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When a contracting company has expanded to three locations in 10 years, it’s a firm indicator the business is performing well. Such success is contagious — just ask the employees, who, in the case of Logan AC & Heat Services Inc., had nothing but positive things to say about owner Jim Meyer’s contributions and appreciation. Thus, it’s easy to see why The NEWS selected the Dayton, Ohio-based firm as the Best Contractor to Work For in the North Central region.
Prior to buying Logan Services, Meyer spent 25 years in the HVAC engineering and marketing fields. When the opportunity arose to purchase Logan Services, he took it.
In 2004, just two years after the 2002 purchase, Meyer expanded the business into Columbus, Ohio. And, less than five years later, the company was growing again, opening a new branch in Cincinnati.
The company partially attributes its growth to its active involvement in area joint vocations schools, which introduces young prospects to careers in HVAC. “We’ve offered students to do ride-alongs and learn more about this industry,” Meyer said. “We help show them what they could get into.”
Logan Services has hired graduates from Fortis College as well as other nearby schools. Meyer said Fortis was a great place to find prospective employees and has even donated equipment to the school to aid in the learning process. Newly hired graduates start off as installation assistants and, over the course of a few years, can move up to the role of installation team leader.
The company also hires industry personnel with five or more years of experience as service technicians. While the company has held job fairs, Meyer said most new employees are somehow connected to a current employee. “We’ve had huge success with our referral program utilizing existing employees. They’ve brought a lot of great people to our company who are still currently employed with us.”
Ashley Pleiman, director of human resources and finance and one of Meyer’s daughters — another daughter, Sandy, and his son, Jason, also work at Logan Services — said that if a qualified hiree makes it past the 90-day probationary period, Logan Services will give the referring employee a recruiting bonus.
Employees are expected to perform as professionals at all times. And, while the work may be strenuous, supervisors keep a close watch on worker fatigue.
“We make sure our service technicians are happy. We don’t let them get burnt out,” said Pleiman. “We’re always going above and beyond to help them have time with their families. I know the HVAC service industry is dealing with a technician shortage, and employers are basically working these poor service technicians to death. That’s the feedback we get from our new hires. So, that’s something we really try to make sure we don’t do.”
Bret Fuller, service manager, said Logan Services tries to monitor who’s working on which projects so the company can “strategically work everybody the same, especially during busy seasons.”
Outstanding field performance doesn’t go unnoticed at Logan Services. “We offer appreciation breakfasts for the service techs that go above and beyond my expectations,” said Fuller. “We hand out gift cards and recognize them periodically. We do offer compensation for when they’re working in the busy season for time off in the slower season; it can help them out financially. And it helps them feel like they’re working toward something, so the burnout is not so much top of mind as it would be knowing that they have some compensation time coming with pay.”
Fuller started his HVAC career as an installer with an outside company before hiring in as a duct cleaner and eventually climbing the ladder to his current position. “As long as I’ve been here, I’ve always gotten 30-plus hours, which is really good. Our techs commonly are working that many hours as well.”
But, when business gets slow, Fuller said the company will schedule a day off for a tech. The company also has sent techs with the duct cleaning or installation crews, to offer assistance. Management also utilizes the slow time for technician training and education.
Logan Services promotes service agreements, which “gives us an opportunity to be in people’s homes in the slower months of the year,” said Meyer. “We’ve done a better job of level-loading our business. We give added incentives to our customers to let us in their homes earlier in the springtime and later in the wintertime. That’s been pretty effective, and that’s an additional way we can keep our service techs and installers busy.”
Logan Services holds training every Wednesday during its service meeting. Often before the meeting begins, an hour of additional training is offered for all techs who want to attend. Because the company installs Trane products, employees attend Trane classes in the spring and fall. In addition, the company grants techs the opportunity to further their education by taking other HVAC classes. Logan Services also offers incentives to techs who “obtain certain certifications as an added bonus to promote bettering yourself,” said Fuller.
“We really promote NATE [North American Technician Excellence] certification,” said Meyer. “It’s something that techs can be proud of. It’s telling our customers that these are nationally certified professionals; they’re getting the best of the best.”
While the company is serious about making its customers’ homes comfortable with HVAC, the employees have some fun at work, too. The company’s “Contagious” program occurs about six times a year. Meyer said Contagious shows “appreciation for the extra work that employees put in. They’ve got difficult customers and situations that they’ve got to deal with, and they need stress-relief time.”
Each of the Contagious days has a theme. One day is held at the beginning of baseball season and workers are able to wear their Cincinnati Reds gear. They play trivia games to earn prizes and enjoy free grilled hot dogs and brats.
They celebrate at other times, too, said Amanda Kinsella, marketing director. “We have parties when our sales teams hit certain milestones. Like whenever anybody breaks a million dollars, we get breakfast brought in.”
Then there’s the annual spa day where the women who work for the company each can have their choice of spa services such as manicures, pedicures, massages, and facials. Afterwards, the group goes out for a nice dinner.
“While some guys prefer the Cincinnati Reds ball game, we’ve got another group of guys who will do a golfing event. It’s hard to get everyone off work at the same time, so we have to cover for each other. But we want to make sure everybody is recognized and has a special day,” Meyer said.
One big Christmas party is held each year for the employees and their spouses from all three locations. Various games and prizes are presented. Fuller said that so many prizes and gifts are handed out at the party “that you’d think you were on the ‘Price Is Right.’”
Meyer always thanks employees and spouses for the sacrifices they’ve provided throughout the year. “For him to say that to our spouses makes you feel good, and it makes them feel good because they’re the ones who have to take care of the kids and hold down the fort and all that [because of the long hours we work],” said Fuller.
Extra Curricular Presence
Logan Services sponsors several of the recreational sports teams employees participate with and has supported high school football and baseball in different markets, as well.
The company is also involved in the communities it serves by helping out local charities and sponsoring various community events. One of the charities Logan Services has recently become involved with is the Dakota Center, which has an after-school program offering homework assistance and recreational activities, among others. The company is also organizing a 5K run in 2014 to raise money for the center.
New in 2013, the Tell-A-Tech winter program allows technicians to represent a client who needs, but can’t afford, a new furnace. Each month, in each of the three markets, one of these individuals is gifted a new furnace and installation.
The company also sponsors a float in the Reds’ opening day parade, and, in 2013, the company won second place for its entry featuring baseball players made from ductwork.
The Place to Be
Employees Kinsella, Fuller, Pleiman, and others repeatedly exclaim that Logan Services is a great place to work. Meyer said, while he wasn’t sure how to do it at first, his primary goal was to make Logan’s a great place to work. “It’s sort of evolved over the years. I do credit people when credit is due, and I promote the team more than anything — the whole team concept and what does team mean.”
He continued, “I want to treat people like I want to be treated. That’s always been my philosophy.”
Just The Facts: Logan A/C + Heat Services Inc.
Contractor: Logan A/C & Heat Services Inc.
Owner: Jim Meyer
Locations: Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio
Years in Business: 44
Bulk of Market: Residential service and replacement
Total Sales for 2012: $15 million
Total Employees: 150
Total Service Technicians and Installers: 43
Average Hours Employees Spend In Training: 104 hours annually
Benefits Beyond Medical/Dental Insurance: 401(k); profit sharing; monthly, quarterly, and yearly bonuses; Christmas parties; golf outings; spa days; cookouts; gift certificates; and more
Industry Association & Contractor Group Members: BBB A+ rating; ACCA, NATE, Trane Comfort specialist, Angie’s List
The NEWS Selected This Contractor Because: Employees are given a wealth of opportunities, from training to helping the community to being creative while working as a team, having fun together, and being recognized for their contributions individually and altogether.
Publication date: 1/20/2014