ST. LOUIS, MO — Haberberger Inc. is commemorating its 75th anniversary in business this year, marking a major milestone for the St. Louis-based, family-owned mechanical contractor. Established in 1948 by Frank Haberberger as a refrigeration service company, Haberberger Inc., has steadily grown into a leader in industrial mechanical construction across the nation and has plans for continued growth as ownership is transferred to the next generation in the Haberberger family.
Consistently ranked among the top 10 mechanical contractors in the St. Louis area—with 200 employees and $71.4 million in revenue in 2022 alone—Haberberger has seen tremendous growth over the years to become an industry leader. From its refrigeration shop beginnings in 1948, the company transitioned to commercial refrigeration and by 1961, began offering air conditioning services and commercial piping construction. Frank’s son Joe F. Haberberger took over presidency in 1970 and under Joe’s leadership, Haberberger added industrial piping work, and the original fabrication shop was added in 1993, helping to form the company it is today. Joe retired in 1997, with his three sons, Mark, Neil and Steve Haberberger, Sr. taking the helm.
New Types of Work & New Facilities
Haberberger has continued to grow and expand over the past 30 years. Its existing office and pipe fabrication shop in Affton opened in 2000, and sheet metal capabilities were added in 2011. The company’s plumbing division was added in 2016 and has grown to $11.5 million in annual revenue, with 40 plumbers currently in the field. In June 2021, Haberberger opened a new facility off Baumgartner Rd. in South St. Louis County to house its service department and sheet metal fabrication services, greatly increasing its fabrication space from 2,500 square feet to 18,000 square feet. The expansion included an upgrade to state-of-the-art equipment that has allowed the team to increase production while maintaining higher efficiencies.
“Sheet metal seems to be our biggest area of opportunity for future growth,” notes Steve Haberberger, Jr., President, and CEO of Haberberger and a member of the fourth generation. “While it was brought on to complement our piping construction division, we have recently been successful in selling stand-alone HVAC and industrial sheet metal fabrication around the country, thanks to a great partnership with SMART Local 36. “
“Plumbing has seen great growth since that division started in 2016, which has brought along a successful revenue source,” added Haberberger, Jr. “This added line of work has also cultivated new clients that the service and mechanical construction departments didn’t have in the past.”
Looking to the Future
Haberberger also believes that the recent announcement of the infrastructure bill, which provides new funding for infrastructure projects, will bring a large amount of work for water and wastewater treatment facilities—an area in which the company has extensive experience and knowledge. As Haberberger looks to the future, leadership will focus on these areas of growth while making sure they retain highly skilled and qualified workers.
“Our core competency is our piping construction, and while there is a generational gap with the older pipefitter foremen retiring, we have an excellent group of younger pipefitter foreman that have started to take the reins in successfully executing larger projects for Haberberger, Inc.,” Haberberger, Jr. noted. “UA local 562 has done a tremendous job of recruiting younger tradespeople to help build up our core group of pipefitters and plumbers. These dedicated team members are committed to safety, quality and performance on time, every time, and will continue to contribute to Haberberger’s success.”
The company recently underwent a generational transfer of ownership from the third generation to the fourth generation—a milestone that only three to four percent of family businesses reach. A total of five Haberberger family members from generation four have now taken on leadership roles within the company. Steve Haberberger, Jr., was named President and CEO in 2021, replacing Neil Haberberger, who had served in that capacity for 23 years after his father Joe Haberberger retired. Joe R. Haberberger succeeded the role of Service Manager from his father, Mark, in 2022, and was recently named Secretary.
The generational transfer of ownership from the third generation to the fourth generation was completed in early April when Jeff Haberberger and Ben Haberberger were named as Vice President, while Sam Haberberger was appointed Treasurer—a position that third generation owner Steve Haberberger, Sr., previously held. Jeff and Ben have been project managers with the company since 2012 and 2017, respectively, while Sam joined Haberberger in 2020 as a project estimator and BIM automation/software engineer.
Haberberger is regularly recognized for outstanding work, safety initiatives and work environment. Recent notable honors include being nominated for the 2022 American Subcontractor Association MEP Subcontractor of the Year. The company has also received the 2019 AGC of Missouri HVAC/Piping Subcontractor of the Year (SCOTY) award and the 2021 American Subcontractor Association Safety Award. The firm’s reputation for excellence has allowed it to attract and retain notable clients that include Boeing, Ameren Missouri, Anheuser-Busch, General Mills, Millipore Sigma, Metropolitan Sewer District of St. Louis, Missouri American Water, and Busch Stadium.
To learn more about Haberberger, its services and history, visit www.haberbergerinc.com.