A Go Anywhere, Do Anything Mentality
M&M Welding & Fabricators, Inc.
The word “welding” in M&M Welding & Fabricators, Inc. (M&M) can be misleading. M&M does provide welding and fabrication services for its field clients and others. However, over the past 45 years it has grown to become a leading multi-trades mechanical contractor in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia.
Not only that, it is also one of the most successful woman-owned businesses in the United States. Carey Dove, daughter of founder Russell “Muggs” Mullican, serves as CEO and President with other company leaders who, like her, began their careers working in the field for M&M—and stayed.
Carey says her father founded M&M because he wanted to provide better work conditions for himself and his workmates. At that time (in 1972), there was one powerhouse company that dominated the heating and cooling market. Muggs was a foreman for that company and when he started his own firm a few of the guys on his crew went with him.
“They trusted him because they knew how well he knew the boiler business,” Carey says. “He knew their skills and experience and made sure they had the right tools. They were loyal guys.”
So loyal, in fact, that several of them have dedicated their work lives to helping M&M grow from a “mom and pop shop” that operated out of the Mullican family home in the early years to a widely respected, diversified mechanical contracting company that currently has 110 employees.
Everything Else and Welding
If you ask a staff member at M&M what the firm does, this is the answer you’ll likely receive.
“I can remember going with my Dad to meet with potential customers and they’d say: ‘well, what can you do?’ He’d say: ‘we can do it all,’ ” Carey recalls. “ ‘No’ was never an option. You figured it out.”
M&M’s comprehensive range of services and this “go anywhere, do anything” mentality have led the firm to take on challenges beyond the capacity of most contractors and to serve as a “one-stop shop,” providing mechanical construction, installation, retrofit, replacement, maintenance and repair services.
“We have our own insulators, boilermakers, welders, steamfitters, heavy equipment operators and other expert tradespeople,” says Dave Poe, Executive Vice President for M&M. “So, we can provide turnkey mechanical solutions for everything from boiler service and installation, steam distribution maintenance, and fire suppression to HVAC renovation. Using our in-house staff makes the process more efficient and keeps the price down for our clients.”
Only a Phone Call Away
M&M is also on call 24/7 to address emergency situations. For example, when the roof of the boiler plant serving an apartment complex in Gaithersburg, Md., caved in during a blizzard, M&M had temporary heating equipment on the site within 24 hours and the heating system back online within 48 hours.
“There were a lot of challenges,” Dave says. “Pipes were freezing. It was hard to move around because of the snow.” Fortunately, he and his crew knew the existing conditions well. They had been providing ongoing services at this location for nearly 20 years. M&M provided a temporary housing around the pipes and located the boilers within self-contained trailers. This intermediate solution was used for an entire year while the insurance claims were settled and the structure around the existing plant could be rebuilt.
“This shows the value of a well-coordinated plan,” Carey says. “With tenants temporarily housed in nearby hotels, expediency and proficiency could not be compromised. We were able to rebuild the boiler plant, including extensive underground piping work, ahead of schedule.”
M&M also installs auxiliary heating and cooling systems when special circumstances require that the capacity of a building’s HVAC system be temporarily increased. For example, M&M brought mobile air-cooled chillers to the Montgomery College campus and ducted these into the roof level of the auditorium to provide supplemental air conditioning for the inauguration of this institution’s new president.
“Our employees are the life blood of the company.” Carey Dove, CEO and President, M&M Welding & Fabricators, Inc.
Complex and Sensitive
As a major government contractor, M&M completes numerous complex and highly sensitive projects. These range from working within the White House complex and throughout the seven miles of steam distribution tunnels beneath the Capitol Hill district to installing rental boilers for the U.S. General Services Administration’s central heating plant.
Downtime isn’t an option. Precision is essential.
“Some of the steam tunnels we service provide heat and humidification in the Smithsonian Institution,” says Kyle Dove, Project Manager for M&M. Exact conditions must be maintained to preserve priceless archival materials and antiquities. “We’ve also provided outage support twice for the plant that serves all of the National Institutes of Health’s buildings,” he adds. “These include a hospital and a building where all of the research animals are kept. We had eight to 12 hours to do the large-scale equipment change-outs.”
“Our site-specific safety plans help to ensure that the right equipment and staff are ready when needed,” Carey says. “When M&M was overhauling the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s steam plant, its crews worked in multiple shifts on consecutive weekends to make sure this facility remained heated. Foregoing time with their families to accomplish such a critical undertaking is what separates M&M’s employees from those of our competitors. We do not take such responsibilities lightly.”
People Power Persists
In the fall of 2017, M&M will celebrate its 45th anniversary when it moves to a newer, larger facility in Mount Airy, Md. “This will allow us to grow our company and customer base, stay focused on providing A+ service for all our clients, and stay committed to our roots and old-school values,” Carey says.
Chief among those values is a fearless commitment to finding new ways to meet client needs and the belief that success grows from cultivating a high-quality team.
“My dad would say you don’t have to know how to do everything in this business,” Carey says. “You just need to surround yourself with good people that do. Our employees are the life blood of the company. Without such a team, we’d be unable to perform the quality of work synonymous with M&M or sustain the growth we have experienced.”