Each month, National Comfort Institute (NCI) shines a spotlight on contractor members who lead the way in implementing High-Performance HVAC Contracting™. This tradition began in 2011, and the stories appeared in NCI’s monthly member email newsletter.
These spotlights tell stories of perseverance, culture-changing challenges, and continuous improvements that go well beyond HVAC Industry standards. These stories shine a light on the success (and yes, failures) of more than 60 companies.
Since those early days, the spotlights migrated from the newsletter to the pages of High-Performance HVAC Today magazine.
This month, we reached out to some of our past “spotlight contractors” to see where they are today. Because space is limited here, we can only tell the stories of three such contracting firms from then to now. In the future, we plan to revisit others who’ve made the choice and investment to join the Path of High-Performance.
In 2015, Pippin Brothers, Inc. of Lawton, OK was “spotlighted” in NCI’s Peak Performance email newsletter . You’ll need to be logged in to access. Mark Pippin explained in that story that he’d been “blazing the trail to performance-based service since attending a talk by Dominick Guarino, in 2000.
Long story short, that initial meeting led Pippin to join NCI sometime afterward. He was one of the earliest members of NCI. At the time of the 2015 profile, his focus was on getting his team trained in the testing, measuring, and selling of HVAC system renovations.
Back then, Pippin said NCI’s performance-based contracting program changed the way his company did business. Over the subsequent years, they’ve continued to learn, evolve, and hone their skills.
Fast forward to 2020, and the world is on standby as the most significant healthcare crisis since 1917 sweeps the country. Not surprisingly, the pandemic touched Pippin Brothers.
“Though COVID did impact our business overall, it was not the main reason my air conditioning division suffered in 2020,” he explains. “Over the years, we struggled with our technicians about doing performance testing on every system they encountered in the field. Some of them downright refused to do it. So in the Spring of 2020, I decided to push the restart button.
“I started over from scratch. I reduced the size of the air conditioning division from two salespeople and four installation crews to just one salesperson and two install crews. So my air conditioning business shrunk a little since 2015.”
Pippin adds that today, his smaller technical team consists of younger people with great dispositions and are hungry to learn.
“We put them all through NCI performance training. And we did a lot of our own training too. I did all of this because I know it’s the right thing to do. I make high demands on my techs to measure and test on every call. But I don’t put a time limit on each job. For me, it’s not about the number of jobs. It’s about quality. It’s about doing what’s right for customers.
“Sure, I don’t want techs tied up all day on just one job. I want them to do the work right the first time, and that is what High-Performance contracting is all about.”
By the way, Pippin says the plumbing division never lost a beat last year and continues growing to this day.
All Pro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning
In January 2017, All Pro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning of Ontario, California, was the Contractor Spotlight. You’ll need to log into the site to see this page) in NCI’s member newsletter. Back then the HVAC division refocused its mission on a high-performance approach. Service Manager Mike Greany said, ‘service performance is the future of the HVAC Industry.”
Back then, All Pro had 60 employees and achieved gross revenues of around $10 million. The HVAC division was responsible for nearly 2.5 million of that revenue. At the time, the company was a newer NCI member. But that membership, according to Greany had already paid off in many ways. He said that not only did the High-Performance training his team received put them light years ahead of their competition, but he also said that networking with other members of the organization was priceless.
Today, Greany says the company is “so much farther along than we were in 2017. We did take a short step backward in March 2020 with COVID. We fell off the Performance Path and resorting to selling boxes.
“However, we did get back onto plan and increased our air upgrade business on the service side. Now we are shooting for generating revenues of $20,000 per month in air upgrades for 2021,” he says.
Since 2017, Greany says the most significant obstacle they face continues to be cultural changes, especially in their sales division.
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