His brother, Mark, is vice president, and their father passed away last April. “When we were involved with our prior mechanical contracting business, it was stressful at times because we employed over 100 people and operated out of two different locations. My father recognized that it’s not always best to have a large company,” he added.
Fritz said that 90 percent of the sprinkler business is focused in the commercial market, with some niche areas in terms of retirement centers, restaurants, hotels and townhouse/condominium complexes. The company also tackles conversion/restoration projects for older buildings.
“My father’s passion was the life safety aspect of our business,” Fritz said. “He was very innovative, but he wanted to do something that had a lot of meaning. He always was big on protecting lives. We’ve done a lot of handicapped facilities, for example, and the main purpose was — and is — to get
people out safely, while at the same time protecting the building itself. He always strived to protect individuals.”
Running the business has always been a family affair. In the early 1950s, Robert’s father, Charles William Fritz, started a mechanical construction business, which provided plumbing, heating and air conditioning. This was the precursor to Robert opening Fritz Fire Protection. When Robert retired from the business in 2014, he passed operations to Jonathan and Mark.
The division of labor has been pretty natural for the brothers. Both worked in the field for their dad when first coming to the business after college, with Mark staying in the field a little bit longer. Jonathan went to the office a little earlier and became involved in sales and estimating, which he spends most of his time on today. Mark took over scheduling projects and overseeing projects underway in the field.
“There aren’t a lot of companies out there that do what we do,” Fritz said. “But the life safety aspect of the business was my dad’s passion, and that keeps us going today as we press forward to fulfill my father’s vision.”