Expert Tips

Scott Emperley, Co-Owner, Lower Plumbing, Heating and Air

Scott Emperley and his daughter, co-owner Lower Plumbing Heating and Air Topeka, KS

Scott Emperley has worked at Lower since 1993. He started as an apprentice and worked his way to management. In 2014, Scott and Rory Brees were approached by the owner Chuck, to consider purchasing the business. In 2016 the business was purchased by Scott and Rory. Lower started in sheet metal and HVAC service and installation. Commercial plumbing and HVAC services were added. Scott and Rory implemented plumbing service in the business in 2001.

The team members at Lower have always been nonunion. From Scott’s perspective they wanted to have a more personable work team. They wanted to have a family-oriented atmosphere in their business.

Scott enthusiastically believes that what sets their business apart from other similar companies in the area is the people. Scott believes Lowers has the best people in Topeka.

Our relationship with the people who work with us have has always been excellent.

As a company in business for 50 years, we can honestly say we’ve been through thick and thin. And we always go back to the employees that work for Lower. They are the ones that keep things going. Looking ahead, we plan to continue to grow. I admit that it’s a bit of a challenge to find the kind of team members we have. But we’re not in a hurry. So finding the right team members is the most important aspect of our business growth.

What Scott Emperley believes

Scott also believes it’s essential to reach out to local schools to educate and reinforce the idea that the trades are a good option for many high school students looking for long-term employment opportunities. There is a significant need for young people to become interested in HVAC, plumbing and electrical.

One of Scott’s challenges is that not as many homeowners in Topeka are aware that Lower offers plumbing services. Plumbing services were added to the company in 2001.

Scott Emperley and his daughter

Scott and his daughter.

Scott is proud of Lower’s full-service sheet metal shop. The sheet metal shop makes custom duck work for residential homes. They also create specialized projects for customers. A few weeks ago, the Lower Sheet Metal Shop made pans for rabbit cages for a customer that raises the animals. They also make metal guttering and soffit trim for several roofing companies here in Topeka and ductwork for other companies. It’s a niche market, Scott remarks.

Scott and Rory knew purchasing Lower was an excellent business opportunity. Scott says he doesn’t know many people who don’t dream of owning their own business. Scott knows with 40 employees and their families to take care of, he and Rory have a lot of responsibility and they take that responsibility very personally. Scott never wants to see anyone leave, and he is focused on taking care of the people they do have. He feels like they have a big family at Lower. “As owners, we see how our business affects everyone in it,” Scott says.

Teamwork makes the Dream Work

They’ve never let a team member go for lack of work, and they’ve had four people retire. Recently, one of their retired team members came back to work part-time. “When we find good people, we do our very best to keep them.”

Scott says the bottom line is this:  Lower has a large customer base, and they have the best team members. After 50 years in business, Scott knows that any success they have is largely due to taking care of their employees and the employees taking care of the customers.

“That’s the way we want to run our business.”

After 50 years  in business this seems to be working.