Ai3: Educated Design
In 1998, Scott Dunlap reached a crossroads: he’d been tagge...
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John Breen, president of Breen & Sullivan Mechanical Services, Inc., refers to his Danvers, Massachusetts-based firm as "turnkey." And the extensive list of services Breen & Sullivan provides—heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, process piping, sprinkler and fire protection, and controls installation and servicing—backs up his assertion. Now in its 19th year, Breen has experienced a pattern of steady growth, even during the tough economic times. While growth may have been a bit slower during the past three years, he notes that 2010 sales were up 6%. To date, the company works or has worked with more than 1,000 commercial and residential clients.
Breen attributes the company's ongoing success to a number of factors. First and foremost, he says, is the experience and commitment of Breen & Sullivan's 38 employees. That strong foundation is bolstered by the organization's opportunistic view, both in terms of using technology to reinforce its efficiency and doing what it takes to expand on its service offerings.
Breen points to the example of the company's service delivery. "We have 26 trucks, and all are equipped with networked GPS navigation for the most efficient dispatching system," he asserts. "One look at the wide-screen monitor in our office shows the position of all our vehicles and allows us to dispatch the closest available, allowing quick response and saving fuel."
As far as growth by design goes, in October 2009, Breen and Sullivan acquired Beane Mechanical Contractors, Inc. The deal started with owner Jeff Beane discussing the possible acquisition of his firm by Breen & Sullivan, with whom he'd worked for 10 years. The purchase gave Breen's firm the ability to expand into plumbing, piping, and fire protection. "What it meant was the simplification of the project management team," Breen notes. "Now, a client can call one company and deal with one unified team."
Perhaps the key driver of Breen & Sullivan's consistent growth is customer service. Simply put, Breen and Sullivan has, over the years, demonstrated that it will do whatever it takes to get a customer's job completed.
"During the past 19 years, we've done thousands of projects, but among the most challenging was a long-time customer, EBSCO Publishing in Ipswich Massachusetts," says Breen. "We were contracted to install a completely new HVAC system while working within a 100-year-old mill structure, and tasked with keeping the mechanical systems in tune with the existing century-old architecture. EBSCO's proximity to the Ipswich River also made it challenging to install new roof mounted equipment. We subcontracted a helicopter on a very cold February day and flew the equipment onto the roof without a hitch."
Breen and Sullivan is also backed up by Salem Five. The company employs a range of the bank's services, running its operating and payroll accounts through Salem Five, and using its online banking, business credit line, and commercial mortgage services.
But it's the way Breen and Sullivan got involved with Salem Five that made the firm feel supported. "When another local bank committed to a real estate project that we engaged in, and then changed their mind, I called Salem Five on the advice of a friend," says Breen. "We had a commitment within 48 hours. The project went ahead as scheduled and Salem Five became part of the Breen and Sullivan Team. Needless to say they won all our banking business and have proved to be a valuable partner in our success ever since."
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