When it comes to the functionality of buildings, Matern Professional Engineering, Inc. knows just how to put its clients’ comfort first. This 35-year-old industry professional takes care of everything related to the design and engineering of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection building systems, while also looking after the commissioning, the technology that drives it all, and much more. It comes as no surprise then that the company is growing.
Matern Professional Engineering operates from offices throughout Florida, in Orlando/Maitland, Fort Myers, and Tampa. It is by no means restricted to this region, however. The company is also licensed to work in Georgia, Alabama, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, where it typically works on existing clients’ properties or those of the federal government. While aviation, commercial, and educational facilities are some of its traditional areas of expertise, it has seen significant growth in its federal government and healthcare fields.
“While we remain focused on the Southeast United States, our new General Services Administration 03FAC schedule for energy and commissioning projects affords us the opportunity to work wherever a client hires us; the contract is international for any federal agency buyer,” says Senior Vice President Ryan Strandquest.
Another area of growth is healthcare in which the company performs generator additions, air handling unit and medical gas system replacements as well as domestic water heat exchanger and piping replacements in medical facilities like hospitals, MOBs and clinics. Thus far, the firm has been commissioned to work on five AdventHealth facilities as well as the Nemours children’s care clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
It is not only the wellbeing of its clients’ patients and customers with which the firm is concerned. Meaningful relationships drive growth, and the results speak for themselves. The company has a ninety-one percent repeat clientele rate and a fifty-six percent win rate, in an industry with a win rate median estimated between thirty-seven and forty-four percent.
Matern Professional Engineering, Inc. prides itself on seriously considering the philosophies of clients’ organizations and carefully incorporating these into every design. Its commitment to quality customer relations and service delivery has resulted in an impressive customer base with dozens of continuing service contracts with numerous government entities, property owners, architects, and contractors.
The company collaborates with its partners throughout the State of Florida and beyond, providing expert engineering at every level of design. Without it systems, buildings are decidedly uncomfortable at best and uninhabitable at worst.
“Without building systems, you would not have lighting, heating/cooling, running water, Internet, or alerts [and] protection from fires. Our energy and commissioning engineers evaluate the health of these systems and report if they are operating as intended or if there are any energy conservation measures that can be taken. Our systems are what make buildings function,” says Director of Marketing and Business Development Erica Shay.
It is not just the return on customers’ and taxpayers’ investments in these systems that are important. Its can-do approach to everything it does is just one of the reasons the company retains repeat business. Providing energy-efficient solutions and strictly adhering to industry codes and standards are just some examples of how this dedicated firm helps ensure that its clients enjoy long-term savings on both up-front charges and maintenance.
“Our number one priority is protecting the owner’s interests through thorough design and construction methods, ensuring that the product they receive is as they intended,” says Ryan.
The company takes project management very seriously and is structured to offer customers support across all their operations. This eases communication and minimizes downtime, saving time and money. Teams are divided into the aviation, commercial, commissioning and energy, education, and special projects departments.
The aviation division serves airport terminals, hangars, baggage, and ticket areas, while the commercial division serves a host of municipal and federal projects that include correctional services, emergency operations, administration spaces, barracks, recreational, community and convention centers.
The commissioning and energy department is charged with performing system evaluations of both existing buildings and new, environmentally-friendly structures that require Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications. The education division serves elementary, secondary, higher education, and private school clients’ properties. Lastly, its special projects division deals with unique challenges or technologically-advanced projects.
Highly-trained staff members hold many industry-relevant licenses, and learning is an ongoing process. The firm recently augmented its internal training to include staff training on three-dimensional (3D) modeling software (REVIT). It also has training for future project managers, giving them solid foundations from which to draw when working in the field.
Its stable growth and approach to business have nurtured a healthy staff retention rate. It currently has sixty-six industry experts and is looking to recruit several new candidates. Lucky appointees are set to join a progressive workplace where taking time to unwind and getting to know one another is part of team building. Perks include health benefits, 401k plans, vacation, sick time, annual bonuses, and profit sharing.
“Enhancing the development of our staff is paramount to the success of the firm. We invest in our staff through team-building events and training, but we also have fun together. This supports camaraderie when deadline pressures peak. We have Friday afternoon gatherings at the office with ping pong tournaments, food, and socializing, Friday morning breakfast, birthday lunches, company picnics, holiday luncheons,” says Erica.
Ryan is particularly proud of the company’s fresh approach to engineering. “I believe that we have brought an ‘outside-the-box’ approach to some of the design and internal staffing needs of the firm. We have grown from ‘electrical only’ to providing consulting engineering in six to seven different engineering disciplines,” he says.
These ideals have played an important role in the firm since it was established in1984 by Douglas P. Matern after he obtained his degree in electrical engineering from the University of Central Florida. Mr. Matern spent the next three decades building a company renowned for excellent service and industry knowledge. The company continued to grow, and in 2013, three of the company’s senior executives, Ryan Strandquest, Adrian Baus, and Judy D’Angelo bought 12.5 percent of Mr. Matern’s shares in the company.
Matern Professional Engineering, Inc. sees every challenge as an opportunity for success, and there has been much recognition for its work over the years. Like when it was acknowledged as a top engineering firm by the Orlando Business Journal in 2013. In the same year, it was also rewarded by its closest partner of thirty-four years, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, as the business advocate of the year for its work on the Orlando International Airport, and the list goes on. Over ten of its projects for Orlando International Airport Terminal and schools throughout the region won awards of excellence during 2017 and 2018. In 2018 the firm made the Engineering News-Record’s Top Southeast Design Firm list.
While every project is unique, there are always those that stand out. One of these is the design for the largest hybrid geothermal cooling systems in the State of Florida for Volusia County Schools. This installation will save more than $3.2 million over its twenty-year lifecycle and have significant water savings. In fact, its thermal energy storage or ice storage systems have earned local school districts and municipalities $5.5 million in energy rebates to date.
Another large project that demonstrates the company’s capabilities was the design of the very first combined heat and power plant, also known as a cogeneration plant, at University of Central Florida’s main campus. This plant captures unused energy from the turbine, diverting it to the campus’ cooling system, supplying users with an estimated one thousand tons of cooled water. This makes for over thirty percent cleaner electricity, and the system is believed to produce massive savings of around $2.5 million annually.
Apart from service, innovation and quality, the company is also committed to giving back to its communities. It even gives its employees paid time off to allow them to contribute to the wellbeing of their favorite causes, and its 2018 list alone has nearly twenty organizations that have benefitted from this initiative. Everyone pitches in. Ryan is personally involved with the Pathways Drop-In Center, a daytime shelter for homeless people with mental disabilities. The company contributes time and money to a number of charities and also donated facility designs to a number of non-profit organizations in need.
The company’s vision is primarily to carry forward Doug Matern’s legacy of family values and innovation. In May 2019, Ryan became President of Matern – focusing on the day to day operations as Doug transitioned to CEO. Ryan is committed to continuing quality engineering and service. “We are also refocusing on our core values. Internal staff and client staff have changed, so we felt this was a good time to reintroduce these values,” says Ryan.
But, it will not be all work and no play. Its thirty-fifth-anniversary celebrations are set to be the perfect opportunity to treat clients to an office party, while a company retreat awaits its staff and their families to celebrate this great accomplishment. “Our employees work hard, and we enjoy our time together in and out of the office. Matern is not just a workplace; it is also a place where friends are made for a lifetime. This is one of the unique qualities of the firm. This translates to our clients and helps us stay successful,” says Ryan.