Ben DiMarco worked in and out of the contracting business (for his father’s company) for years and eventually settled working for a national consulting engineering firm with Cleveland offices. This company’s focus was on commercial/industrial building commissioning. It was during this time that Ben began taking classes with National Comfort Institute (NCI). In fact, he met Rob Falke during an air balancing class at a local supply house.
Later, when his employer decided to relocate Ben to their Washington D.C. office, Ben opted out and went back to work in his father’s HVAC business.
‘Part of why I am who I am today is because I of my exposure to top-notch technicians in the field,’ he says. ‘I also had an opportunity to see so much bad work in the field. Up until the late 1990s, my father’s company ppracticed strict discpline like you wouldn’t believe. The service technicians attended training classes regularly. There was also sales training and a lot of discipline in their work ethic.
‘The jobs being installed were almost works of art. The technicians were true craftsmen. Their workmanship was just excellent. They paid attention to details and specifics on how things were done,’ Ben continues.
‘In the last 10-to-20 years, much of that work ethic has evaporated from the HVAC Industry. In my opinion, NCI brings back the commissioning process and how to deliver the promised project. It’s not just about air balancing. It’s about doing everything correctly through measurement, diagnostics, repair, and re-testing. NCI truly teaches quality control,’ he adds.
Performance-Based Contracting? and DiMarco & Associates
DiMarco says he believes that NCI’s Performance-Based approach is a return to craftsmanship. ‘That sets us apart from most of our competitors.’
He also says that craftsmanship isn’t easy. ‘It takes time. It takes commitment to training and education. And it takes patience as you work through the typical problems that any change brings with it.
‘Air Balancing is the basis of everything we do that I call performance-based. But along with that, the commissioning, and the concept of really checking out a system to ensure it is doing what it is supposed to do is equally important. To me, they go hand-in-hand.
‘Air Balancing is the foundation for us. When you attach all the other performance components, you then can see how a system is supposed to work.’
In the real world, DiMarco says there are no HVAC systems out there, commercial or residential, that are working at 100%.
He says, ‘If you can get them working in the 90% range ‘ and that includes airflow, electrical, venting, waterflow, combustion, controls ‘ the whole nine yards, there are just so many opportunities for more business. Then you must communicate that to customers in terms of how they benefit. When you look at the performance approach in this way, it is obvious that there is an endless stream of business out there for you.’
DiMarco explains that the secret, at least for his company, is to get your field team to look beyond the symptoms causing customer pain and to find the root of those problems. Again, he says he relies on Henry Sterling as a big part of this.
‘Henry has been an NCI ‘air-head’ for 20 years!?
‘This is not easy, and it takes time,’ he adds. ‘I think we are way ahead of other companies in our area because we think like this, we train for this, and we work like this.’
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