In November of 1912, while the vast majority of home heating was hand-fed coal-fired boilers or wood-burning stoves, Samuel Haas, then a successful valve salesman, decided to try his hand as a commercial heating contractor. He established Advance Heating with little more than a few employees, some used shopping carts to move their tools, and the foresight into the long-term value in developing partnerships.
As commercial air conditioning became more prevalent in the 1930’s, Sam quickly realized the role of the heating contractor was going to change. He hired Herb Kreisman, a young Illinois Institute of Technology graduate engineer. Herb applied his engineering background and skills as the air conditioning business grew. He became a large part of the company’s success and would succeed Sam as president.
The company successfully completed many AC projects and, in 1945, Advance Heating became Advance Heating and Air Conditioning Corporation.
In addition to leading the company, Herb also worked closely with the Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago (MCA). The MCA later said of him, “Herb was a pioneer in our industry; he was the kind of man who made us proud to do what we all do. Herb helped lay the foundation for the mechanical contracting industry in Chicago”. In honor of his contributions, the MCA and Piping Education Council created a scholarship in Herb’s name.
The mid-1950’s brought two more talented engineers to Advance Mechanical Systems Inc. Robert Blumenthal and John Nowicki carried on Sam and Herb’s commitment to customer satisfaction, integrity, and the culture of building relationships with core customers. Bob worked well with general contractors and consulting engineers, while John went full speed ahead into value engineering and design/build projects. Bob and John both went on to become presidents of the Corporation, serving through the end of the century. They established many of the client partnerships that still exist to this day.
The 1960's were marked by projects that grew in size and complexity. High-rise office buildings and shopping centers with central heating and cooling plants were commonplace. Our portfolio expanded to include new types of projects like computer room systems, predecessors of today's data centers.
The Energy Crisis of the 1970’s forever changed the way buildings and their mechanical systems would be designed. The increased energy costs drove building developers to look beyond first cost and now seek energy efficient designs and installations. While construction adapted to the changes, Advance took the opportunity to expand and, in 1975, opened the plumbing division.
The 1980’s was a decade where hospitals grew in size and complexity and were a major source of our work. As many hospitals upgraded their central plants and added new wings to their existing facilities we perfected our skills with specialized systems like steam, medical gases, and laboratory services.
In the late 1990's we saw the surge in high-rise residential and hotel construction. This was a time of the budget conscious consumer. Keeping costs low and comfort levels high became a major requirement of every project. Our experience-based design/build skillset was a perfect fit for this market, and we solidified our reputation as a premiere high-rise design/build contractor. Our involvement in design/build projects allowed us the opportunity to work closely with several HVAC equipment manufacturers to tailor their equipment and shipping methods for the high-rise construction process. These changes improved construction, scheduling, delivery, and installation; ultimately impacting the high-rise construction industry beyond the Chicago market.
The early 2000's would bring our most recent leadership change as David Weiner was promoted to president. David’s engineering expertise and business savvy brought strong organizational and operation excellence at a time when significant technology changes occurred in our industry. BIM emerged and quickly became our preferred way to design and coordinate projects, allowing us to improve project delivery and construction scheduling thru pre-fabrication. These processes influenced our expansion in 2002 when the ventilation division was added.
Today, Advance is a privately held, full service mechanical contracting firm. We work exclusively in the Chicagoland area and our design staff includes registered professional engineers, project engineers, BIM modelers and detailers for all project design needs. We have second generation office and field employees, and have proudly seen many employees retire after careers of 40 or more years with the Corporation.