Operated by Family, Driven by Quality

Johansen Mechanical, Inc.
Written by Jen Hocken

Johansen Mechanical Inc. (JMI’s) primary focus in the industry is the construction of sheet metal and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, but it also completes entire mechanical projects from inception to completion. JMI offers architectural and specialty metals for commercial and high-end residential customers, as well as energy conservation, controls, and service and maintenance of HVAC systems.
Located in Woodinville, Washington, JMI employs approximately seventy highly-experienced people who are committed to customer satisfaction. “JMI is fortunate to have a dedicated and loyal group of employees focused on creating a positive experience for all of our customers,” says Keith Johansen, co-owner and the president of JMI. “We do our best to promote a family atmosphere with teamwork and a team culture.” The family-owned business extends its relationship-oriented culture to all of its employees to encourage a fun and inclusive atmosphere.

The company participates in many activities and events as a group, including climbing Mt. St. Helens as part of an American Cancer Society fundraiser. JMI often holds barbecues on special occasions with its customized stainless steel barbecue on wheels, and occasionally, team members will spend a day together away from the office fishing and enjoying the outdoors. The annual family fishing getaway weekend to Chelan, WA at the end of April just had its 25th anniversary. For this event, JMI rents a bunch of camp sites for employees and families, and also reserves over half of the local bowling alley, Chelan Lanes for the evening, after a day on Wapato Lake fishing for rainbow trout.

“We have a work-hard, play-hard philosophy. We know everybody in our company, and we know their family,” says Derek Holm, co-owner and the vice president at JMI. “We are also advocate sponsors in our community, from food banks to clothing drives.”

JMI is proud of its ability and drive to give back to its community in many ways. It is known to support the activities of the children within the JMI work family in such endeavors as sporting events, and it teams up with many charity organizations about which its employees are passionate.

JMI is highly involved with its local community’s programs through the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Clubs. The company participates in various local charity auctions by donating significant prizes. “We recently were a major sponsor at the Boys and Girls Clubs’ county auction at Tulalip Hotel and our group helped raise $26K for this event. ‘Making a difference’ is the tagline on our company emails, and we have contributed to over thirty different charities and fundraisers in the past ten years,” says Keith.

Another example of the company’s charitable nature is when Sultan, Washington’s Food Bank van was stolen in June of 2016, and JMI donated a service van within a couple of weeks of the theft, enabling the food bank to continue its crucial operation of collecting food for those in need.

JMI is currently maintaining its business growth in the construction industry, which tends to be cyclical as the trends in construction move up and down. “We are always growing in terms of strength. Our technology, our equipment and our materials are at the front edge,” says Derek. JMI uses computer-aided drafting programs and computer-aided equipment to become stronger and more sustainable in the industry.

JMI has been recognized for its focus on safety with several safety awards. It is a part of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Group Retro Program, an incentive-based safety program approved by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Through the program, employers are provided with the opportunity to receive a refund of their industrial-insurance programs.

The company received an award last year for dropping its incident rate by twenty-five percent in one year. “Our EMR rating has dropped to 0.60, which ranks us in the top twenty-five in our industry,” says Derek. The experience modification rate (EMR) is a number used by insurance companies to calculate the risk of injuries. The average EMR in the construction industry is 1.0.

JMI was also awarded the ‘Architectural Project of the Year’ by SMACNA Western Washington Inc., a trade association and local chapter of the Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA). JMI did the HVAC and custom metals work for the Stillaguamish Tribe’s administration building and collaborated with the tribal architect and Gaffney Construction’s team to create and install artwork that was historically and culturally significant to the Stillaguamish tribal members who own and occupy the building.

JMI designed, built and fabricated the metal architectural artwork for the inside and outside of the building using highly-advanced fabrication technology. The work included a hundred-foot water fountain embellished with fish and trees to make the setting look as natural as possible. The Stillaguamish administration building is in the shape of a canoe, which posed some unique challenges for the HVAC work. An energy efficient LG Variable Refrigerant Flow system was installed, which allowed for simultaneous heating and cooling in the different zones of this unique building. The Stillaguamish Tribe also received an energy grant payment directly from the local utility company, for the energy efficiency of the system designed and installed by JMI.

JMI is devoted to investing in employee training and recently held a company-wide leadership course, hosted by well-known industry trainer Richard Flint. All seventy employees at JMI were invited to the session. “We like to collaborate and partner with employees so that we can all enhance each other’s skills, and continue to improve in the market,” says Keith.

JMI is always working to maintain its position in the competitive construction industry, and the primary aspect that sets it apart is its exceptional customer service. It experiences significant repeat business due to customer satisfaction from its high-quality work. JMI retains approximately ninety plus percent of its customers for service and maintenance and currently services approximately three hundred buildings in the Western Washington area.

“We have developed a great reputation for quality work, which is how we get so much repeat business,” says Keith. JMI’s position in the industry comes from both the craftsmen who manufacture the quality product, as well as the highly skilled workers in the field. Teamwork, collaboration, and customer service are essential to the company’s success in the market.

JMI has completed projects for many of the foremost private companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Boeing and Starbucks. It regularly coordinates on the construction of architectural features with the multi-purpose stadium CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The company has also worked in the public sector on projects such as higher education and K-12 facilities, fire stations, and private and public hospitals, along with libraries, Port of Seattle, Sound Transit, and the SR 99 Tunnel maintenance buildings.

Recently, the company’s most significant series of projects has been the expansion of Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville. Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington’s oldest and largest winery, and is known for pairing wine, food, theater and comfort. Adjacent to its visitor center, the winery wanted to repurpose its old barrel storage warehouse to include a theater, a full-size commercial kitchen, wine tasting lounge, blending room, tasting salons and VIP tasting rooms.

JMI was required to meet specific objectives including the construction of a high-efficiency HVAC system that would provide customers with a comfortable environment. The system had to heat and cool the building in separate areas simultaneously, and needed to take up minimal headroom for ductwork and equipment while remaining economical.

JMI collaborated with local Carrier equipment supplier Airefco Inc. to provide the project with a heat recovery variable refrigerant flow (VRF) two-pipe system and two Carrier rooftop units. The combination of equipment worked quite well with the rooftop units utilized by the kitchen and the theater only. The energy-efficient VRF system is used in the rest of the facility with the use of high wall, ducted and recessed floor console fan coils that provide simultaneous heating and cooling for the desired comfort in each zone of the building. An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) was used to provide fresh ventilated air to each zone, which created additional energy savings for Chateau Ste. Michelle.

With little ceiling height overhead, saving space was an essential part of the project. VRF systems conveniently have small refrigerant lines, and JMI also proposed the idea to encase some of the HVAC equipment in the woodwork to disguise it. The VRF system installed by JMI was an economical choice and provided energy efficiency, precise temperature control, zoned comfort, quiet operation and space savings for the unique project.

JMI has worked on a variety of projects with Chateau Ste. Michelle “At any given time, we have about two or three projects going on at Ste. Michelle. It’s been one of our biggest customers for the last couple years. We have a maintenance contract with them, so we service all of their buildings, and we have done several build-outs there,” says Derek.

JMI is a second-generation, family-owned and operated business that was founded in 1983 by Allen Johansen. The company’s President, Keith Johansen, and V.P. Derek Holm were schoolmates at Cottage Lake Elementary in Woodinville, Washington. They both played competitive select soccer on the same team during their school years, and are still very competitive to this day. They joined the business together as sheet metal apprentices in the mid to late 1980s, when fax machines and pagers were the new technology. Their main training was OJT and attending SMACNA business classes and seminars. Allen Johansen retired (he currently enjoys living in Arizona), and Keith and Derek became owners of the company in 2007.

This year marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of Johansen Mechanical Inc. Over the years, the mission of the company “to be an elite performer in the HVAC/R” has been maintained, and it continues to strive to be the leader in its field. “We want to thank our business mentors (Al Johansen, Larry Carlson, Dave Leishman, and Dave Tessmer); their leadership and teaching made it possible for Derek and I to get to where we are today. The key to our success has been satisfying our customers with honesty, high-quality workmanship, and diverse products. The construction market is very competitive, and JMI would not survive by just being the lowest price option out there. We are proud of JMI’s accomplishments over the years, and plan to keep making a difference by keeping the company strong and moving forward, as the industry continues to change,” says Keith.



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