Welcome to the newest department in Contracting Business magazine. Here we look at the products, tools, and services that make a contractor successful. Each month we'll pick a contracting firm — past winners of our Contractor of the Year Award, winners of either a Quality Home Comfort Award or a Design/Build Award, and other nationally recognized figures — and see what tools of the trade they prefer and that help make them successful.
Commercial Design Engineering, Ltd. Colorado Springs, CO
Mary Garvelink is co-owner and comptroller of Commercial Design Engineering, Ltd. in Colorado Springs, CO. The $12 to $15 million mechanical contractor specializes in commercial and institutional new construction, renovation, and remodeling projects and high-end condominum work. She is also president of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association and Contracting Business' 2004 Woman of the Year. Here is Mary's list of the tools used in her company's trucks, office, and shop.
IN THE TRUCKS
• Number and type of trucks/vans: 2 vans; 18 pickups with various beds; 3 delivery stake trucks and one diesel HD hauling fifth wheel-type combination trailer, truck delivery unit. Brands include Ford and GMC.
- Inventory on trucks/vans: Only what is needed to complete a specific project.
- Preferred test instruments technicians carry: Fluke.
- Preferred brand of ladders: Werner.
- Preferred field communications method: Nextel phone/Blackberry, and Nextel wireless Internet link.
- Preferred wireless field service software: We use a Microsoft-based program to generate our own daily reports, time cards, requests for information, change orders, and injury reports. We also have a Nextel wireless interlink with the office.
IN THE OFFICE
- Preferred business management software: For accounting and job costing: Marathon and Quicken.
- Preferred estimating software: Estimation.
- Preferred CAD: Auto CAD 2000.
- Preferred computer/ printer equipment: Desktop computers: Dell. Portable: Toshiba and Dell. Printers: Hewlett Packard
- Preferred photocopier equipment: Toshiba.
- Business connection to the Internet via: T-1 line.
- Preferred scheduling software: Microsoft Project and Primavera.
- Preferred uniform supplier: Wearguard and Aramark.
- Credit Cards Accepted: N/A.
IN THE SHOP
- Preferred HVAC heating equipment brands: Carrier and McQuay.
- Preferred HVAC cooling equipment brands: Carrier and McQuay.
- Warehouse equipment: Overhead cranes: Shaw-Box. Forklifts: Hyster. Hand carts: Dayton.
- Amount of equipment inventoried: We inventory equipment purchased for use on specific scheduled projects.
- Other shop equipment used: Coil line fabrication: Iowa Precision Fitting. Fabrication: Vulcan plasma cutter, Roto Die sheet metal brakes, Roper Whitney shears, Lockformer miscellaneous dies and formers.