CRANSTON, Rhode Island — In the midst of a global, regional, and local economic crisis, few would suggest that education is the highest priority capital investment a business should make, and even fewer would make a $20 million investment in that pursuit. However, that is just what Taco Inc. has done.

On Aug. 1, led by President and CEO John Hazen White, Jr., Taco officially opened the doors of its new Innovation and Development Center in Cranston, R.I., also the home of its corporate headquarters.

The $20 million expansion to its corporate facility follows closely the long-standing dedication and interest in the education and success of its employees and customers. In 1992, John Hazen White, Sr. presided over the company when he founded the Taco Learning Center for employees. Taco has grown on the customer education front, especially with the advent of online learning, with the creation of FloPro® University and other educational programs. White, Jr. has taken the original Learning Center into the 21st century with the new two-story, 24,037-square-foot Innovation and Development Center. The center, which will be LEED-certified, depended heavily upon the support of its employees and business partners.

Chris Integlia, executive vice president, and one of two main project managers for the center, said, “Taco is very appreciative for the passionate support provided by partners who not only gave us help, but gave us an education. People adjusted their schedules and came here to help us design and build a state-of-the-art facility.”

White, Jr. told an audience of nearly 150 industry partners that the facility had been “dedicated by the White family for the enrichment of Taco’s employees and the HVAC industry,” the same words that grace the commemorative stone on the building.

“I believe that having a company that is safe, and clean and rewarding to work at is one that attracts the very best people as its employees. Our employees are the most important element of this company — they are the people who have built this company,” said White, Jr.

Architectural + Sustainable Systems

The center was completed in 14 months, and has nearly every conceivable enhanced mechanical system, which will keep the most avid wethead contractor entertained, and probably even a few air junkies. Twenty-five living laboratories are scattered throughout the center, displaying and providing hands-on learning and teaching. The building includes advanced hydronic system applications such as radiant cooling, radiant heating, snowmelt, geothermal, active and passive chilled beams, and also solar thermal. Throughout the center, floors, ceilings, and walls are aesthetically designed to provide close-up, cutaway views.

Additional energy saving or sustainable features include an electric vehicle charging station, alternative transportation (bicycle) storage, water efficient landscaping, recycling, energy recovery systems, demand control ventilation, indoor air quality monitoring and control, and Taco’s own products such as every type of pump the company offers, LoadMatch® technology, iWorx building automation, and Taco LoFlo™ technology.

There are even more enhanced features that are expected to earn the facility a gold LEED status from the United States Green Building Council.

“The new Taco Innovation and Development Center is a wonderful showcase for our industry, where members of our professional community will learn about the latest technology and applications our industry has to offer. It’s also an enriching environment where Taco employees will continue to increase their knowledge and enhance their personal and professional lives through training and education classes and programs,” said White, Jr., the third member of his family to operate the company since 1920.

For more information on the Innovation and Development Center or the Taco company, go to

Publication date: 8/27/2012