If you’ve been reading our blog, you’ve probably noticed we try not to talk too much about ourselves. Generally, we prefer to be a resource rather than a bullhorn. But in honor of Valentine’s Day we thought we’d get a little personal, heat things up a bit.
Ok, ok. We know what you’re thinking: this business isn’t particularly sexy, certainly not romantic. You’re right. Hugh Grant has never made a movie about HVAC. E.L. James didn’t write 50 Degrees of Grey. and in fact, we know we’ve done the job right when no one notices us at all.
Sometimes though, we do find ourselves feeling a bit winsome. Sometimes a job comes along that we can’t help but get a little starry-eyed about. Sometimes the story is just worth telling. So, here it goes:
Earlier last year, the talented folks at Arista were enlisted to replace all of the HVAC equipment at Gramercy Tavern on 20th Street in NYC. Easy, considering our knowledge of Mitsubishi City Multi and our years of experience working in the industry. We quickly determined that replacing their existing chilled water system with a new variable refrigerant flow system would give them more control over individual zones and a more reliable comfort level for their patrons.
Together, with Jack Green Associates we put the idea on paper and submitted it to our customer.
Gramercy loved it! And then promptly hit us with our first roadblock: could we do the entire job, in just eight days? Yup, you read that right. Eight…as in the number of tracks on an 8-track tape, as in the number of times it takes to parallel park after a snow storm, as in “are you kidding me with this?”
Well, here’s the thing: The Gramercy Tavern, a much beloved fixture of the New York City restaurant scene for over two decades, only closes to patrons twice a year–once in January and once in July, during which time repairs, cleanup or redecorating are done. And, come on. Who says ‘No’ to the Gramercy? So, we smiled and nodded, and panicked later. Kidding. We were actually pretty darn confident about our expertise, staff and level of service, and felt prepared to take on the job.
Gramercy submitted the proposal to upper management for approval, while we waited through the summer. Finally, at long last, we got the go-ahead in October. All was in order, except for one small, tiny, little detail: we would now have just five days to complete the job. Gulp.
The race was on. With the help of Vincent Eckerson, Alan Haas and Desmond Bhairo, we selected a team and devised a plan to work round-the-clock, beginning on January 1st to complete the work on time. We assigned team leaders for the day and night crew, hand selected an all-star group of service professionals, and worked together to get buy-in from the entire company.
When the time finally came, we were (thankfully) able to get two days head start, which we used to hold a kick-off meeting, on site meetings and sub meetings. We were prepared to move on a lights out schedule. (We even made sure there was plenty of food and drinks to keep the teams fueled up and the job moving).
Enter Crazy Wintery Blizzardy Weather.
Unfortunately, no amount of planning could have prepared us for the snow that descended on the city just as our guys were getting to work. But, we called an audible and combined the crews into one with staggered starts, and forged ahead. And, as the saying goes “there’s no crying in HVAC.” Seriously, though–no complaining, no whining, no excuses from a single member of our team.
The plan was demo on day one, hang units on day two. But thanks to the truly extraordinary efforts of our teams, and the quick thinking of their supervisor, all units were up by the end of the first day and we were able to get a head start on piping. With dedication, perseverance and good spirits, our teams pushed through an exhausting five days, over the course of which 68 tons of air conditioning were installed! This was truly a testament to the culture, work ethic and leadership of our teams.
After all that, you bet we’re feeling a little warm and fuzzy. But we’re not the only ones. The Gramercy showed us some love too:
“Arista went above & beyond and accomplished a tremendous amount of work in a tight time frame, with terrific morale and sterling workmanship. The weather wasn’t on our side, but the Arista team persevered and never lost sight of the goal.”
(Austin Publicover, Facilities Manager, Union Square Hospitality Group.)
There you have it. An HVAC Love Story. Well, ok…maybe not a love-love story. Maybe more like a labor-of-love Story. At Arista, we really do love what we do, and we work hard to ensure that our customers love what we do, too. We know that effective temperature control can have a major impact on the your organization’s bottom line. If this story tugged at your heart strings, and you want to learn more about the soft costs of your HVAC system, download a copy of our free white paper, Calculating the Hidden Costs of Poor HVAC Maintenance.