Sometimes, companies seem to come by their success magically. Overnight sensations hit the scene with all their processes and companywide culture intact, as if they appeared out of the clear blue, with the wave of a wand or the chanting of incantations.

But this is just an illusion. The magic of success comes from hard work – and lots of it. It comes from dedication and investment of time and energy in people, processes, equipment and tools, and training. It does not appear out of the clear blue.

John Boylan, general manager, Lakeside Service Company

According to John Boylan, general manager of Lakeside Service Company, Brighton, MI, “Success comes from hard work, from taking calculated chances, and learning from mistakes.”

For Lakeside, a 39-year-old residential HVAC company, success begins and ends with training.

In June of this year, Lakeside Service Co. celebrated its 18th year as a member of National Comfort Institute (NCI). In 2014, the company was profiled in the High-Performance HVAC Member Newsletter ( and at that time it was a $3 million firm just starting out Walking the PATH to Performance.

In that story, John shared how his father, from the outset of Lakeside, wanted their focus on keeping customers comfortable and safe. To do that required continuous education. That truth remains central to the company’s culture.

The Magic of Change

Today Lakeside is on target to achieve more than $9 million in sales and has around 46 total employees. They field 18 production vehicles (HVAC installation/service and plumbing) and three vehicles for their sales team. John points out that the growth happened despite the COVID-19 pandemic. He attributes this to the commitment to training and development of internal processes to support their high-performance approach.

The magic of Lakeside Service

“Back in 2014, we really got serious about airflow testing, measurements, and diagnosing invisible problems,” he explains. “Before that we participated only in a smattering of NCI air balance and combustion classes. The light bulb went off for me when our dabbling in testing and measuring began bringing in more jobs and more profits.”

He says that is when he made a commitment to get 100% of his team trained and certified.

“But that meant making a lot of changes in how we did our work,” he adds. “It also meant committing to investing heavily in our people and our tools. The magic is in our commitment and hard work.”

Training! Training! Training!

Today Lakeside uses NCI as a primary technical training source and BDR for business training (business planning and management).

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