For mechanical contractor W.G. Tomko, success is a family affair
When Bill and Martha Tomko started their plumbing business in 1954, they understood that 90% of success is simply showing up. And show up they did, taking every possible contract they could from their home base in suburban Pittsburgh. Bill had the chops as a master plumber, and Martha’s savvy financial and administrative skills were the foundation of a unique back office — their kitchen table.
Success was certainly on their minds, but they were hardly planning to build a multi-generational enterprise that would eventually reach revenues topping $140 million. They were too busy establishing W.G. Tomko as the most dependable plumbing company in the area.
It was the right strategy. In the early 1980s, Bill Jr. took the reins, building on his parents’ solid foundation of reliability, integrity, and superior quality to grow the company’s revenues and portfolio.
These days WGT doesn’t look much like that ambitious startup, although a big family resemblance remains. All of Bill Jr.’s kids, Bill III, Sharee, and George, joined the firm, coming together to grow WGT into an elite, full-service mechanical contracting firm.
Each generation has brought a slightly different perspective to the enterprise, helping it continually change and grow. For instance, Bill Jr.’s focus was largely on public projects. His successor, Bill III, is shifting away from those jobs, positioning the company as an industry leader in fabrication and modular construction.
Today, WGT employs over 500 people across four divisions, and operates two modern production facilities with a combined 175,000 square feet of manufacturing space. With a service area covering Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., WGT provides a continuum of services extending from early stage estimating through to safety and preventative maintenance programs.
Their capabilities include design and engineering, cost estimation and scheduling, QA planning and execution, project coordination, construction management, and safety planning. On the manufacturing side, their Finleyville sheet metal shop produces 3 million pounds of custom sheet metal components each year, making modular assemblies of all types of HVAC and plumbing components. The company’s sales of custom components eclipse $1.5 million annually.
A full commitment to using 3D building information modeling (BIM) on all projects and skilled trade labor enables WGT to prefabricate 20-40% of the projects in their shop, which takes labor out of the field and increases efficiency and safety. “Our fabrication shop includes a 60-inch automated Watts cutter, two fully automated robotic sub arc welding machines and a plasma cutting table for our sheet metal fabrication,” said company CEO Bill Tomko III. “Additionally, we house 14 weld stations that utilize the BIM Model spool sheet to optimize efficiencies.”
WGT also leverages their 20-plus years of BIM experience as a valued design assist partner, helping to design the most cost-efficient projects while meeting stakeholder demands. Their AEC tech stack includes the latest AutoCAD mechanical, engineering, and plumbing software as well as Navisworks Manage, five Trimble Total GPS locating systems, and Revit.
“We’ve spent significant resources creating new and scaling existing IT systems so we can perform work anywhere reliably, efficiently, and securely,” he added. “These systems also allow us to mobilize for new projects almost instantly.”
Partners at every project stage, inside and out
General contractors and project owners have a great partner in WGT, who takes a total team approach to every job. That strategy enables them to deal with any issues that arise upfront, minimizing cost and schedule impacts.
“We work closely with GCs to achieve a safe, efficient project with the goal of working close to them to finish the project on schedule,” Tomko noted. “They like our special ability to understand schedules. Our full-time scheduler allows us to specialize on difficult, fast projects.” All projects are broken down by schedule during the estimating phases, and those schedules are closely monitored and maintained during the life of the project.
Building a culture with a family feel and a foundation of respect, trust, and caring is a point of pride for the Tomkos. A highly successful employee incentive program is just one aspect of that dedication. The plan, which took four years to design and implement with the help of an outside consultant, has been in place since 2014.
Designed to share 15-20% of WGT’s net profits, when employees save the company money, the plan pays them a percentage of those direct savings. “Our incentive plan is carried out from the field foremen to the company executives,” Tomko said. “This enables everyone to work in a cost-conscious, proactive manner that ultimately saves money and makes the most of the owner’s schedule.”
Before the incentive, field labor would hit their goals 20% of the time; the post-incentive rate rocketed to 90%. On average, the company’s net profits have increased at an annual rate of 7% since its inception.
“Because the incentive is so successful, I joined forces with the consultant that helped set it up,” Tomko revealed. “Together we have a company that works to implement these plans called Internal Business Development, LLC. Our goal is to make other contractors more profitable by knowing their costs and sharing their profits.”
A quick glance at the company’s website shows that their management team is in the family business for the long haul, with stints as long as 35 years or more. The Tomkos’ skill in relationship building has also resulted in robust repeat business across all of their specialties, making WGT the trade partner of choice for their customers in the mechanical, plumbing, and site utility industry. That’s the power of showing up.
W.G. Tomko, Inc. is a premier, full mechanical contractor providing reliable, efficient, and outstanding service from project bidding to on-time completion. Our areas of operation include Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
W.G. Tomko Inc. offers a range of services including HVAC, sheet metal, pipe and plumbing systems, design, site utilities and service.
Our full time in house professional engineer gives us the ability to work closely with owners to provide design build, cost conscious projects focusing on energy savings techniques and LEED Green technologies, all while maintaining a safe work environment.
After more than half a century of providing top quality work through planning and dedication, we stand ready to meet all of our building requirements. Your satisfaction is our goal and commitment.