It wouldn't be a New Year without taking a good hard look at the past. As your industry resource for sheet metal and HVAC articles, our goal is to always bring you provocative topics that are informative and influential.

This year that included industry icons, project profiles, steel reports, productivity webinars and how-to videos. The following five stories reflect the best of that selection: 

Brooklyn’s Gentlemen Sheet Metal values great work first

In Brooklyn, New York, Gentlemen Sheet Metal Ltd. owner Paul Appel is the “last man standing” of an increasingly rare pedigree of sheet metal shops and owners. His father, Dennis, a Local 28 foreman, opened Gentlemen with a partner in 1979. Appel came on in 1987 at his parents’ request and put his accounting background to use managing the shop’s books.

“That’s where I found they needed the most help,” says Appel, a graduate of Hofstra University in Long Island. His younger brother, Dennis Jr., was already working as a tin knocker out of high school and soon moved over to the family business as an installer. “Originally when I came, I didn’t even know what I was going to do. I didn’t know where I fit in.” READ THE COMPLETE STORY

Dee Cramer Inc finishes IPD job at Michigan State University

All construction projects follow the same basic formula. And that’s the problem, according to the MacLeamy Curve, a concept developed by renowned architect Patrick MacLeamy. In a traditional design, bid, build process, the further along you are along in the construction process the higher the cost of a design change. Although owners set the tone for the project early on, their input usually isn’t called upon again until the project is next to being finished — which is generally too late, leading to delays, waste and increased delivery costs. The integrated project delivery (IPD) method brings key stakeholders into the process early on to maximize the projects outcome at each step of the way, from start to finish. READ THE COMPLETE STORY

At the helm of a legendary sheet metal shop in Brooklyn, New York

Few sheet metal shops can say they’ve been around for more than a century. In the heart of Brooklyn, New York, the secret to Standard Tinsmith and Roofer Supply’s 105-year-old longevity is family.     

In 1914, Luis Goldberg opened Tinsmith in lower East Side Manhattan with a plan to sell quality sheet metal products to the city’s rapidly developing five boroughs. With business booming, Goldberg soon groomed his son-in-law, Sam Fishkind, to run the sheet metal shop in order to keep the company’s operations all in the family.

When Sam’s business partner eventually retired in the 1960s, his son and current Tinsmith president, Joel Fishkind, purchased a partnering stake into the company. Fifty years later, Joel is now readying his son Scott to take the reins of the family business and pave his own way forward. READ THE COMPLETE STORY

Mechanical contractor uses construction productivity tracker for efficiency

“In 2014, the shop had roughly 12,000-square-feet in shop space,” explains Jeremy Day, operations manager at SVM.  “Today we have roughly 110,000-square-feet of shop space and we employ over 680 people, and we are signatory to Local 104.”

Consistent with that growth has been the firm’s willingness to be forward thinking with company culture and investments in technology, Day explains. READ THE COMPLETE STORY

Is Revit or MEP more popular?

Randy Swaim, Trimble MEP product engineer and sales manager, explains the differences between Revit and MEP and why contractors prefer to use one over the other. WATCH THE VIDEO.

Happy New Year! Here's to many more great stories in year 2020.