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ABB Wauwatosa


HVAC, Plumbing & Fire Protection Services for Industrial Buildings in the Milwaukee Area

ABB, a global leader in power and automation technologies, has operated regional offices in the Milwaukee area for years. In addition to a nearly 200,000 square-foot motor drive and controls production facility in New Berlin, ABB recently opened a 95,000-square-foot, three-story office in Wauwatosa that houses about 350 employees, including over 100 scientists and engineers who focus mainly on research and development.

The relationship between Ahern and ABB began in a rather unusual way. ABB produces a line of variable-frequency drives used in HVAC systems, and one of ABB’s distributors, JMB & Associates, regularly supplies Ahern with these drives for their construction projects. It was this solid vendor/customer relationship that led JMB to introduce Ahern to the ABB team prior to a major renovation and addition project at the New Berlin facility. Ahern worked directly with ABB to provide design/build services, including a complete HVAC renovation, fire protection system modifications, and new plumbing pipe and fixtures throughout the office and manufacturing space.

While work on the New Berlin facility was still underway, ABB recommended Ahern to building owner/developer KM Development, who was handling the construction of ABB’s new Wauwatosa campus. The Ahern team, including the same designers who worked on the New Berlin project, teamed with KM to develop a budget for the new facility, and was eventually awarded the HVAC, plumbing, and fire protection work. Ahern’s team of industry professionals, including NEBB- and TABB-certified technicians and LEED-accredited professionals, designed, installed, and commissioned a complete building system that is helping ABB obtain LEED certification.

But the relationship did not end with the completion of the Wauwatosa facility. Ahern has since partnered with ABB to establish Preventive Maintenance Agreements (PMAs) on both the New Berlin and Wauwatosa campuses. The agreements include diagnostic inspections and maintenance services on the HVAC equipment, as well as diagnostic and maintenance services on the facilities’ control systems. Ahern is also providing courtesy plumbing system audits to ensure proper operation of all plumbing equipment. PMAs such as these reduce the likelihood of mechanical failure and equipment breakdown, increase energy efficiency, and can reduce utility costs.

Expertise Provided

Values Delivered


  • NEBB and TABB certifications helped push the schedule and identified potential issues before they occurred


  • Ahern’s design was approved on the first submission and no warranty rework was required

Meeting Deadlines

  •  100% on-time completion


  • No OSHA recordable events or lost-time injuries

Energy Savings

  • LEED pending on rooftop units