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Commercial HVAC Contractor of Excellence: Atomatic Mechanical Services

May 31, 2019
A reputation for solving unusual HVAC problems keeps the phones ringing at the office of this Arlington Heights, Ill.-based contractor.

Atomatic Mechanical Services got its start in 1945 in Chicago designing and installing HVAC systems for residential new construction projects. Today, the Arlington Heights, Ill.-based mechanical contractor focuses on commercial construction, with additional divisions in residential, controls and service. Within the commercial space, its expertise lies in large buildings as well as infrastructure and renovation jobs.

A Design/Build contractor, Atomatic’s reputation in the industry is that of a problem-solver for unique commercial HVAC installations, notes Steve Stachorek, PE, Atomatic’s president and CEO. The company accomplishes this with its team of five licensed engineers and a controls group. Atomatic expanded its capabilities in 2013 when it purchased Control Engineering Corp. and uses a variety of control systems for its projects. Specifically, it partners with two control manufacturers, Alerton and Carrier.

Photo shows the leadership team of Arlington Heights, Ill.-based Atomatic Mechanical Services. From left to right: Jim Bartolotta, executive vice president; Nick Lamonto, construction manager; Jack Fitzgerald, executive vice president, construction group; Don Kaslofski, vice president, service sales; Matt Owen, vice president, controls group; Steve Wiet, chief financial officer; Dan Merz, vice president, construction group; Steve Stachorek, PE, president and CEO; Jordan Goldenstein, general manager, residential group; and Diane Moucka, human resources manager.

Atomatic also uses its engineering and design staff as project managers, working with building owners’ representatives to ensure proper installation of the HVAC system. Using building information modeling and prefabrication (piping and sheet metal) in its 23,000-sq.-ft. production facility, Atomatic can condense the construction schedule on a project, Stachorek said, and added, “Our job is to make our customers’ lives easier.”

The union contractor is adept in historic building HVAC retrofits, ferreting out the right solution for structures such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple in Oak Park, Ill. Wright was a believer in using passive heating and cooling methods whenever possible. But in the 21st century, building owners are looking for ways to keep occupants comfortable — and productive — while conserving energy and lowering utility costs.

“Because all HVAC systems had to be hidden from view, creative installation methods and provisions for maintenance required input and flexibility from everyone on the team,” noted Dan Merz, vice president of construction. 

“Fishing PEX tubing through old ventilation tunnels, locating valves strategically below decorative panels and installing slide-out shelves for air-handling units inside old faux columns were just a few of the challenges involved in maintaining the original interior design.”

The new HVAC system was meticulously coordinated to include air handling units (four Carrier and six Daikin), geothermal piping and the refurbishment of the hot water radiators. A Climacool modular chiller and Bell & Gossett pumps rounded out the HVAC strategy.

Another advantage the company has is its culture, notes Jim Bartolotta, Atomatic’s executive vice president. “A few years ago, Steve introduced yearly themes that we incorporate into all aspects of the company,” he said. “For 2019, our theme is ‘Choose Positive.’”

And that’s what Bartolotta likes the most about Atomatic — its values of respect, integrity, quality, positivity and teamwork to ensure clients receive the comfort and energy efficiency they desire. Sharing knowledge among all the divisions keeps employees aware of what is going on within the company — including financials.

“One of our core values is teamwork and I found out rather quickly it was embedded in our culture, not just words on a wall,” he explained. “A great example is our sales meeting, which involves all four of our groups in a very collaborative environment. The meeting is about sharing and utilizing the collective brainpower and experience in the room to develop turnkey solutions for our clients. It eliminates any potential silos and helps build our culture.”

He adds that Atomatic uses the services of Culture Index Inc. to survey its employees on workplace issues. The HVAC firm continually works toward increasing the professional and personal growth of its employees.

Through Atomatic’s Wellness Program, employees have a workout room and a lounge area for relaxation. Nutritious snacks are brought in each day for those who are striving to develop healthier eating habits. Recently they have added a 15-minute “Workout of the Day.” Employees meet in their workout room every morning at 11, where they complete low-intensity activities such as planking or wall-sits. Not only does this help refresh the employees for the rest of the day, but it is also helping to bring them together personally.

“We strive to create an environment where our employees come to work every day and give their best because they want to, never because they have to,” Stachorek said.

The Wellness Program also includes philanthropic and social wellness. The mechanical contractor encourages employees to get involved in community charity work — through time and donations. Not only does Atomatic make direct charitable donations, it also matches contributions to many philanthropic organizations its employees are involved in.

All these attributes combined make Atomatic an employer of choice in the greater Chicago area. Stachorek notes that most workers come to Atomatic through word-of-mouth and employee referrals.

“With every project we do and maintenance we perform, the customer should always know that we will provide a fair price, determine the best solution for them and get the job done on time with the highest quality,” Stachorek said.

About the Author

Kelly L. Faloon | Freelance Writer/Editor

Kelly L. Faloon is a contributing editor and writer to Contracting Business magazine, Contractor and HPAC Engineering. The former editor of Plumbing & Mechanical magazine, Faloon has more than 20 years experience in the plumbing and heating industry. She started a freelance writing and editing business in 2017, where she has a varied clientele.

Faloon spent 3 1/2 years at Supply House Times before joining the Plumbing & Mechanical staff in 2001. Previously, she spent nearly 10 years at CCH/Wolters Kluwer, a publishing firm specializing in business and tax law, where she wore many hats — proofreader, writer/editor for a daily tax publication, and Internal Revenue Code editor.

A native of Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula, Faloon is a journalism graduate of Michigan State University. You can reach her at [email protected].