Roberts Environmental Control Corp.
2013 marks 40 years of successful business for Roberts Environmental Control Corp. (Roberts HVAC). The Illinois-based, family-owned and-operated company furnishes all requirements to design, build, manage and maintain commercial, industrial and medical HVAC systems.
Leo Wasniewski originally founded the company as Roberts Refrigeration in 1949, installing refrigeration and heating equipment. James and Robert Wasniewski, current co-owners of Roberts HVAC, joined the team in 1973, incorporating the business under its current designation. The company’s continual growth allowed Roberts HVAC to add sheet metal, piping and temperature control departments to its many services.
Roberts HVAC employs one of the best teams in the business in order to satisfy each client’s liking. The team is made up of approximately 60 quality-oriented people. “We are quality- and customer-driven,” assures Cory Wasniewski, third-generation of family leadership and head of business development for Roberts HVAC. “We always put the customer first, which isn’t always the case in this industry.” Cory joined the team two years ago after leading a development team in the aerospace industry for several years.
Today the team operates out of a 30,000-square-foot shop and 6,000-square-foot office space to serve an approximate 100-mile radius outside of Tinley Park. Roberts HVAC’s shop hosts custom sheet metal fabrication, pipe-fitting, controls and service needs. Meanwhile, design and production engineering, field management, CAD and estimating departments operate out of the company’s office facility.
Putting the Client First
Cory holds a lot of pride for both his work and his family name, which is a quality widespread throughout the company. Value engineering capabilities sets Roberts HVAC apart from its competition, allowing the company to cut costs for its clients. “This mindset goes hand-in-hand with our ability to assess what the best solutions are,” details Cory. “We provide no cost budgeting services and have the ability to see the system from the perspective of the big picture. We’re not just looking at individual trades.”
By viewing systems as a whole, Roberts HVAC was able to save Wolcott Academy over $800,000 on a previously designed project that was over budget. The Roberts HVAC team worked directly with the project’s general contractors and architects to redesign a fully LEED-certified mechanical system.
“The project was well over budget,” shares Cory. “We maintained quality and LEED certification while cutting costs, starting from scratch to redesign the entire system.”
The team’s attention to detail and genuine objective to obtain quality, yet cost-effective solutions ensures Roberts HVAC’s referrals from satisfied customers; often accumulating repeat clients, as well. Of course, new clients and repeat referrals lead to new challenges for the team to overcome.
After the team’s success with Wolcott Academy, Roberts HVAC acquired a new client with a major problem. The new client had a building with three very old and failing boilers, which desperately needed replacement. “The building was built around the mechanical room and there was no good way of getting the massive old boilers out and more importantly the new boilers in,” explains Cory. “For this reason the owners only budgeted replacing the breeching to the old boilers and trying to get a few more years out of the aging equipment.”
The Roberts HVAC team did not only accepted the challenge of replacing the breeching; the team came up with a plan to get new boilers along with helping to negotiate a large energy credit from the utility companies to help pay for it.
“We designed the new breeching system and selected new boilers that were custom modified in our shop to slim them down to fit through a tiny ventilation opening in an ally,” says Cory. This was a very successful example of the value the team at Roberts HVAC can bring. For the budget of new breeching and a large energy credit from the utility company, Roberts HVAC was able to replace the aging equipment with modern high-efficiency boilers and a new breeching system.
The team at Roberts HVAC is proud to provide specific options for every job, custom fitting solutions to each individual client. At the 29 E. Madison, Chicago site, the company completed a full mechanical system upgrade for an outdated 20-story office building.
Updating the facility at 29 E. Madison to meet current codes and tenant requirements was Roberts HVAC’s priority. The company’s mission was to design a system that would take up minimal leasable square footage without disturbing the building’s existing tenants, while also offering expandability for the future with a cost-effective solution.
The design team surveyed the building, researched requirements and verified the usable existing equipment for planning. Once in action, Roberts HVAC reused the existing building water risers, replaced the cooling tower and installed a custom-made, vertical-package VAV water-cooled HVAC unit with custom DDC controls.
The project presented many daunting tasks, including setting equipment into a busy metropolitan area. To combat dangerous obstacles, Roberts HVAC worked in collaboration with the city of Chicago, building management and neighboring buildings in order to orchestrate the operation in a timely, and safe, fashion.
With safety in mind, Roberts HVAC completed another critical fast-paced project over the course of just eight weeks at the Wacker Drive Viaduct. The team unloaded, installed and configured all of the ventilation units, in addition to 14 massive, 15-foot-wide air evacuation fans at the facility. The highly publicized project recently re-opened in early 2013.
The team’s customer focus and economical solutions have drawn a huge client base to the business. Some of Roberts HVAC’s big name clients include: city of Chicago, Department of Water Management, Various Medical Facilities and Hospitals, O’Hare Airport, Walgreen’s, AT&T, General Electric, Motorola, Advanced Radiation Centers, Private Academy’s, Public Schools and McDonald’s among many more.
Despite the completion of many well-recognized, successful projects, Roberts HVAC has seen its fair share of the industry’s economic hardship. “Since 2009, things have definitely slowed down for us,” shares Cory. “Slowly it’s been picking back up, and we are looking forward to many great years to come as we continue to grow and evolve to keep up with technology and our clients.”
Economic downturn or not, Cory is looking toward the company’s future, foreseeing a great celebration when Roberts HVAC’s 50-year anniversary approaches. For now, Roberts Environmental Control Corp. will remain competitive in the industry by providing value engineering and high-quality, cost-effective solutions and services for each valued client.
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