Excelling at HVAC and Custom Architectural Metals

Johansen Mechanical
Written by Jen Hocken

Located in Woodinville, Washington in close proximity to Seattle, Johansen Mechanical, Inc. (JMI) was founded in 1983 by Allen Johansen as a sheet metal and HVAC construction company. Today the company is a second generation, family-owned and operated business, and one of the few companies in the Seattle area to provide architectural and custom sheet metal.
This unique skill set gives JMI the ability to design, fabricate, and install products for the entire building. JMI is a member of SMACNA Western Washington, and signatory to Sheet Metal Workers Local 66 in Everett WA.

JMI builds and maintains personal relationships with its customers and receives a high amount of repeat business as a result of its exceptional service and high quality work. It has developed a reputation within the competitive construction market for its reliability and integrity by training its employees to put the customer first. JMI follows through with its claims; for example, it always prioritizes warranty issues to ensure they are handled properly, and the owner is taken care of.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, JMI completed an impressive project wherein it was required to fabricate roughly 100,000 pounds of welded stainless steel ductwork for clean room applications, in a short time frame. When welding ductwork, there is no margin for error and precise accuracy is needed, which is an area of expertise for JMI. The shop crew was up for the challenge, stepping up to work a lot of overtime and weekends to meet the tight schedule demands.

The Seattle region is rich with wineries and craft breweries and JMI is currently on the design phase on a distillery project in Centralia, WA on tribal land called Eagle One that will bring great opportunity for growth and economic development to the region. The old Olympia Brewery in Tumwater, WA closed in 1982 and today the area is being renovated with the help of JMI into a new community driven space, the “Craft District”. This will include a distillery and brewery, pubs, shops, and eventually, an outdoor amphitheater that will hold up to 1000 people. The first of five planned buildings recently broke ground and by fast tracking the project, it is expected to be complete in 18 to 24 months.

JMI works in both the public and private sectors and it has experience in a variety of markets. The company has completed numerous commercial private projects (high end grocery stores, churches, banks, medical facilities, private schools, and manufacturing facilities), and its public works include high schools, elementary schools, Bellevue College, the University of Washington, Fire Stations, Naval Station Everett & Whidbey Island, Bellevue City Hall, and more. At the end of last year, JMI completed its work on the new SR 99 Tunnel in Seattle, which involved the construction of the maintenance buildings on each end of the tunnel. Other notable projects JMI has worked on include the Space Needle, King Street Station, the Port of Seattle, Tacoma Dome, CenturyLink Field, and T Mobile Park (Formerly Safeco Field). At the end of the project, JMI offers a maintenance contract for customers that do not already have an in-house maintenance program.

The architectural metals division of the company produced a record-breaking year in 2018 for revenue, and JMI is planning to keep that momentum going with further growth this year. JMI is working to spread the word about its quality architectural metal products because it finds that many people are unaware of its total product offering, possibly as a result of the word mechanical in the company name.

A unique project currently in production is several outdoor planter boxes, the largest section being a 90’ long x 25’ wide x 2’ tall fabricated out of ½” plate corten steel. The three separate planter box sections will weigh close to 18,000 pounds, and will be hoisted by crane and installed in a patio space on the roof of a commercial Seattle office building, with a great view of the City and the Puget Sound.

“We have to inform the general contractors that we haven’t worked with before that we can do architectural metals as well because it’s not something that’s in our name. It’s an educational process,” says Keith Johansen, President of Johansen Mechanical. Over the years, JMI has worked with many of the general contractors in the Seattle area, providing them with custom metals, because it is a niche market and unlike HVAC companies, there are only a small handful of companies in the area that offer this specialized service.

JMI recently installed Mitsubishi split system heat pumps in the six custom and rentable treehouses at TreeHouse Point in Fall City, WA. The retreat was founded by Pete Nelson, who is the host of the Animal Planet television show “Treehouse Masters.” Pete and his crew at Nelson Treehouse and Supply designed and built all the treehouses at TreeHouse Point. In addition to overnight stays, TreeHouse Point hosts weddings, elopements, tours, and other events. Learn more at treehousepoint.com.

Multiple times, JMI has been called in due to an owner being unsatisfied with the quality of an existing project underway with a different company. “This is welded stainless that we have to grind and re-weld and finish so it looks like they expected it to look. It’s definitely a specialized market and it’s not part of the contract where you want to have the cheapest price – it’s more about quality,” explains Derek Holm, Vice President of JMI.

The company of approximately 70 employees recently added three new members to the team: two project managers and one project engineer. JMI has always been headquartered north of Seattle in Woodinville, WA and completes a good amount of work south of Seattle in Tacoma and down to Olympia. The traffic on the I-5 corridor between Everett and Olympia is congested, which is also inconvenient for the employees that live further south, and for this reason JMI made the logical decision in January to open a satellite office for those employees to operate from. The small satellite office is strategically located just north of Tacoma, and has three offices and a warehouse of roughly two thousand square feet.

To overcome the labor challenge in the industry, JMI networks with other contractors and companies within its union, and also the business agents at Local 66. This can help when working on a large project that requires extra hands; in kind, it also provides help to other union contractors when the situation is reversed.

Committed to its community, JMI supports numerous charitable organizations and events in the area. One of these organizations is the 30/30 Project, which was founded by Julie Lewis, the mother of Ryan Lewis of Macklemore. Their mission is to bring access to quality, affordable healthcare to those most in need, and the five-year goal was to raise enough funds to build 30 medical facilities around the world. A group of employees from JMI recently attended their final fundraising event, hosted by the foundation, that featured performances by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

Another charity JMI recently became involved with is the RAVE Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the MLS professional soccer club Seattle Sounders FC. RAVE’s mission is to build small fields for free play, and invest in programs that use soccer as a vehicle to inspire youth and strengthen communities. Another one of RAVE’s goals is to provide 100,000 soccer balls to kids in need with sponsorship dollars, matching funds, and volunteer hours.

“Growing up playing soccer competitively, I feel this is a very important program to support, as it helps kids to get involved with all the benefits that come from playing a team sport like soccer,” says Keith.

JMI is also regularly involved with the local Snohomish County Boys and Girls Club auctions, donating fishing trips, hockey tickets, and other quality prizes that raise a significant amount of money. Construction for Change is another non-profit JMI supports, and for the May 18th 2019 fundraising auction, the company is donating two pitch-side Sounders tickets and a fishing trip for two to SR Lodge in Craig, Alaska.

In its work, JMI keeps up with the latest technology and tools in this rapidly evolving industry to stay at the leading edge and maintain its position as a useful resource to customers. For example, the company uses specialized metal working technology that integrates with its CAD software for mass production, and it was one of the first companies to invest into the use of Revit MEP software and Building Information Modeling (BIM).

The safety of the company’s employees, customers, guests, the public, and the environment is of paramount importance to JMI. Each employee starts out with 10- or 30-hour OSHA training provided by the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC Apprenticeship program and also participates in JMI’s own personal safety and risk management orientation to understand safety roles specific to the company’s operations.

For its efforts, the Associated General Contractors (AGC) organization recognizes JMI as an AGC Safety Team member, which means that it passes an annual safety audit that reviews job site safety policies and procedures. The checklist for the audit has over 200 different standards that must be met. The AGC also has a safety incentive-based Group Retro Program that requires a more detailed audit of safety records and once a company is approved, it receives a rebate based on its safety EMR numbers as well as minimizing claim costs.

“The goal is to have accident claim costs minimized – no major injuries or time loss that drives the L&I cost up – and based on how you do as a company, you’ll get a rebate back on your premium that you paid in. We’ve been averaging a 41 percent rebate over the past five years of our premium based on our reduced losses,” says Derek.

With the high amount of competition in the HVAC industry, JMI strives to differentiate itself by promoting its high quality customer service that leads to repeat business and collaborative partnerships. Of course, it is not possible for every single project to run perfectly without any obstacles and during these challenging occasions, JMI demonstrates an ability to solve problems and prioritize customer satisfaction. By following through with maintenance contracts and warranty claims after the work is complete, the company proves that its commitment to the customer does not end after the project.

Looking to the future, Keith Johansen and several others with a passion for fishing decided to purchase a fishing lodge in the small town of Craig (located in South East Alaska) in May of 2018. The goal is to be able to use SR Lodge for select customers and others that wish to experience the amazing fishing and scenery in this remote and beautiful part of Alaska. “Fishing for salmon and halibut in the Craig area is ranked as one of the top locations in the world, and it’s an amazing experience if you like the outdoors. This coming summer season will be our first full year of operation, and the lodge (with two boats) is booked from June 1st to early September,” says Keith. The lodge is a great marketing venture and it is just one of the many potential benefits of working for, or with, Johansen Mechanical.

After being located in Woodinville for the entire life of its business, JMI recently made an offer on a 24,000 square foot warehouse building and close to four acres of property in Monroe, WA, 10 miles north of the current location in Woodinville. The offer was accepted, and the process is moving forward in the feasibility study phase. “We are really maxed out at our current location, and have been for a while. We are excited about the future opportunities with the increased warehouse size and additional storage capacity. This new facility will allow us to grow selectively and conservatively, based on the current market conditions,” says Keith.

For additional information on JMI, visit www.johansenmech.com. For additional info on SR Lodge in Craig, Alaska, visit www.SRLodge.com.



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