Patriot Plumbing and Heating Inc. / Northeastern Mechanical Inc.
Sister companies Patriot Plumbing and Heating Inc. and Northeastern Mechanical Inc. (Patriot/NE) have been serving customers throughout Massachusetts for more than 20 years. With combined expertise in plumbing and HVAC services, the businesses specialize in complex projects that other MEP contractors cannot handle. Operating from a single office in Quincy, Massachusetts, Patriot/NE employs 24 people on the plumbing side of the business and 47 on the HVAC/mechanical side.
“Both companies work hand-in-hand and our operations are very much integrated,” says John Kiaer, chief operating officer of Patriot/NE. “We have all of our work set up on the same sort of program. We focus on service and responding to our clients. They know that if they call at 4 p.m., someone will be there to pick up the phone and someone will go out to solve the problem.”
While company owner Paul Lyons has run Northeastern Mechanical since 1992, he purchased Patriot Plumbing and Heating Inc. from its founder, Patrick Corcoran, in 2010. With a broader scope of capabilities, the sister companies are a powerful force when combined. “Patriot/NE was founded in 1992 after years of listening to clients’ complaints about the HVAC service they were receiving from the big manufacturers that had a stronghold on the Metro Boston marketplace,” says Lyons. “The common thread through our clients’ stories was about having to spend too much time and money focused on their facilities’ systems; this was detracting from the time they could spend focusing on their core business.”
With Patriot/NE’s combined strength and the help of a few strategic partners , the company now provides its clients with a wide range of services. “Clients depend on Patriot/NE to keep their facilities up and running so they can focus on their business and not ours,” Kiaer adds.
Patriot/NE provides a range of services for the commercial, industrial, educational and residential sectors. Over the years, the team has expanded into a niche of tackling difficult jobs that many other contractors aren’t cut out for.
“Our culture here is pretty much can-do,” says Kiaer. “We have a lot of great guys who do the right thing. We always put the customer first and we really do whatever it takes to solve their problems and keep their facilities up and running so they don’t have to worry about that.”
Recent work includes 20 and 21 Custom House in Boston, a landmark project that was designed to visually bridge the city’s 19th century custom house and the more modern buildings nearby. Patriot/NE replaced air handlers on every floor of the 20-story building. Logistics were a challenge on the project and scheduling necessitated that the company install one every other weekend.
In the industrial sector, Patriot/NE performs all the gas maintenance at Exelon’s Mystic Generating Station in Everett, Massachusetts. “They’ve have us do all the maintenance on natural gas valves,” says Kiaer. “Every six months, they shut down the plant and we service one of the burners. This procedure alternates with another facility in Weymouth so when we have one burner off in mystic, everything is on in Weymouth and vice versa. We schedule when they have availability in the grid based on demand, so typically not in the winter.”
Another high-level project that the Patriot/NE team has taken on was at the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, a cutting-edge office in Boston. The nonprofit works to help businesses and organizations build sustainable buildings or improve energy performance at existing facilities.
“Fraunhofer got all the equipment for the space donated to them for free from major suppliers — which was beneficial both for the organization and for manufacturers,” Kiaer elaborates. “They designed a space that showcases energy efficiency in the HVAC industry. We put in as many different systems as were possible to fit into their space including a custom air handler, chiller, drives on everything, plate and frame heat exchanger, seven different pumps, a cooling tower, radiant panels, chilled sails, natural ventilation units, chill beams, in-floor radiant heating, fin tube radiation, six-way control valves on equipment — stuff we’ve never seen before on a tenant fit-up project like this. They wanted to have systems they could monitor and review their own performance. They also have customers come to them for ideas of how to make their buildings more efficient, cutting-edge spaces. In order to demonstrate that, they have to be able to show performance and they do so by tracking data.”
Data tracking has been a growing trend in the industry. With more and more customers looking to improve building performance, Patriot/NE has adapted to work with this technology that better monitors and regulates building systems. Tracking provides building owners and tenants with significant savings by improving maintenance that reduces repair costs as well as helping to optimize systems and reduce energy waste.
A recent large-scale residential plumbing award is the development of 395 apartments in five buildings located in the Quincy, Massachusetts, area. Patriot/NE is utilizing its 20,000-square-foot fabrication facility to prefabricate the hot water heaters prior to delivery to site. This allows the team to move manpower from the field to the shop during downtime when the site contractor is backfilling underground plumbing. In contrast, Patriot/NE will also change a 40-gallon hot water heater in a residential home. Patriot/NE has demonstrated tremendous diversity of capabilities in the residential market.
Because of Patriot/NE’s diverse abilities, the company’s clients utilize those strengths for difficult projects; some contracts have required helicopters to pick large mechanical components to roofs where setting up a crane was not practical. Other projects have required carrying cooling towers up the stairs of 30-story high-rises. One memorable project was the cooling tower replacement at One Main Street in Cambridge, where a 600-ton crane was required to lift an existing three-section cooling tower off the roof and the new cooling tower on over a weekend shutdown.
Kiaer and his colleagues continue to take on new, challenging projects and adapt to leading technology. Over the coming years, Patriot Plumbing and Heating Inc. and Northeastern Mechanical Inc. will increasingly diversify its portfolio while building lasting relationships with clients, following its mission, “To maintain our client’s facilities so they can focus on their business, not ours.”
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