Proud To Be â€˜Old School'
He and his brother Monty and wife Cindy head up the HVAC company in League City, Texas, that bears the family name and considers a handshake a bond. The leadership prefers keeping everything from marketing efforts to product inventory “in-house.”
Technicians are hired only after passing an extensive screening process based on personality, communication skills, attitude, mechanical aptitude, and technical proficiency. Pay raises are strictly on merit. Hours can be long as technicians are expected to do what it takes to complete a job entirely before leaving a site, even during the hot and humid summer days that are common in the Houston-Galveston area.
Then there is that 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee published on the company’s Website: “If a technician smokes, swears, is not drug-free, or leaves without cleaning up, you do not have to pay for the service.” Such demanding standards for employees may cause some to wonder what makes Weeks Service Co. the winner of The NEWS’ “Best Contractor to Work for” contest for the South region.
SECOND GENERATIONThe current Weeks management team is second generation. Father (and father-in-law) Richard Weeks founded the company in 1972 after having relocated from the Austin area. While in Austin, he was employed by a university, working on air conditioning and refrigeration equipment.
After moving to the Houston area, he first was involved in computer programming but later decided that he would rather work for himself. So he began doing add-on air conditioning work from the family home. The early ’70s were boom times for the area, and within a few years of its founding, the company was able to move its headquarters from the family home to a converted liquor store.
In 2003, the company again outgrew its location and moved into a newly built 21,000-square-foot building. Today, there are 73 employees including 22 service technicians, 18 installers, seven electricians, and eight customer service representatives.
The growing Houston-Galveston area continues to provide plenty of work. There has never been a layoff at the company and so far service work has not extended beyond 25 miles. There are 6,000 service contracts in place to help provide steady work. The company also benefits from a strong application pool. Weeks said he will often go through 50 to 100 applicants to fill a single position. New tech hires usually ride with a more experienced colleague before they are given their own trucks.
AN EXAMPLEOne example of such a service tech is Mark Grant who has been with the company for 14 years. He relocated from Kentucky for family reasons and first went to work for another contractor in the Houston area. But within a few years, that contractor dropped employee benefits in a cost-cutting move.
Grant, then the father of three (now six) children, knew someone who worked at Weeks and asked for an interview. “I was hired … and I’ve never looked back,” he said. Three years ago, he was named service manager in a newly created position when Gary Weeks decided he wanted to wear a few less hats in the company.
Grant - like his supervisory colleagues Harry Evelt on the installation side, Jack Gavin in electrical, and Alan Dettmer in the warehouse - has scheduled meetings with those they supervise on a daily basis. For Grant, it can be 15 minutes each morning to review situations from the previous day to extended one-hour meetings each Thursday morning.
A RESIDENTIAL FOCUSGary Weeks said his objective is to keep Weeks as strongly residential HVAC as possible and focused on retrofit and service work. The company is an authorized Amana dealer, although it also installs other manufacturers’ equipment at customer requests.
Said Weeks, “The next time you’re in the area, stop in and take a look around Weeks. We are an ‘old school’ model of the right way to do things.”
JUST THE FACTS:Contractor: Weeks Service Co.
Owner: Gary, Monty, and Cindy Weeks
Location: League City, Texas
Years in business: 34
Bulk of market: 90 percent residential; 10 percent commercial air conditioning; some refrigeration
Total sales for 2006: $12 million
Total employees: 73
Total service technicians and installers: 40
Average hours employees spend in training: 20
Benefits beyond medical/dental insurance: Life and vision insurance (all insurance for spouses and children as well as employees); profit-sharing retirement plan; tool allowance; association membership and training paid for by company; reimbursement for exam fees upon successful completion of exams.
Industry association & contractor group members: AirTime 500 and ESI
The NEWS selected this contractor because: Weeks Service Co. has a generous benefit program and the ability to locate employees who are comfortable in embracing the company’s ‘old school’ philosophies.
Publication date: 01/29/2007