Heffron Company on Why It’s Better Here
For nearly 100 Years, Heffron has established itself as one of Maryland’s premier full-service mechanical firm focused on their mission “We are building on our past and into the future.” This fourth-Generation company has found its niche by specializing in unique solutions related to HVAC and plumbing systems within the life sciences industry, as well as other keystone businesses in the region.
Over the past four decades, life sciences have become an integral part of Maryland’s economic infrastructure. Years ago, George R. Dunn, Jr. decided to focus Heffron’s attention on becoming a leader and essential partner in the burgeoning Life Science ecosystem. While Heffron does not have an active hand in the science behind new therapeutics or treating patients, the company plays a vital role by building/servicing the infrastructure to maintain the proper environments in which these life-saving projects are developed. Biopharma facilities may look ordinary on the outside, but it’s many unique characteristics such as multi zone pressurization needs for testing, systems that perform bio kill for potential live bacteria colonies, and complex exhaust systems to name a few require an exact specificity both in construction and the ongoing service operations. 
Colin Dunn
Heffron Company
Heffron’s approach to the life cycle of projects is to get involved early in the pre-construction planning phase and work with the owner, engineers, and general contractor to learn what the end-user’s goals and expectations are so that the building is delivered on time, within budget, and ready for commissioning and validation. Realistic budgets up front, thorough analysis of the HVAC systems for sustainability and energy savings as well as efficiency and life expectancy all play integral parts of getting the highest ROI for owners. Finally, Heffron prides itself not only on the construction side, but also their Service Department with 99% repeat business. The life cycle process ends with service, which Heffron is dedicated to maintaining the HVAC to protect equipment and not disrupt high-cost operations for owner.

HVAC in laboratories is critical because of the - pressurization, temperature, and humidity requirements. In biotech and healthcare, the HVAC Systems are the heartbeat of the building, which must be monitored constantly as we turn over the space for say patients in a hospital or R&D testing and validation for the next emerging technology,” said Colin Dunn, the fourth-generation leader of this family business stated.

In the 1970s, Heffron Company expanded its operations to include the life sciences. Dunn said his father saw the importance of this growing business in Maryland and decided to embrace the specialized niche that serves the industry, and Heffron hasn’t looked back since.

“Our core competencies surrounding GMP, biotech and healthcare facilities takes a certain skill level to bring these projects to the start of their useful life. The ability to get to know how the user/owner will be working in their space is the most important part of the job. From there, we collectively work with partners and do whatever it takes to get them fully functional in the building,” Dunn said.

Those lessons learned from decades of experience regarding what it takes to maintain the flow of clean air in a building paid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. John Wasp, Heffron’s Sustainability Leader, said there were numerous concerns about the dangers of an airborne virus like COVID-19 in indoor settings. In fact, the dangers were so apparent, that a Maryland hospital called Heffron at 3 a.m. during the early days of the pandemic to reroute the ventilation system for the floor that contained COVID patients. Dunn said the facility, which he declined to name, called the company’s 24-hour number at 3 a.m. after discovering that the ventilation outflow from its COVID floor was too close to the intake delivering air to the floor housing the operating rooms. Heffron crews immediately responded to the situation by installing new equipment that recirculated and pushed the air in a different direction and exhausted the air outside the building. All of which was done in less than 32 hours and under strict health protocols due to work on the COVID floor, Dunn said. He added that situations such as these are what makes the job rewarding. “Our trained mechanics aren’t just building buildings, they know the importance of what we do.”

In addition to the work for the unnamed facility, Heffron played a critical role in building a new COVID wing at Meritus Hospital in Hagerstown. Dunn said he received a call from one of their clients on a Sunday about the need for a new 22-bed wing to serve COVID patients. With backing from the highest levels in the State, and a collaborative team approach with the GC and trade partners, the project was completed in 120 days, Dunn said.