KomarAnchor3.jpeg
The new OUPS headquarters in North Jackson, OH.

Komar Anchor Plumbing & Drain completes year-long OUPS HQ job

Komar Plumbing was formed in 1964, and Anchor was formed in 2015. The two companies merged in 2016 to form Komar Anchor Plumbing and Drain service, offering a full range of interior and exterior plumbing services for businesses and residential homes.

NORTH JACKSON, OHIO — The Ohio Utilities Protection Service has a number of important functions, but they are most known for the 811 number on those “Call before you dig” signs that help protect buried utility lines. They coordinate between homeowners, contractors and utilities, heading off problems before they can happen.

When OUPS decided it needed a new headquarters, there were some on the board of directors who wanted to move the facility to Columbus. Instead, the final decision had them remain in unincorporated North Jackson, about 14 miles from Youngstown.

As a municipal building, water- and energy-efficiency was a key concern, with the water heaters high-efficiency and the fixtures all low-flow.

“It’s a very affordable place to do business,” Thaddus Smith, Owner of Komar Anchor Plumbing and Drain Service said. “All the [OUPS] employees are Youngstown-based, so they were actually able to save a lot of those employees’ jobs by building the new headquarters [near] Youngstown.”

Komar Anchor Plumbing and Drain Service were selected as a prime contractor on the job through a public bid. Komar Plumbing was formed in 1964, and Anchor was formed in 2015. The two companies merged in 2016 to form Komar Anchor Plumbing and Drain service, offering a full range of interior and exterior plumbing services for businesses and residential homes.

“We do work all over northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania,” Smith said. The company has 25 employees including six service techs, nine commercial plumbers and various laborers, shop technicians and support personnel. The company’s area of operation is roughly a 75-mile radius around Youngstown and includes Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Pittsburgh.

“We do a lot of new construction/rehab work,” Smith said, “but we also do a lot of service plumbing, including drain service, and we do a small amount of residential new home construction.” Smith estimates the work breaks down about 60/40 between commercial and residential work.

Frank Landis, a Komar Anchor technician puts the final touches on a water heater installation.

Komar Anchor took on the plumbing work for the new, 35,000-sq.ft. OUPS headquarters starting in January of 2017. “We did the underground, we did the sanitary, we did all the fixtures and the water heaters,” Smith said. This included American Standard fixtures and two, 50-gallon A.O. Smith water heaters.

As a municipal building, water- and energy-efficiency was a key concern, with the water heaters high-efficiency and the fixtures all low-flow.

Work proceeded fairly smoothly. Some design changes were implemented during the course of construction which made the job more challenging, particularly coordinating the work of the various trades. But eventually everything got hashed out and work was wrapped up by November.

OUPS personnel moved into their new HQ and the whole operation has been up and running since late December 2017. “We have not received a single callback,” Smith said, “everything is running just as it was supposed to, which is fantastic.”

The success of the job combined with the warm economic climate foreshadows even more large commercial work on the horizon for Komar Anchor. Like a great many contractors across the region, the only thing limiting further expansion is finding enough hands to do the work.

“We’re a union-affiliated shop, so we have the union as a resource,” Smith explained. “The good thing was, when we merged companies there were enough plumbers to take on additional capacity. We’ve added more in the last year — we’ve hired seven people — which was not actually difficult, but I do see labor tightening up over the next few months as we grow.”

Even in slow work periods, his competitors are reluctant to let good union technicians go, but things haven’t reached the point of a bidding war for labor just yet. “I do see a labor crunch on the horizon,” Smith said, “But we’ll figure it out. I’m not worried about that.”

Pullquote: The good thing was, when we merged companies there were enough plumbers to take on additional capacity.

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