INDIANAPOLIS — It was a full day at Carrier’s newly remodeled facility in Indianapolis this summer as local camera crews were on scene to find out how the company was celebrating the 110th anniversary of modern air conditioning. Carrier didn’t disappoint as it unveiled and officially opened its new Customer Center. Those who gathered for the ceremony found an open, modern reception area and museum-like exhibits lining the entry hall. There was also a new company store and a business center with Internet access.

The remodel, among other company undertakings, was to commemorate the invention of air conditioning by Dr. Willis Carrier.

During an interview with David Meyers, vice president of sales and distribution, Residential Systems, Carrier, he explained that air conditioning was not just an invention of comfort, but it was one that grew out of business necessity, and as it advanced, it changed the way the modern world works.

“I think one of the biggest things the invention of air conditioning helped lead to was the development and proliferation of commercial refrigeration; which is basically taking crops that are grown in the field and being able to transport them to grocery stores,” he said. “One of the biggest effects air conditioning had was how it relates to food and produce and how people store food in a way that historically they were unable to do. The invention of air conditioning allowed that to happen and commercial refrigeration is important in every part of the world because you have to be able to successfully take food from the fields to the stores.”

Customer Center Project

Opening the first phase of the multi-million dollar Indianapolis facility renovation was one of the ways that Carrier decided to celebrate the anniversary. According to the company, there are roughly 1,500 customers that visit the facility each year. The opening of the first phase attracted multiple guests and speakers. The speakers discussed the ins and outs of the building developments, as well as the heritage of Carrier and its founder. A representative from Mayor Greg Ballard’s office read a proclamation officially declaring July 17, 2012, as Carrier Air Conditioning Day in the city of Indianapolis and urged the city to celebrate with him.

For the first phase, Shiel Sexton served as design-builder for the Carrier renovation project. The company coordinated all aspects of the project from concept through completion.

“We were excited to participate in the design-build project for Carrier’s new customer center because it allowed us to work with Carrier and BSA LifeStructures to develop a comprehensive customer solution — transforming the facility’s entrance into a new and innovative space that features the people, the products, and the heritage that comprise Carrier in Indianapolis,” said Tim Isle, group manager/partner, Shiel Sexton.

BSA LifeStructures Inc. managed the architecture and design components of the Carrier renovation project, including the layout and design of the new customer center.

“Working in concert with Carrier’s employee steering committee, we tried to picture customers as they enter the Carrier building,” explained Jeremy Welu, project architect, BSA LifeStructures Inc.

In designing, the architectural firm looked to answer three primary questions. “What is the first thing customers see and how can we enhance the use of the space? What does the building communicate to the customer and how can we improve on that experience to make it more aligned with Carrier, its employees, and the products they manufacture here? How can we showcase the company’s rich history?”

The first phase was completed on a tight timeline. There are two phases left to complete. The second one is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2012 and the third phase will begin and end sometime in 2013.

Carrier History, Heritage

Another part of the celebration wasn’t focused on the facility but on the man, Willis Carrier himself. To highlight him and his journey, the company produced a new website and published a historical commemorative book, Weather Makers to The World: The Story of a Company. The Standard of an Industry. The full-color book chronicles the inventor and founder of Carrier as well as shows the progression of the company over the years. The website,, mirrors some of the information found in the book and provides access to a special video created for the anniversary.

These items were shown and mentioned during the presentation at the facility renovation unveiling, and during his presentation, Meyers took a moment to remind attendees that air conditioning is so common place to society that it can often be forgotten.

“Air conditioning is something we take for granted because we weren’t around in 1902 to know what life was like prior to this invention, but it’s something we certainly shouldn’t take for granted on a hot day like today,” he explained. “I am thankful that Willis decided to date the documents July 17 as opposed to December 17. That way we can truly appreciate what he started and the industry he created, especially with the summer we have been experiencing over the last months.”

After the presentation, when Meyers was asked how he was going to celebrate the 111th anniversary he said, “It’ll be hard to top the 110thbut hopefully we will have phase two and phase three of our building done and hopefully our industry will continue to grow, and I know we’ll continue to grow with it.”

Publication date: 10/1/2012