Doing Business the Holmberg Way

Holmberg Mechanical

In the construction industry, the word integrity is used all too often to describe the services offered, but in the case of Holmberg Mechanical, it has been a vital part of its growth throughout the last seven decades. Integrity is the foundation of Holmberg Mechanical’s ability to go beyond customer expectation as a full-service design-build contractor that completes projects with the utmost level of quality and detail.
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Holmberg Mechanical is based in Western Washington and provides services to some of the most high-profile customers in the medical, healthcare, education, retail, commercial, maritime, high-rise, industrial, historical and hospitality sectors. The company brings value and function to projects, even over-performing when it can, which is how its reputation in the industry has grown.

Holmberg Mechanical provides plumbing, pipefitting, design-build, engineering and pre-construction services, in addition to special projects and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) installation. Its two hundred employees range from technical installers to managers, all of whom are highly-skilled.

Built upon the three primary drivers, strategy, craftsmanship and relationship, Holmberg Mechanical has stayed true to its roots as it has grown and increased its services. According to President Jeff White, “Strategy, craftsmanship and relationship − that’s what we believe we bring and at a higher level than all of our competitors.”

The organization was founded by A. Holmberg in 1949 in Kirkland, just east of Seattle. Holmberg returned home from World War Two, after serving as a plumber in the military and built the company from his experience.

While Holmberg Mechanical originated with plumbing expertise, throughout the years, it has expanded its services and identified new methods and technologies to improve results and customer experiences. White purchased the company in 2007 and had charted a new course of growth over the last decade.

“It was a small family business in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and then it grew. What really changed was the type of work. It started out as a residential company, and over the years, it’s evolved to now doing the most notable projects in Western Washington,” White noted.

“What’s grown and changed over the years is we started out as just a plumbing company, and now we’re an engineering, HVAC, plumbing, full-service mechanical company providing sheet metal and plumbing service. Up until six years ago, we just did plumbing services, and we’ve added the engineering and HVAC services.”

The company’s leadership adapts to the needs and expectations of a project, making considerations for budgetary restraints, operational features, energy conservation and much more.

Countless projects in Holmberg Mechanical’s portfolio demonstrate its abilities. Its focus on safely and maintaining the highest standards of quality are the same regardless of a project’s size or complexity. It consistently secures negotiated work to become part of the most impressive projects of the Puget Sound area and beyond.

Holmberg Mechanical recently completed work on the Southport Hotel, a design-assist project that required complete mechanical and plumbing services. The four-star Hyatt Regency hotel is located at the south end of Lake Washington and is a source of pride for the company.

Another project of note is the Colman Dock Ferry Terminal at Pier 52. Holmberg Mechanical provided pre-construction consultation, field verification, building information management (BIM) services and constructability reviews. It was also responsible for the construction of the mechanical system. The complexity of this project required the purchase of a floating work platform to complete the work on the seawall.

The goal is always to do much more than just building outstanding projects: it is to build relationships that can outlast the strongest building, by maintaining a focus on both the human and the technical sides of the business.

“’Building systems and ensuring progress’ is one of the taglines we came up with last year. The ‘building systems’ is building human and mechanical systems. That’s what we do to ensure the progress of our employees and our clients,” explained White.

To build these systems that are of crucial importance to its functioning and the success of its projects, Holmberg Mechanical has purposefully created an environment that includes training, well-being programs and community outreach.

“We’re engineers, and we’re planners, and we’re managers, and we’re strategic, so when we’re building systems, it’s how we put the right people in the right places to actually build into the real world mechanical systems that serve buildings to ensure the progress of our families, our clients’ families, the communities, businesses, et cetera,” said White.

Just as its service is tailored to meet unique customer needs, each employee is given a personalized employee development plan that includes training, as well as personal time that can be used for both personal and professional development. Craftsmanship development is one vital part of this.

Angela White, Holmberg Mechanical’s marketing and relationship manager summed it up. “Generosity, inclusivity and fun. These are the three key values that attract people to our team, and when I mean generosity, it’s not necessarily money; it’s time and helping each other grow − love if you will.”

That love is also demonstrated through an employee wellness program. Team hikes during the summer, a skydiving day and various events that are held off-site after work hours provide employees with an opportunity to get active and create lasting relationships with co-workers.

With a staff of two hundred people, this is a rather significant investment, but according to Angela, “The cost of not doing it is so much greater than what we’ve invested. We want these people to be around for a long time. It’s all about balance, but to provide these fun activities and things to do is so important, and it’s another way that we show our love.”

Love is also extended to the community through countless initiatives and charitable outreach efforts such as warm clothing drives, volunteering with organizations dedicated to housing, breast cancer research, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission and much more. Holmberg Mechanical certainly does its part of being a good neighbor.

“Honestly, Jeff is one of the most charitable people I’ve ever met. He’s constantly going to events and fundraisers for all sorts of things and really trying to make our community better,” Angela explained. The love that is being shown to its clients, employees and to the communities in which it operates comes back to Holmberg Mechanical through continued growth in both the company and its reputation.

Holmberg Mechanical is also actively involved in local workforce development efforts. Jeff sits on the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) which provides the training for the plumbing, pipefitting and HVAC industry in Seattle.

The company supports education and training programs through local colleges to not only advance the availability and level of skills but to help it secure some of the new talent to help ensure the health of the company for the long-term.

Acknowledging the strength of the market, Jeff noted, “In this market, you could grow thirty to forty percent, and we are choosing to grow at a moderate ten percent to maintain the culture and the environment.” It is important the people at Holmberg that they not simply just do a good job, but be good people who are having a positive impact on their customers and beyond.

Building the Next Generation

As thousands of experienced workers retire across North America every day, it is small wonder many industries are concerned about the future. It has been a decade since the oldest members of the baby boom generation started leaving their jobs, removing from the workplace decades of experience and skills that are tough to replace. The situation is so dire that, when younger workers are not available or knowledgeable enough to take over, retired staffers are often called back to work on a part-time basis.

November 12, 2019, 9:18 PM EST