Adding Value and TLC to One-stop Contracting

Kleeberg

Sometimes, TLC can come from unexpected sources – especially when you’re dealing with a one-stop contracting firm. However, if teamwork, leadership development and customer service is the kind of TLC you can really do with right now, you’ve come to the right place. Kleeberg’s considerable list of longstanding clients is proof of that.
~
Kleeberg offers a wide range of services including sheet metal and mechanical services, plan and spec work, design-build services, building automation and custom industrial fabrication. The company has the ability to turn projects around very quickly with the help of the latest technology. Its CAD department can provide 3D modeling for enhanced coordination on installation projects and eases the design processes through Building Information Modeling, or BIM, as well as Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams, or PI&D.

Over the years, the company has had no fear of expansion, offering its services to high-end clients who want precision service from an industry legend. This family business’ legacy is entirely focused on adding value to people’s lives and businesses; whether you are an employee, a client, or a vendor, Kleeberg believes in creating win-win opportunities for everyone it deals with.

Kleeberg is highly valued as a partner by its many clients who value the company’s dedication to understanding the problems they are faced with and to finding practical and competitive ways of solving them. Kleeberg isn’t just a service provider, but a partner who stands behind its products and craftsmanship – the bedrock of its 60 years of success.

With headquarters in Ludlow, Massachusetts, Kleeberg services the entire region, save Boston proper. It also operates in the capital region of New York, where it has another office, while a third office offers clients direct access to its services in Connecticut. Kleeberg also works in southern Vermont, New Hampshire, and southern Maine.

With a sophisticated 100,000 square foot fabrication shop, Kleeberg’s industrial metal fabrication division is famous in New England for being one of just a few shops with machinery advanced enough to cut, roll, and shear two-inch-thick metal for the fabrication of HVAC ductwork and other custom metal-work projects like catwalks, staircases, tanks and more.

The company moves with the times and has evolved organically. As clients have needed more extensive services, Kleeberg has developed new departments to fulfill their needs. Today, the firm’s clients benefit from a breadth of in-house services. While its sheet metal division is the company’s mainstay, supported by its specialty fabrication division, it also has a number of other divisions that deliver key services. These include design-build and an extensive maintenance division, followed by an automation division, as well as a Fire, Life & Safety division that focuses on the installation of fire dampers as well as continuous maintenance and inspection and ensures that customers are up to date with the latest codes. Kleeberg is also well-known for its building automation services that cover all aspects involved in keeping buildings – and their inhabitants – comfortable.

Thanks to its dedication to quality, the company’s service and product portfolio is strong across the board. CEO, Dan Kleeberg, President Scott Cushman and Dennis J. Binkowski, Director of Business Development, took some time to tell us more about the company.

Kleeberg was founded by Dan’s father and grandfather in 1958 in a small facility in Chicopee, MA. Mr. Kleeberg quickly grew the young business and in the late 60s and early 70s moved it to brand new, custom-built premises in South Hadley, MA. By 1989, the business had outgrown this building as well and was moved to its current 100,000 square foot home in Ludlow, MA.

From its humble beginnings through to today, listening to clients attentively has remained one of the company’s foundational processes before moving forward on any contract. “I think it’s fundamental – sitting down and listening to what the customer is saying. We need to see how we can support you, what your needs, worries and expectations are, and how we can go about helping you. If we can’t help you, nobody can,” says Dan.

Kleeberg has indeed helped numerous American operations. One of its famous recent projects dealt with large-scale installations for Global Foundries in New York. Between 2009 and 2013, the company completed over $50 million worth of work in this one location. It has successfully completed projects for ESPN, Yankee Candle, General Electric, and Coca Cola, and isn’t afraid of working with small family-owned businesses either. While it installed most of the sheet metal on the Springfield skyline, the MGM casino is its signature project in the city. The team has also worked with many of the large pharmaceutical and aerospace businesses in the Connecticut area. More recently, it started another substantial project at New York’s private Vassar Hospital. It is also in the process of performing a massive energy upgrade at the University of Massachusetts’ 29-floor DuBois Library.

Thanks to Kleeberg’s dedication to innovation, customer demand culminated in the creation of a new preventative maintenance program run by the company’s mechanical division. This development means that customers can now look forward to reaching a point where maintenance budgets are flat-lined and unforeseen expenses and additional capital improvements can be avoided.

For example, when its HVAC duct-work and installation customers presented Kleeberg with requests for complete HVAC packages that had to include rooftop work, piping, wiring, starting up and servicing, the company naturally took them up on it. The new division started out with a single service van and today it has grown into one of the market leaders who services systems from fractional horsepower to large central plant systems.

When clients brought their building automation woes to Kleeberg, the team sat up and listened. People didn’t know who to call when their buildings became uncomfortable due to faulty automation. Do they call an automation firm, a temperature-control firm, or do they call their HVAC service company? Kleeberg set to work and came up with its brand-new Controls and Automation Division, made possible by talented technical employees who wanted to make a difference. The automation division now makes it possible for clients to be confident that when they make a call to Kleeberg, problems are as good as solved. The market’s reaction has been very positive, and now the focus is on growing this division as successfully as the others, taking the firm’s one-stop shop model to the next level.

This is a prime example of how Kleeberg has evolved over the years. Times have changed significantly and Kleeberg has always kept up with technology, improving its offerings to match demand every step of the way. The company takes growth on merit very seriously, too. For this reason, it has always ensured that its automation software programs are not proprietary, giving customers freedom of choice with regard to preferred service providers. Clients don’t have to keep using the company if they aren’t happy with its services, as Kleeberg wants to be a partner based on merit.

“If you have a problem that your current HVAC provider cannot resolve, give us a call as we love solving problems. If we cannot solve it, we won’t charge you a dime, because we want to be the contractor of choice. It’s not about pushing our services onto customers, but rather about listening to what they want and how we can support them,” says Scott.

Scott and Dan are both great believers in not fearing change and making sure that business remains business. Dan believes that what counts for family within the firm counts for everyone else. This has been a recipe for success and Kleeberg is now moving into its fourth generation, as his daughter recently graduated college and joined the company. Kleeberg prides itself on its low employee turnover, something that contributes to the small family-business feel of the place. The company has made celebrating staff members an important tradition, driving the team’s motivation for continual development and a flexible, collective mindset.

Indeed, the overall Kleeberg vision is one of being people-oriented and doing what is best for clients. When it comes to its relationships with staff and clients, it is all about family and people, but when it comes down to work, it’s business. “For example, Scott’s our president now and his last name’s not Kleeberg, which is the first time that’s happened in this company in the last 60 years. We’ve got to keep it all about business,” says Dan.

To fulfill this promise, a team of around 150 employees keep the company’s name at the top. Everybody holds one another accountable for upholding Kleeberg’s TLC model. To ensure consistency across the board in an organization spread across such a large geographic area, teamwork is vital and achievements are regularly celebrated. Even safety lectures are turned into social events where everyone gets together over lunch. This builds healthy communication, trust and support between colleagues that can only be developed over time and greatly benefits both customers and the company culture in the long run.

At Kleeberg, leadership skills are developed across generations and career growth is very much encouraged and supported. A number of younger employees have joined its ranks lately and the company enjoys giving a voice to their creative insights. In fact, 25 percent of Kleeberg’s executive team comprises millennials, and the firm is ready for the phenomenal growth their participation is already spurring. Management does a lot to kindle a leadership culture within all of its divisions through leadership effectiveness training, time management training, and technical training to keep everyone on the same page.

After this diligent self-improvement comes customer care, and the team spares no effort here. “One of our biggest successes is that we are able to sign up new customers and then successfully retain them for very long periods,” says Dennis. “In fact, we have customers who have been with us for 15 to 20 years, and I think that is a tremendous testament to how customer-centric we are.”

In a world where big corporations can sometimes be out of touch with their clients, Kleeberg and its team shine like the diamonds they are. As the old adage says, you get what you pay for, and the company is proud to be able to be chosen on merit rather than for being cheap. Its value far outweighs its competitive rates, allowing it to contract to likeminded corporations who also prefer quality and trusted service.

Armed with fresh young minds combined with decades of wisdom and experience, the company will continue building in exciting new ways. Plans for the future include an increased focus on its design-build division and customer direct services while the company’s savvy clientele can look forward to more of Kleeberg’s famous TLC and trusted partnership they’ve come to expect. “Of course, we keep a finger on the market’s pulse and try to understand what’s going on across the board – how we can be competitive and how we can best serve and grow our market share,” shares Dan. With this bird’s-eye-view approach, one thing’s for sure: this diverse team is looking forward to continued growth and success for many years to come.

Under the Sea

Marine construction – a combination of harsh environment and special considerations. North America has plenty of coastline and the demand for construction in the marine environment isn’t going away any time soon. Yet we don’t often consider or even think about what goes into the design and construction of the structures that bridge our waterways, line our shores and allow the docking of our largest cargo ships.

September 25, 2018, 8:04 AM EDT