For over eighty years, Reiner Group Inc. has been installing and maintaining commercial and residential heating and air conditioning systems to keep customers comfortable. The comprehensive heating and air conditioning contractor also performs related engineering, electrical and plumbing work to support its HVAC projects. We spoke with Vice President Tony Gasparovich to learn more.
With a strong focus on quality and customer service, the company has generated a tremendous amount of loyalty over its many years in business. “We have been in business for eighty years, and a lot of our customers are those for whom we have replaced equipment we had installed twenty-five years ago,” shares Gasparovich.
Reiner has been a Lennox dealer since 1995, and prior to that, a long time Carrier dealer. “Over the last twenty years, we have moved most of our residential business to the Lennox product line,” says Gasparovich. “We have proven to be a knowledgeable, honest, thorough contracting company,” and these values have been recognized and awarded in the broader industry.
Dave Lennox Awards, for example, go to only the top twenty-five of the ten thousand dealers in North America, and Reiner has won this award for about a dozen years running; the company has recently found out that it won again for 2015.
Reiner qualifies for awards for both the commercial and residential sides of the business. “From a Lennox perspective, they say if Reiner wins it on the commercial side, we are essentially disqualified from the residential, because you don’t need someone to show off and win it twice, but we could!” says Gasparovich.
On the leading edge
In Reiner’s field, companies must continually evolve and adapt; yet keeping up with changes in technology and regulations is not always simple. To remain current, Reiner has taken some of its top service technicians from the field and transformed them into classroom instructors. “Those people in the Reiner organization not only get typical on the job training but also extensive classroom training for different aspects of the trade,” explains Gasparovich. “There is also safety training, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) ten compliant, scissor lift, crane rigging and ladder safety classes.” Reiner itself actually contacts OSHA to request audits. “That shows how far we go in terms of safety and training.” Employees are trained in diverse areas such as brazing, wiring, troubleshooting, and proper installation techniques.
In addition, US Department of Energy legislation requires that residential air conditioning systems manufactured after 2005 have a minimum SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) efficiency rating of 13. Reiner systems go up to 25 SEER, which far exceeds the requirements and is much more efficient than the equipment that used to be installed twenty years ago when 10 SEER was the standard.
As a complement to its New Jersey operations, Reiner also owns a business in Middletown, New York called CR Wolfe Heating Corporation, acquired in 2003. Currently, it deals with commercial and residential projects. It is a small operation that boasts many of the same attributes as its parent company, and Reiner is using its expertise to help expand that business with its engineering aptitude.
Mr. Gasparovich believes that having a family-focused culture is the main reason for the retention of its employees; in some cases, employees have been with the company over thirty years. “We have, within our organization, two sets of three brothers, and several of them have all their family members who work for the business… our greatest method of hiring new people is through word of mouth. We don’t do want ads. When people hear that we are looking for another service technician or salesperson, they are knocking on our door. We treat our people well. We want our employees treated as well as we treat our kids.”
The company was founded by William Reiner in 1934 and two partners then took over from the Reiner family in the mid-sixties. One of those partners was the grandfather of Andrew Hulsebos, Technical Engineer for the company today. There have been several instances when Andrew himself has been tasked with replacing the HVAC equipment his grandfather designed or installed decades prior – a true shining example of the company’s emphasis on family values, longevity and customer loyalty.
“We have very competent, highly skilled, highly loyal long-term employees,” he says. “To give you an idea of how full-service we are, we have our own sheet metal shop where we make the vast majority of the sheet metal that we install on any job. We design it, measure it and fabricate it before it is installed by our people.”
Able to perform to the highest of standards, Reiner conducts work for the military and recently performed a very challenging job within the Picatinny Arsenal. Reiner has retrofitted weapons systems test chambers that can cool down to extreme lows and heat to extreme highs, in order to simulate the extremes of the poles and the hottest of deserts.
This type of application is “by far a specialty thing, and along those same lines we did the design work, installed and then serviced the installation the installation of complete HVAC system for a building whose sole objective was to test explode munitions. If you make a mistake, ‘BOOM!’ takes on a whole new meaning!” says Gasparovich.
Air cannot be recycled in buildings such as this because it may retain some of the chemical components of explosive materials; it must be completely outside air. It cannot be too dry because static electricity could cause something to explode. It must be treated for temperature, air quality and moisture – not only for safety but to ensure that laboratory experiments are reproducible. It is difficult and crucial work, and Reiner does it well.
Up for a challenge
Reiner is confident in its ability to find a solution to any HVAC problem, and being challenged drives Mr. Gasparovich and his team. “I’d be lying to you if I said that doing the same old-same old is something that wakes us up in the morning. You want to be energized and challenged. Innovation is the thing that makes us excited, along with creativity.”
For Reiner, the question of expansion is one that is carefully considered. Growth must not preclude the delivery of the same level of professionalism and service. Tony Gasparovich lives by a quote from heavy-machinery shipper Skelton Tomkinson: “Volume is vanity and profit is sanity.” He wants the company to not only grow, but grow positively.
To this end, Reiner does not measure itself in terms of how much more it sold this year as opposed to last. “We look at our strengths and what we have done with profitability, what we’ve done for our employees and our customers. That is the measure by which we see success or failure on a year to year basis.”