The day begins early at Phoenix Mechanical. Even before the sun is up, Bob Draper and his large crew of employees are busy preparing to help residential and commercial customers.
“On an average day we have 30-40 jobs that are in process, that we’re working on. We have 16 crews,” said Draper.
Since 1971, Phoenix Mechanical has built a reputation –– job by job –– of quality work and excellent customer service. They have a varied and complete operation. They are licensed for plumbing, heating, electrical, air conditioning, and general contracting.
The high level of local knowledge stands out at Phoenix Mechanical: Several of their field technicians were born and raised in Taos and have been working at Phoenix for several years, some of them for decades.
Tony Romo and Johnny Martinez serve as the foremen for the large staff. In the morning, they dispatch the crews to their various jobs. Throughout the course of a day, they drive around to check on jobs. Additionally, customer requests for regular preventive maintenance are tracked on a large scheduling board.
“We have a lot of on-the-job training. We send our techs to local seminars occasionally, but now there is so much available online and from manufacturers. We get support from a network of manufacturers. These days, with the miracle of cell phones, we can have dialogues with people far way with real-time video who can coach us through,” said Draper.
In their trademark red trucks, the Phoenix crews drive to jobs throughout Taos County and beyond. Often, a truck consists of a journeyman and an apprentice for commercial and residential repairs.
“A journeyman is someone who has passed an extensive skills test with the state of New Mexico. This test is practical, hands-on and theoretical. The law says the technician has to be a journeyman for electrical and mechanical work. An apprentice is a trainee,” said Draper.
Marcos Martinez is the journeyman who heads up the electrical crew. With increasing requests for electrical services, Phoenix Mechanical has done recent electrical work at NM Department of Transportation and the Chevron molybdenum mine in Questa.
Draper points out that there is a lot of “cross-fertilization” among their job help. “With our large team, we have people with a whole lot of experience to get through problems. We do a lot of cross-helping. We have a lot of resources to call on,” he said.
Distinct customer service
No job is too big or too small for Phoenix Mechanical. They provide service to homeowners of small studio condos up to ongoing maintenance of large, institutional buildings for Taos Municipal Schools and the local governments of the town of Taos and Taos County.
“In general, we emphasize comfort whether it’s in your home or a building you work at. That’s a lot of the service we do. We have been around for a long time and can take care of any problems that arise,” said Draper.
Phoenix Mechanical has a lot of scheduled maintenance for commercial and residential properties. With today’s modern technology, they can use their mobile phones to remotely check on heating and mechanical systems. The crews often notice problems before their customers do. As a result, Phoenix Mechanical has a lot of longtime loyal customers.
“But we also work with alot of new people. We help people look at properties before they buy them. It’s a great way to meet new people coming into town,” said Draper.
Draper once again points to the ongoing training of his crews and how they are experts in modern control systems for plumbing, heating and electricity. This includes thermostats that homeowners can operate via the Internet for their solar panels, pools, and hot tubs.
“We have a high level of responsiveness. The phone always forwards to someone 24/7 for weekend and night service. A lot of times we can help people make it through the night by coaching them on how to make the situation safe until morning. People don’t always want us showing up at one in the morning.” said Draper.
With all of their experience, it is worth noting that no two jobs are alike for Phoenix Mechanical.
For example, in early 2018, they replaced all of the sewer lines for the McDonald’s restaurant on the main road in Taos. “The necessity for it just sprang up one day. We were able to pull together a lot of different resources and get it done in two days. We have a lot of people with a lot of experience who can jump on whatever needs to be done.”