Redefining The Steel Building
Exceeding standards sets Solid Steel Buildings, Inc. apart
While some may define the pre-engineered metal building industry as more or less a “cookie-cutter” approach, Solid Steel Buildings, Inc. (SSB) of Pittsburgh bursts out of any preconceived norms.
Companies in the metal building industry generally either manufacture or erect facilities. SSB does both. It’s one team from start to finish. Company owner Michael Masula says that’s how precise SSB wants to be in all aspects of its work. For example, Masula explains that after his workers design a structure, they then manufacture the building elements “within a 64th of an inch.”
Additionally, the SSB leaders are proud to explain that they employ a skilled team capable of comprehensive delivery of knowledge, experience and service. CEO Masula has a strong background in technology that itself distinguishes SSB. Then there’s COO Edgardo Schmitz, who brings 20 years of experience to the company. As a team, the SSB crew excels at producing in-house building designs before erecting those buildings and handing over the keys to the owners.
The company also operates with values that focus on completing each job right the first time. Change orders that are commonplace at similar companies are rare, or even non-existent, at SSB. “We sweat out the details up front and get it right the first time,” Masula says. “We are diligent and truly listen to our clients and their needs from the start.”
SSB also goes the distance—literally. The company far exceeds the borders of Pennsylvania by landing projects in numerous states. Attempting to name all the states where his team has built, Masula finally gives up and says: “everything east of the Mississippi.” SSB also has the ability to serve as the general contractor for projects in multiple states at one time.
By sweat and smarts, SSB views potential obstacles as defining wins. One example is the company’s patent-pending foundation system, which drastically reduces metal building foundation costs when encountering bad soil. SSB has done installations in New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Florida. The method cuts material and labor costs. It also gives the business a competitive advantage on projects greater than 20,000 square feet.
“We do things most companies don’t have the capability of doing,” Masula says.
As a result, the company has designed and built a number of structures in a range of categories: industrial, nonprofit, educational, transportation, sports, commercial, business, retail and agricultural. Many have unique and attractive exterior designs that conceal interior steel composition.
Birth of a Notion
The value of bringing diversity and fresh ideas to an industry that prioritizes extensively calculated solutions has been foundational with SSB from the start.
Back in 2005, Masula’s brother, Melvin, worked as an Information Technology Director at a factory that produced the metal building systems. Melvin challenged Michael to enter the industry by combining his sales expertise with his technology skills.
The career advice worked. Masula took to the pre-engineered metal building field and became a top performer. Never content with a cookie-cutter application, he continued exercising an entrepreneurial spirit by conceiving of a company that also built the metal building structures it initially designed.
He worked as an independent contractor first in 2009. He was sole proprietor, and by 2011, he and his wife, Erin, incorporated the company. By early 2019, he took full leadership by assuming the role of CEO.
He and many of his 14 employees have the ability to fulfill both the planning and building expectations that are required for a company with SSB’s mission and vision.
While most other metal building manufacturers only sell, Masula says, “We sell, design, install, lay the foundation and construct.”
Dare to Be Different
Bios of the company’s managers show how SSB achieves its comprehensive capabilities.
At the helm, Masula has multiple responsibilities that include managing sales and construction, overseeing building projects and scheduling timelines. He also keeps the company on the cutting edge of technology.
Masula proudly introduces his employees and brags about their accomplishments, expertise and day-by-day contributions to make SSB the company that it is.
“I’m always watching technology to do things better,” he says. “Technology helps us do everything faster and that wins us business and saves time and money for our customers.”
Joe Mansfield brings his sales and legal expertise to SSB in his role as Building Solutions Manager.
Schmitz, COO, holds degrees in structural engineering and business administration. He manages building projects, guides the office work and keeps projects on schedule.
Heidi Kitta serves as Operations and Project Support Manager. She gathers valuable information for each project, manages orders, creates and watches each project timeline and ensures all projects stay on budget.
Maria Pektas is key to project delivery. In her role as Senior Operations Coordinator and Project Support Manager, she excels as the company’s strong field service support, bringing her previous skills in hospitality management to serve SSB customers.
Nacim Krim serves as Project Manager, Designer and Drafter. He guides the company’s AutoCAD work, backed by his studies in architecture and technology. He and Masula are also Lead Estimators for all projects. Krim is fluent in five languages.
A majority of Eddie Berry’s time is spent in the field on job sites during the building phases of SSB’s projects. He serves as the company’s Field Services Coordinator and Project Manager.
Richard Kliment, a longtime colleague of Masula, is a seasoned sales professional and former builder. His title is Senior Building Solutions Manager and Mobile Office Manager and he is always on the move since the company does more work out of state than in state.
“Everybody has a unique background and brings something necessary to the table,” Masula says.
Diligence and Distinctions
Masula says SSB’s team breaks out of the mold of business as usual every time it gains a new project. The depth of the staff’s technology skills ensures that all planning is backed by state-of-the-art 3D computer-aided images. This allows for efficient and appreciated communications with customers.
“We’ll discuss what is possible for a customer’s space, get real with them about costs, flag any concerns and forecast realistic timelines—all before we ever break ground,” Masula says.
What follows are project-specific meetings that occur frequently between the fabrication team, estimating department, project manager, construction teams and senior management. This communication helps assure that a project moves smoothly from one phase to the next.
SSB also works directly with its factories, vendors, suppliers and building professionals. Combining both the design and construction also avoids situations where multiple vendors could confuse specifications or cut corners that could be a problem later.
Along the way, SSB keeps alert to ways to reduce labor costs, minimize waste and provide accurate forecasting at each step of its process.
The company’s comprehensive approach, expert team and “do better” outlook help to ensure that customers of Solid Steel Buildings, Inc. are also typically repeat clients.