A Road to Expansion

Nick Schiavone didn't have visions of grandeur when he founded Sav Mor Mechanical in 1975, but when his sons took over a few years later, they immediately wanted to open things up—and today, a third generation of Schiavones is involved in the company, and the Long-Island-based firm does $30 million of business annually as a commercial HVAC contractor. Sav Mor Mechanical was responsible for the first LEED Platinum building on Long Island, and it now has three New York City high-rises on its books as well, but through it all it has maintained the same business model. “We dedicated ourselves from day one to quality work, around-the-clock service, energy efficiency, and customer service, and we’ve stayed the course,” Nick’s grandson, Craig, says. “We’re just doing it on a larger scale.” A larger scale indeed, for when the firm began, it’s customer base was far more mom-and-pop.

1975: company is founded

Nick and his sons, Gandolfo and Frank, open for business in Long Island by doing service jobs for small businesses, including pizza shops and Chinese restaurants. Occasionally, they change out a mechanical unit.

1980: Nick Schiavone retires

The founder leaves the company in the hands of Gandolfo and Frank, who decide they want to go bigger and do more intricate jobs. To do so, they network with other tradespeople. “They figured they had to start getting involved with professionals on big projects to get brought into big projects like that,” Craig says.

1985: the business expands

After a few years of networking, the brothers’ efforts pay off, and they’re able to start bidding on jobs rather than going door-to-door. “We started to expand our employee base, hiring more guys and getting more vehicles,” Craig says.

1986: the Crossroads Executive Center

The building, located at 1393 Veterans Memorial Highway in Islandia, New York, is Sav Mor Mechanical’s first design-build project. It is a 165,000-square-foot office complex. “We did everything ourselves,” Craig says. “We gave them a price, designed the whole engineering scheme, replaced all the units, and gave them a control sequence. And they’re still a customer today.”

1995: The business strategy changes

Sav Mor Mechanical begins to be recognized as a company that can take on the responsibility of larger jobs. “From that point forward, the company continued to grow,” Craig says. “Between estimation, installation, and service, we were up to 50 or 60 employees and were able to pursue commercial projects that were in the $1 million range.”

2000: LEED expands the business’s focus

After the USGBC’s introduction of the LEED program in 1998, Sav Mor Mechanical realizes that energy efficiency will be the future of its business, so it begins to learn the ropes. “We wanted to be ahead of the curve in regard to energy efficiency,” Craig says. “You have to stay with the times.”

2001: Third-Generation Schiavones

In 2001, Ryan, Gandolfo’s eldest son, joins the family business. His younger brother, Craig, follows his lead in 2005. “As long as I can remember, I always wanted to join my father in this company,” Craig says. “I wanted to be a part of something and construct buildings”

2006: Tackling a SUNY Laboratory

The State University of New York (SUNY) Stony Brook Advanced Energy Research Technology Center (right)—a two-story, 47,000-square-foot laboratory building—requires complicated mechanical work, including ice storage and precise temperature controls. Sav Mor Mechanical runs the project, supervising all contractors and handling fire suppression, ductwork, heating and cooling, piping, sprinklers, and plumbing. The $16 million project is also the first LEED Platinum project in Long Island.

2009: The William Floyd High School expansion

When a Long Island high school needs a new classroom wing covering 150,000 square feet, Sav Mor Mechanical steps in to fit the structure with piping, ductwork, and mechanics (left). The project costs $6 million.

2012: the emergence of sustainability

Gandolfo, Ryan, and Craig commit to staying the course, but they acknowledge that the struggling Long Island economy necessitates a change, so they begin pursing more work in Manhattan. “We’re working on three or four high-rise buildings in the city, 40–50 stories,” Craig says. “It’s the first generation of that work we’ve done.” ABQ