Philips Arena Renovation Project

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Family Firm Grows Through Philips Contract

Diana Escher opened Universal Supply & Services, Inc., because she realized that there was an opportunity for a woman-owned business to carve out a successful niche in the male-dominated construction industry.

Universal Services and Supply, Inc., President Diana Escher (seated) with her staff .

Universal Services and Supply, Inc., President Diana Escher (seated) with her staff.

“For Phase I, Universal did a little over $500,000 in plumbing supplies,” said Diana Escher, who is President and Owner of Universal Supply & Services. “We partnered with a plumbing subcontractor to supply them with pipe valves and fittings.”

Diana works with her daughter, company Vice President Erica Escher, making Universal a family affair.

Operating as a WBE has its benefits, particularly with projects that call for diversity vendors, Erica points out.

“Especially with municipal jobs, the requirements are there and they’re looking for women-owned vendors,” she said. “We have a lot of contractors and vendors who call us because of those requirements.”

Diana calls such partnerships mutually beneficial, however.

“It’s a win-win anytime we go onto a project like this one at Philips Arena,” she said. “We’re helping them out, as well as gaining new business.”

Universal Supply is no stranger to high-profile projects. In the Metro Atlanta area alone, they have supplied HVAC, plumbing and piping equipment and other services to construction projects for Coca-Cola, MARTA, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Grady Memorial Hospital, SunTrust Park, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Kaiser Permanente and the City of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management.

And the company has been awarded a contract to continue as a vendor into Phase II of the Philips Arena renovation project.

So while this project wasn’t necessary to elevate their profile, it offered Universal some great benefits.

“We gained some new clients through this process,” she said. “This is our first time working with this plumbing subcontractor, and they have been great.

“Also, this gets us into an even closer working relationship with the City of Atlanta.”