Nearly six years ago, National Comfort Institute (NCI) profiled this Craig, CO-based HVAC company in its member newsletter. In that profile, author Steve Vannoy wrote, “Blend one-part staunch commitment to outstanding customer service, one part enthusiasm for giving back to the community, and one part dedication to creating a quality workplace and you should have a winning formula for business success.”

The company, which was started in 1988 by Dave DeRose, has consistently applied this formula.

At the time of that original article, Masterworks had 12 full-time employees, and was a successful player in the area’s service and installation arena. Vannoy wrote, “This success is due, in no small part, to the company philosophy of measuring success not in the amount of jobs completed, but by completing each job with efficiency, quality, and care for the customer.”

Changes

Fast forward to 2019. Masterworks now employs 27 co-workers, Dave DeRose successfully sold the company to one of his top lieutenants, and the company is solidly focused on the Performance-Based Contracting™ method of doing business.

Victor and Amy Updike bought Masterworks in 2015.

Victor and Amy Updike bought Masterworks in 2015.

That lieutenant is Victor Updike. Victor, who joined Masterworks in 2008, began his career as a refrigeration service technician. “My main thing was being a Freon guy,” he explains.

During those early days, he was involved in a serious four-wheeler accident that nearly severed his foot. The hospital was able to re-attach it, but he was laid up for six months or more. Because he couldn’t be out in the field until fully recuperated, Updike decided to focus on training, especially NCI training, Summit, and a few other things. That is where he got hooked on the idea of HVAC system performance. Masterworks became a member of NCI in 2009.

His wife Amy, who already had a career of her own in the medical industry, decided to join Masterworks, first as a dispatcher, then as office manager and more. She learned as many aspects of managing the company as she could and became indispensable to DeRose.

The fact is, both Updikes were indispensable members of DeRose’s team. So, when he decided it was time to push the button on retirement, David approach Vic and Amy and asked them if they wanted to buy the company.

According to Vic, their answer was an unequivocal YES!!! The sale was finalized in 2015 and for the past three years, with the husband and wife team at the helm, Masterworks has enjoyed solid growth and is more focused on High-Performance contracting than ever before.

“David DeRose built an amazing business,” Vic Updike says. “He created a solid customer base and the premise that he operated on was so valid to me that I could see where we could take that and grow it.”

He says the only change he wanted to make was to make the company the ONLY HVAC and plumbing firm customers would ever need.

“If we ever failed in our mission, then they could and should replace us. We use that idea to help keep our egos in check and make sure we never miss the components of quality we have always delivered in the past.”

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