Case Studies

Rommel Engineering & Construction Inc.: One of Maryland’s Most Respected Companies

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State and federal agencies located in Maryland looking for a quality electrical and engineering contractor that they can trust to complete a large complex project on time and on budget almost always ask Rommel Engineering & Construction Inc. to bid on the project. The company, which is headed by Dave Rommel, has an extensive history in the region and a reputation that its competitors cannot match.

“My father founded Rommel Electric in 1956 and I came to work for him in 1976,” says Rommel. “We soon noticed that all of the engineering work on (Maryland’s) the Eastern Shore was being done by firms from other areas and that there was a lack of quality local companies. We established our engineering division and we quickly filled that void. The engineering division grew to be so large, that I spun it off into a different company.”

Industry Leader in ITS Work

The company established itself as a regional leader with its high-quality work. The company was one of the first engineering contractors in the state to help transform Maryland’s highways into Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). An ITS highway system has a series of cameras that monitor traffic and weather data and stream it back to central operations center. In the ’90s, Rommel’s crew of professionals was responsible for installing a large portion of the monitoring system.

Today, the company’s engineering teams are located in every county throughout the state, which gives it an advantage when state and federal agencies put a project out to bid. “Maryland’s counties and the city of Baltimore are grouped into districts and when they put out contracts to bid, we’re one of the few companies in the state that can successfully complete multiple district projects. Our employees are spread throughout the state,” boasts Rommel.

Rommel has founded several other successful businesses over the years, including three Harley Davidson dealerships. Due to his experience, Rommel entrusts the day-to-day operations at Rommel Engineering and Rommel Electric to company presidents, Leon Bromley and Jim Johnson respectively. “I’m on the road a lot, and I always know what is going on with the two companies but I fully trust Leon and Jim to run the companies with the same level of integrity and attention to detail that has made us one of Maryland’s most reputable companies,” reveals Rommel.

The company is based out of Odenton, Md., and currently employs roughly 75 people. Rommel estimates that the company grossed over $20 million in sales in 2010. Rommel is proud of the fact that when a developer wants to complete a project locally, that developer is given a short list of contractors from Maryland’s Department of Transportation that are approved to tie the project into the existing infrastructure, and that his companies are on that list.

Busy Through the Turndown

Because the company’s clients are primarily the states and towns that need to keep street and highway lights and signs working, Rommel says that his business hasn’t felt the full effect of the economic downturn. The company was recently awarded a $7 million interstate lighting project. “Last year, we were awarded seven or eight stimulus projects which had working on a wide variety of projects like installing cameras at traffic stops, LED (Light Emitting Diodes) lighting for traffic, and uninterruptible power sources for traffic lights,” reveals Rommel.

The company’s electrical systems division specializes in inside electrical service and maintenance work. The company works with a wide variety of clients ranging from commercial tenant build outs to underground site utilities. “You see my guys in new commercial buildings, parking lots, anywhere there’s product that needs electricity, we can design a way to get it there and stay running,” says Rommel.

“We just finished up a $2 million medium voltage project for a hospital in Salisbury. We had to remove the old transformers and we had a very firm deadline because of the liquids. We started the project in December and finished a month early,” adds Rommel. “We also just finished up a $9 million electrical contract for a luxury high-rise condo in Ocean City, Md.”

The company also installs designs and installs variable message signs, the signs you see on the highway telling you to slow down because there’s an accident two miles down the road, etc… Rommel says that he’s worked with several schools to install the variable message boards as well.

Rommel is excited about where the company is headed. “We’ve wanted to diversify for years and we’ve been watching the businesses around us. We took the time to carefully select a company that is highly-regarded but we feel needs our unique and effective management style to continue to grow. LH Cranston out of Baltimore City is a very-well respected mechanical/electrical contractor,” continues Rommel.

“They have an excellent reputation as not being the cheapest, but the best. Their clients lose thousands of dollars a day when their operations go down, so they don’t want the cheapest fix, they want the best. They even have remote monitoring capabilities, so that if something goes wrong at a client’s operation, we’ll know before they do.”

Rommel is one of those business owners who understand how to get through the tough times just as well as the prosperous. “We’re not all things for all people. We find something that we’re really good at and we make ourselves one of the top three companies in that industry,” Under Dave Rommel’s leadership, Rommel Engineering & Construction Inc. has established itself as an industry leader in engineering, traffic construction and will soon be leading the way in mechanical engineering as well.

Published on: March 9, 2013

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