THE FULL STORY: HEATING & PLUMBING ENGINEERS
In recent weeks, HPE has shared some stories and photos on our website and social media that show various highlights within our company's history.
Today, we share the full story -- with an excerpt on HPE from the book, 'In the Shadow of Pike's Peak - An Illustrated History of Colorado,' by Mark L. Gardner.
Heating & Plumbing Engineers, Inc.
From the humble beginnings in Rocky Ford, Colorado, to a thriving organization in Colorado Springs, four generations of Stewards have passed down their talents and their trade for more than a century. Their efforts have culminated in the success of Heating & Plumbing Engineers Inc., a company that serves the state of Colorado.
The story begins in Rocky Ford when Ford Steward, a blacksmith, established the Tin Shop & Plumbing in 1892. After a quarter of a century, he welcomed his son, Glenn, to the family business. The shop was renamed Steward Sheet Metal Works.
Twenty-eight years passed before Glenn’s son, Dick, became an employee of the company in 1945. Seven years later, Dick left Steward Sheet Metal Works and moved his family to Colorado Springs to become a partner of Heating Inc., a company established by Roger Booth in 1947. At that time, the company was located on North Tejon Street in downtown Colorado Springs. The partners had 45 employees working in a 5,000-square-foot store.
The year 1955 marked significant change for Heating Inc. and for Dick. In March, plumbing was added to the company’s line of services, and the organization was incorporated and renamed Heating & Plumbing Engineers Inc. As the excitement of the company’s new direction grew, Steward’s partner died in an automobile accident, leaving him to become president of the organization.
Under Dick Steward’s direction, Heating & Plumbing Engineers Inc. became the largest Lennox dealer in the state from 1963 to 1983.This growth led the company to move to its current location on West Fillmore Place in 1964.
Steward continued to direct the company’s growth, inviting his son Dean to join the organization in 1971. Dean came into Heating &Plumbing Engineers Inc. as a project manager after being previously employed as a metallurgical engineer and production supervisor with Alcoa. After leaving the Navy, his brother, David, joined the team in 1973.
In 1983, the brothers bought the company from their father, with elder son, Dean, serving as president. In 1990 Dean bought out his brother’s share of the company when David chose to pursue another direction. Dean’s daughter, Kelly Eustace, and her husband, Bill, have joined the company, introducing the fifth generation of Stewards into the industry.
Since 1983, the fourth generation of Steward leadership has led the company through significant technical developments, including the evolution of the industry as well as other industries served by Heating &Plumbing Engineers Inc. Today, Heating & Plumbing Engineers Inc. as more than 200 employees working in a series of buildings totaling 23,500 square feet. These employees have been instrumental in successfully completing dozens of projects throughout Colorado, with customers encompassing the office, medical, retail and industrial fields. Focus on the Family, Rockwell International, Amtel Corporation, Symbios Logic, Colorado Springs World Arena and Mitsubishi are included on the company’s customer list. Additionally, Heating & Plumbing Engineers Inc. as participated in constructing most of the clean rooms in the Pikes Peak region. Clean rooms are built for microchip manufacturing and require specialized heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems to control environmental conditions.
Heating & Plumbing Engineers Inc. utilizes computer-assisted design (CAD) to work more efficiently and effectively. Three-dimensional building plans, for example, provide a comprehensive view of projects, which assists the company in ensuring the quality of products its employees and suppliers offer.
Approximately 90 percent of the company’s business is in commercial mechanical contracting, which includes sheet-metal, pipefitting and plumbing. Residential clients comprise the remaining 10 percent of the business, through the installation and servicing of Lennox products.
Whether in commercial or residential business, Heating &Plumbing Engineers Inc. carries a reputation for excellent customer service. The company’s vision statement that “employees are the firm’s best asset” can be seen when reviewing the longevity of both employees and customers. Six of its employees have given more than 30 years of service, while a number of residential customers have depended on the company for nearly 50 years.
Employee longevity and loyalty can be attributed in part to the organization’s efforts to ensure employee safety and to provide superior benefits. Safety plays an important role in the daily activities of Heating& Plumbing Engineers Inc. The company’s quarterly newsletter addresses the topic regularly with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updates, safety training, ways to avoid back pain, safety eyewear and company recognition for zero lost time injury and illness.
The company was noted in a 1997 Forbes magazine article for its employee stock purchase plan. The article addressed innovative ways that organizations around the country are offering their employees opportunities to share in their companies’ successes.
The success of Heating & Plumbing Engineers Inc. has also been recognized within the industry. In March, 1999, it became the first sheet metal contractor in the country to complete the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association's sheet metal shop standards verification process. This recognition ensures that the company's design and fabrication capabilities have met the association's stringent criteria. Colorado Construction has consistently ranked Heating & Plumbing Engineers Inc. as the state's third-largest mechanical contractor, and in 1998, the magazine ranked the company as Colorado's top sheet metal contractor.
The company encourages its employees to give back to the community. In Colorado Springs, a number of the company's more than 200 employees are involved in all facets of volunteerism, from the United Way to the El Paso County 4-H Club to the YMCA. Heating &Plumbing Engineers Inc. contributes regularly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is an active participant in the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.
In the midst of relocation, company transition and economic ups and downs, the Stewards have brought a depth and a breadth to the industry that few families and few organizations have offered. Through it all, they have maintained a dedicated employee workforce, a commitment to customer service, and a vision for continual improvement and quality assurance in the company's products and services.
These photos show Kelly Eustace's father, Dean Steward, and his dad in front of the new building that HPE is in, today. The second photo is exhaust duct work at the Rockwell Fab 8 facility in Colorado Springs -- which was one of HPE’s early commercial projects lead by Dean Steward; the third photo is the mechanical room of the same facility. The last photo is HPE's current CEO, Bill Eustace, and President, Kelly Eustace.
All of us at Heating & Plumbing Engineers Inc. are so proud of how far we've come and look forward to a bright future ahead, with Team HPE!