Malko Communication Services LLC
Updated: Dec 24, 2019
Malko Communication Services LLC
Jim Harris September 15, 2016
Malko Communication Services LLC continues to expand its technical capabilities and services after more than 90 years in business.
By Jim Harris
Malko Communication Services LLC’s willingness to evolve its services to meet clients’ needs has made it one of the Chicago area’s leading electrical contractors for the past 90 years. “We’ve been a part of the Chicago electrical and technical landscape since our inception in 1926,” says Thomas Pedergnana, director of wireless networks for the Skokie, Ill.-based company. “We’ve helped construct the Chicago area by bringing buildings out of the ground and installing new and emerging technologies for 90 years.”
Founded as Malko Electric Co., the business expanded its services over the years from electrical contracting to the installation of low-voltage products, services and systems; and the installation, construction management and testing of distributed antenna systems (DAS), Executive Vice President and Partner Dennis Chmielewski says. The company is in its third generation of private ownership.
Malko also has divisions dedicated to audiovisual and security systems. Each of the company’s divisions has a dedicated project manager and other staffing resources. “Within our dedicated divisions, we self-perform all aspects of our work in-house,” Pedergnana notes. “Part of the Malko difference is that we have a principal of the company directly involved in every single project – that is a testament to our dedication to customer satisfaction.”
Malko’s principals each have extensive experience in electrical contracting and high-tech installations. Chmielewski’s 32 years of experience in the industry includes serving as a superintendent, estimator and project manager. Pedergnana has been involved in the telecommunications and construction industry for 17 years. His roles in the industry include more than 15 years working with DAS and other wireless networks.
The company’s principals and executive staff ensure that all of its technicians and management staff are extensively trained in all aspects of the work Malko performs. “Our absolute dedication to customer service and training helps us stand above the rest and allows us to achieve project success in all areas of the company,” Pedergnana says.
The company’s gradual addition of new services and establishment of new divisions led it three years ago to formally rebrand itself as Malko Communication Services. “What we’ve done is take the history of Malko Electric and our technical service divisions and combine those under one roof,” Pedergnana says. “This expansion was solidified with a partnership with Maron Electric, another 90-year-old electrical contractor who is one of the most diversified, progressive and capable companies in the field.”
Malko applies its technical knowledge to a variety of commercial, residential and institutional sector projects throughout the Chicago region. Malko’s clients include general contractors, building owners, and public and governmental organizations, as well as tenants and other end-users. Malko is also known for partnering with other low and high-voltage electrical contractors by bringing their specialized service offerings to their industry partners.
Many of the company’s client relationships extend back several decades. “What makes us strong is how we interact with and value our partnerships with our general contractor and construction management partners,” Pedergnana says. “We consider every stakeholder involved in the projects we work on to ensure we are meeting expectations and working together to deliver the expected result. We strongly value our partnerships and align ourselves with industry leaders.”
Malko is often called upon to add, test or update systems in buildings where it has previously installed electrical systems. “We get more work from return business and word of mouth than through bidding projects,” Chmielewski says. “When I visit a job and look at the electrical systems, I can tell Malko did the work based on how every detail was taken care of and how professional it looks.”
In addition to client relationships, the company also maintains close ties to vendors, partners, and industry associations. One of Malko’s preferred vendors is Anritsu, a manufacturer of DAS testing systems and software.
Malko’s industry ties include membership in the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) as well as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134. Company Principal Steve Diamond is a past president of the Chicago chapter of NECA.
The company’s connection to both organizations allows it to set its sights on projects in new markets. “We’re beginning a rollout of national expansion through strategic partnerships,” Pedergnana says, noting the company’s first focus outside of the Chicago area will be on the Las Vegas Strip.
“Through our association with the NECA and the relationships we’ve developed, we have access to a national network of electrical construction that we can use to grow into other markets, with Nevada being the first,” he adds.
Malko continues to leverage its relationships and industry knowledge on a steady stream of projects. The company’s recent DAS projects include an installation at the Illinois Tool Works campus in Glenview, Ill. Illinois Tool Works in 2015 relocated its operations to the Glenview facility.
”There was an existing infrastructure of an older building that did not promote cellular connectivity,” Pedergnana says. “We solved that problem by installing a SOLiD DAS system throughout the campus.”
The company in November 2015 partnered with RF Connect and Crown Castle International Corp to install a DAS and multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) technology system at the Hyatt Center at 71 South Wacker Drive in Chicago. The Hyatt Center is a Class A office building owned by developer Jones Lang LaSalle. “This is one of the largest MIMO/DAS projects in the Chicagoland area,” he adds. “After we substantially completed the project, we continued to work with the building and its tenants to maintain the system.”
Malko’s recent non-DAS projects include installing new voice, data and security systems for an expansion of the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, Ill. The project began in May and is anticipated to last two years.
All of Malko’s projects are performed to the highest possible safety standards. “We’re a financially sound organization that has been able to maintain a very low experience modifier rate (EMR)of .63,” Pedergnana says. “That’s a result of our dedication to safe working habits as well as our involvement with OSHA and other organizations, which extends from the training our field personnel receives within our organization.”
The company’s ongoing safety training includes weekly toolbox talk sessions, training and certifications. Malko’s safety program exceeds industry standards, he adds.
Committed to Grow
Malko’s office and field staff is growing in size to match the company’s increase in work. “We doubled our volume of sales from last year,” Chmielewski says. “Right now we’re building our team to handle that expansion coming in 2017. We look for new people and talent all the time.”
Chmielewski, Pedergnana and the company’s other principals and senior staff feel the company will continue to grow not just in staff or physical footprint, but also from a technical standpoint.
“We are extremely flexible and committed to staying at the forefront of technology, and we have done that throughout the transition in the cellular world from 2G to 3G to 4G, and now the upcoming transition to 5G technology,” Pedergnana says. “This, and our commitment to emerging technologies and converged solutions has helped us stand above the rest of the industry.”