A.T. Chadwick has succeeded for more than 50 years because it holds true to its philosophy of focusing on quality. By Chris Petersen
As one of the largest mechanical contractors in the Philadelphia area, A.T. Chadwick Co. Inc. has had a hand in numerous successful projects over the years. And, as the company marks its 50th anniversary in 2016, it continues to count on the strength and experience of its people as major differentiators in a crowded marketplace. Project Manager Ernie Falco says that on projects such as its recent work for Westway Group, A.T. Chadwick leverages the experience of its people at every level of the company to provide the highest-quality service in every aspect of its work.
Founded in 1966, A.T. Chadwick specializes in heating, air conditioning, plumbing and medical gas services in a variety of market segments. Falco says the company services a large array of Fortune 500 companies throughout the Philadelphia area, and it has multiple groups within the organization to serve different types of customers. For example, the company has groups devoted to commercial clients, industrial clients and pharmaceutical clients. A.T. Chadwick provides its services to many of the area’s top general contractors as well as directly to property owners including hospitals and educational facilities.
In everything the company does, A.T. Chadwick brings a high degree of expertise and professionalism that sets it apart from the rest of the pack in Philadelphia. Even as customers become increasingly nervous about the bottom line, A.T. Chadwick demonstrates there’s no substitute for a skilled mechanical contractor that can get the job done right the first time and with a high degree of quality. With that philosophy in place, it’s no wonder that the company averages $150 million in sales per year based entirely on word-of-mouth, and Falco says that focus will continue to be the driving force behind A.T. Chadwick’s success for the foreseeable future.
Being in business for 50 years means A.T. Chadwick has a lot of experience under its roof, and this is one of the primary reasons for the company’s continued success. In addition to its more than 300 highly experienced full-time field employees, the majority of the company’s office staff has at least 25 years of field experience to help it make the best possible decisions for its clients. “That’s a definite edge,” Falco says.
The company’s project management team also brings much diverse experience to the table, consisting mainly of tradespeople. Falco says this gives A.T. Chadwick’s customers a more complete perspective of their projects than other contractors can offer. In addition, A.T. Chadwick employs a full automation staff for BIM and CAD applications, and the company boasts full capabilities for offsite fabrication for its plumbing and mechanical services.
The experience and capabilities A.T. Chadwick has in its arsenal make it possible for the company to offer full turnkey services to its clients including Westway Group. Falco says its most recent project for the company is an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract that has A.T. Chadwick handling everything from the full design and engineering of the project to fabrication to full automation. With a group of people devoted full-time to BIM, A.T. Chadwick has the ability to perform elements of a project well ahead of schedule. “That’s a big plus,” Falco says.
In the case of the Westway Group project, the company was tasked with taking over the project halfway through the project when it became apparent that the original project design team would not be able to complete the work within Westway Group’s desired timeframe. A.T. Chadwick came up with a plan to take over all of the remaining design work and take full responsibility for the application of the EPC contract. The company did this without breaking stride, and adds it was the company’s deep understanding of clients’ needs in situations of that nature that allowed it to do so.
“It allowed the Westway team to put a definitive timeframe on the end date and we maintained that schedule,” Falco says. “We pride ourselves on schedule; that’s one of our philosophies.”
A.T. Chadwick has remained true to its philosophies for 50 years, and the company will continue to do so even as the customer base loses sight of the value it brings to projects. Falco says one of the company’s biggest challenges at the moment is that, ever since the recession of 2008, customers have valued the bottom line first and foremost, choosing contractors based on cost above other considerations.
Many in the company’s customer base have taken on new management fixated on cutting costs, only to see the quality of their projects suffer as a result. “We’re seeing that turnover with the new client base, and our philosophy has never changed from day one,” Falco says, adding that the company often is called upon to take over a project from a low-bid contractor because the quality of the work is not up to the client’s specifications.
According to Falco, the company is one of the leaders in the market when it comes to adopting new technology. As clients look for ways to get their projects done faster, A.T. Chadwick makes sure it is up to speed on all of the latest advancements at every level of the company. “We’re embracing technology all the way through to a management point of view,” Falco says.
Through this combination of advanced thinking and old-fashioned philosophy, A.T. Chadwick has remained at the top of the industry for 50 years. And, Falco says, that combination will be the key to its success well into the future.