Commercial HVAC Contractor of Excellence: Haller Enterprises

Haller Enterprises walks the walk of integrity, innovation, safety, teamwork and commitment to employee development.

Founded in 1981 by J. Richard Haller, Haller Enterprises has established a secure foothold in the South Central and Eastern Pennsylvania residential and commercial markets. Haller’s commercial team specializes in the service, replacement and installation of HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems in professional, senior living, hospitality, multifamily and religious buildings. This article describes its commercial activity.

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Positivity in All Relationships
The most successful commercial mechanical contracting firms build and maintain positive relationships with employees, customers and the communities in which they work and live. Haller achieves this by providing its customers with service and solutions that exceed their expectations. 

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President Aaron Becker: “At Haller, we want to create a culture that attracts and retains the best employees,” Becker said. “We do this by offering competitive benefits, increasing employee communication with their manager, recognizing employees for good work and by offering career development.” 

“This is made possible by implementing new technology, focusing on safety, paying attention to detail and by completing jobs on time,” said President Aaron Becker.

Technology Intensive
Haller teams seek to employ the newest technologies on its commercial projects whenever possible, for increased efficiency, accuracy and customer satisfaction One of these is XOI videos. XOI is a video that the technician sends to the customer before they begin a job to explain the work they will be doing and after a job is complete to show the results. Augmented reality is another tool our design and install teams use to increase accuracy. 

The most successful commercial mechanical contracting firms build and maintain positive relationships with employees, customers and the communities in which they work and live. Haller achieves this by providing its customers with service and solutions that exceed their expectations. 

“This technology allows our team to design and make changes to a building on a 3D computer model that can be viewed in augmented reality by the installation team on location using their smart device,” Becker explained. 

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“Another device our team uses is a Robotic Total Station. This device measures the distance and angle from a fixed control point to determine layout for construction. Total Stations use lasers to accurately locate points. Because of this the accuracy can be within 1/16th of an inch. This saves our installers time and increases accuracy in the field.”

Team Building for Today and Tomorrow
“At Haller, we want to create a culture that attracts and retains the best employees,” Becker said. “We do this by offering competitive benefits, increasing employee communication with their manager, recognizing employees for good work and by offering career development.” 

Haller Enterprises offers competitive pay, vacation time, 401K matching and insurance programs to benefit all our employees. And while many companies complete yearly employee reviews, Haller has implemented a quarterly review process to increase communication between managers and employees. A morale boosting program — “Values in Action” — is a platform for employees to nominate coworkers they see living out any of Haller Enterprises seven key values: Integrity, Innovation, Safety, Excellence, Empowerment, Teamwork and Customer Focus. All nominated employees receive a signed letter of appreciation from Haller’s Founder and Chairman, Rick Haller, and Aaron Becker. 

In the fall of 2018, Haller Enterprises opened HallerU, a training center dedicated to the development of new and current Haller employees. 

Thrives on New Challenges
A recently completed project that provides an example of Haller Enterprises commercial expertise, is Listrak Corporate headquarters — a 93,000 sq.ft. single occupied facility on a 27-acre parcel in Lititz, Pa. 

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Interior of an office area of Listrak corporate headquarters.

“When we began the Design/Build of the electrical systems at this new world headquarters, it was important to understand the complexity of their business. Fully invested in the digital marketing world, they are highly dependent on data cabling for both communication and product development,” Becker explained. “This aspect, as well as the open concept office space challenged our team to come up with solutions that could meet the technical requirements needed and design the owner envisioned.”

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Photo shows detail related to conduit and data wire that was run under the slab.

The solution devised by the Haller team was to run 51,800 feet of conduit along with CAT 6 data wire under the slab, which concealed all wiring, and left the building looking clean and open. Becker provided some specifics:

“Internet marketing is a 24-hour business. To support this, we provided emergency power to key areas of the building by using a 150 KW exterior gas fired generator. In addition, a 50KW UPS with capabilities to upgrade to 100KW powers the head end IT equipment,” Becker said. 

“As is often the case in construction projects of this size, there were delays due to weather and steel erection, which crunched our rough-in time. However, because Haller was fortunate to provide all MEP services on this project, we were able to work with our multi-dimensional team and provide additional labor, successfully staying on schedule.”

Howard Kramer, co-founder and chief operating officer of Listrak had this to say about Haller's work: "Haller Enterprises' design team met with us early in the project to design MEP systems that were creative and efficient. Once the project began, Haller's different trade Foremen worked as a team to coordinate work and maintain schedules, while adhereing to the safety rules and regulations of the project. The open concept design required Haller to run miles of CAT 6 wire as well as underground conduit and to get creative with the installation of metal ductwork so as not to compromise the aesthetics of the building. 

"From the design team, to project management to install, they maintained a consistent high level of professionalism and innovation throughout the project. Even after the project completed, Hailer has maintained a high level of Service and is committed to serving our facility for years to come. I would recommend Hailer Enterprises for all your MEP System needs and look forward to a continued relationship with the Team."

HALLER ENTERPRISES 
Founded: 1981, by J. Richard Haller
Employees: 388
Project types: Residential & Commercial
Geographic Outreach: South Central, Eastern
   Pennsylvania
Commercial Strengths: Service, replacement and installation of HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems in professional, senior living, hospitality, multifamily and religious buildings.

Management Team
Richard Haller: Chairman
Austin Haller: President, Schedule Engine
Aaron Becker: President, Haller Enterprises
Edward McFarlane: Vice President, Learning & Development
Matthew Caplinger: Senior Project Manager
Kevin Weaver: Vice President, Operations
Kenneth Rogers: General Manager, Residential Service Group Operations
Leslie Cloonan: Director, Sales & Marketing
Kenneth Walton: Vice President, Commercial Design and Sales
Mark Weaver: Chief Financial Officer
Joshua Landis, Director, Information Technology
Orla Wentzel: Director, Human Resources
Joel Charles: Director, Continuous Improvement

Eddie McFarlane: To Train, First Understand the Technician's Journey
Eddie McFarlane, vice president of Learning & Development for Haller Enterprises, is committed to the training of mechanical contracting technicians in a way not often seen around the industry. He views field teams — both rookies and veterans alike — as people first, people with interests and strengths — who are eager to contribute as they grow in knowledge and ability. He joined the Haller team in 2005, after five years with a residential contracting business in Lancaster, Pa. He was born in Stirling, Scotland, where he had trained and worked as a professional chef. He moved to America shortly after he met his wife-to-be, Wanda, who was visiting Scotland on a missions trip. They have a son and daughter, both in their teen years.

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Eddie McFarlane: 'When we look at ways to enrich employees lives, the best way we can do that is to help them in their jobs, make their jobs easier, listen, and provide continuous improvement initiatives.'

McFarlane has been with Haller Enterprises through many of its very formative years. He was instrumental in forming and growing a residential sales team, followed by a stint as technician training leader. He developed processes for the commercial B2B service and replacement division, and estblished marketing processes. He calls himself “the company junk drawer,” but he has truly served in special and significant ways.    

“When we decided to focus on an area, somebody had to tackle the training,” he said, and he gladly accepted the role.

The Learning & Development division was based on the leadership team’s belief in investing in an all-important “team.” 

Eddie McFarlane: 'When we look at ways to enrich employees' lives, the best way we can do that is to help them in their jobs, make their jobs easier, listen, and provide continuous improvement initiatives.'   

 

“It’s an extension of our mission – ‘to enrich the lives of employees, customers and the communities we serve.’  When we look at ways to enrich employees' lives, the best way we can do that is to help them in their jobs, make their jobs easier, listen, and provide continuous improvement initiatives,” McFarlane said. There are, of course, some non-negotiable processes that must be followed, but beyond those processes there’s an intentional bias toward giving heed to employee ideas, and their requests for new types of learning.   

“I could put together any type of curriculum, but the best way to be successful is to have them suggest topics,” McFarlane said.

McFarlane is pleased that HallerU has finally become a reality. In May it graduated its first electrical class. 

The school has functioning HVAC, plumbing and electrical simulators in the building next door to Haller’s main office.

As Haller Enterprises, and any number of competitors face the challenge of finding new talent, McFarlane wants students to know there are interesting and diverse career paths across all the trades, and he also wants to hear what they have to say. 

“I’m going to be visiting Thaddeus Stevens Technical College later today, to listen to the students, to understand their perspectives on careers. We attend career fairs, and we visit local elementary schools once each year. You have to get them interested in the trades early. High school is almost too late.”

McFarlane’s concern for the student as a person is reflected in the way he views even the most basic training class: “Respect the student for where they’re at in the journey. Instructors need to speak the students’ language, not just spout off an answer and look puzzled when they don’t understand something. We need to ask them where they’re at knowledge-wise, what do they know and don’t know.” As for growing the industry’s employee pool, he wants experienced technicians to tell everyone they can about the profession. “We’ve abdicated the responsibility for talking about our trade to other parties,” he said

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