Safety Xcellence

Gardena firm behind NBC Universal, Pauley Pavilion wins MCAA award


From the world of commercial contracting, here's proof that you can be a high-profile company and still operate safely.


Xcel Mechanical Systems, a Gardena, CA firm behind the HVAC and plumbing systems in some of Southern California’s most iconic buildings, was recognized March 16 with an MCAA/CNA National Safety Excellence Award—its third in five years.


Xcel's fingerprints are on the NBC Universal West Coast production facility in Universal City, Los Angeles, where the company says it saved NBC around $120,000 on the project through a redesign that included the elimination of pumps and other "service" streamlining: "alternative design and piping configuration that eliminated the need for the secondary set of condenser water pumps (initially the basis of the Free Cooling concept), solved the service access issues." It also handled the wet and dry sides of HVAC systems for the renovation of UCLA's famed Pauley Pavilion, one of college basketball's most historic venues.

UCLA's Pauley Pavilion.—Xcel Mechanical photo

Meanwhile, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), based in Rockville, MD, represents more than 2,600 mechanical contractors nationwide; teaming with CNA Insurance to present the MCAA/CNA Safety Excellence Award annually to five commercial mechanical contractors of varying size.

Wednesday’s recognition – which came during MCAA’s weeklong National Convention in San Diego, CA - marks Xcel Mechanical’s third MCAA/CNA National Safety Excellence Award in the past five years.

“It’s important to note that every MCAA member contractor that competes for this award is already a leader in terms of their commitment to Occupational Health & Safety,” said Raffi Elchemmas, MCAA’s Executive Director of Safety and Health. “For an MCAA member contractor to win this award just once is remarkable, which makes Xcel Mechanical’s third award extraordinary.”

Xcel Mechanical Systems President Kevin Michel, a California state-licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) who founded the Gardena, CA-based design-build firm more than two decades ago, said his senior management team’s decision to invest in an industry-leading Safety Program many years ago came easily, especially given the job-related dangers construction workers face each day.

“Construction workers everywhere perform their jobs in high-risk environments, and so doing whatever we can to keep our employees safe is an everyday priority,” Mr. Michel said. “An effective safety program starts with commitment, teamwork, accountability, and personal responsibility,” he said. “The result of that effort is that our employees return home to their families safe each night, which is the most important part. But these awards are also an enormous point of pride for everyone at Xcel Mechanical,” he said. “These awards represent the diligence of our entire company. They are without question the most important recognitions we have received since opening our doors.”

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