One of the city’s longest, privately- owned companies celebrates growing with Las Vegas and creating comfortable environments for the City
(Las Vegas – September, 2019) – In the same year that Barbra Streisand graced the opening act of the newly-built International Hotel (now Westgate Resort) in 1969, LMS Building Systems opened for business to become the leading commercial air conditioning and heating equipment and service company in Las Vegas.
“We provided equipment to The International, which was then considered the largest building in Nevada,” says Tom Lawyer, CEO of LMS Building Systems. Today, the company celebrates 50 years of keeping Las Vegas’ most iconic buildings comfortable.
Since its inception, LMS Building Systems has serviced over 500 buildings in the valley and continues to grow. Monitoring energy usage in 4.6 million square feet of space in the City, LMS is innovative in developing and utilizing technology to offer building facilities with real-time monitoring to maximize efficiency and energy savings. LMS has been recognized by the City of Las Vegas for its commitment and service to contributing to building a strong and sustainable city.
“I’ve seen casino/hotel clients go from being a small presence on Las Vegas Blvd., to major 5,000-room resorts with spas and shopping malls.” says Lawyer. “I’ve also seen casino clients rise, and later, implode.”
The company milestone comes at a time far different from when it started. Founded in 1969, Lawyer Trane Service Agency grew from a small, four-person operation on Highland Drive to 65 strong, now located at its 19,000 square foot facility on Valley View Blvd. The company’s year-over-year revenue growth is a testament to its commitment to service excellence.
Lawyer, a past president of the Better Business Bureau and UNLV MBA graduate, has seen the evolution of the city and the industry while remaining to be one of the longest, privately owned companies in the Las Vegas.
“One thing that has stayed constant is that it’s always hot in the summer and cold in the winter,” chuckles Lawyer. It is our business to keep our city comfortable.” But, seriously, over the years a major change in the business environment in our industry is the fact that initially most of the dealings were with the principals of the hotels,” says Lawyer. Let’s face it, who was running our town back then? They were my clients.”
“Then, Howard Hughes was one of the first to come in and run the hotels as a corporation. Up until then there were individuals that made the decisions and today there are layers of people working in major corporations.”
In many ways, Lawyer says doing business was simpler in the early years, despite the occasional brief moments of intimidation for the young business owner.
“At one time Caesars Palace was replacing the large air conditioning chillers that cool the hotel and casino. During one phase, they ended up with one chiller and it was the only unit providing cooling at that point. Then one day it broke down,” says Lawyer. “Of course, I was called by Harry Wald, who was the president of Caesars at the time and fortunately after going to the property, I was able to figure it out on the spot as he was explaining in great detail in emphatic terms – which I remember clearly to this day – what it would mean to not have cooling for his casino immediately.”
Lawyer said meetings with Wald would take place in the boardroom, which was an actual vault, complete with a steel vault door, located in the original Caesars tower. “We would all go in, and nobody could hear anything outside of that door.”
For the air conditioning industry, Lawyer says the biggest changes over the past 50 years center around energy, sustainability and refrigerants.
In a continued effort to grow and impact the city, LMS, along with peers from around the country, launched ae3 energy alliance in 2013 , an international alliance of locally-owned energy service companies that provide energy, economic and environmental solutions to owners and facility managers for buildings.
“We do business with education, government, industry, commercial real estate, healthcare, life sciences, resort and entertainment clients, and we take great pride in helping this city flourish. With our established roots in the community, we have a major stake in its economic health,” says Lawyer, who has served as president of the Southern Nevada Chapter of ASHRAE American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc.). Efforts to create better environments in Las Vegas has also led to the company’s recognition by the State of Nevada as an energy leader.
Firmly rooted in Las Vegas as the premiere single source provider for commercial cooling and heating, LMS Building Systems has provided equipment and serviced nearly every major building in Las Vegas, from the Landmark Hotel, to UMC, to CityCenter, to The Linq to the highly anticipated Las Vegas Raiders Stadium. El Cortez continues to be the company’s longest standing client for over 35 years.
Integral to the history and growth of Las Vegas, LMS Building Systems provided cooling systems when Las Vegas experienced its resort boom in the early 1990s with properties such as Mirage, Bellagio and Excalibur, which in 1991 was considered the largest resort in the world.
Another milestone in the industry came in 2005 when The Linq was constructed; it was the first property on the Las Vegas Strip to be managed remotely. “Comfort is controlled by a touch of a button,” says Lawyer. “We even control the system that cools the brakes on the High Roller.”
In 2011, John Kotek, P.E., became president of LMS Building Systems, leading the company’s overall strategic corporate development. Kotek, had been with LMS since 1995.
“Being part of the company and seeing our 50th year is an incredible accomplishment I share with our entire team,” says Kotek. “But more than ever, we are looking to the future and as we strive to remain competitive, while making a difference in our industry and our community.”
Looking ahead, LMS Building Systems plans to continue to expand its controls and boiler services, raise the level of expertise among its staff of engineers, energy managers and service technicians and grow the business further. Its recent brand identity, logo and name change to LMS Building Systems is a celebration of 50 years. It also reflects a modern aesthetic, as well as the principals outlined in providing fluidity in creating better environments for buildings.
“For 50 years, LMS has helped our customers meet the needs of energy solutions,” says Lawyer. “One thing that hasn’t changed is we are in the people business. We create and maintain comfort. Seems like a simple proposition, but in a town like this, it’s a high priority and we treat it that way.”