Any company can claim to be important, but Polk Mechanical has the credentials to prove it
A passion for partnerships and performance is elevating Polk Mechanical to peak success, and that’s entirely by design. The Grand Prairie, Texas-based construction firm is intentionally structured to be everything a great partner can be: reliable, trustworthy, open, and devoted. Devotion isn’t too strong a word to describe the way the company attends to their clients; to Polk, they are customers for life — because in their way of thinking, that’s how life should be.
Upon purchasing the Texas division of Encompass Construction in a 2003 bankruptcy sale, Ken Polk built the foundation that focused on service, perseverance, and the vision to overcome challenges. Under the leadership of President/CEO Fran McCann and COO Yancey Jones, Polk has soared to a $160 million enterprise with offices in Dallas and Houston and an employee base of 600 and counting. Under their leadership and mentorship, Chris Luberoff and the Polk Houston team have become their most recent success story. In 2019-20, in one of the worst economies in modern history, Polk Houston saw revenue skyrocket from $9 million to $18 million. While that kind of success can be attributed to their proven skill and reputation, it is also a testament to the strength of the team known as Polk Nation.
“Culture is what’s behind that growth,” said Chris Luberoff, VP of the firm’s Houston construction division. “We’re a team. It’s not just one of us, it’s all of us.”
In combining expertise, creativity, and a partnership mindset, Polk has become the player to beat in the commercial and industrial construction sector. On the commercial side, Polk creates the infrastructure that’s the beating heart of healthcare facilities, telecommunications firms, houses of worship, data centers, higher education campuses, and retail operations, to name a few. From HVAC, plumbing, and refrigeration to sheet metal, Polk helps organizations of all kinds meet the challenges of growth and change.
Polk rises to the most complex challenges of their industrial and manufacturing clients, including new construction to decommissioning projects and everything in between. From piping manufacture to millwork, and from foundation work to fabricating and erecting specialty orbital welded piping systems, Polk can solve the most confounding problems. Some of the world’s largest, most influential players lean on Polk for that reason, including Marathon Oil, FedEx, Amazon, and HEB Grocery Stores.
Polk takes great pride in their Safety Division setting safety as the top priority of their business. Over the years, Polk has been a leader in the construction industry acknowledged on both the local and national level. Winners of the 2020 AGC Construction Safety Excellence Awards for leadership in specialty construction, Polk held an enviable record of 2 million manhours without a recordable incident. “We want to make sure everybody goes home the way they came to work, and we take pride in that,” Luberoff said. A new safety initiative brings leadership and field management together for bimonthly virtual safety meeting. “We're meeting as a company from the president to the foreman, including supervisors, project managers, group managers, sales and preconstruction, every one of us plays a role in keeping safety the priority and we believe it is important that our team hears the same heartfelt message and also is called on to participate in the function of the team.”
The service division, which encompasses Polk’s maintenance, brings highly experienced technicians to bear on virtually every mechanical issue that may arise throughout every area within a building’s system. They offer HVAC, plumbing, retrofit, and environmental services, and offer 24/7 on demand and emergency services. In addition, they work closely with the New Construction Division to provide value to owners after construction is complete. “We see it as added value to our customers and owners, who better to carry a service contract on a building than the company who installed the equipment,” Luberoff said.
Core principles at work
Take a look at the company’s logo, and beneath the Polk name you’ll see these words: What we do is important. Braggadocious? Hardly. That’s just truth-telling. The responsibility of making sure that the actual guts of what makes life work do so reliably, such as keeping hospitals running and industrial plants operating, is a formidable undertaking, and it all comes down to keeping people safe.
Every partnership and every project is rooted in Polk’s core principles. A willingness to do the right thing for customers may sometimes have a financial impact on the business, for example, but delivering the right services at the right time outweighs that risk. Their approaches to performance, dependability, and safety are central as well, but perhaps the most ambitious of the company’s ideologies is to create customers for life.
Polk’s Director of Business Development, Corey Morehouse, and Ryan Fort, who directs preconstruction, are at the front of the line bringing in new customers, but they don’t stay there. “In our industry, the people who are running the project, project managers, project executives, people who are out there in the job site trailers are the ones making the decision on the next job,” Morehouse said.
While engagement and smoothing the occasional choppy waters are part of the job, so is staying fixed on long-term relationships. “We make sure that we’re handling each issue as if it's one small issue of a lifetime of projects, not just focused on that one moment in time that could bend a relationship one way or the other,” Morehouse added. “Ryan and I are the first look customers get of our internal operations. What we show them and how well we work together sets their expectations for how we will collaborate and work as a team, as well as their expectations for our field crews on the job site.”
Fort said an open dialogue is paramount. “We focus from the top all the way to the field on keeping open lines of communication with our customers, not just between like-minded people but also in upper levels. That way, leadership will become cheerleaders for us when the next opportunity comes up.”
When the pandemic whacked the nation’s expectations into uncertainty, that ability to stay focused along the clear sightlines of their business objectives and their ability to respond efficiently to rapid shifts brought calm to chaos. Morehouse also credits Luberoff’s dedication to culture as a part of Polk’s COVID success story: “We attribute much of our success to the mindset that each individual plays a role that is critically important in our pursuit, but it is the function of the entire team that allows us to surpass our own expectation.”
“What Chris brought was a sense of family and belonging to something bigger,” Morehouse explained. “As we really solidified the family culture COVID hit, during that time Polk Mechanical was an additional family to lean on and allowed us to absorb that stress together.” At every level of interaction, Polk Nation remained cool and steadfast. “That type of unity and cohesiveness inside the office made its way into our field and all the way into our customers’ offices.”
Polk was in the middle of a brand refresh when the virus intervened, and rather than waiting for the storm to pass, Polk Houston seized the opportunity. As Morehouse put it, “Coming out of this, people are looking for something fresh and new. They don't want to be dealing with business as usual, and I think those factors have and are continuing to play into our progressive growth.” Polk brings that new look to Houston, adding experience to the team in the project manager roles, as well as strong experience and proven leadership being added to the field supervisor roles. Polk has positioned their business to sustain this strong growth path and brought on a new era to their Houston construction division.
As it did for many essential businesses, the pandemic opened new opportunities. As a result, 60% of Polk’s work is taking place in the healthcare and medical device spaces. In addition, Polk shifted into the construction of distribution facilities, including for Dollar Tree, Amazon, and FedEx. Although partnering with Fortune 50 companies is an achievement worth noting, the accomplishments that seem to matter most to Polk are a bit more personal.
“At the end of the day we are family,” Luberoff said. “We pride ourselves on knowing everyone that belongs to Polk Nation, and no matter how big we are all of our doors are always open to help.” In Polk Nation, that’s just how life should be.
At Polk Mechanical, we provide facility lifecycle services based on quality, integrity, and value for our clients. Our success is simple: We find solutions to complex challenges. We believe that taking ownership of any client needs will increase our value and help us achieve maximum results on every project.
What we do at Polk enables doctors and medical staff to provide critical care to patients in surgical suites, trauma and emergency rooms; allows millions of cellular phone calls to occur daily; provides safer job sites; and helps critical building systems remain in operation with maximum uptime.
The range of services we offer is not just limited to facility services, mechanical, industrial, or commercial construction, but more importantly for whatever our customers need. Polk dedicates substantial resources for our employees in areas such as career advancement opportunities, extensive training programs, and award-winning safety programs. We also maintain high employee retention, take our fiscal responsibility seriously, and have an active involvement in industry associations, community service, and more.
You can count on our specialists and account managers for extraordinary performance in any of our service areas. What we do is important.
11875 Cutten Road
Houston, TX 77066