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Sullivan County Business Perspective • July 2007
Where Excellence is the Standard Schumacher Systems Shine

By Lori Rubinstein, Director of Communications, Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development

It is likely that if you've been to a local hospital or school or area Shop Rite or Eckerd Drug Store, you have been in a Schumacher Systems building. Though the list is lengthy, Schumacher Systems, Inc. has added its golden touch to the academic, cultural, retail, hospitality, industrial, and healthcare industries in a way that falls way below the radar screen with one very big exception...Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

One doesn't usually equate the name Schumacher with Bethel Woods. Perhaps, the names Alan and Sandra Gerry or New York Philharmonic would be logical associations. But Schumacher Systems, Inc. played a key role in helping to make Bethel Woods Center for the Arts happen.

Lead by company president Craig Schumacher, who began the business twenty five years ago, Schumacher Systems is a leading commercial contractor based in Callicoon, New York. A visit to their main office can be misleading as their offices are unobtrusively housed in a rather ordinary, ranch style home that sits right off a county road. Once you walk inside the building, ordinary flies right out the window.

Before the creation of Schumacher Systems, Schumacher Drywall started as a small taping and painting business. By the early to mid 1970's, Schumacher went from a one man show to a small business with supervised crews to a full fledged mid-sized company. In 1990, Schumacher Systems, Inc. jumped feet first into the commercial construction business.

This, now diversified, contractor has built up a two and a half decade long brag sheet for completed projects from Sullivan, Ulster, Chenango, Otsego and Oneida counties to Orange, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Westchester counties. Their scope of work includes metal framing, drywall installation and finishing, EIFS, insulation, door and hardware installation, rough and finish carpentry, acoustical ceilings and wall panels, and an array of related specialties.

On Schumacher's resume are a list of familiar, big name projects including Kohl's Distribution Center in the Town of Mamakating; Crystal Run Healthcare and the Frontier Insurance Building in Rock Hill, and Orange Plaza and Walkill Living Center in Middletown. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is Schumacher's biggest project to date. His company has received accolades from industry experts and Alan Gerry, himself, can't say enough good things about the company. "It's not often anymore that one can find contractors that are committed to excellence and follow through on what they say. It's been a true pleasure doing business with you on our most recent project, and I look forward to doing business with you in the future," Gerry remarked.

Schumacher Systems, Inc. performed their full scope of work on all of the buildings at the Bethel Woods project, including the metal framing of all the exterior and interior walls, ceilings and roof trusses; wood and gypsum sheathing on the exterior walls and roofs; gypsum board installation at all walls and ceilings; batt and rigid insulation; rough and finish carpentry; door and hardware installation; window installation; and acoustical and linear wood ceilings. After the Schumacher teams completed their work, Bethel Woods actually hired one of Schumacher's Foremen to oversee current projects. Schumacher's daughter, Kori Allen (and a mother of two) was the project manager for this enormous project. "We've always kept a high standard of quality throughout all of our projects. Bethel Woods was no different.We're very proud to have had the opportunity to be a part of making this world-class venue happen and right in our own backyard," said Allen.

With an office staff of seven and anywhere between 25 to 70 union workers out in the field at any one time, you'd have to wonder how one would keep track of all the details. "Technology plays a key role here. We download plans from the Internet and complete the take-off and estimate right on the computer. If successful, that information is sent over to the project management department where it is utilized throughout the project by both the project managers and the foremen who are equipped with laptops in the field. Utilizing specialized software, the project management department and the financial department can seamlessly work together to enable up to the minute budget tracking," Allen explained.

But make no mistake; even though Schumacher has evolved into a larger business and takes on immense projects, Craig Schumacher doesn't sit behind his desk all day. Schumacher is a hands-on guy who actually hand delivers paychecks to the guys who work for him. "I like to see them face to face; having personal relationships with the people with whom I work helps to build loyalty and keep our business strong," explained Schumacher.

Schumacher has been and will continue to be a family- based business. As mentioned, Craig Schumacher's daughter, Kori, now serves as the company's Business Manager primarily involved in the financial/legal department, but also switching hats occasionally to lend a hand to the project management department.

Craig's son, Brett, works as Project Manager/Estimator while his youngest son, Ryan, recently joined the team as a new Project Manager/Estimator learning the ropes. Chief Estimator, Al Muscara, has worked at Schumacher for 17 plus years - since its inception. "In a field that generally has a large turnover, we've been very fortunate to have many, long term, long time workers. People who may have begun in the field as apprentices are now journeyman. Journeymen have become Foremen. Fathers are working with sons. This is quite unusual for most companies and Craig has much to do with their loyalty," explained Muscara.

With more than 35 public school jobs under their belt; names like Old Navy and Bethel Woods on their brag sheet; young family members continuing the tradition and loyal workers out in the field, it isn't a wonder that good things are happening at Schumacher Systems, Inc. Their fearless leader, Craig Schumacher has a smile that lights up a room. And now, we know why.

For more information on Schumacher Systems, Inc., contact 845-887-5381 or log on to: www.schumachersystems.com.