Springfield, MA Harry Grodsky was a craftsman in pursuit of the American dream. A first generation immigrant, Grodsky moved to the U.S. from Russia and carved out a corner of the world for his family using his own two hands and equal parts grit and entrepreneurial spirit. In 1918 he formed the company that would become known as Harry Grodsky & Co., Inc, and served homes and businesses throughout Greater Springfield as a small plumbing and heating contractor. Today, 100 years later, the company is one of the largest mechanical contractors in the country, and is a mainstay for plumbing, HVAC, service and maintenance across Mass., Conn., R.I., VT. and N.Y.
According to the Family Business Institute, only about 12% of family-owned businesses carry over from the second to the third generation. Beyond that, very few survive; the statistics show a mere 3% make it into the fourth generation of family ownership. For Jeff and Scott Grodsky, the fourth generation owners of Harry Grodsky & Co., Inc., the transition was never in doubt. Like their father and grandfather before them, the mechanical contracting business was in their blood, and the business itself remains an extension of family.
Walking around the company’s headquarters, it is not uncommon to find employees whose entire careers have been spent at Grodsky. And while such loyalty speaks to a positive culture, it also helps explain the firm’s unique ability to sustain lasting relationships with its customers, decade after decade. “The customer focus we see from our employees every day is truly special,” said Grodsky president Allen Sawyer. “There is no shortage of people, either in the office or in the field, who will go the extra mile or make one more phone call. I believe that personal touch really sets us apart.”
One example is MassMututal, the large financial company with over two million s/f of office space spread across three major campuses throughout New England. The Grodsky/MassMutual partnership spans 25 years and more than 100 individual projects ranging from original plan and spec renovations to design-build retrofits and design-assist energy projects. In an industry as competitive and cost-driven as construction and development, such long-lasting business partnerships are rare.
The duration of that relationship, along with similar relationships shared with other large, local companies, shows just how successful Grodsky has been at building trust and rapport with its customers, while still adapting to change. Through the ups and downs of the cyclical construction market, and the generational shifts in the workforce, Grodsky is still the steady hand that general contractors, building owners, architects and engineers trust for quality, reliability, honesty and follow-through.
An eye to the future and a nod to the past
As the industry evolved and embraced new technologies and processes, Grodsky continuously bet on itself through investments in training, software and equipment. BIM and offsite fabrication helped the firm expand its capabilities and positioned it for increases in capacity, quality and consistency. Long before today’s emphasis on collaborative project delivery systems such design-assist, design-build and IPD, Grodsky was developing its staff of in-house engineers and training its teams to work side by side with design teams to collaboratively solve problems. Looking ahead, Grodsky sees its design-build capabilities as a growing segment of its work, and anticipates further regional expansion to accommodate the demands of its customers.
As 2018 draws to a close, Grodsky is wrapping a year of tributes to the clients, projects and employees that built the company and its reputation. From the company’s earliest clients, to its newest accomplishments at places like MGM Springfield and Amherst College, 2018 has reminded the industry of Grodsky’s roots, still visible today, which convey positive relationships, technical know-how and a tradition for excellence.