Building Controls and Services’ early work on big project propelled success

04/17/2014 6:52 AM

08/06/2014 10:56 AM

Safety, comfort and efficiency are the words Ken Stoppel uses to describe what it his company, Building Controls and Services, does.

Stoppel and three partners started the company in 1985, a time he describes as the dawn of computerized control systems in the temperature controls industry.

Today, BCS has 60 technicians, engineers, sales staff and other workers. It operates from a building at 1730 E. Douglas, where it undertook a historic renovation in 2010 before moving in two years later. That building, whose other tenant is Fisher’s Transmissions, provided BCS triple the office space it used to have.

Stoppel said BCS had some big success early on, after it won work on a temperature control project at Wesley Medical Center.

“We had four employees and a million-dollar job and it was all we could do to bond it,” Stoppel said. “That was a project that comes along once every 10 years.”

Its client list has since grown to include other hospitals and health care facilities, commercial office buildings, schools and industrial buildings.

Since BCS’ launch, the company has expanded beyond providing digital controls for heating and air systems in commercial buildings to include sales of HVAC mechanical equipment, fire and security systems, and variable refrigerant flow systems, which allow a user in a single building to simultaneously heat one room while cooling another. It is an authorized representative of AAON, LG, Gamewell Fire and Siemens Security. BCS also offers HVAC accessories such as grills and registers.

“We control everything in a building except the people,” Stoppel said.

The expansion of those services is one reason why the company’s revenue has tripled since 2006. The other was a recognition that it needed to do a better job of marketing itself.

“We were excellent technicians but not very good promoters,” Stoppel said.

The expansion of services also proved enormously helpful in the last recession.

“If we stayed with the core business we had, the downturn would have been severe,” Stoppel said. He also credits BCS vice president of operations James Herrman for advocating for the service expansion, including becoming an AAON and LG representative.

Stoppel said he’s learned a couple of valuable business lessons since starting his business, chief among those: “Never promise anything you can’t deliver and always make the customer look like a good decision-maker.”

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