Article | July 21, 2023
Letter from a Principle: Zach Russi
To Form a More Perfect Union
“To form a more perfect union” is that familiar phrase from the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. These words set the stage for what became the highest law in the land. That was big. Our news feels pretty big too as we step into the next era of Western Allied Mechanical. It is fitting that we are moving to a city with “union” in the name because it couldn’t be a more perfect description of our goal. We are moving from three separate buildings in Menlo Park into 105,000 square feet to join our office space and operations under one massive roof.
Leaving Menlo Park after being in the same city for 40 years makes us nostalgic for our origin story. Western Allied Corporation started in 1961 to service the Los Angeles market, but eventually expanded to Northern California. In 2004 the Southern and Northern California branches split into separate companies and our name changed to “Western Allied Mechanical.” We have called ourselves “WAMers” ever since. By 2011 the construction and service departments had grown collectively to $50 million. We spread into two office buildings side by side on O’Brien drive with our sheet metal shop operating across the street in Casey Court. Between 2014 and 2020 business rocketed from a $64 million dollar company to one worth $110 million! Achieving 70% growth in under seven years sent us looking for where we could scale our business and bring our sprawling enterprise into one physical location.
Just under 15 miles away, 33210 Central Avenue in Union City was selected as our next home away from home. Having nearly doubled the operations footprint, we can now increase pre-fabrication to help our jobs run more efficiently for our clients. Since our employees are central to all we achieve, we invited them to weigh in on the new building interior design. Together we created a plan that reflects our goals of engineering environments that are clean, healthy and environmentally kind.
We did not only consider our internal environment, but also looked at how we can improve our building to be more sustainable. We are installing a solar generation plant and converting all our systems to electric. This will not only allow us to essentially become a net zero energy building but will decrease our overall carbon emissions. We will be providing electric car charges as well to take advantage of this solar power generation. All of this will be captured and displayed on an energy dashboard installed by our controls department. We want to be on the leading edge of efficiency and design systems for our clients that decrease the environmental impact of buildings. No better place to start than our home.
In addition to new break room kitchens, we installed re-usable water bottle filling stations, and huddle collaboration areas. There is a large fitness center with available trainers and massage services. For the lighter side, our large training room is where you can also find a friendly game of ping pong or right next door you take a swing in the golf simulator in the game room. Talk has begun among our musically talented for hosting after-work jam sessions, maybe lead by our own Todd Gottshall from Engineering? We might call them the “WAM Jam Band’ -it is catchy, right? We have much anticipation about using the features of our new facility to its fullest for the benefit of employees and clients.
In our shops we have developed a state of the art fabrication facility that is entirely indoors, well lit with LED lighting with new fabrication equipment and processes that will allow us to perform larger and more complex projects and take advantage of pre-fabrication on more projects. We are also implementing new processes and equipment in our shipping and receiving department to better track all construction, service and controls materials and equipment.
Unifying our company under one roof and making space for more client interaction, aligns with our goal for becoming the preferred mechanical contractor in the Bay Area and marks a new page in the history of Western Allied Mechanical.
About Western Allied Mechanical
Western Allied Mechanical stands on the cutting edge of HVAC system design and operation. We combine innovative thinking and technologies with intricate engineering to create, build and maintain comfortable, energy-efficient environments.