Filter and service business grows through consolidated offerings, technologyBrent Burkey
A York County-based business recently moved to larger quarters. It has grown over the years by taking advantage of market trends and having multiple service lines under one roof.
Randy Leaman started ventilation filter, air testing and services firm Airborne Contamination Identification Associates Ltd. out of his house in 2000.
His wife, Shari Leaman, is majority owner and president.
Counting the original move out of the family home, it has shifted locations three times in the last dozen years, said son Kyle Leaman, who is ACIA’s marketing director.
The most recent relocation to 3430 Woodbridge Circle in Manchester Township increased overall space from a little more than 10,000 square feet to about 13,500 square feet, Leaman said.
“We’ve needed to expand for quite some time,” he said.
But it had been difficult to find the right space to meet ACIA’s needs, including being close to Interstate 83 for service technicians to stop in between jobs, Leaman said.
In the beginning, the business focused on buying HVAC filters from the factory and shipping directly to customers, he said. It has diversified to become a one-stop shop for air testing, cleaning that includes mold remediation, filter needs and energy audits, Leaman said.
The company recorded a sales increase for 2011 of about 51 percent compared with 2010, he said.
The old business model would have been for multiple companies to perform the services for customers, Leaman said.
“We do all of that under one roof now,” he said.
ACIA also decides who it buys filter products from based heavily on a manufacturer’s research and development initiatives and results, Leaman said.
State-of-the-art filter technologies can save customers money by being less resistant to air flowing through them, Leaman said. In large commercial operations, it potentially can save customers six figures in energy costs, he said.
Northumberland County-based Weis Markets Inc. has achieved better results after it decided to outsource filter services instead of having its in-house maintenance workers perform the tasks, said Paul Burd, manager of refrigeration and store service.
The in-house employees are focused on a million other tasks, he said.
ACIA also performs a service to treat condensation pans under evaporators as a preventative measure against mold or slime, Burd said.
The firm has grown its business with ACIA in cases where it opens new stores or discontinues working with another vendor, he said.
Springettsbury Township-based Walton & Co. crossed paths with ACIA about 10 years ago and the relationship has been a big part of its own success, said Bill Vervaeke, building services manager with the company.
The firm specializes in engineering and industrial services, sheet metal fabrication and building maintenance services. Customers include major manufacturers and health care facilities in the midstate.
The company has been expanding into the Maryland market and picking up many tenant office buildings where air quality is a top concern, Vervaeke said.
Having the comprehensive solutions offered through ACIA has been part of sealing deals, he said.
“Clean air is a big issue right now,” Vervaeke said.
Also, HVAC systems rank up with lighting as a top consumer of electricity in office buildings, so high-tech filters that help the system run more efficiently are significant cost savers for Walton & Co.’s customers, Vervaeke said.
“It made a big, big difference for us,” he said.
ACIA has about 12 full-time employees and two who are almost full time, Leaman said. Staffing level needs can fluctuate, so it also pulls from a pool of about 10 as-needed workers for weekend jobs, he said.
Instead of traditionally posting jobs, ACIA has found working with the state’s Pennsylvania CareerLink to be a successful tactic, Leaman said.
People with skills are out of work, and if someone decides to work with the state offices, it proves they are motivated, he said.
Many of the employees start out on a part-time basis, and hopefully ACIA can hire them on a full-time basis eventually, Leaman said. It has worked well, he said.