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Mechanical Inc. hires Lagina Plumbing owner

By Paul Snyder

Three Lagina Plumbing Inc. employees, including company owner Jim Lagina, have taken jobs with Mechanical Inc., according to Mechanical’s vice president.

Mechanical, which is based in Freeport, Ill., announced Monday the new employees will help the company expand its Waukesha office’s commercial plumbing operation.

Steve Hinshaw, Mechanical’s vice president, confirmed the hiring of Lagina; Kevin Piller, Lagina Plumbing’s design-build project manager; and Jason Maller, Lagina Plumbing design engineer. Lagina Plumbing is based in Milwaukee.

Hinshaw would not comment on what the hiring of Lagina and the two other company employees means to Lagina Plumbing, nor would he comment on whether the company still is operating.

Neither Jim Lagina nor Piller returned calls seeking comment. A phone number for Maller was unavailable.

Lagina Plumbing’s Web site does not announce the hiring of the Lagina employees.

According to a message on the company’s Facebook page, “Lagina Plumbing has closed its doors.”

Telephone calls to Lagina Plumbing’s office numbers are directed to a recorded message announcing the office is “currently closed for the day.”

Lagina bought Louis Schmitt Co. Inc., founded in 1895, in 2006 and changed the name of the company to Lagina Plumbing Inc.

Lagina last month denied his company had closed after a letter, dated Feb. 16 and with the names of James and Janice Lagina at the bottom, announced the business was closing after PyraMax Bank opted not to renew Lagina Plumbing’s credit line.

Hinshaw would not say whether he knew if Lagina Plumbing had closed for good.

Peter Lentz, executive director of the Plumbing Mechanical & Sheet Metal Contractors Alliance, noted Lagina, Piller and Maller remain in the industry.

“I’m not sure it’s fair to say we lost the company,” Lentz said. “These individuals are still in the industry, and Mechanical Inc. is a member of this association.”

The Mechanical hiring might affect some of Lagina’s previously scheduled work.

Lagina Plumbing announced in November it would be the plumber for general contractor J.H. Findorff & Son Inc., Madison, on the $55.2 million Moderne high-rise project in downtown Milwaukee.

Dan Katt, Findorff business development executive, said he heard about Mechanical hiring the Lagina employees, but was unsure what that means to the Moderne project.

“We didn’t have a contract with Lagina, and that’s still the case,” he said. “We’re still gathering information at this point.”

A lot of construction companies are struggling, Lentz said, and the upside is people still have jobs.

“Times are very hard in general right now,” he said. “It’s important to have good, quality people in the marketplace, and in this case, they still are.”

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