Keeping it in-house

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:33 pm

Product diversification has been critical to the success of Pewaukee-based Total Comfort of Wisconsin Inc., according to Dennis Braun, owner of the mechanical contracting services company.
"I have made diversity of our services offered a priority, and it has helped get us through the lulls in the economy," he said.
Total Comfort had $34.5 million in revenue in 2004 and now employs 228 people. The company is one of the largest contracting service companies in the area.
"When I bought Total Comfort in 1988, it was a small HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractor with about $2 million a year in sales," Braun said.
Today, the company is a full-service mechanical contracting firm that designs and installs commercial and residential HVAC and plumbing systems and installs mechanical systems that support industrial and manufacturing processes.
"Now, we in-house many aspects, from engineering to design to installation," Braun said. "Most of our competition doesn’t have the kind of capabilities that we do."
The company also has grown through the acquisitions of Hampton Plumbing in 2002 and Wenninger Mechanical in 2004.
Despite the growth of his company, Braun says he tries not to lose the "personal touch" he has with his employees.
"My employees are key, because it’s not like we’re pumping widgets out of a factory, and the more machines I can have, the less employees I need," he said. "We’re in a people business. I haven’t lost contact with my employees, and I don’t manage from afar. I try to keep the mentality that I should be the first one in, last one out each day."
Braun also says he works toward having the best possible relationship with each of his customers.
"We give our customers the best we can give them, and we never walk away from anything, any problem," he said.
In the future, Total Comfort could be affected by the higher costs of its union labor, Braun said.
The number of contracting firms will likely decrease in the region in future, Braun said, but he predicts that Total Comfort’s quality products, diversity of services and commitment to customer service help the company continue to grow.

Total Comfort of Wisconsin Inc.
Location: W234 N2830 Paul Road, Pewaukee
Year established: 1968
Main products/services: Mechanical contracting services
Number of employees: 228
Web Page:

June 24, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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