No stranger to our readers, Acousti Engineering Co. of Florida has been a premier contractor since the 1940s. This year, the company celebrates its 70th anniversary. And what better way to celebrate its seventh decade in business than by showcasing a high-end project at Florida State University.
Looking at the company’s history, the company actually started during World War II in 1943 by Clark A. Loomis Sr., Arden Henry, and Don Quisenberry as an off-shoot of Acousti Engineering Co. of Georgia and became a separate independent Florida corporation in 1946 that introduced a wood cane fiber ceiling tile system. This ceiling system propelled the subcontractor into the forefront of the ceiling materials market. As materials changed, so did the industry leaders, alongside larger manufacturers like CertainTeed Ceilings, USG Interiors, and Armstrong World Industries. Acousti added value to the ceiling manufacturers’ products by providing services such as installation, field management and logistical activities associated with a successful installation.
This specialty contractor of Orlando works also on floors and walls, and specializes in metal ceilings and design ceiling applications. Currently, Acousti Engineering has more than 1,500 employees and 500 subcontractors. Obviously, the company has rebounded back to more normal levels of revenue than say five years ago.
“Business is up, which has allowed us to be more selective with the projects we choose to pursue and being more selective with our overall client-customer base,” says James R. Verner Jr., president of Acousti Engineering. “We choose to work for those who pay us quicker.”
In fact, business is up a bit more than 38 percent over the last seven years, he says.
“Backlog is up; sales overall are up 38 percent, the market appears to be strong till the second quarter next year,” says Verner.
If times hit hard again, Verner says the company will continue to do what it did the last seven years: maintain strict cash controls, retain our quality employees, and be selective on the projects it pursues.
Recently, Acousti Engineering secured the contract for the Florida State University Champions Club seating at the fourth level in this stadium renovation project.
The company’s scope of work is to supply and install specialty metal ceilings manufactured by Hunter Douglas Architectural. These ceilings consist of 300C Metal Linear Plank Ceilings, High Profile Series Beams and Tavola Beams in the main lounge and restaurant areas. Rosser and IA Architects were able to use the aluminum beams to achieve a custom aesthetic for FSU.
Two of Hunter Douglas’ Beams and Baffle products are utilized here. High Profile Series extruded aluminum beams were used to frame the bays, while Tavola light gauge aluminum beams were used for the infill beams. Combining both products and material types allowed for cost economies and enabled a lightweight (“down weighted”) assembly. The finish selected is the company’s decorated powder coat wood-look Swamp Cypress.
“Challenging one-off client-specific designs and products requires extensive collaboration between the architects/designers and manufacturers with budget inputs from the contractors,” says Hunter Douglas’ General Manager, Ceilings and Walls, Ron Rice. “Given these collaboration efforts, [the manufacturer] was able to provide early-on design development with detailing and 3-D models.
“We even placed this ceiling into our VR package and shared with all parties at a meeting in Tallahassee and our offices for our team to understand the concept. That was a lot of fun, until I stepped off the fourth level and fell into the stadium,” says Rice.
During the construction phase, knowing Childers Construction Co. and Acousti are both in time-sensitive modes to complete the entire project before FSU’s home-opener, Hunter Douglas dispatched team members to assist with the product layouts and installation start up. Rice says he doubts Acousti needed the manufacturer’s assistance, but nonetheless they wanted the contractor to know they were there for them.
Verner thinks Rice is being a bit humble: He says Hunter Douglas provided material quantities, estimated and actual quantities and costs, submittal samples, extensive shop drawings and installation guidelines.
“Acousti Engineering is a long-time friend and customer of Hunter Douglas in the greater Southeast,” says Rice. “The knowledge, expertise and craftsmanship they exhibit with all product types furnished and installed is exemplary.”
Acousti Engineering Notes/Services
The Florida contractor has 20 locations in several major cities all across the Southeast. Acousti Engineering provides solutions from pricing and budgeting all the way to management and implementation. The company has four core business areas: Ceilings, Floors, Walls and Specialty Construction. Other specialties include, but are not limited to:
- Suspended Acoustical Ceilings - Commercial, Educational, Institutional and Industrial applications.
- Partitions - Demountables, Drywall, Whisper Walls, Prepanelized and Modular systems.
- Flooring - Carpet, Resilient, Ceramic, Stone, Sheet Goods, and Wood.
- Access Flooring Systems - Building Platform Technologies and Raised Computer Flooring.
- Specialty Systems - Clean Rooms, Hospital Walls, and Folding Walls and Partitions.
The company has offices located in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee and Texas that serve all of the Southeast and the Caribbean. Exporting is also available to certain destinations, including all installation and logistical services.