Case Studies

Savage & Son Inc.

Celebrating 120 Years of Service in Nevada
  • Written by: Savage & Son Inc.
  • Produced by: Savage & Son Inc.
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Savage & Son Inc. (SSI) was established in 1893 and is currently Nevada’s oldest contracting company, holding Nevada State license number 10, in addition to being the nation’s 13th oldest plumbing contractor. Leonard Coates Savage went to Nevada hoping to strike it rich quick in the silver mines; SSI was born out of a bet involving a gambling hall, a group of bankers, nine ore claims and a white horse named Shakespeare. Leonard was propelled into the plumbing business, anxious to help pump water out of mine shafts, and the ore claims ended up adopting the Savage name and becoming Savage Silver Mine Works.

Instead of mining royalties, the Savage family took up plumbing as its legacy, growing the business from a small mining support service company into a fully developed plumbing and HVAC specialist. “We’re very diversified, because you have to be in our market,” admits Len Savage, president of SSI. SSI is based out of Reno, Nev., and work regularly across northern Nevada and northern California on jobs of all sizes.

“There’s no job too small and we take pride in being one of the only companies that can handle large-scale industrial process piping and still make time to answer questions from homeowners,” asserts Len. The company operates the Plumbing Etc. showroom adjacent to its headquarters, offering a selection of bath and kitchen fixtures from over 130 brands. Equally as important however, is the fact that a team of knowledgeable personnel, who will help customers find the right products and information to make a dream home a reality, staffs SSI’s showroom.

Equipped for Anything

SSI headquarters also includes a state-of-the-art 10,000-square foot fabrication and industrial process piping facility where SSI can tackle everything from general plumbing and process piping to HVAC wet-side piping. The facility is certified for various codes, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code IX, American Welding Society code D1.1 and shield metal arc welding. SSI will fabricate just about any piece of equipment a client could need for delivery as modular components already skid mounted for efficient, expedient installation, as well as self-installation of any an all fabricated materials.

The company once employed over 250 professionals, but these days the grand total is closer to 60. Even so, the company continues to meet the needs of its clients in market sectors from hospitality to healthcare by focusing on providing the best value for the client. SSI will design, fabricate and install equipment while supporting the client after the sale with 24/7 emergency repair service. “We challenge ourselves every day because we believe that trust and value are key to building lasting relationships with our clients,” asserts Len.

Len runs the company with brother Pete Savage, vice president of SSI, while the fifth generation is currently working its way over to the company. Given the fact that SSI is now a fourth-generation, family-owned company boasting five generations of Nevada legacy, SSI has been fortunate enough to be a part of some of the area’s biggest developments in public and private sectors. A shortlist of SSI’s clients through the years includes the Renown Tahoe Tower, Nevada Department of Corrections, the University of Nevada Reno, the Eldorado Hotel & Casino, the Hidden Valley Ranch manufacturing plant and Waste Management’s new Lockwood renewable energy plant where the methane gas it produces from decomposing garbage is converted to electricity.

Pushing the Envelope

The company more recently completed a major boiler retrofit project for both Sparks High School and the Washoe County courthouse, in addition to major equipment expansions and upgrades at University of Nevada at Reno’s Central Heat Plant. SSI previously completed mechanical and plumbing work for the university’s new Center for Molecular Medicine, a $77 million LEED Silver-certified expansion to the university’s medical campus that opened in 2010.

SSI expanded into new territory once again in 2009 with the help of longtime client Peppermill Resort Spa & Casino in Reno, Nev. The luxury resort and casino has taken an aggressive stance on sustainability in recent years, replacing grass lawns with artificial turf and implementing gray water recycling program to conserve precious water resources. SSI joined the hotel in 2009 to assist with a $9.7 million expansion and upgrade the casino was undertaking, which involved the addition of a geothermal well and closed-loop heating system.

There was no guarantee the hotel would find the water it needed to power the new addition, but Peppermill took the chance just like Leonard did so many years ago, and ultimately drilled 4,400 feet down to find the geothermal aquifer of the correct temperature. Peppermill now uses the source exclusively to heat all of its domestic hot water and mechanical heat across 2.1 million square feet. The investment also makes Peppermill the only property in the country exclusively heated with geothermal energy from the immediate property.

Len attributes SSI’s successful diversification to the company’s ability to keep service as personalized as possible. “We have always believed that there’s nothing that couldn’t be resolved over a cup of coffee,” admits Len, which is the reason SSI still runs an informational desk at its showroom. From there the SSI staff offers tips, tricks and suggestions to professional contractors and do-it-yourselfers alike.

SSI is prepared to follow clients wherever the markets may pull demand, but the team’s commitment to each client will always remain constant, whether dealing with a large casino or an individual homeowner. The Savage family’s emphasis on personalized service has fueled the company’s diversification over the course of a century and the team’s knowledge and legacy will ensure Savage & Son Inc. will find more than enough reasons to celebrate its 120 years in 2013.

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Spring 2018



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