NCI Names the ‘Best of the Best? During 2018 Annual Summit Event

During the National Comfort Institute (NCI) Summit 2018, held March 4-6 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Austin in Austin, TX, HVAC contractors were recognized for excellence in Performance-Based Contracting?.

There were three Contractor of the Year Awards, the Annual Training Award, the John Garofalo Implementation Excellence Award, the David Debien Award, Vendor Partner Award, and last, but not least, the Chairman’s Award.

During the closing banquet and awards ceremony, NCI President Rob Falke and Chairman Dominick Guarino recognized several companies in these categories.

For the Contractor of the Year awards, the criteria are as follows:

  • Implement Performance-based testing
  • Create and follow a Performance-Based business culture
  • Have a strong service department which is service agreement based
  • Engage in selling system renovations regularly
  • And have training as part of the company culture.

Furthermore, there are three categories for the Contractor of the Year Awards:

  • Contractor of the Year – Small? Companies under $1.5 million in gross sales
  • Contractor of the Year – Medium? Companies with $1.6 to $3.9 million in gross sales
  • Contractor of the Year – Large? Companies with $4 million plus in gross sales.

And the winners are:

2018 Small Contractor of the Year

2018 NCI Small Contractor of the Year Winner is Hyde's Air Conditioning, Palm Desert, CA

Mike Hyde (center) received the NCI Small Contractor of the Year Award from President Rob Falke (right) and CEO Dominick Guarino (left).

Winner: Hyde’s Air Conditioning of Palm Desert, CA.

Hyde’s Air Conditioning is a residential and commercial HVAC contracting firm that has been in business for 45 years, serving clients throughout the Coachella Valley. Michael Hyde’s father, Brian Hyde started the company in 1972 in Chula Vista, CA. The company’s mission includes providing ‘Wow!’ service experience to customers. They do that through a deep commitment to advanced technical training and certification.

Runners-Up: Four Seasons AC & Heating Co, Kingsville, TX, and Affordable Heating and Cooling, Phenix City, AL.


2018 Medium Contractor of the Year

NCI's 2018 Medium Contractor of the Year Winner is Getzschman Heating, LLC, Fremont, NB

Pictured from left to right: NCI President Rob Falke, Co-Owner Scott Getzschman, Co-Owner Ron Getzschman, Unidentified, unidentified, NCI Chairman and CEO Dominick Guarino

Winner: Getzschman Heating, LLC, Fremont, NB.

Getzschman Heating, which first opened its doors in 1960, is a full-service, heating, ventilation, and cooling company dedicated to serving Omaha, Fremont, Blair, Council Bluff, and Wahoo, Nebraska with the highest quality mechanical systems installations and service. It was started as a family business and remains so today. As Scott Getzschman said upon accepting the NCI award, ‘Our singular focus is the comfort of our customers’ homes and families.’

Runners-Up: Kennihan Plumbing Heating and AC – Valencia, PA and GV’s Heating & Cooling, Glenview, IL


?2018 Large Contractor of the Year

NCI's 2018 Large Contractor of the Year Award winner is Progressive Heating and Air Conditioning Corp. of Newnan, GA

Greg Wallace (center) of Progressive Heating and Air was recently presented with the National Comfort Institute Large HVAC Contractor of the Year Award. He was recognized by NCI Chairman Dominick Guarino (left) and NCI President Rob Falke (right).

Winner: Progressive Heating and Air Conditioning Corp. of Newnan, GA.

Progressive Heating and Air Conditioning is a $5 million contracting firm serving residential and commercial HVAC customers in and around the Newnan, Georgia area. Company Owner Greg Wallace says Progressive has 27 employees and fields 17 installation and service vehicles.

The 24-year-old company has experienced steady growth, even during the recent economic downturns faced in the U.S. in general and in Georgia in particular.

Wallace attributes the growth and success to a company-wide commitment to training and staying on the cutting edge. ‘If you want to serve your customers best, you must have training,’ he says. He adds that Performance-Based Contracting’, as taught by NCI, is the key. ‘As the trainers at NCI always say, ‘if you don’t measure, you’re just guessing.’?

Runners-Up: Control Point Mechanical, Shrewsbury, MA and Fisher Air, Heating & AC, Brea, CA.

Next is the NCI Training Excellence Award. NCI looks for companies with the following attributes:

  • Training is part of the company culture
  • The company provides employees with constant internal and external training and education
  • The company has well-designed training facilities conducive to learning
  • The company shares knowledge and training with other NCI members.

This year’s winner is:

2018 Training Excellence Award

NCI's 2018 Traning Excellence Award winner is All Pro Plumbing, Heating, and AIr Conditioning, Ontario, CA

Pictured left to right: NCI President Rob Falke, All Pro Field Manager Nick Perez, All Pro Service Manager Mike Greany, and NCI Chairman and CEO Dominick Guarino

Winner: All Pro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning of Ontario CA.

The award was presented to Michael Greany, All Pro’s service manager and Field Supervisor Nick Perez, by NCI President Rob Falke and NCI CEO Dominick Guarino.

Falke , during his presentation, said that one of the distinguishing things about this company was that ‘nearly 75% of their 53 technicians ‘ including plumbers ‘go through NCI training and earn certifications. This is really rare.’

Runners-Up: Schaafsma Heating and Cooling, Grand Rapids, MI and Masterworks Mechanical, Craig, CO

The next award is named in honor and memory of NCI Business Coach John Garofalo who lost his battle with cancer in 2016. The John Garofalo Implementation Excellence Award criteria are as follows:

  • The company regularly delivers measured performance in every aspect of its business
  • There are visible benchmarking/scoreboards with up-to-date performance results posted
  • The company has strong leadership
  • The management team sets ethical standards, with humility
  • The management team is constantly looking for ways to improve
  • The entire team is willing to embrace change.

The winner is:

2018 John Garofalo Implementation Excellence Award

NCI's 2018 John Garofalo Implementation Award Winner is Kennihan Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, Valencia, PA

NCI’s David Holt (left) presents the 2018 John Garofalo Implementation Award to Bill Kennihan (second to left) and Jose Montes (third from left). NCI President Rob Falke (second from right) and CEO Dominick Guarino (right) look on

Winner: Kennihan Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, Valencia, PA.

The late John Garofalo was renowned for his ability to demonstrate what it means to be a servant leader. He was all about having sincere care for people, a ‘gettin? ‘er done‘ attitude, and living with integrity. He preached Performance-Based leadership, accountability, and implementation.

This year’s winner, Kennihan’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, lives up to the Garofalo requirements in so many ways. Suffice it to say that the 49-year-old, family-owned and operated business goes out of its way to help Western Pennsylvania consumers be more comfortable in their homes and reduce their energy use so they can save money on utility bills.

Said NCI Trainer and Coach David Holt, who presented Kennihan the award, “I believe the founding principle that everyone at Kennihan’s lives by each day really sums this company up well: ‘Always act as if you were in your grandmother’s house.’ ”

Runners-Up: Pippin Brothers, Lawton, OK and Fisher Air, Brea, CA.



NCI’s David Debien Award is presented in memory of Houston Contractor David Debien who, despite a life-long battle with diabetes which eventually took his life, dedicated himself to non-stop learning, developing and teaching strong technical skills, and teaching others in his company to test and measure HVAC system performance.

The requirements for this award are:

  • The individual must have strong technical skills, especially in air-side and combustion testing
  • They must perform diagnostic testing on service and installation projects
  • The winner is one who teaches others in his/her company to test and measure performance
  • This person is a constant learner, always seeking to improve their knowledge.

This year our winner is:

2018 David Debien Technical Excellence Award

NCI's David Debien Technical Excellence Award winner is TM Johnson Brothers, Cambridge, MN

David Richardson (left) presents Tom Johnson (2nd from left) with the 2018 David Debien Technical Excellence Award. Also presenting were NCI Chairman and CEO Dominick Guarino (right) and NCI President Rob Falke (2nd from right.)

Winner: Tom Johnson, TM Johnson Brothers, Inc., Cambridge, MN.

Presenting this year’s award to Tom Johnson, was NCI Trainer and Curriculum Developer David Richardson who was the very first recipient of the Debien Award, 11 years ago. In his presentation, Richardson said, “‘Debien’s dedication to advancing our industry and questioning the norm embodies the spirit of this award.’

He went on to say that “TM Johnson Brothers does all of these things which is why they received this professional designation. The company is customer focused, training focused, and service focused and has been since its founding in 1964.”

Runners-Up: Vince DiFilippo, Di Filippo Service, Paoli, PA and Michael Greany, All-Pro Plumbing, Heating and Air Ontario, CA.



NCI’s vendor partners are also recognized for their participation in the NCI Members Reward program. Known as The Preferred Partner of the Year award, the criteria are as follows:

  • This vendor partner must exhibit strong support of the NCI membership with special pricing, discounts, or rebates
  • They seek to constantly improve their member relationships and offer member benefits
  • They promote NCI training and membership to its customer base
  • The vendor-partner assists NCI training around the country by providing hosting locations.

2018 Industry Partner Award

NCI's 2018 Industry Partner Award winner is Austin Energy, Austin, TX

Pictured left to right: NCI CEO Dominick Guarino; Austin Energy’s Terry Moore, Residential Conservation Energy Manager and Tom Turner, Environmental Program Coordinator for Field Services; and NCI President Rob Falke.

Winner: Austin Energy, Austin, TX

Austin Energy is the nation’s eighth largest publicly owned electric utility. They serve more than 448,000 customers and more than 1 million residents. Their mission is to safely deliver clean, affordable, reliable energy and excellent customer service.

In his presentation of the award to Terry Moore and Tom Turner,’ he said, “More than 15 years ago this utility contacted NCI to learn more about our training because they were beginning to understand that just sealing homes and ductwork wasn’t enough.”

That led to a partnership where Austin Energy not only worked with NCI to educate their local contractors, but lead to them requiring that NCI certification was mandatory for any contractor who wanted to participate in their ratepayer programs.

In addition, the utility both marketed and helped to subsidize contractor training in airflow as well as in carbon monoxide safety and combustion analysis.

Says Guarino, “Over the past 15 years this utility has hosted more than 40 NCI classes and exposed well over 100 HVAC companies to NCI training and certifications.

“They continue to promote High Performance in their residential programs, and plan to incorporate NCI’s training in their commercial HVAC programs as well.

“For these reasons and many more, they are the 2018 Partner of the Year.

NCI’s highest award is the annual Chairman’s Award. This is presented to the one company that meets and/or exceeds the following criteria:

  • Strong supporter of NCI and our shared mission
  • Implements all aspects of NCI’s methods in service, sales, and installation
  • Excellent sounding board for NCI’s leadership ‘ provides great feedback
  • Great contributor of ideas, energy, time.

This year’s winner is:

2017 Chairman’s Award

NCI's 2018 Chairman's Award Winner, Jim Ball, Ball Heating and Air, Biloxi, MS

Pictured Left to right: NCI CEO Dominick Guarino, Ball Heating General Manager Jim Ball, NCI President Rob Falke

Winner: Jim Ball, Ball Heating and Air, Biloxi, MS

Jim Ball first began training with NCI in 2004 when he attended a week-long bootcamp in Cleveland, OH. According to NCI Chairman and CEO Dominick Guarino, Ball was always looking for new and innovative ways’ to better serve his customers.

Jim Ball is a second generation leader who has grown his company into a “residential/light commercial service and replacement market leader, upholding high standards of service that consistently exceeds customers’ expectations,” says Guarino.

Furthermore, NCI has watched as Ball Heating stepped up their efforts in the past few years to really deliver high performance HVAC systems. Guarino told the audience during the Awards ceremony that “they’ve significantly invested in NCI training and coaching. In particular they have placed a major emphIndustryasis on putting together the right internal systems to support their focus on delivering and maintaining high performance systems.”