This family business credits its success in part to maintaining high standards of service and diversifying its work within the industry.
Quality Plumbing is more than a catchy way for Bryan Nazworth to brand his business. Quality is a way of life for him.
“Our quality of work overshadows everything else,” Nazworth says. “We never want to have to apologize for the level of service we provide.”
The commitment to quality has paid off, with Quality Plumbing celebrating its 30th year in 2013 and distinguishing itself as the largest full-service plumbing company in Alachua County.
Most other plumbing companies in the area focus their business on either residential work or commer- cial work, but Quality Plumbing embraces both. The company’s mix of work varies as opportunities arise among its three divisions: residential service, com- mercial service and multi-family new construction.
Commercial work includes projects for the Uni- versity of Florida, Shands Healthcare, North Florida Regional Medical Center and contractors through- out the state of Florida and the southeast, including Georgia and Alabama.
Nazworth embodies the commitment to quality through a strong work ethic that means getting to work at 5:15 am every day and “not leaving until everything’s done.”
He said he believes in top-down leadership, hold- ing himself to the same high standards he expects from his employees. His goal is to encourage col- laboration and interdependence among his staff.
Nazworth said he learned the importance of high stan- dards from his father, Alton. “He taught me things for years that I didn’t even realize I was learning. Even now I find myself in situations where I think, ‘How would Dad handle this?’”
Nazworth expects his em- ployees to be an extension of himself when it comes to quality. “There are two keys to succeed in business: high-quality employees and a satisfied client base. The first one gets you the other one,” he says.
Two years ago, Nazworth launched a second com- pany, Quality DesignWorks, to meet a need that his plumbing customers identified. They wanted to have a building contractor that could deliver all facets of a kitchen or bath remodel, including design, construc- tion, plumbing and electrical work. Quality Design- Works is housed in a 3,000-square-foot design center and showroom just off U.S. 441 in Alachua.
“You can’t put all your eggs in one basket,” Nazworth says. “We’ve been able to be successful long-term by diversifying.”
STARTING FROM THE BOTTOM
When Nazworth graduated from high school in 1977, he was set on wanting to learn a trade, rather
than go to college. He worked for a couple of local plumbing companies before deciding to start his own.
“I always knew that I didn’t want to work for someone else forever,” he says. Nazworth and a partner set up shop in 1984. The partner left the company after three years and Nazworth turned to his life part- ner—his wife, Angela.
“She calls herself the bookkeeper, but there’s a lot more that falls on her shoulders than that title embod- ies,” he says. Angela manages all of the day-to-day office work and finances for both Quality Plumbing and Quality DesignWorks. “As a business owner, I can’t say enough about how great it is not to have to worry about the financial side of things,” Nazworth says. Knowing that his wife has control over those matters gives him peace of mind he says a lot of other business owners don’t enjoy. “We trust each other totally to take care of our responsibilities. I wouldn’t be in business without her,” he says.
At first, the company primarily provided service work. A turning point came in 1989, when Davis & Sons Construction Co. in Newberry awarded Quality Plumbing the contract for an apartment complex it was building.
Quality Plumbing still does work for Davis & Sons, which has built thousands of apartment build- ings and student housing projects throughout the Southeast. “There’s no plumber I would rather have do a multi-family project,” says owner Stefan Davis. “I know it’s going to be good quality and timely.”
Other contracts followed. “One contract only provides you the opportunity to prepare for the next opportunity,” Nazworth says. “You have to be on your ‘A game’ every day and you have to deliver.”
WEATHERING THE STORM
Quality Plumbing had grown to 118 employees at its peak in 2007. When the economic downturn hit in 2008, it had enough contracts to keep its workers busy.
Beginning in 2009, business dropped rapidly, and Nazworth cut his staff by 60 percent. “We all learned to do more with less,” he says. “Fortunately, we were able to keep most of our core people.”
At its low point in recent years, the staff was down to 42, but it’s steadily approaching 80 today.
MAINTAINING WORKFORCE AND INCLUDING FAMILY
Nazworth laments the difficulty in finding qual- ified workers. “Our goals haven’t changed in 30 years,” Nazworth says. “Our biggest challenge is hiring and keeping good people.”
To attract top workers, Quality Plumbing’s wages are on the upper end of the pay scale for this area. The company also provides benefits, includng health insurance and a 401K.
The Quality Plumbing and Quality DesignWorks staff also includes family. The Nazworths’ son, Pres- ton, is the plumbing company’s assistant proj- ect manager, and their daughter, Heather, is a designer with Quality DesignWorks. Angela’s broth- er, Frank Andrews, is the plumbing company’s vice president, overseeing the service department and the multi-family division.
While the couple takes pride in their children wanting to become involved with the companies, Bryan and Angela encouraged higher education. Both Preston and Heather graduated from the Uni- versity of Florida in 2011.
“I told them, ‘It’s not 1977 anymore,’” Nazworth says. “You need more than trade skills to be suc- cessful today. I knew they would bring more to the table if they got their degrees.”
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT KEY
Nazworth is particularly proud of his service on the board of the Santa Fe College Foundation, including two years as president. The foundation helps pro- vide scholarships, facilities and program enhancements for Santa Fe College.
Nazworth says he was actually sur- prised when he was asked to join the board. “It’s the ‘who’s who’ of business leaders in town,” he says. “I didn’t count myself in that group. It has turned out to be such a rewarding experience.”
Nazworth and his wife established a scholarship in their names. “Through the scholarship, we’re helping provide access to education for individuals who otherwise might not be able to attend college,” Nazworth says.
Over the years, Nazworth has been involved with the plumbing training program at Santa Fe’s Perry Construction Institute.
“The community allowed us to get to where we are,” Nazworth says. “In this ‘big small town,’ it’s important to give back. We try to do something for as many people and organizations as we can.”