Pittsburgh Business Times Highlights TUDI Gym Facility

TUDI's on-site gym helps deal with stress, promotes healthy living

Premium content from Pittsburgh Business Times – by Lou Corsaro
Friday, May 20, 2011

It all started about 12 years ago, when employees asked Bob Tudi about the possibility of having a gym on site.  "I said, go ahead and do it," said Tudi, the owner of Tudi Mechanical Systems, Inc., and HVAC and plumbing business in McKees Rocks, with a second location in Tampa, Fla.

Over time, more was added to the gym, which is now 1,500 square feet – locker rooms, a sauna, a pool area.  There's even a tanning bed. "That's for the self-esteem side," Tudi joked.

He estimates about one-third of his 100 McKees Rocks employees make use of the gym, and has found more benefits beyond physical well-being.

"What we are finding out now is, the guys will go down there at lunch, or go there on their break, and relieve stress," Tudi said.  "I think there's a big benefit to the stress relief."  That's particularly true for the type of business Tudi runs.  "The long and short of it is, we're in the heating and air conditioning business, so a lot of what we do is physical," he said.  It also can mean many hours on the road. "If you're driving a car for five hours and your hands are tense on the wheel, if you take a 20-minute walk, your hands are less tense on that wheel," Tudi said.

But Tudi also noted that people who work behind the desks at the office also will go down to the gym to relieve stress and com back with a different mindset.

One person who's used the gym to his advantage is TUDI's COO, Kevin Bright.  Although he started with the company before the gym was even put in, his use of it is a recent development.  "I was a very infrequent user of it in the past," he said.  "I didn't really understand the benefits of it.  Now, I've refocused."

That process began about 11 months ago and Bright has since lost 76 pounds.

"I dramatically improved my overall sense of well-being, my ability to manage and control stress, and my ability to manage and lead people," he said.

He starts his day in the gym four days a week, and has been able to stay on a set schedule.  Now, aside from the lost weight, he says he lowered his blood pressure, cut down use of over-the-counter medication and became more clear of mind.

"It allows better flexibility in handling the demands of the day, and the demands of the business itself," said Bright, who often travels between the McKees Rocks and Tampa offices.

In the end, Bright is a shining example of the benefits Tudi sees in having the gym, and why he is willing to add things as the employees request them.

"Your employee is the No. 1 most-expensive piece we have, and if you can increase that (productivity) by 4 percent or 5 percent, the return on capital is enormous," he said.