Ahead of the Curve
Morgan Mechanical Contractors, Inc. stays focused on the future
Morgan Mechanical Contractors, Inc. (Morgan Mechanical) has changed quite a lot over the years. The company, started in 1971 by Jack and Jessie Morgan, husband and wife, was a small family-owned business focused on piping and plumbing. In the mid-1980s, the company expanded, taking on millwright and fire sprinklers, and from there it continued to grow. By 2002, the fire sprinkler side of the business was so successful, it evolved into its own separate company: Fire Sprinkler Service, LLC.
Today, Morgan Mechanical specializes in industrial mechanical piping, equipment and fabrication services, while Fire Sprinkler Service is a full-service shop that handles design, installation, inspections and testing.
The Morgan founders have since passed, but both businesses continue to grow and evolve with the help of the next generation of leaders who have a knack for thinking outside the box and always looking forward. That forward thinking has resulted in the companies bringing in new technology to best serve their customers and employees.
Zane Gauldin joined Morgan Mechanical in the 1980s and today serves as President of both Morgan Mechanical and Fire Sprinkler Service. Helping to lead the companies are John Hall, director of operations, and Matt Morgan, Vice President, the grandson of Jack and Jessie Morgan.
“The businesses are led by separate teams, but a common thread runs among all of us,” Gauldin explains. “We sit down together and talk about ways to improve business operations across the board. Each team has its own technical expertise, but we try to think alike on general philosophy.”
One way the teams think alike is in their use of cutting-edge technologies to help move the businesses forward. For Morgan, it’s important to adapt and look for new innovations to “stay on top of the game.”
One piece of technology that’s improved operations is the Trimble MEP technology. This equipment can lay out an entire mechanical or plumbing system before concrete is ever poured, and uses GPS to help workers position the systems during installation, increasing efficiency and accuracy of layouts. Trimble’s MEP tools are only just beginning to make their way into the new construction market, but Morgan Mechanical and Fire Sprinkler have used their Trimble products to assist other contractors in the area with their layouts.
Another beneficial technology is AutoSPRINK, a 3D software package that Fire Sprinkler Service uses to develop new fire sprinkler designs in-house. In December 2017, the company hired a well-known fire sprinkler design expert to put six employees through a crash course teaching them proper design techniques. The group included everyone from sales personnel to project managers. Now, the business has three team members solely dedicated to in-house fire sprinkler design.
“Bringing the design element in-house gives us more control, allowing us to better serve our customers by ensuring both the quality of the product and timeliness of the delivery,” Hall explains. “Before, we were depending on a third party for design, and we were at the mercy of their timeline.”
Morgan Mechanical and Fire Sprinkler Service are also high tech in the office, recently purchasing a temi personal robot. The motorized, three-foot robot includes a display screen, cameras and autonomous navigation. This enables employees working remotely to not only be displayed on the screen, but to be able to control the robot and move it around the office—just like they were there in person.
For Gauldin, temi is the perfect solution for employees missing out on interpersonal interactions while working from home.
“This is a way to keep everyone really feeling together as a team and experiencing more of the culture of the company as opposed to being on their own. Calling, emailing and texting are somewhat impersonal. With the robot, it’s like the person is sitting right there,” he says.
Two Companies, One Family
Although the business structure has grown and evolved in the last 48 years, both companies stay true to their roots as a family-owned organization. Many achievements can be credited to the leadership team recognizing that investing in staff is key to building a successful future.
“Personally, I owe a lot of gratitude to this organization,” Hall says. “I was lucky enough to find my lifelong career here, which provided my first true job opportunity. I began my career as a 20-year-old kid with no true vision of where I was headed. In a sense, I grew up with this company, and I am thankful for those teaching me the trade, giving me advancement opportunities, and believing I could succeed even when I wasn’t certain I could.”
Hall’s sentiments are echoed by even the newest employees. One recent college graduate, Austin Tuck, who has worked with Morgan Mechanical full time since June 2018, shares, “Morgan Mechanical and Fire Sprinkler Service give people chances. The leadership looks to and invests in the younger generation, and demonstrates that employees are vital to growing the companies even further. When you have that type of relationship, when obstacles come up—as they will with any company—you have the knowledge that the staff and management will always work beside you to help solve issues. When a company has that type of culture, innovation and exciting new work opportunities are sure to arise.”
While Morgan Mechanical and Fire Sprinkler Service are dedicated to advancing their people, their people are dedicated to advancing the companies by providing quality services to customers. One longtime employee, Wendy Burgess, shares, “Our responsibilities are not just based on one particular job duty. We are all here to help in each aspect of making the company grow and prosper.”
Gauldin says, “Everyone pitches in and does what has to be done, even if it means getting up in the middle of the night to take a fitting to a customer. Everyone goes above and beyond to serve the needs of our customers and pulls together when necessary to make our team even stronger.”
Morgan Mechanical, the genesis behind the entire operation, is now preparing for the next chapter in its continuing story and will, no doubt, continue to reinvent itself as it has over nearly half a century.
Diversity and flexibility, Morgan says, will be key to ensuring the businesses thrive. “You can’t have all your eggs in one basket,” he explains. “You have to be able to adapt. When the economy is good, you have to be careful not to get comfortable. We’ve realized that you have to be focused on what’s down the road as much as on what’s in front of you.”
Gauldin agrees, adding, “We hope to propel the companies into many more decades of prosperous growth.”