Crockett Facilities Services, Inc. (CFSI), Bowie, MD, is nearing the end of one chapter in its history, and moving on to another. Established almost a decade ago as an 8(a) woman-owned, Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB), Crockett Facilities Services has become a leading Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) minority business enterprise contractor. Its 200 employees deliver building operations and maintenance, mechanical contracting, heating, and air conditioning services to commercial and government clients.
The “new phase” of its history will begin next year, when the company’s 8(a) status will come to an end, and it will function without any of the benefits of the 8(a) classification. Its President and Chief Executive Officer, Cynthia Crockett, says the company is ready. In fact, it’s been taking on non-8(a) projects since its inception.
“We’re on a firm footing,” Crockett says. “We’ve been bidding on projects and obtaining as much work as we can, and we’ve hired a marketing director so we can obtain more commercial work. We’ve invested a lot in our company through safety, training, and apprenticeships. I see other 8(a) companies that haven’t pursued non-8(a) contracts, and will even try to generate another 8(a) company. They don’t have self-reliance at any time. The 8(a) classification provided us with a great opportunity, but it is not and will not be our sole source of income.”
Crockett and her husband, vice president Mark Crockett, have made a concerted effort to market to commercial companies throughout the company’s first decade, so as not to be dependent on government projects. It will remain a key facet of its business because of its track record and reputation for excellence. Another area is providing energy-efficient solutions, notes Mark Crockett.
"With HVAC representing 35% of all operating costs in a building, making this equipment run more efficiently can positively impact the bottom line," he says.
As a graduate of the College of Law of Catholic University, Cynthia Crockett has brought her understanding of the importance of legal matters and detail management to the hectic world of commercial HVAC contracting, a world where little details mean a lot, especially in areas related to customer service and safety.
“We’ve built lasting relationships with our government and commercial property management companies by embracing our core values of reliability, integrity, safety and service,” Crockett says. “It’s rewarding to be recognized for our beliefs that we uphold every day.”
Crockett believes marketing and communications are keys to success when seeking out new commercial office business, which has become CFSI’s primary target. “Unlike government projects, commercial projects don’t have to go to bid, so our success is based on trust, and on meeting with as many building owners as we possibly can,” she says. “For those prospects who have an in-house mechanical services team, we offer supplemental assistance, and offer our services for system installations and preventive maintenance. If they have an issue in which we can offer help, we will do what we can. It’s about tailoring it to what they need us for."
CFSI is a Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA) STAR®-Qualified contractor. Its technicians maximize operational efficiency and ensure continuous systems operations, helping building owners and property managers control capital expenditures. It’s been listed as a "Top 10" mechanical contractor in the Washington Business Journal, and has won a Blue Ribbon/Small Business Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In 2010, it was named the Small Business Contractor of the Year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
In September, Cynthia Crockett was named to the Baltimore SmartCEO magazine Smart100, a special group of Baltimore business leaders chosen for their leadership, strategic vision, and character.
CFSI has grown through reliability, integrity, safety, and service. “If we say we’re going to do something, we do it, and we do it right the first time,” Crockett emphasizes. “When people contract with us, they’re not going to have to worry whether or not we’re going to do what we say we’ll do. And, on that awful chance that we’ve done the work and there’s something that needs attention we fix it, at our cost. We own it, and want to deliver 100% satisfaction.”
The firm’s local activity includes regular community service. It has provided support for the USO, donated backpacks filled with school supplies to school children in Prince George’s County, and has supported Project Linus, which provides love, a sense of security, warmth, and comfort to children who are seriously ill. Cynthia
Crockett has also taken the initiative to obtain more leadership training from professional associations. “My goal is to become a better owner, and find ways to make the company thrive," she claims. "I expect our employees to look right, act right, do the job right. That’s what people want. They want professional service, and that’s what we provide them,” she says.
Comprehensive Safety Program
CFSI has a first-class safety program. With the help of operations manager Joe O’Neil, the team drafted a program with well-defined safety roles and responsibilities. Corporate personnel communicate the goal of zero lost man-hours, and has implemented a meaningful and measurable safety plan committed to instructing all employees in safe work practices. Safety and health rewards programs are also designed at the corporate level.
“Employee buy-in depends on how well the company executives promote the safety environment,” O’Neil says. “If the president doesn’t promote the safety atmosphere, the troops won’t buy it. We at Crockett developed our safety plan from the top down. We have the full support from the owners with the development and implementation. They support the program with our employee safety awards and by purchasing the latest safety equipment and gear. The employees see that, so they too make it important in their own job," he says. Employees are tested on a safety topic every month through an online "ESafety" program. Results are reviewed by managers.
“It’s so important that we follow safe practices,” Crockett says. “It makes sense to be safe, and to be certain our employees avoid injuries to themselves and others.”