Case Studies

Volute Inc.

Offering South Louisiana Nearly 50 Years of Expertise

Volute Inc. has been an established name around south Louisiana since 1994. The business, based out of Houma, is a sister company to Coastal Mechanical Contractors (CMC), which was established in 1965. Together the two companies offer professional air conditioning, plumbing and electrical installations and service to a wide variety of clients in the Bayou State. The company is family-owned, and owes its success to both maintaining its close ties with customers in the region and always looking to diversify its services.

Two Companies Steeped in Experience

“I’ve been here for 31 years,” says Dale Thompson Jr., president of Volute and son of the founder of the company, a former project engineer for the Apollo Space Program. “I started when I was 14; I wanted to go be a day camp counselor for the summer months, but my father said, ‘No son, you’re coming to work for me,'” says Thompson, laughing, and demonstrating the length and experience the company has to its name.

The Thompson family branched off into two companies starting in 1994, after identifying a need for more qualified service technicians in their local area. Currently Coastal Mechanical Contractors focuses primarily on residential air conditioning, plumbing and electrical needs, while Volute is more of a general contracting, mechanical, electrical and municipal construction entity. The firms’ combined services allow the two businesses to do a large variety of work, including air conditioning repairs, solar, electrical, hot water, cooling towers, boilers, air and water source heat pumps, chillers, plumbing, energy-efficient system design and more. Volute and CMC have the experience and training to handle all types of equipment and systems.

The company is also able to work across a variety of fields, including residential, commercial and industrial, plus an expanding municipal sector. “We have a municipal side of our business that’s growing. In fact, that department has grown every year. Mechanical volume has dropped off because of an increase in competition and a lack of available work due in part to economic budget restraints, but municipal has increased,” according to Thompson.
Volute and Coastal Mechanical Contractors have been able to keep ahead of the competition during these tough economic times by being on the forefront of green energy solutions. “We’ve made it a point to diversify in order to stay ahead of the competition,” according to Thompson.

Putting action to words, Thompson has recently introduced solar panel collection systems to south Louisiana residents and business owners. The solar panels can harness renewable energy and reduce dependency upon electricity, which can be a costly burden in the hot and humid southern climate. In addition, Coastal Mechanical and Volute can offer solar-ready heat pumps and A/C systems that can power other items in the home, including lighting and appliances when the air conditioning system turns off. The system can even send back unused power to the utility company for credits on electricity bills.

Restoring the Old U.S. Mint

Volute has worked on a number of interesting projects over the years. It has recently been involved with flood gate projects that are designed to help the area during tidal surges that typically occur during hurricane season. Perhaps one of the most notable projects has been the renovation of the U.S. Mint that the firm contracted to renovate after one of the area’s more memorable storms damaged its roof. “That one was pretty cool. It’s the historic old U.S. Mint built in 1835 in the French Quarter of New Orleans. We renovated the complete mechanical system to help transform it into a first class State of Louisiana Museum,” Thompson says.

The building was the only one to serve as a branch of both the Confederate Mint and the United States Mint. Originally it was commissioned by Andrew Jackson to help finance the development of the western U.S., but was seized by the Confederate Army during the Civil War to create the Confederates’ own currency and house troops. It resumed printing U.S. money for a few decades and was shut down in 1909. In 1981 it opened as a museum for the State of Louisiana.

Surviving Through a Slow Recovery

Even with these significant projects, the current economic recession has affected the company. “Our volume is down right now, and there’s at least a dozen bidders for every contract – there’s so much more competition these days, because there’s less work. We will survive though,” Thompson says.
Indeed, Volute has remained strong because of its 24/7 service and commitment to exceed customer expectations, and Thompson has confidence in the company because the business doesn’t stray too far from what has made it successful, even if the economic recovery remains slow. Offering quality mechanical, electrical and municipal services throughout south Louisiana, including a newfound expansion into sustainable energy solutions, Volute Inc. has the systems to run efficiently for decades more.

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