Our History

In the summer of 1973 Merle M. (Rick) Karber Jr. left his employment as a sheet metal worker on the Metro Center project in west Phoenix and began a business (Karber Sheet Metal) in his backyard, fabricating and installing sheet metal products.

Things went well for Rick and the following year Rick’s brother Michael Karber joined Rick as a partner and together they formed Karber Air Conditioning Company.

The Karbers were given a small space to work in a friend’s welding shop on East Washington Street and they began to acquire the tools, equipment and knowledge necessary to become a competitive air conditioning contractor in the Phoenix Metropolitan area.

The Karbers’ focus was small commercial projects which included schools and various other public works.

In 1978 their father, Merle Karber Sr. came to work at Karber Air Conditioning Company and brought with him over 30 years of experience in the air conditioning industry including project management, estimating, and job cost accounting. Merle’s four years with Karber Air Conditioning Company before his retirement was a major bonus for the growth and development of the Karber Air Conditioning Company.

In the early 1980’s the Arizona Supreme Court found the state prevailing wage laws (Little Davis Bacon Act) that applied to all public works projects in Arizona was unconstitutional and that there could be no mandated wage rate for these public projects. Karber Air Conditioning Company, being a relatively small union contractor, found themselves unable to be competitive in the public works arena. Having no standard wage rate to comply with, the open shop contractors began to take the majority of that work.

As a way to survive, the Karbers then decided to start another air conditioning company (open shop) at a different location to hopefully become competitive again on the small public works projects they knew so well. Thus, IMCOR was born.

Their plan worked as they had hoped it would, and as Karber Air Conditioning Company was losing market share IMCOR was gaining and eventually IMCOR became the surviving entity.

Also in the 1980’s IMCOR started a plumbing company (Allied Plumbing) which thrived and merged with IMCOR, allowing IMCOR to become a full-service mechanical contractor.

IMCOR has experienced steady growth over the years to become a $50 million plus company and a giant in our local industry.

From IMCOR”s  humble beginnings in Rick’s backyard, then to Mike’s back yard storage shed, then to a corner in Joe Banks’ welding shop, to today where they now occupy a complete city block near downtown Phoenix, IMCOR has been called on to furnish plumbing and air conditioning on many of the premier construction projects in the Southwest. Some of our most prominent projects include: Phoenix Convention Center Phase I & IISky Harbor International Airport – Air Traffic Control Tower and Northwind District Cooling Plant – Phases 1 – 5.

Michael Karber was forced to leave IMCOR in January 1989 due to medical issues. Michael later passed away in June of 1990 after losing his battle with cancer. He has been greatly missed in our industry by all who knew him, but Michael’s spirit lives on within our industry.