- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: April Reeves
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Since 1923, Wilkinson Hi-Rise (WHR) has been working with real estate developers, architects and other strategic partners to become a leader in the trash and linen chutes industry. Headquartered in Hollywood, Florida, WHR meets its clients’ individual needs and waste control issues in office and apartment buildings, hospitals, sports arenas, hotels, restaurants and other multipurpose complexes. WHR’s experienced service representatives work alongside building architects and contractors to ensure that each solution is unique and built to last.
By taking a holistic approach to design, WHR works to minimize common elements and maximize square footage. “The first step is to understand how much garbage is being produced from a high-rise building,” says Michael Bracken, president of WHR. “We know how to design the equipment and recycling methods to meet those needs and minimize the square-footage impact as well as how often a garbage truck needs to visit the facility. From there we are able to customize each design to fully satisfy all requirements.” In addition to linen and trash chutes, WHR products include compactors, recycling systems, odor control systems and storage lockers. WHR also offers service and preventative maintenance programs for all of its products.
With 175 employees, WHR is a melting pot of experienced professionals from numerous industries, with a majority of the team possessing engineering backgrounds. “We’re not your traditional contracting company,” says Bracken. “We have many people from outside the industry that have applied their skillsets to this industry, which has made us a unique company and a market leader.” While based in the United States, WHR has maintained a global presence by completing projects in foreign countries such as Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Bringing multiple talents to the table
WHR has created new markets for itself in the industry by introducing waste equipment into areas that have not historically operated with trash heap systems. “We have been very successful in moving and introducing systems in places like Panama, Costa Rica and Bogota,” Bracken explains. “We’ve been able to integrate that equipment through our use of the technology into those marketplaces.”
Bracken has been with WHR for 15 years and began his career as a field engineer for a technology and information solutions company. He gained international experience when he was promoted to manager of field services for Thailand, China, Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia. Following his roles abroad, Bracken returned to Florida to take on a management role for a local construction company until he was approached by WHR. “The company was looking for someone with a background in engineering and sales,” he recalls. “I fit the profile and I’ve been here ever since.”
Bracken’s international experience proved to be helpful to WHR when he, along with other colleagues, foresaw the economic downturn approaching in the real estate market. To combat collateral damage to the company, WHR began to diversify its markets and looked to expand overseas. “When we saw what was approaching in the American market, we began focusing on smaller markets like Costa Rica, Panama and Israel,” says Bracken. “We did projects in some rather odd places, which helped us to actually grow as a company during the recession.”
A simple design creates a simple solution
When Bracken became involved with WHR, the company was beginning to develop the concept of multifamily housing recycling. The approach that WHR took involved an ATM keypad at the trash heap door, which allows the resident to make a selection and dispose of their materials down a single tube. This concept eliminates any additional square-footage requirements and creates an amenity for the facility due to the fact that the resident would not have to carry their trash or recyclables down any amount of floors. “This product has become a mainstay in those types of developments,” says Bracken.
The advantageous design by WHR has become very appealing to real estate developers due to the elimination of square-footage requirements. This mentality and approach has enabled WHR to be very successful. “Using multiple tubes for recycling in a multifamily housing development becomes very expensive,” says Bracken. “By using a one-tube system, we still meet the municipality requirements and save the developer a lot of money.” By performing the maintenance on the system as well, WHR provides a turnkey solution for its customers.
Through its international commerce, WHR has been referred to and had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest architectural firms in the world. By integrating its technology and design into new regions, Wilkinson Hi-Rise remains a leader in the global chute manufacturing industry.
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