In construction, nothing is guaranteed. Market fluctuations and industry trends mean that companies can never take things for granted. There are two things, however, that if done correctly, can give companies a fighting chance – hard work and good timing. Having grown and developed in the New York construction industry since 1997, Celtic Sheet Metal is clearly doing something right. The company, specialists in HVAC installation and its related equipment, initially worked primarily out of New York’s Lower Hudson Valley, and in the early 2000s expanded into New York City by bidding on and winning jobs in the city. Since then, it’s been a steady pattern of growth for Celtic, with each year bringing new successes and projects.
Celtic’s Safety Director, Daniel Von Dollen, believes that the success the company has experienced comes down to some very specific strengths. ‘Our success is down to dedicated people, long hours and persistence’. Ed Dinnegan, a Project Manager at Celtic, echoes this view, adding that strategic decisions and taking opportunities when they arose has played a crucial role. ‘I believe that it comes down to taking advantage of opportunities at the right time.’ Dinnegan also credits the ongoing collaboration with the Local 28 and Local 38 unions in New York with maintaining the high-quality workforce that has allowed the company to succeed.
While Celtic Sheet Metal has built its reputation providing a range of services in ductwork for large scale HVAC projects as well as sheet metal, the company has recently pushed itself furthering, venturing into airside projects such as fans and air-conditioning. With such a wealth of experience and industry knowledge, it is no surprise that this has resulted in some outstanding projects, such as the Jacob Javits Center and the Performing Arts Centre in New York. The Jacob Javits Center was a 1.2 million square foot expansion of the pre-existing New York City Convention Centre, handled by Project Manager, Conor Murphy. The project involved the addition of a four-story truck parking lot, which now allows for off-street loading and unloading. As Murphy shares, the result of this project has been a huge benefit to the surrounding area. “The number of deliveries that the convention center receives could block off traffic in the city for hours, but a multi-story parking lot allows for freedom of movement, both for deliveries and traffic’. There were aesthetic additions as part of the project as well, such as large ballrooms, meeting spaces, and the rooftop garden. For this project Celtic Sheet Metal provided the full HVAC installation, air-conditioning equipment, duct-work and worked with sub-contractors for the installation and piping.
“Celtic Sheet Metal provided the full HVAC installation, air-conditioning equipment, duct-work and worked with sub-contractors for the installation and piping.”
Another of Celtic Sheet Metal’s standout projects is the Performing Arts Centre, which is located at the base of the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Centre. According to Dinnegan, it’s a huge transit area. Additionally, with multiple trains coming into the Oculus Centre every day, it is very much prime real estate. The building itself is hugely intricate with one of the largest machine rooms that Celtic Sheet Metal had ever worked with, as well as multiple theatres throughout the building which are both acoustically and light sensitive. Because of the history of the site, the project was a tremendous undertaking with an emphasis on structural integrity, safety, and consideration of its history. It was a ‘tremendous, tremendous undertaking’ for the company, and something that Celtic Sheet Metal takes immense pride in being a part of.
The consideration and effort that Celtic Sheet Metal puts into all of its projects does not go unnoticed by the local community. While credit is not its sole motivator, it is heartening to hear that Celtic Sheet Metal was awarded the High Wire Gold Safety Award last year. According to Von Dollen, this award is testament to the tweaks the company has made with regards to safety in recent years. While he agrees that the company has always valued safety highly, he feels that in the past, the company had work to do to ensure these strategies were executed successfully. “When I came onboard in 2018 as the Safety Director, there were great safety procedures in place but much of that workload fell in the hands of the project managers, while they were already in charge of projects and focusing on all the other tasks that being on a job site entail.” One of the first initiatives was to install a figurehead of sorts, someone that could not only take some of that burden off the project managers but work with other types of employees and their unique safety concerns at work. Van Dollen’s first concern was eradicating minor and avoidable injuries in the workplace, so when he came in, he was able to upgrade regular job site PPE such as gloves, sleeves, and safety glasses. This was achieved through creating open lines of communication throughout the staff. The result was immediate. By listening to its employees, the company was able to get an understanding for where minor injuries or inconveniences were stemming from.
Once the trials of new safety equipment had taken place, Celtic Sheet Metal brought in better fitting gloves, while adding helmets and individual safety harnesses into its repertoire. Von Dollen credits the company’s management team with giving him ‘total free rein’ to bring in or trial any type of safety equipment he felt was appropriate. Tellingly, he notes that, in the five years that he has been with Celtic Sheet Metal, not once has he been questioned on his decisions around procurement of safety gear or the addition of safety procedures.
Beyond just affording its employees total safety however, Celtic Sheet Metal also goes to great lengths to support its locality by partnering with its employees and local organizations to give back to families and communities in need. As a family-owned business, the importance of supports the local community is paramount. In addition to sizable charity donations during the holidays, Celtic Sheet Metal often reaches out to community organizations, putting together ticket packages, gift cards, family dinners and toys and clothing for kids. The reason for this is simple. Celtic Sheet Metal is acutely aware that without its community’s support it wouldn’t be where it is, so it reciprocates that support in kind.
This sense of community extends across various other platforms also. Celtic Sheet Metal prides itself on wonderful working relationships and building ongoing partnerships. This is most evident in its relationship with PowerPak, who provide safety and job site supplies to the company regularly. The relationship began a number of years ago, formed through its shared history having once worked from offices in the same complex. In addition to that, however, the speed and consistency with which PowerPak can to Celtic Sheet Metal is highly beneficial. Von Dollen, Murphy and Dinnegan confirm that they can always rely on Celtic’s PowerPak representative to process and deliver Celtic’s orders quickly, efficiently and with care.
With professional relationships like these, it’s no wonder that Celtic Sheet Metal has flourished as a company. However, it would be disingenuous to suggest that the company has reached this point through networking and relationship building. At the heart of this company is a strong belief in the value of work ethic. By maintaining its focus on provision and consistency, this company is excelling. Having recently reached a quarter of a century in business, the evidence is there for all to see. Celtic Sheet Metal works hard for its staff, its collaborators, and its clients. With these ideals front and center, the company is sure to continue growing in the coming years.