Location: St. Charles, MO
Industry: HVAC, Mechanical Contractor
Wiegmann Associates has focused on innovative, energy-saving, cost-effective HVAC solutions since 1995, when Gerry Wiegmann founded the company. Today, Wiegmann is one of the industry’s premiere national design/build mechanical contractors and an expert in value engineering.
Earlier in his career, Wiegmann was a minority stockholder, design engineer and sales lead for another mechanical contractor. The company grew from $2.5 million to $25 million in eleven years, but Wiegmann’s partner didn’t want to sell any additional stock.
Wiegmann, wanting greater control and a bigger stake in his future, broke out on his own. He’s quick to point out that he didn’t take any business with him. Nevertheless, Wiegmann Associates grew rapidly.
“Going after key customers and spending huge amounts of human capital to become their partner and key provider. We would always pursue opportunities where we could provide a great outcome for the customer,” he said. “Those endeavors sometimes required sacrifices of our time and talents to succeed. Many times, it takes years and consistent attention to get the outcomes we believe are best for them and us.”
Today they execute design-build work for major customers nationwide. Over the last 28 years, they’ve put in place more than $1 billion in energy-efficient comfort systems — including over $100 million in national work for a major brewery.
Wiegmann is proud of its reputation in the industry and the trust it has built with its customer base.
“Very few in our industry focus on long-term owning and operating costs, focusing mainly on first cost instead. There are a lot of bad systems installed that waste huge amounts of energy and, very often, do not deliver good comfort,” Wiegmann said. “Ninety percent of our work is for repeat customers that trust us. Many times, they assign us the work, and we come to contract after we complete the design and advise of the cost. That method can only work if there is mutual trust and a history of good outcomes.”
According to Wiegmann, part of their growth comes from ongoing learning and willingness to test new concepts in the industry.
“We review how others are solving issues in other areas of the country and how the best in industry are achieving their goals. We will try to take small risks and operate a ‘beta site’ to field verify that we will get the outcome we are projecting,” Wiegmann said. “We bring the customer into our means and methods and make them our partner in the process.”
The other part of Wiegmann’s success is being willing to sacrifice for the right outcome and the right partnership.
“We would always pursue opportunities where we could provide a great outcome for the customer. Those endeavors sometimes required sacrifices of our time and talents to succeed,” he said. “Many times, it takes years and consistent attention to get the outcomes we believe are best for them and us.”
For 48 years now, I have a morning routine where I want to get out the door in 20 minutes from awakening. In a seminar 48 years ago it was stressed to me that that set the tone for the day. A few months back, I tried taking a long sabbatical to see what retirement was like. It did not go well. After the first 20 minutes in the morning, I rushed out the door, got in the car and then thought "what the heck am I going to do?" Work is not work if it motivates you and you have fun doing it every day.