UMC is both proud and grateful in 2020 to celebrate its centennial anniversary. For 100 hundred years, the company's employees have been dedicated to serving its clients and owners by navigating the inherent complexity of building systems to take worry and angst off clients' minds and help them create comfortable, productive, energy-efficient, and future-ready spaces.
UMC originated as a small plumbing shop in Seattle, known as University Plumbing and Heating Inc. Two pipefitters, Frank Granston and brother William Granston, purchased the shop in the summer of 1920. They were joined by brother J.H. (Harry). Through the years, other Granstons would follow to lead the company. In the 1960s, the firm's name changed to University Mechanical Contractors Inc. The Granston family owned the company until the mid-1990s. At that time, they formed the UMEC Acquisition Company to allow for reorganization to an employee ownership group. In 2001, UMC developed a building in Mukilteo to accommodate its growing business. Today, there are operations in three separate buildings at the Mukilteo headquarters office, a service shop in downtown Seattle, and a newly opened location in the South Sound. In 2019, the company went through a significant rebranding—it's now known as simply UMC.
The Granston family believed in empowering their employees to look for better and more efficient ways to do a job. They paved the way for the principles that guide UMC today — hire the best people and stand by them, be honest and trustworthy, be drawn to complexity, and work hard for clients' benefit and have fun while doing it. These principles are the fabric of UMC and contribute to the company's longevity through a century of growth and substantial change.
Today UMC is led by the executive team with Jerry Bush, CEO and president; Pat Damitio, senior VP operations; Steve Brooks, VP business development; Mark Faller, CFO; Kirk Baisch, safety director; Bryan Eppler, director, strategic dev., energy and environment; David Malone, director, preconstruction; and Steve Russo, major projects manager. With 525 employees in the field, preconstruction, virtual construction, manufacturing, energy services, building automation, facilities services, and support services, UMC stands by the promise to make clients' lives easier by solving the increasingly complicated challenges of mechanical design and construction, energy efficiency, manufacturing, automation and service and maintenance through creativity, innovation, lean principles, sustainable designs and commitment to quality and service.
Over the past century, UMC has played an integral role in the original construction or design-build of some the region's most significant landmarks including Pacific Medical Center on Beacon Hill, University of Washington Hec Ed Pavilion, Northgate Mall, Space Needle, Columbia Center, Seattle Municipal Tower, Westin Hotel, Norton Building, Benaroya Hall, Tacoma Museum of Glass, Brightwater Water Treatment Plant, Federal Center South, Swedish Issaquah Medical Center, and Amazon Spheres.
Currently, UMC is heavily involved in the transformation of the Bellevue-Redmond area with several major projects in the Spring District, Overlake FutureCare Project, and downtown Bellevue towers. Seattle projects include Sustainable Living Innovations (SLI) 303 Battery building, Onni Tower on Denny Way, Sound Transit U-District N140, and hundreds of special projects, service and maintenance contracts, building energy and controls projects at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Swedish Medical Center, Paramount Theaters, Arctic Club and Bastyr University, among many others. Other current projects throughout the region include work for Boeing, SeaTac, Nucor, Paccar, Washington State DES, Mary Bridge Hospital, Oak Harbor Clean Water Facility, Everett Clinic, Enwave, and much more.
UMC's leaders and staff have a long history of community work and charitable giving. In 2004, the company formed the UMC Charitable Foundation (UMCCF) to help guide meaningful contributions. UMCCF supports a variety of causes, with a focus on childhood illness, disease, and underprivileged youth, as well as causes that are important to employees and clients. The foundation also strives to increase charitable contributions by supporting fundraisers and promoting philanthropic awareness among employees and business associates.
In 2020, UMC will honor and celebrate the people who shaped the company, the many client and owner partnerships, those working hard today to serve current clients, those planning and innovating for the next century in business, and the families that continually stand behind employees.