East / Regional Reports

Codes Keep Connecticut Contractor Hopping

April 20, 2001
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NEW BRITAIN, CT — According to James Tzanetis, owner of JNT Mechanical Services here, keeping up with codes is the name of the game for Connecticut contractors.

It’s a small state with a lot of codes, and it’s also difficult to get a contracting license, Tzanetis says. In order to keep up, the contractor takes local code courses through the Industrial Management and Training Institute (IMTI).

On individual jobs, “The person pulling the permit and/or the foreman are responsible for codes knowledge,” Tzanetis says.

The area also sees strict enforcement of vehicle log lists for EPA Clean Air Act enforcement.

Complicating matters is this contractor’s extremely broad market, which includes residential and commercial hvac, national accounts, refrigeration work on equipment from manufacturers such as Scotsman and Manitowoc, and other types of foodservice equipment work.

“We’ve taken the area by storm,” Tzanetis says. “We’ve done work with companies overseas, Germany, Italy, Japan. We’re mechanical contractors; we think like engineers.”

While codes are JNT’s regional concern, labor is actually the company’s single biggest issue, which contractors across the country can sympathize with. “Getting people here is difficult,” Tzanetis says.

“Air conditioning and heating [labor] is a dime a dozen,” he continues. “Finding people skilled in hvac and refrigeration is almost impossible.

“If there’s someone skilled in hvacr, foodservice, and sheet metal — I’d be honored to hire that person.” As it stands, the contractor needs to train its technicians to order.

According to Tzanetis, 72 hrs is standard training for new employees at JNT. Ongoing training is required throughout the year, and may be more frequent if manufacturers redesign equipment and/or offer new lines.

Two annual evaluations based on job performance and increase in cost of living determine an employee’s pay increase. Employees are rewarded for additional training and certification, which can also lead to advancement in the company.

Employee meetings are held regularly, as are one-on-one meetings, Tzanetis says. “We have had many success stories taking suggestions from employees.”

To help keep employees fresh, JNT’s work week consists of five days a week, 10 hrs a day, and an on-call 8-hr day during the busy season. However, there’s still plenty of work to do in the “off” season, with its five-day, 10-hr-day work week.

The contractor’s broad base is a big part of its remarkably steady ,year-round workload.

“We are an authorized service contractor for several manufacturers throughout the country which we do work for on a regular basis,” Tzanetis says.

“We also have many maintenance contracts, as well as an in-house marketing and advertising agent who is responsible for producing new accounts. But most important, our repeat business and referrals … have put us in a position to guarantee a year-round workload and set us up for expansion, therefore allowing us to provide room for advancement in the company for our employees.

“It’s a great feeling to know that you are an appreciated employee who produces, rather than a number expected to produce,” says Tzanetis. “This is where our drive comes from, resulting in success for both the employee and the company.”

This report provides information for contractors living in the New England region of the United States. This includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont. If you have information from this region, please contact Barb Checket-Hanks at 313-368-5856; 313-368-5857 (fax); or checket-hanksb@bnp.com (e-mail).

Sidebar: Contractor’s Quick Facts

JNT Mechanical Services is an authorized service representative for:

  • McCray Refrigeration Manufacturing;
  • Delfield Co.;
  • Beverage Air;
  • True Manufacturing;
  • Traulsen;
  • Wes Fac Inc. (manufacturer of custom food service equipment);
  • Scotsman;
  • Manitowoc;
  • Hoshizaki;
  • Digital Knights Manufacturing; and
  • Continental Refrigeration Manufacturing.
  • Main markets include residential and commercial:

  • Heating (warm and wet air, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps);
  • Air conditioning (rooftops, split systems);
  • Refrigeration (coolers, freezers, ice machines, self-contained and remote units); and
  • Food service equipment (deep fryers, rethermolizers, steam tables, convection ovens, standard ovens, grills of all types, slicers, heating cabinets, steaming units, bulb/radiant heat lamps).
  • Major commercial accounts include:

  • Taco Bell;
  • Dunkin Donuts;
  • McDonald’s;
  • Cajun Calf;
  • HomeTown Buffet;
  • Worlds Gym;
  • GNC Centers;
  • Beagle Z Co.;
  • Subway;
  • Dakota Steak House; and
  • Arby’s.
  • Publication date: 04/23/2001

    Web date: 06/18/2001

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