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GUEST EDITORIAL: Growing Your HVAC Tech Team's Capabilities

Shapiro & Duncan’s corporate culture is driven by an uncompromising commitment to superior performance. People are the center of what we do, and how we treat them is critical. We value our employees’ contributions and foster an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Implementing a culture of employees who are current on best practices, yields repeat business and referrals. 

Shapiro & Duncan fosters a collaborative environment filled with community service days, team building, networking events, friendly competitions, lunch with owners/managers, happy hours, employee discounts, sporting events, annual holiday parties and summer picnics. As a family business, the company promotes work/life balance, team member wellness, social engagement, and community service. Employees are rewarded for years of service and exceptional performance through bonuses, incentives and their “Employee of the Month” recognition program. 


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Highly skilled workforce means work is of superior quality, execution is safer and rework is eliminated.

Education and training isn’t just important, it is the heart of our business. In-house training and courses offered by outside organizations assist employees with their career development and it leads to an increase in their performance. Employees take advantage of tuition reimbursement for degree pursuits at the community colleges and local universities, paid training from safety and skill-specific, paid internships, external training and in-house training through S&D YOUniversity. All employees are required to complete at least three hours of continuing education per year. 

Having the most highly skilled workforce is a distinct advantage—the production is more efficient, the quality is superior, execution is safer and rework is eliminated. All of these combined elements make for a solid company culture that helps keep our retention rate so high: 36 percent of employees have been with the company for over five years and 21 percent over 10 years.

Since 2002, Shapiro & Duncan began the prefabrication of piping assemblies in a 12,000-sq.-ft. leased facility in Beltsville, Md. Success of prefabrication led to the purchase of a 52,000-sq.-ft. building in Landover, to further our path to becoming an industry leader in prefab pipe assemblies.

We make a huge upfront investment of intelligence in the planning, coordination and detailing of every project to ensure project success through this offsite production; we are far more productive in our fab shop working in a safer controlled environment with the best tools and equipment.

Last year, we moved forward with multiple projects that will help Shapiro & Duncan, work more efficiently to provide a better product for our clients. We also added a 4,800-sq-ft. three-sided metal storage building for storing finished prefab assemblies. With rack shelving, we doubled that area’s storage capacity and added the benefit of being under roof.

The prefabrication facility is a shining example of the company’s commitment in future investments.


Inside the shop, a second CNC Plasma Pipe Cutting and Profiling machine was added. This machine doubles our steel line capacity and increases the size range of pipe to 48-in. and down to a 2-in. diameter pipe. The machine cuts and bevels straight, saddle, tee, multi-miter, lateral, multi-saddle, gusset slots, double miter, pipe to cone, bumpers and overlaps. At the end of the line we added 150 feet of rail and another overhead crane for a well-supported assembly finishing area.

The installation of a rooftop solar PV farm is a significant step in Shapiro & Duncan’s commitment to sustainability, and the prefab facility’s goal of be self-sufficient in its electrical supply. The 925 solar modules complete a 302 kW production capacity, which, over the course of a year, will provide power in excess of current consumption reducing our monthly utility bill more than 60% and providing quarterly checks from the SREC broker. The 925 panels feed into a Solar Edge power inversion and monitoring system, which is directly connected to the grid at a new dual direction electrical meter for daytime production exceeding consumption. That excess capacity is fed back into the grid and sold as clean solar energy on the SREC market.

With a 25-year lifetime guaranty with the initial capital investment being recouped in less than six years, taking this step is good business, as a capital investment with a tremendous return, and doing the right thing for the planet by switching from coal power to sun power. As a company, we are looking to push the envelope, to serve the community and leave the world a better place. 

The prefabrication facility is a shining example of the company’s commitment in future investments. As we move forward, we will continue to invest in our people, our processes and our plant to ensure that we are always ready to take the next step.        






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