Pace keeps up the pace in the Big Apple with an impressive market foresight.
“If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” This slogan has been defining New York City for generations, and for Pace Plumbing and Fire Protection the intense competitive nature of the Big Apple landscape has allowed it to develop its strategic insight. The company works on some of the city’s most historical landmarks, including Four World Trade Center and the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
“We have been fortunate enough with our strategic decision making to continue to guess right for the next wave of construction in the New York City market,” President Andru Coren says. “The strategic decision making started 40 years ago with our founder Harold Block and continues today.”
Pace Plumbing and Fire Protection had the foresight to step out of the overheated high-rise commercial and residential construction sector, knowing that it was teetering on the edge of collapse due to overpricing. The company switched its focus to public and semi-public projects that would sustain throughout the hard times.
“What is needed for success changes from generation to generation when it comes to family business,” Coren says. “You have to stay flexible and don’t box yourself in with what has worked in the past, and that is engrained in our corporate culture. Harold has spent many years creating and cultivating generations of relationships that are still intact because of his communication and our current superior performance.”
That superior performance has led to an impressive list of Pace clients, from New York University, Mount Sinai and New York Methodist healthcare projects, to corporate headquarter projects for AIG, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, IBM, J.P. Morgan and MasterCard. Along with high profile residential projects in Manhattan and educational projects at Fordham, St. John’s law schools and the New School, the one industry Pace has gained a reputation within is the luxury hotel sector. The Palace, Royalton, Trump Soho and W Hotel are all highlights of its portfolio.
“In 2007, the focus on our market was to survive the large fluctuations in business,” Coren says. “We made the strategic decision to change directions early.”
Pace Plumbing and Fire Protection is proud of its status as a regional industry leader, not a follower, so being out in front with new clientele sectors has come to be expected.
“The majority of our competitors focus on only one segment of the industry and then they are in a bad position when that market dries up,” Vice President Adam Levy says. “We watch the market, see where it is going, and adjust accordingly. We never get complacent or passive; that will not bring us success.”
The foundation of Pace’s success is its efficient, energetic and loyal employees.
“Since we are family owned we want all of our employees, from plumbers to foremen to supers to feel like part of a family,” Coren says. “It starts there and because we do that, people do not treat it like a job. When they realize that we consider them family they try just as hard as us to maintain our stellar reputation.”
Pace’s ability to be an early adapter of technology also led to enhancing its reputation during the past decade.
“We had come to fully embrace how technology was transforming our industry for the better, making us a more efficient business while improving our client communications,” Coren says. “Our software and interactive website are still our valuable propositions against our competitors and is one of the secrets to our success. It all stems from embracing technology a decade ago when many of our competitors were still running scared from it.”
Their technological resources were vital in the recent completion of the Four World Trade Center project.
“It was nice to be involved with such a high profile job but it came with its challenges, especially when Hurricane Sandy set back the entire project,” Coren says.
With levels of the building submerged under water, Pace was still able to deliver the project on time, fighting past equipment flooding and duplicate efforts after the storm. Coren labels the Jacob Javits Convention Center project, “a different type of job” as the company had to develop new ideas for an area with a green roof and drainage system. It ended up developing the second-largest green roof in the United States, all while the Jacob Javits Convention Center had to remain open to serve its hundreds of thousands of visitors.
“We saw it as a great opportunity to extend the talent within our business during the economic slowdown,” Levy says. “We enjoy being a part of the projects that are stamped forever in the history of New York City.”
Stamped in the corporate history of Pace Plumbing and Fire Protection is its recognition for five years in a row with the Best of Brooklyn Award presented by the U.S. Commerce Association. The award identifies companies that it believes have achieved an exceptional performance in their categories. Nationwide less than one in 1,000 have won the award five years in a row. Coren believes it goes back to the fundamentals of the company.
“We are happy to bring economic growth and opportunity to Brooklyn,” he says. “We set high expectations for ourselves to maintain the relationships we have developed.”
With the smarts and support of its staff, Coren believes the company won’t be going anywhere and will continue to plan for even more success in the future.