J.A. marble Co. employees with Dearborn, Mich. Mayor Michael Guido at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
DEARBORN, Mich. – At a time when many people are pessimistic about the national economy, it’s nice to see a contractor succeeding… and expanding.

The 40-year-old J.A. Marble Co. specializes in boiler burner installation and service, but also performs work in hvacr, ductwork and fire suppression. The company has 10 service trucks and about 30 employees. It is a member of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and is active at the local level in MI-ACCA. President is James A. Marble. His daughter Mary is vice president and son-in-law Steven Hess is project manager. Phillippa Buckner, who has worked for the company since 1989, is office manager.

Recently the company moved into sharp new digs a few miles from its old, original location in Detroit. Family and employees celebrated by holding an open house on a bright, sunshiny day in October, which included games, prizes, food, product demonstrations and a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by Dearborn Mayor Michael Guido.

The new facility is between 20,000 and 30,000-sq.-ft., and gives the company plenty of elbow room to work. Mary Marble says it is probably more room than the company needs for now, but it also gives room to expand more into other areas, such as sheet metal work.

Offices are user-friendly, with many glassed-in areas and ceiling fans, plants and light wood to complement Jim Marble’s collection of antiques is on display – including one of his favorites, an antique barber chair displayed prominently at the front entrance. There is also a conference room, a luxury the old facility lacked.

One of the advantages of the new location is that Steve and Mary’s year-old daughter Katie gets to come to work more often — “I can take her for a walk in her stroller at lunchtime,” says Mary. The new facility is located squarely between a commercial shopping area and a residential neighborhood with neat, brick homes on tree-lined streets. Some homes are located only a stone’s throw from the front entrance – “I like that,” says Mary. “It’s not like we’re stuck away in some industrial park.”

The old facility was landlocked, surrounded by small, individual storefronts.

An interesting recent job for the company involved the redesign and installation of a new air conditioning system for the McNamara Federal Building in downtown Detroit, a $2.2 million job. J.A. Marble’s renovation proposal consisted of replacing obsolete chillers with three 900-ton York liquid cooled centrifugal chillers. The chillers had to be air-lifted by helicopter to the roof of the 27 story structure and lowered through an opening created specifically for this installation. The entire project took about a year, but the chiller airlift was accomplished in about four hours.

Business is good. When a boiler goes down, it’s usually a rush job to get it up and running again. There seems to be no slowdown or lack of work, knock on wood. Mary says most of the employees can work as much overtime as they like.