WOODRIDGE, IL —Sitting across the table from CEO John Berzanskis, Jr., you get a sense of how proud he is of the company he has been a part for the better part of 40 years. A big part of the company’s culture is one of caring, passion, honesty, integrity and respect, and Berzanskis is the first to point out that AMS is blessed with “phenomenal” employees, “It’s humbling to be a part of such a great company. The person who greets you at the front door is just as important as the CEO,” says Berzanskis.
AMS founder, John Berzanskis, Sr., founded Antarctic Refrigeration out of an old gas station facility in 1963, and Antarctic Refrigeration quickly grew and became AMS Mechanical Services. Following in his father’s footsteps, John F. Jr. purchased the company and moved to Burr Ridge, Ill. From there, AMS expanded into the sheet metal market, electrical, building automation, wiring and technical support.
In its continued growth, AMS, now an employee-owned company through its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), became one of the leading mechanical contractors in the Midwest, specializing in refrigeration, power, petrochemical and steel industries. In 2013, AMS added a plumbing service and construction division, making it a full-service mechanical contractor. AMS Mechanical Systems, Inc. has the training, experience and dedication to job site safety.
Lately that aforementioned pride stems from the opening of the new 145,000-sq.-ft. corporate headquarters — just outside of Chicago — in 2017. The new building is home to 146 office employees, and 400+ field workers, and of the 145,000-sq. ft., 100,000 sq. ft. features a state-of-the-art prefabrication shop and warehouse to support manufacturing requirements. The facility even houses a full-time mechanic, which maintains more than 100 vehicles in the fleet.
100,000 sq. ft. features a state-of-the-art fabrication shop and warehouse to support manufacturing requirements.
According the Berzanskis, the old facility was getting “tired” and “old,” and the new facility really represents the future of AMS. “As a driving force in new building, we continue to leverage technology — such as BIM — to capitalize on fabrication,” continues Berzanskis. By attracting young people into the trade, we can take the company into the next generation,” says Berzanskis. “Building the new, state-of-the-art facility gives the next generation of AMS employees a strong foundation from which to build.”
There’s also a bit of a twinkle in his eye because he plans to retire soon, handing over the reins to Ben Campbell, who took over as acting president January 2017. Berzanskis still plans to have an active role in the company through consulting, lending his wealth of industry knowledge and expertise to the next generation of tradesmen.
AMS is very active in the surrounding community and tries to be more personal in its search for people who need help such as fine-focusing on helping senior citizens, veterans, and children’s organizations. Relating to the latter, AMS is participating in an in-kind installation of a heating system at the Midtown Educational Foundation, Chicago, an organization that helps underprivileged families. Midtown Educational Foundation guides low-income urban youth by focusing on academic excellence, virtue development, individual attention and parental engagement. “I recently had dinner with the director of Midtown and came away very impressed with the foundation’s mission. It’s the very least we can do,” says Berzanskis.
Midtown’s converted headquarters, a 120-yr.-old grand Victorian mansion — adorned with beautiful ornate radiators — features a single pipe steam system. Weil-McLain is donating an EG-85 cast iron steam boiler along with low water cutoff and all necessary water controls. Porter Pipe, Addison, Ill., is donating a Lochinvar GTN-040, a 40-gallon gas-fired water heater. In addition to the heating system, the installation consists of abatement of asbestos and installing a concrete equipment pad for the new boiler and water heater. AMS is awaiting asbestos abatement to be performed by M&O Insulation, Homewood, Ill., which has also donated its services.
“This is a relatively small-scale project compared to what we do on a day-to-day basis at AMS; however, Midtown is a great organization and the project will be treated as if we were doing the installation in a hospital setting,” says Joseph Hansen, executive manager, Central Plant Services, AMS.
AMS is passionately committed to its customers, the industry and each other. These are the hallmarks of an approach that has built its reputation over five decades of serving clients in HVAC, industrial refrigeration, heavy industrial piping and construction, food and process piping, electrical power and control systems, plumbing and service and maintenance.