This, Bill Tomko III can attest, is not his grandfather’s plumbing business.
W.G. Tomko Inc. is in the midst of a growth spurt that’s lasted 61 years. It is a full-service mechanical contractor for multiple industries, dealing in design, construction, plumbing, HVAC, site utility, LEED and energy surveying services. The company headquarters is located on about 100 acres in Union Township, and operates out of a sprawling facility with 115,000 square feet of space … and counting.
The latest example of the firm’s continuous expansion is the 40,000-square-foot addition to be attached to the existing fabrication shop. The Washington County commissioners recently approved a $5 million note through the county Industrial Development Authority to build the structure, which will house 10 more welding units and result in 25 new hires. Groundbreaking is targeted for midsummer, with a spring opening anticipated.
Tomko, off Route 88 just outside Finleyville, is among the top 20 privately owned mechanical companies on the East Coast, said Craig Cowieson, account manager in the Oil and Gas Division. It functions in five states – Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia, plus Washington, D.C.
Bill Jr., son of the founder, is the principal owner, and Bill III the president of an enterprise that has an estimated 400 employees overall – 300 union. Dan White, vice president of operations, said 153 work at the headquarters site, and that 61 – 40 percent – reside in Washington County.
Though it accounts for only 4 percent of Tomko’s sales volume, oil and gas is a major industry client. The company became involved with that dynamic only a few years ago, but according to Cowieson, sales increased 735 percent over the first 18 months Tomko was in Marcellus. Tomko’s shale presence is growing, and Cowieson estimated a 200 percent rise this year.
“It’s a good thing Marcellus Shale keeps us local. Industry is volatile in the Pittsburgh area. We have to expand our territory to keep competitive,” White said. A goal, he added, is to have shale make up 10 percent of sales volume.
This onetime tiny fish has transformed into a marlin, and has swum in several seas. Bill Tomko and his wife, Martha, launched the company in 1954, as a plumbing business in their home in the Hazelwood section of Pittsburgh. It did well and, with 25 employees on hand, outgrew its surroundings and relocated to Baldwin Borough in 1963.
Seven years and 25 additional employees later, the company – now W.G. Tomko & Son, with Bill Jr. on the payroll – continued its southward migration to South Park. The third relocation – Union Township – and second rebranding – W.G. Tomko Inc. – occurred in 2001, with even more employees. Two additions have been built there, with a third pending.
Expansion is an integral element of this firm. It has added its own trucking company, W.G. Tomko Transport LLC, and opened a second office – in Alexandria, Va., outside Washington, D.C. The company does a lot of work in and around the nation’s capital, including a casino in the National Harbor area of D.C.
Other projects have included the Meadows Racetrack & Casino; Children’s South – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, in South Fayette; Dick’s Sporting Goods’ headquarters; and a Baltimore area casino. Some have been large, but Tomko has completed them in nine or 10 months.
“We’re perfecting the staging of fast-track projects,” White said.
The company, he stressed, doesn’t take shortcuts and takes pride.
“We don’t want to be the biggest, we want to be the best. We don’t want to be a low-bid contractor. We want to be considered a valued part of every team.”
Without naming names, Tomko works with some major midstream oil and gas companies, but doesn’t install anything on site. “It’s strictly prefab,” said Cowieson, a 1994 Trinity High School graduate who worked in Houston, Texas, for a decade before returning to his roots for this job.
“We specialize in pig launchers and receivers, spool pieces for compressor stations,” he added. “We also do a lot of specialty steel.”
A lot of this type of work, and more of it, will be done more easily in the larger fabrication area starting next spring. “This will expand our current capabilities,” said Bridget Johnson, of Business Development and Marketing.
During a tour, she pointed out two five-ton cranes standing in the fabrication shop. When the the addition is completed, the area will be able to accommodate two larger 15-ton cranes – which, seemingly, could move Venus and/or Mars.
As for moving, Tomko probably won’t.
“We have no plans to move,” White said. “We want to expand in Washington County and hire employees.”
The growth spurt continues.

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