Brandt Engineering

Brandt Engineering: A Legacy to Embrace

Andy Zilbermann

Brandt is known to many in the industry as an innovative subcontractor that provides more than just subcontracting services. Through invention and investment, Brandt has maintained a reputation as a partner who provides value beyond most. In 1952, Sonny Brandt founded Brandt Engineering based on an opportunity created by a growing population and hot Texas summers. The word “Engineering” in the company name set the tone of innovation and industry expertise that guides Brandt today.


One notable engineering feat from one of the founders of Brandt, Andy Zilbermann, was the “Z-Box.” In 1970, when the variable air volume (VAV) approach to HVAC systems was relatively new, Brandt’s engineering team invented and introduced the first fan-powered VAV terminal, known as the “Z-Box.”

The Z-Box was a pneumatically controlled multi-section box consisting of a fan, dampers, hot deck, and cold deck. The box distributed and controlled air at low pressure throughout a single floor of a high-rise building. At that time, there were large built-up air handling units on the roof with pressurized shafts that served the entire building with medium pressure air.

As Arnold Picon, Senior Engineer, recalls, “Andy Z could look at a building HVAC design and convert it to a Z-Box design in no time. He used that engineering mindset to sell a lot of work for Brandt in those days,” he said. There are still some Z-Box relics in buildings in Dallas and Denver (as Brandt had a Denver operation at one time), so look out for them the next time you stick your head above the ceiling in a high-rise downtown.

Over the years, Brandt has truly embraced the words invent, design, and build as they define the term engineering. The company continues to invest in resources that set us apart in innovation and ingenuity. There are many examples of this in the current state of the company. From then until now, the engineering in Brandt will set us up to succeed for years to come.