East Coast Energy Group

East Coast Energy

East Coast Energy Group provides clients with quality craftsmanship.

By Alan Dorich

Not many can say their clients include a Major League Baseball team, but East Coast Energy Group can. The company is proud to have the New York Mets as part of its customer base, COO Vincent Palmieri says.

“We are their official energy provider,” he says, noting that this pride is shared by the team, which has signage for East Coast Energy Group at Citi Field Stadium in Queens, N.Y. “We try to get the name out there.”

Bronx, N.Y.-based East Coast Energy Group serves clients in the New York City metropolitan area and beyond through three separate divisions. These include East Coast Mechanical, which provides building owners and managers with boiler repairs, installations and 24-7 emergency service.East Coast Energy Fact Box

Its general manager, Robert Knief, credits East Coast Mechanical’s success to high-quality craftsmanship. “We are out there day-to-day, checking every job to ensure quality control is kept high,” he says. “We believe in having all of our mechanics factory trained to ensure their skill levels are as high as possible.” 

East Coast Power & Gas provides its residential and commercial clients with natural gas and electricity. “I like to think of us as a special-forces group,” says Palmieri, the company’s COO. “We like to tell folks, ‘You’re getting the tier-one services.’”

The third company, East Coast Petroleum, delivers fuel to commercial and industrial properties in New York, New Jersey and beyond. Although all three companies are run separately, they operate as a family underneath East Coast Energy Group’s umbrella, Knief says.

“It’s a great work environment,” he says. “People are easy to speak to and always ready to help each other when needed.”

Palmieri notes that East Coast Power & Gas shares this philosophy. “We have a very open environment where we foster communication, transparency and the sharing of information,” he says. “[It’s all] the better for the team and better performance.”

Warming Up

Knief is a longtime veteran of East Coast Mechanical, and started working for the company part-time when he was 16. Today, “We provide energy, whether that be heating, oil, natural gas or electricity,” he says, noting that his company’s current projects include converting New York City Housing Authority buildings to central heating plants.

Currently, the four buildings utilize high-pressure steam, which is distributed to provide heat and hot water to the occupants. “Once the project is completed, a heating system will be providing heat and hot water to three of the structures, and one will be run off of steam,” he explains.

The $3 million project includes the installation of new boilers, burners, a chimney and fuel oil tanks. “Right now, we’re [expected to finish] by June of 2017,” he says.

The Next Level

Palmieri, who joined East Coast Power & Gas two and a half years ago, has spent his time evolving it. “I was brought in to lead the Power and Gas division to the next level,” he recalls. “While that sounds great, if you come into a leadership position [without the right] ownership, you’re fighting a losing battle.”

But that has not been the case, thanks to East Coast Energy Group’s owners, John Knief and Anthony Milanese. “In addition to being savvy businessmen, they’re great folks to work for,” Palmieri says. “They’ve been great in providing and empowering me with the resources I need to grow the business.”

Palmieri’s changes included growing East Coast Power & Gas’ staff. “Back in early 2014, there were three of us,” he says, noting that he is looking to hire a 15th employee.

“That’s still not a big number, but when you compare it to what it was two years ago, you can see the difference in growth.”

He also has increased the skills of its staff to lower its reliance on third parties. “I’m wholeheartedly behind housing all your responsibilities in-house rather than outsourcing,” he says. “Lots of folks with businesses in my industry outsource a lot.”

But keeping things in house gives East Coast Power & Gas such advantages as a better reputation and the ability to lower its costs, Palmieri says. “It’s best to manage your costs as close as you can,” he says.

Branching Out

Palmieri sees a strong future for East Coast Power & Gas under its parent company. “We have a reputation that we want to continue to build,” he says, noting that the company also wants to grow its focus in New Jersey. 

Knief also predicts growth for East Coast Mechanical. “We are trying to branch out into other areas of the business,” he says. “We are looking into new technologies such as linkage-less burner technologies and trying to stay on top of all new technologies that are coming out into the market,” he says.


Worthwhile Cause

East Coast Power & Gas has not only partnered with the New York Mets on projects, but also charitable events, COO Vincent Palmieri says. Recently, the company co-sponsored a Kids for Kids event in Brooklyn, N.Y., for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Not only did the event offer entertainment, food and drinks, “We also brought in a former Mets player, outfielder Gary Sheffield, to meet and greet kids,” Palmieri recalls. “We couldn’t be happier to bring attention to a worthwhile cause. We helped sign a check for over $1 million that day.”


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