RHP Mechanical Systems develops future managers
Here’s the challenge at RHP Mechanical Systems these days: Encourage managers of the company’s six business units to further develop their independent and entrepreneurial spirit while simultaneously keeping all six working together toward shared goals.
It’s a significant issue as the company, now well into its fifth decade in business, prepares for a succession of ownership and management once again.
The current principals of the company include two sons of Alvin Scolari, who worked alongside the company’s founders and took control in the 1960s.
Steven Scolari serves as president of the company and his brother, Mike, is secretary/ treasurer.
The third principal in the firm, Jim Regan, joined the company in the 1970s, and a careful succession plan brought them into ownership and management during the 1980s.
The trio has overseen strong growth at RHP, but they also want a clear-cut succession plan in place to develop the next generation of owners and managers.
That’s more complicated this time around as the Scolaris and Regan have dramatically diversified RHP from the heating, sheet metal and air conditioning company they took over two decades ago.
During the 1990s, they added plumbing and process piping units as well as a group that installs and maintains the high-tech building automation systems common in new construction.
The addition of those services, in turn, widened the company’s base of professional and skilled staff it employs as many as 250 workers during peak seasons and provided the motivation for RHP to undertake major expansion and improvement projects in its shops.
The goal, Jim Scolari says,was creation of a single-source provider for mechanical services with a customer base that ranges from big construction projects such as the Carson- Tahoe Medical Center at Carson City to consumers who need someone to look at their furnace.
And while the company has grown dramatically its annual sales top $36 million these days it seeks to stay close to the individual consumers who were the cornerstone of its business when it was incorporated as Ray Heating Products in 1950.
(The name comes from Ray oil furnaces, which were a big seller before the widespread availability of natural gas.) Mike Scolari oversees a group of about 50 service and installation technicians, and he says,”Every service call is just as important as doing a Carson-Tahoe hospital.” Steve Scolari projects revenue growth of 4 to 5 percent a year.
That means the company also needs to continue building its share of the market in major construction.
A major push in recent years has been design-build work, in which the company joins with other subcontractors and general contractors early in the discussion of a new building rather than coming in later with a bid on completed plans.
Its list of major projects, both bid work and design-build projects, ranges from the newly completed Reno Events Center and Washoe Medical Center South Meadows to schools and distribution centers throughout the Truckee Meadows.
Like other contractors, RHP continues to deal with occasional bumps the doubling of steel prices last year was a big hit but Steve Scolari says the company’s 55-year history provides some perspective during challenging times.
“The thing that I like most about entrepreneurship is I can work toward something that I’m passionate about and be at the forefront of the change that I want to see happen,” said Priyanka Senthil, a senior at Davidson Academy in Reno and co-founder of startup company AUesome.