By the early ’80s, Jeff Erdly had amassed almost 15 years of experience working in the field of construction and building restoration. His work during this time exposed him to a number of repair and preservation projects, and he became intrigued by the thinking behind the reconstruction of existing structures.
“Having worked on a number of historic preservation projects, I was fascinated by the craft of restoring a building back to its original form, particularly the details within ornate facades, integrating function with form, and managing unique architectural elements,” Erdly said. “With that in mind, I found myself thinking that I would love to work for a company that focused on that type of work, and did so to the highest quality standards. So I started one.”
The CEO and co-founder of Masonry Preservation Services (MPS), Erdly established MPS in 1985, starting out with a crew of five craftsmen who shared this vision. “We began with two trucks, five guys, and a small shop here in Berwick,” Erdly said. “Our first job was the First Eastern Bank Operations Center in Wilkes-Barre, where we were tasked with refurbishing a modern building envelope built with a panel system that contained asbestos. This was an early lesson in the technical complexities of developing best practice for basic repair programs.”
From the beginning, what set MPS apart was their commitment to hiring craftsmen who shared a commitment to technical excellence and a “no shortcuts” attitude. “Within this specialized field, cutting corners is not an option,” Erdly shared. “Our job is to restore a building back to nearly its original state so it can be in service for decades longer, which in many cases means thoughtfully improving on original designs and construction details. This can often mean correcting mistakes of the distant past, many of which we don’t know about until we begin our work.”
Over the past 35 years, MPS has grown from a small localized shop to a more than 40-person organization completing work throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. MPS’s established relationships with architects, engineers, forensic specialists, consultants, and other industry experts across America help continually improve their craft by furthering their understanding of the science of building deterioration and the best practices for repair.
Smart growth and continued success are the result of the same attitude Erdly helped instill into the company from day one. The MPS approach is very selective, and the company does its best to establish long-lasting partnerships with its clients. “We don’t engage in low-bidding battles and we make every effort to do the highest-quality work in an honest way,” Erdly said. “What we do is deliver a level of service you can’t find anywhere else—again and again.”
MPS Vice President Erik Valentino has enjoyed seeing MPS grow since he joined the company in 2005, and attributes its success to the values Erdly holds dear. “The essence of MPS is integrity,” Valentino said. “This was clear to me from my first day here, and I’ve seen it every day since. If we make a mistake, we fix it. We do our best to inform and educate our clients every time we are onsite. This approach has led to well over 1500 successful projects since 1985.”
On both a project and consultation basis, the MPS of today provides a variety of clients with superior building preservation services based on a longstanding tradition of cutting-edge technology and a commitment to safety and accountability. Specialties include colleges and universities, hospitals, commercial buildings, institutions, and industrial facilities. Projects of note include the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C.; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Bear Run, Pennsylvania; numerous healthcare facilities for Geisinger and WellSpan Health across Pennsylvania; the 23rd Street Armory in Philadelphia; the Jefferson Standard Building in Greensboro, North Carolina; the PPL Building in Allentown, Pennsylvania; the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Old Main Tower at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania.
“The last 35 years have been extremely special both to me and to everyone I work with here on a daily basis,” Erdly concluded. “We’ve continued to hone our craft, we’ve continued to succeed, and we’ve continued to grow. I think this is true because we measure our work in lifetimes, not one- or two-year guarantees. We want absolute accountability.”