In 2013, I was facing burnout. I had run my mind and body into the ground.

First, some background: I started my first HVAC company in the early 2000s (Whitey’s Heating and Cooling) and spent eight years growing my business as a sole proprietorship with the occasional cash helper friend working with me.

My clientele grew by leaps and bounds. My ability to connect with humans on a level of personal comfort restoration became a foundational legacy that has me where I am today.

John Whitehead's lessons learned at Summit led to his becoming a High-Performance HVAC Contractor
John Whitehead, Co-Owner, Honest Heating and Cooling, Inc.

From the beginning, my lessons learned were from being surrounded by mentors who fed my thirst for knowledge and taught me what it takes to succeed.

But ultimately, it was too much. The stress and pressure of being a sole proprietor took its toll. Looking for a way out, I sold my phone numbers and assets to my closest competitor, Kent Borota, and went to work for him. I took over duties as lead service, technician, secretary, salesperson, and more.

For many years I worked with Kent. I stayed stagnant in my education and grateful to be alive. Kent provided a comfortable environment to be average. His company had a crew of four people, and we did about $700,000 worth of business in our best year.

Five years ago, Kent tragically lost his son in a car crash and then lost his father to a sudden massive heart attack in one 90-day period. These tragedies rattled the entire company and sent us into a 2.5-year tailspin. The following year, I met my lovely future wife, Sara.

When I shared my joy with my boss, he said he hoped to sell the business to my coworker Dustin and me. This was our opportunity. In April 2021, Dustin Wood and I purchased the assets and phone numbers of Kent Borota and started our brand, Honest Heating and Cooling Inc.

Starting out again, I found the challenges of a brand new business were mighty! But with the help of our distributor (Heating and Cooling Supply) and our equipment supplier (Daikin Amana), I received training and got back into the game.

I was invited to attend training in Texas at the Amana manufacturing facility. This opportunity provided me with a steady stream of growth and opportunities. The best lessons learned from this experience was that It’s where I met David Holt from National Comfort Institute (NCI).

During our conversation, Holt invited me to attend NCI’s 2023 High-Performance HVAC Summit in Branson, MO. I applied for a scholarship, which I was granted. That changed my life. I reserved my room, and the rest is history in the making!

Let’s face it: when you live and work in an area, you are part of a community. What you do with that “membership” can make all the difference. I wasn’t always a big “joiner.” But from the moment I got to Branson, the lessons learned was the discovery that the High-Performance HVAC community was (and is) unlike any other one I’ve been part of.