Flexibility, Training Rank High on Approval List

January 29, 2007
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DIXON, Calif. - Sit down with the 23 employees at Greiner Heating & Air Conditioning and you’ll receive a ton of reasons why they enjoy working for president and CEO Patricia Greiner. The fact that that there is flexibility in the workplace and that abundant training is offered certainly rank high among the company ranks.

“It’s not just a company,” is how service tech Javier Landin put it. “It’s a second home and everyone is treated like brothers. This is a big family and everyone knows each other and helps each other.”

Regarding flexibility, the company is simply that - flexible - inside its family-orientated confines.

“There is no time clock we have to punch. We pretty much come in and go at our own pace,” said seven-year service tech Shaun Satterwhite. “If you have issues you have to take care of during the day, it’s as easy as that. If you need to run an errand, you can go run your errand and get back to work. If you need the time, you get the time that you need.”

Even though the company may not provide any childcare benefits, per se, John Ebert noted that the “family-orientated management style” at Greiner “provides support to employees when they need it most.”

“You can ask anyone here that Patricia Greiner is most flexible,” challenged dispatcher Rachelle Urzua. “When you need to be out of the office for a valid reason, the schedule is flexible and family-orientated.”

LEARN...AND LEARN SOME MORE

When it comes to training, president Greiner and general manager David Krueger can’t stress it enough. They estimate that each company employee participates in, on the average, 10 hours of training per month. Offerings include North American Technician Excellence (NATE) training and certification. Various classes put on by AirTime 500 are also made available, along with HVAC-related technical sessions offered by nearby Pacific Gas & Electric Company, the combined natural gas and electric utility provider for northern and central California. There are also monthly in-house taught courses, in-house weekly training discussions, and much, much more.

“Mrs. Greiner’s employees have all received training on a lot of things, some of which include duct testing, air balancing, tankless water heater installation, and, most recently, flexible gas piping,” said installer Ruben Zurita, who could not refrain from adding, “To work for Patty Greiner is the best thing that ever happened to me. She gets involved in her employees’ lives, emotionally and, a lot of times, financially as well.”

At Greiner, no one is exempt from learning more. For instance, the company closed its doors to the public for three consecutive days in November of last year, flew in National Comfort Institute (NCI) president Rob Falke, and he schooled everyone - installers, service technicians, comfort advisors, receptionists, dispatchers, and all employees in between - on the ins and outs of air balancing and air testing.

“The company paid for lunches and still paid us our wages,” said Install Manager Dennis Logan. “We try to stay a step ahead of the competition, which is the way it has been since I’ve been here for 14 years. You see, the competition sees what we’re doing and they also make a step in that direction. So, Patricia is always trying to see what we can do next to stay ahead of the competition.”

Like Greiner, Krueger believed the subject was that important to shut down all business projects and transactions for a few days.

“Everybody needs to understand it [air balancing] because everybody has contact with the customer here,” he explained. “Everybody has the potential to answer the phone, so we need to know these issues and technical matters, too.”

Even the boss could not - and did not - skip school.

“Rob [Falke] had me take the test. He said, ‘C’mon. You can do it.’,” said Greiner, adding with a touch of pride, “I did not get the highest score, but I passed.”

WHERE DO I SIGN?

For retired military man Rick Dwelle, it was a matter of learning a new career at Greiner. He was introduced to the company when it came to his house several years ago for an HVAC-related issue.

“They were having a good time. They were happy,” Dwelle remembered of the techs that worked on his house’s system. “I said, ‘Hey, I want to work for your company. It looks like you guys are having a good time.’”

Even though Greiner was not necessarily hiring at the time, it took a chance in signing up Dwelle.

“When I first came here, I didn’t know anything about heating and air. Greiner was able to give me the opportunity to prove myself,” he said. “At the interview, I said ‘No’ to every question they asked me because I didn’t know anything, but they were willing to give me that opportunity to show myself and show what I could do.”

His final assessment could have been stated by anyone on staff: “The company will go out of its way to train us.”

Publication date: 01/29/2007

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