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Seaman’s was founded in 1961 by Don Seaman, a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War. He had studied heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration through the GI Bill, and worked at two heating and air conditioning companies in the Grand Rapids area before deciding to start his own company.
FAMILY BUSINESSAt the time of its founding 50 years ago, Seaman’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration was a true family business: Don ran the service calls while his wife, Reatha, answered the phones, did the bookwork, and took care of the couple’s two small children.
The company grew, attracting what it describes as “some of the best and brightest people in the commercial HVAC industry … and riding out the turbulent ups and downs of the Michigan economy.” Don Seaman retired in 1989.
Today the company employs 38 people. Don’s son Randy is the president and majority owner. The co-owners are Patrick and Shirley Murphy (Don’s daughter and son-in-law). Randy and his wife of 33 years, Peggy, have two children; daughter Kim and son Jacob represent the third generation of Seamans to work at the company.
Randy and Kim Seaman are both graduates of Ferris State University, and Jacob is completing his degree at the school. In 2005, Ferris State honored Randy with its Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor the university’s alumni association can bestow upon an individual.
EXPANSIONThe company’s business mix has greatly expanded since Don Seaman ran service calls in his truck. Today the company performs 50 percent of its business in the service sector, and 50 percent in installation. The company is a strong proponent of design-build contracting, a concept in which the contractor partners with the building owner to design and install the best possible HVAC system, customized to the customer’s needs.
Today the contractor installs and services HVAC systems in commercial-industrial buildings, churches, hospitals, schools, retirement homes, and restaurants. The company’s work can be found throughout western Michigan.
There are much larger companies in the commercial contracting field. Randy Seaman decided to grow slowly, so as not to sacrifice the company’s cornerstones. “Just having more trucks isn’t important to me,” he said. “Providing the best value to the customer is. We want to do what we do best, and be the best at what we do.”
GIVING BACKIn 2001, Seaman’s received the National Contractor of the Year Award from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). In 2002, the company was further honored by ACCA with the association’s Excellence in Commercial Contracting Award.
This was followed by the company being named the Contractor of the Year by the Michigan ACCA in 2002, and again in 2004. For nine years running (2003-11), Seaman’s has been one of the recipients of West Michigan’s 101 Best & Brightest award, presented by the Michigan Business and Professional Association.
Beyond HVAC, the company also is proud of its relationships with Michigan Blood, the Cancer Center for Kent County, the American Cancer Society, Senior Meals, Franciscan Life Process Center, the Special Olympics, the National Kidney Foundation, the American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids, the National Foundation for Cancer Research, Mel Trotter Ministries, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Toys for Tots.
It’s no surprise, then, that the company sponsored its blood drive, with the goal of 50 pints, in addition to a gala open house to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
For more information, visit www.seamansac.com.
Publication date: 06/27/2011