Omaha Door & Window
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Christian Davis
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Omaha Door & Window (ODW) opened its doors in 1959 as a small door supply and installation business. When a local overhead door franchise went out of business after a series of mergers, Leo Murnan and Joe Nothomb purchased a red service truck and a pile of parts from the previous owners.
The pair had been hired to liquidate the company, but were determined to build a successful business from its remnants. Today, ODW has grown into a strong family business. While Leo is still involved as acting chairman of the board, two of his sons, Tom and Steve Murnan, operate the company as co-presidents.
For more than 50 years, ODW has grown, diversifying to meet the changing industry trends and needs of customers. The business still sells and installs doors; however, has also moved into the sale, installation and service of hollow metal walk-through doors, windows, siding, gutters insulation and store fronts.
With additional capabilities, the business serves customers in Nebraska and Iowa from a single location in South Omaha, Neb. With approximately 85 employees, ODW has established strong capabilities in providing products and services for anything on the exterior of a building.
Diverse Products and Services
ODW works as an independent contractor or as a general contractor on each of its projects. Working alone or with strategic partners, the crew has been busy on a number of challenging contracts in recent years. Recently, the business has been emphasizing remodel work on residential buildings.
“We had a hail storm go through this year, so siding is up a bit,” Tom notes of recent trends. “We just got done changing out more windows in a building in Lincoln. It is a piecemeal project. We set up a bunch of weights on the top of the building and lift a swing stage up to do the windows, one side of a building at a time.”
The skyscraper is ODW’s second project on the structure; the 12-story skyscraper was built in the 1920s. Financing is tough nowadays, especially for replacing all the windows in a large structure, resulting in multiple projects for the same building.
With new construction still slow coming, renovations and retrofits have become a mainstay for many contractors. To supplement the maintenance and replacement projects, the company has further diversified, most recently adding on attic insulation services.
Insulation fits in well with the company’s other services, especially when performing a siding project. “That’s a really good time to do that,” Tom explains. “You can add more insulation and also clean out any blocked up vents.”
An Evolving Business
Diversification has helped the business stay ahead throughout the recession, although Tom and his team have made a number of changes to the company structure. “In March 2013, we right-sized the business,” he explains. “We had too many people on staff for the sales we were making. We have fewer people now and everyone has been doing more. Residential new construction is finally picking up, but most of the industry seems to have hit a plateau.”
However, Tom and the team are embracing the changes with a positive attitude. “We are doing more with less,” he continues. “We have done a lot to streamline the way we operate and make things more efficient. When you have too many people on staff, all of your revenue goes to wages with nothing left to make improvements. We are now in the process of making upgrades to our fleet and our computer systems. We have opted for wraps on our trucks, all digitized, with our name on them. We have also purchased a moving billboard in Omaha. That will give us some added exposure.”
As far as technology, the business has begun moving toward electronic scheduling. Ultimately, the company would like all of ODW’s installers to utilize smart phones to track projects for labor, payment and more; the company has also eliminated its receptionist. Instead, Tom and his crew have opted for an automated phone system that will allow callers to dial directly through to whoever they are looking to speak with.
Additionally, restructuring seems to have helped increase margins. While Tom says he has seen no drastic improvement in the market, the new streamlined business has the team ready for growth when the market does return. Tom plans in the coming years to keep managing personnel and other overhead accordingly, striking a balance between the busy season and the offseason.
“Everyone on our team is working harder,” Tom explains, recognizing the value in his dedicated employees. In the coming years, even in a seemingly volatile economy, a few things remain the same for the business. Omaha Door & Window continues a commitment to operate as a family business, treating employees, clients and strategic partners with a high level of respect, professionalism and courtesy.
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