer needs define the shape of Lewis Corporation.
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